These Are the 10 Things DC Foodies Are Talking About

Spring pop-ups, Israeli cuisine, and more.

Couscous with charred okra at Sababa. Photograph by Scott Suchman

The new and exciting in the food world — ranked!

1. Israeli Cuisine

Is Israeli the cuisine of the moment? Sure seems like it. Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj is replacing his decades-old Ardeo with Sababa (3311 Connecticut Ave., NW), a mod-Israeli restaurant specializing in wallet-friendly share plates. On the heels of closing DGS Delicatessen, the Wiseman cousins have relocated their popular Tel Aviv–style hummus shop, Little Sesame (1828 L St., NW)—we smell a chain in the works.

2. Spring Pop-Ups!

Derek Brown’s Cherry Blossom Pub (1841 Seventh St., NW) and its hours-long lines are back—this time with a ten-foot animatronic Godzilla. In Navy Yard, look for the return of Whaley’s pinktastic Rosé Garden (301 Water St., SE). Nearby, Morini Piccolo (same address) turns the dock into an Italian-style boardwalk, with fried gnocchi, gelato, and frozen Negronis.

3. Gravitas

Former Minibar chef Matt Baker’s Ivy City tasting room arrives with four-to-seven-course menus (priced at a relatively reasonable $75 to $98)—plus a rooftop garden and greenhouse bar. 1401 Okie St., NE.

4. All-Purpose Pizzeria Expansion

If you thought the pepperoni-and-spicy-honey pizza at the original All-Purpose in Shaw couldn’t be beat, try it on this second location’s riverfront patio—along with chilled frutti di mare and clam pies. 79 Potomac Ave., SE.

5. Buena Vida/ Tacos, Tortas and Tequila

Ambar restaurateur Ivan Iricanin leaps from Serbia to Mexico with two Silver Spring eateries: the $35 all-you-can-eat Buena Vida and a taqueria. 8407 Ramsey Ave., Silver Spring.

6. High Side

Local brews and Taiwanese street snacks come together at this bar, where suds and ciders are matched with exactly what we want to eat while drinking: dumplings, cumin lamb, and chili-fried chicken. 4009 Chain Bridge Rd., Fairfax.

7. New Spirits

Local distillers are looking beyond whiskey and gin. In Frederick, new American Shochu Company (4539 Metropolitan Ct.) is making the first batches of the Japanese distilled spirit in the United States. District Winery (385 Water St., SE) is behind the first DC-made wine, a rosé, after importing, juicing, and fermenting old-vine Grenache grapes from California.

8. Executive Diner

The new-wave-diner trend hits Old Town. Sequoia vet Dadisi Olutosin whips up Japanese-style pancakes, shrimp and grits, and of course breakfast. 1400 Duke St., Alexandria.

9. Reason to Road-Trip

Just in time for crab season: Hotelier John Flannigan and chef Sean Wheaton, formerly of José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup, have taken an aging Tilghman Island hotel and reimagined it as vintage hideaway complete with a seafood restaurant, Tickler’s Crab Shack (opening mid-May), and the nautically-themed Bar Mumbo. 21551 Chesapeake House Dr., Tilghman, Md.

10. Al Fresco Mexican

Cortez (1905 Ninth St., NW) takes over the former 1905 space for beachy Mexican eats and rooftop cervezas. At the Wharf, Mi Vida (98 District Sq., SW) boasts two water-level patios—plus a terrace—where ginger-mango margs flow and mariscos arrive by the tower.

This article appeared in the April 2018 issue of Washingtonian.

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.