Food

Eat Your Way Around the Wharf at These Hot New DC Restaurants

Exciting openings from Fabio Trabocchi, Mike Isabella, and more.

The Wharf has begun to rival Shaw as the hottest neighborhood to eat around.

The new Southwest waterfront development “officially” debuted earlier this month, though many of its big-name restaurants were a tad delayed. As of this week, almost all of the restaurants slated for fall have opened—plus more casual bars like the Brighton and Kirwan’s at the Wharf, branches of Taylor Gourmet and Shake Shack, plus a Red Hook Lobster Pound kiosk for quick-grab rolls before a show at the Anthem.

Here are the new spots we’re excited to check out—with many more on the way.

Del Mar de Fabio Trabocchi

We expect nothing less than luxury from the Fiola restaurateurs when it comes to their new Spanish spot. Chef Fabio Trabocchi pays homage to wife Maria’s native Mallorca with a finer-dining seafood restaurant specializing in tapas, raw bar plateaus, charcoal-roasted fish, and paella. Some dishes are modern (i.e. a crudo of scallops, sea urchin, and truffle dressed with sherry), while others stay classic, such as paella with roasted duck and grilled artichokes. Splurges like truffles and caviar service aside, menu prices look a tad gentler than sister riverfront venture Fiola Mare (for now anyway)—and there’s even weekday tapas happy hour. (Note: Del Mar has a soft opening discount, where food is discounted 10 percent through October 31). 791 Wharf St., SW. Happy hour, lunch, brunch, and dinner.

Requin 

Foie gras French toast. Lobster Thermidor. “Martini service.” These are the kind of upscale touches you can expect from Mike Isabella’s modern-French restaurant. Chef Michael Rafidi of sister Spanish restaurant Arroz helms the kitchen and plans to put modern spins on everything from escargots to steak tartare. A 40-seat patio overlooking the water will open in warm weather, but in the meantime, you can warm up at the public fire pit that sits in front of the restaurant. 100 District Sq., SWHappy hour and dinner.

Kith and Kin

Former Shaw Bijou chef Kwame Onwuachi is going in a (very) different direction for his Afro-Caribbean restaurant at the Wharf, ditching sky-high prices and tasting menus for a more approachable, personal venture. That’s not to say you won’t find evidence of Onwuachi’s fine dining background: Caribbean curry is poured table-side for a dish of stewed goat roti, and patrons can start with three kinds of appetizer towers (seafood, charcuterie/cheese, and crudités, pictured above). That being said, we’d be happy to settle at the bar with a rum punch and Ethiopian “hot chicken” sandwich. 801 Wharf St., SWBreakfast (hotel guests only), happy hour, and dinner; brunch and lunch to start later.

Hank’s Oyster Bar

Hank’s is a longtime staple in DC’s neighborhood restaurant scene, but there’s still plenty of reason to get excited about their new waterfront location. Former Patowmack Farm chef Chris Edwards will add new specials to the menu alongside the staple lobster rolls and fried oysters, and creative Hank’s Cocktail Bar talent Jessica Weinstein is behind the fun drinks. Other draws: a big raw bar, a giant patio in warm weather, and a takeout window that serves riffs on boardwalk staples like seafood corn dogs and popcorn shrimp. 701 Wharf St., SWHappy hour and dinner.

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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.