Food

6 Can’t-Miss Restaurant Openings This Week

A Mexican cantina, ramen shop, and spot to indulge in summer's bounty.
Pepita by Mike Isabella opens with casual Mexican fare and shareable drinks like this punch served in a barrel. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Pepita

4000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington (entrance on N. Quincy Street)

Frozen watermelon margaritas, barbecue lamb tortas, and tuna ceviche are all on order at Mike Isabella’s colorful Ballston cantina, which takes inspiration from coastal Mexico. Equally a bar and restaurant, guests will find a strong lineup of tequilas, mezcals and creative cocktails, as well as all-day happy hour. Look for a large outdoor patio to open around Labor Day.

Alfa Piehouse

1750 H St., NW

Greek celebrity chef Argiro Barbarigou and the Alfa pastry brand are behind this 21-seat downtown cafe. Sweet and savory stuffed pies are the focus of the breakfast-to-early evening menu, alongside dips, salads, sandwiches, and a yoghurt bar. Desserts range from classic baklava to dairy-free pumpkin rolls.

Summer tomato salads, grilled peaches, and sweet corn tortellini are all on the menu at Garrison. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Garrison

524 Eighth St., SE

Former Poste and Cork chef Rob Weland is back in the kitchen, this time at his own seasonal American restaurant on Barracks Row. A partnership with Maryland’s One Acre Farm and daily-printed menus mean “farm to table” is more than just a popular label—the menu is currently filled with dishes like burrata with grilled peaches and sweet corn tortellini. Veteran barkeep Gina Chersevani is behind the garden-inspired cocktails.

Gaijin Ramen Shop

3800 Lee Hwy., Arlington

There’s a new place to slurp noodles in Arlington thanks to this artfully-industrial Japanese ramen shop. Diners can pick between hearty tonkotsu (pork) bowls, miso, and yellow curry, and a variety of traditional toppings (roast pork, eggs, kimchi). Not in the mood for soup? Try a cold Sapporo and oder of bao buns, stuffed with slow-roasted pork belly and cucumbers, barbecued tofu, or slider-size burgers.

Masseria’s Italian tasting menus include dishes like this fresh pasta with rock shrimp and zucchini.

Masseria

430 Fourth St., NE

Former Bibiana chef Nick Stefanelli just soft-opened the doors to his Italian tasting room near Union Market last week, and officially debuts on Tuesday, August 4. Head to the enclosed outdoor patio set with sofas and fire pits for a glass of Prosecco or cigar, or go in for a three or five-course tasting menu (check out a sample here). Guests can pick their own dishes, which can mean three pasta courses if the craving strikes.

Whole Foods Ashburn

19800 Belmont Chase Dr., Ashburn

This isn’t just another Whole Foods—just check out the bar. The newly-opened Ashburn store is the first in Washington to pour hard liquor, and boasts a “pub” that serves barrel-aged cocktails, locally-made sprits, totchos, and other super-trendy items. They even serve artisanal toasts.

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Anna Spiegel
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.