7 New Bars and Restaurants to Try Now 

Crab pide at Kapnos Kouzina. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Spring weather has arrived, and so have a promising array of new bars and restaurants. Spend the weekend sipping in a wine bar or mezcaleria, trying Greek fried chicken, or drinking a cold beer outside.

Sip classic French wines at Bar à Vin from the Chez Billy Sud team. Photograph by Sam Vasfi

Bar à Vin

1035 31st St., NW

The Chez Billy Sud team is behind this cozy wine bar just a few steps from the restaurant (date night, solved). Sommelier Andrew Wooldridge focuses on French wines from classic regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux, offering glasses that run the gamut from $9 to $25, and unusual flights. Plan to snack on European cheeses and smoked duck.

Espita Mezcaleria brings a taste of Oaxaca and mezcal bar to Shaw. Photograph by Under A Bushel Photography

Espita Mezcalieria 

1250 Ninth Street, NW

A new kind of Mexican restaurant has arrived in Shaw thanks to certified Master Mezcalier Josh Phillips, who’s behind this Oaxacan eatery and bar. You’re here to drink mezcal, whether a pour from one of the 85 bottles—an ounce comes in a cool black clay cup—or in a cocktail from former Columbia Room bartender Megan Barnes. Don’t miss trying one of the seven styles of mole from the kitchen, helmed by chef Alexis Samayoa, who comes from NYC’s lauded Empellon.

Palette 22 specializes in eclectic street eats, like these jerk chicken tacos. Photograph courtesy of Palette 22

Palette 22 

4053 Campbell Ave., Arlington 

Art and eclectic street eats are the draw at this new Shirlington restaurant, where diners can watch painters at work while digging into small plates such as chili-crab potstickers, skirt steak tacos, and pork belly bao buns. Drinks run equally eclectic, from Jamaican daiquiris to Peruvian negronis.

Mike Isabella opens the garden-inspired Kapnos Kouzina in Bethesda. Photograph by Andrew Propp

Kapnos Kouzina

4900 Hampden Ln., Bethesda

Restaurateur Mike Isabella expands to Maryland with his first Bethesda venture, a spinoff of the Greek/Mediterranean Kapnos concept. Diners can expect more rustic fare, both in the mezze (small plates) or family-style platters of lamb or fried chicken. Looking for a quick bite? Try the $15 express lunch, which includes a gyro sandwich, side, and house-made soda.

Seoul Spice’s menu of Korean fast-casual eats is largely gluten-free, including these nori-wrapped “korritos” (Korean burritos). Photograph courtesy of Seoul Spice

Seoul Spice 

145 N St., NE

Fast-casual Korean lands in NoMa thanks to restaurant owner Eric Shin, who’s also a percussionist for the National Symphony Orchestra. The customizable menu—designed to be mostly gluten-free—includes nori-wrapped “korritos” (Korean burritos), corn tacos, and bowls, all of which can be filled with the likes of bulgogi beef, marinated tofu, and of course, kimchi.

Head to Takoda’s rooftop beer garden for sips in the sun. Photograph by Jeff Elkins


715 Florida Ave., NW

Hoping to sip a cold beer outside now the weather is warm? Head to Takoda’s rooftop beer garden in Shaw, which opens Friday. American brews and whiskeys are the focus of the bar, while the kitchen prepares a menu of retro American eats with a southern bent (hello, fried Oreos!). Both the dining room and rooftop offer dinner seating, and room to party later on.

French pastries like the merveilleux cake and Illy coffees can be found at Dupont’s new bakery. Photograph via Je Ne Sais Quoi

Un Je Ne Sais Quoi 

1361 Connecticut Ave., NW

Dupont Circle is home to a new French pastry shop, housed in the former Hello Cupcake space. A display case holds freshly-baked brioche,  merveilleux—Belgian meringue cakes—lemon meringue tartlets and more. You can also snag Illy coffee and espresso drinks.

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.