12 New Restaurants to Try Now

Spring opening season brings everything from homey comfort food to upscale dining.

A Washington Post article recently revealed that it cost Stephen Starr more than $6 million to build out Le Diplomate, now open on 14th Street. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Spring has officially sprung, and new restaurants have been popping up way faster
than those late-to-the-party cherry blossoms. Washington has recently welcomed spots
for chowing down on homey fried chicken, relaxing with a date on an outdoor patio
with raw oysters and Chablis, or getting rowdy with friends over beers and the big
game. Check out these dozen new spots, and stay tuned for more—so many more—coming

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

The newest face of the fried chicken and doughnuts game just opened its doors on Monday,
and is soft-opening this week by doling out comfort eats from 8 AM until the shelves
are empty (which so far has been just after the lunch rush). Stop by the storefront
early for coffee and a vanilla-glazed round, or get creative at lunch with double-fried
Korean-style chicken.

Daikaya Izakaya

The gastro-bar above Daikaya’s Penn Quarter ramen shop is equally suited to eating
and drinking, with Japanese small plates and beer, cocktails, and sake galore. Nibble
on grilled avocado with ponzu or crispy crab croquettes paired with a spherified sake
bomb. You can always teeter downstairs to slurp noodles if you work up a hefty appetite.

Fat Shorty’s

With highs in the 70s, you could start that summer tan while dining at Clarendon’s
newest spot for mussels, sausages, and cold brews. The cozy outdoor patio features
picnic tables, so get a few friends together over giant steins of citrusy Erdinger
wheat beer and brats—or, for the more adventurous, rattlesnake dogs.

GBD (Golden, Brown, Delicious)

Fried chicken, doughnuts, and booze—the newest joint from the Neighborhood Restaurant
Group just launched full service on Wednesday. In addition to daily counter-order
breakfast and lunch, there’s also now a full bar and evening sit-down dinner. Bad
news for the arteries: You’ll find freshly fried dough and buttermillk-brined birds
at all hours, as well as beer, wine, and punch.

Gordon Biersch

The Nats are in town for their first string of weekend home games, and while Red Bull-vodka
slushies at the Bullpen are always delicious, you can now expand your pre- and post-game
drinking horizons. The national brewpub and restaurant chain just opened a large Navy
Yard location, complete with a spacious beer garden. Nearby, Park Tavern
just started serving flatbreads, burgers, and Chimay on tap.

The Grill Room and Rye Bar

If sitting on an outdoor patio next to the Georgetown canal sipping a mojito with
perfectly crushed ice sounds pretty good right now, luckily, you can do just that
at the Capella Hotel’s newly opened Rye Bar. Next door, the equally swanky Grill Room
dishes up modern American fare, steaks, and Champagne from a trolley (at a price,

The Gryphon

The NCAA tournament may have wrapped, but you should still pay a visit to Dupont’s
newest sports bar. Think of it as an “athletic lounge”—it’s a little swankier than
your average sports-friendly watering hole (a deejay spins on weekend nights), but
you still have 31 televisions and beer-friendly eats such as Korean short-rib tacos
and crispy alligator.

La Tagliatella

You’re going to dinner with a hungry vegetarian, a pescatarian, and a foie gras fan.
A good bet: the third US branch of La Tagliatella. The newly opened Clarendon spot
boasts 400 noodle-sauce combinations that range from pesto to mushroom-foie, plus
a variety of antipasti and Neopolitan-style pies. An added perk is a daily happy hour
that throws $4 beers and $5 cocktails and wine into the mix.

Le Diplomate

One of the biggest spring openings hit 14th Street this week with the arrival of Stephen
Starr’s French brasserie. The airy restaurant is in soft-opening through Sunday, April
14, meaning you can relax on the outdoor patio with steak
frites or a shellfish plateau and get a 10 percent discount on your food.


If your K Street lunch hour needs more colorful lighting, or happy hour, or both,
then “look” no further (sorry, we had to). The team from Cities just opened this high-tech
spot in the former Teatro Goldoni space; you’ll find sandwiches, small plates, and
one of the longest-running drink deals around.


Craving a sit-down meal that won’t break the bank? Check out
Stephan Boillon’s eclectic eatery in Park View, where you and your date can order, say, a gin mule
cocktail and a bowl of wild boar bucatini and still have funds for a nightcap. Even
better news: The outdoor patio opens this weekend with cocktail service and sandwiches
from sister food truck, El Floridano.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.