The 10 Most Exciting Restaurants to Try This August

The 10 Most Exciting Restaurants to Try This August
A 660-gallon barrel is used to ferment and produce hard cider on property at Anxo. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

1. Anxo Cidery & Pintxos Bar

The long wait for DC’s first cider bar is over. The payoff: pintxos (tiny Spanish snacks), Basque-style ciders—including a house collaboration with the superb Millstone Cellars—and a patio for watching the apple trees grow. 300 Florida Ave., NW.

2. The Passenger

Tom Brown’s beloved Shaw bar, which closed last year, embraced the unpretentious side of DC’s cocktail boom. Happily, it’s been reincarnated—and loyal fans are back for creatively crafted drinks sans attitude. And yes, that’s the same wooden bar top from the original location. 1539 Seventh St., NW.

Anxo Cidery & Pinxtos bar opens in Shaw with a global variety of ciders and Basque cuisine. Photograph by Farrah Skeiky.
Anxo Cidery & Pinxtos bar opens in Shaw with a global variety of ciders and Basque cuisine. Photograph by Farrah Skeiky.

3. Shadowlawn

Take a former Fiola executive chef (Stefano Frigerio), experts from the Wine Kitchen, an atmospheric Loudoun County barn, and a bluegrass band, and you have a monthly pop-up dinner pretty much guaranteed to sell out, even at $125 a head. 11873 Georges Mill Rd., Lovettsville.

4. The Watergate Hotel

Washington’s most infamous hotel has reopened with a multimillion-dollar facelift and three new places to spy (legally) on local celebs: Kingbird for tasting menus or a Wagyu steak; a whiskey bar; and Top of the Gate, a rooftop bar with trendy amenities (bottle service! Asian street snacks!), opening this summer. 2650 Virginia Ave., NW.

5. Samovar

Cuisines from former Soviet republics may be the next culinary trend—see the rise of Georgian cheese breads—and Tajik restaurateur Solijon Nasimov and daughter Ika Nasimova bring a taste of it to Rockville Town Square. If you’ve never sampled Uzbeki clay-pot lamb, this is your place. 201 N. Washington St., Rockville.

The dining room at Timber Pizza Co. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.
The dining room at Timber Pizza Co. Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

6. Timber Pizza Co.

Packed pop-ups and farmers markets were just the start for this “Neapolitan-ish” pizza company, which has set up a permanent home in Petworth. Keep an eye out for local collaborations—we’re still dreaming about “The Lot,” with pork, Chups mango chutney, and pickled jalapeños. 809 Upshur St., NW.

7. Canteen

It’s nearly last call for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s summer beer garden, which jazzes up downtown DC’s suit-heavy happy-hour scene with beer-nerd-approved brews (and boozy slushies), Red Apron eats, and live tunes. Estimated closing date is late September. 2100 M St., NW.

8. Casolare

Glover Park gets a boost in culinary cred from restaurateur Michael Schlow (Tico, the Riggsby). Seafood stars at his coastal Italian spot in the revamped Kimpton Glover Park Hotel, but you’ll also find thin-crust pizzas and Pugliese ravioli that would make Nonna proud. 2505 Wisconsin Ave., NW.

You won't miss the meat in these bread-based meatballs, cloaked in spicy tomato sauce and cheese. Photograph by Anna Spiegel.
You won’t miss the meat in these bread-based meatballs, cloaked in spicy tomato sauce and cheese, at Casolare. Photograph by Anna Spiegel.

9. Little Coco’s

Neighborhood restaurant proprietors Jackie Greenbaum and Gordon Banks (El Chucho, Slash Run) are at it again with this homey Petworth Italian place, which serves coffee and pastries in the morning and fried pizza on the roof deck at night. A perk for fans of Greenbaum’s late Silver Spring restaurant, Jackie’s: Its chef, Adam Harvey, has landed in the kitchen. 3907 14th St., NW.

10. Hail & Hog Kitchen and Tap

Love ’em, hate ’em, or just despise the name—the area’s only Redskins-themed restaurant is a spectacle to behold: two floors and a rooftop patio decked out in burgundy and gold, “hog’s breath” cocktails, and of course, an all-American menu with “Redskins” mashed potatoes. 20376 Exchange St., Ashburn.

This article appears in our August 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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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.