1358 H St., NE
Three fantastic things—hot pot, cold beer, and tacos—converge on H Street. Maketto chef/owner Erik Bruner-Yang has taken over Impala Cantina with the new concept, which may stay if it proves popular. Hit the downstairs for street tacos and cervezas, then head upstairs for hot pot, where diners cook a bounty of ingredients (seafood, meats, dumplings, noodles) in simmering cauldrons of soup.
3401 Water St., NW
Forget cheesy lederhosen and boot steins—this new beer hall near the Georgetown Waterfront channels the gritty modern biergartens of Berlin. Chef Mike O’Brien came from beer-and-sausage spots like Mikkeler Bar and The Monk’s Kettle in San Francisco and makes homemade brats, merguez, and other meats here. The Popal family (Cafe Bonaparte, Lapis) has roots in Germany as well as the US and Afghanistan—fitting for the international crowd.
Rappahannock Oyster Bar
1150 Maine Ave., SW
The best oyster bar in DC now has a scenic waterfront location at the Wharf. The 27-seat bar is cozy (and chic, thanks to Salt & Sundry touches), but in warm weather, the space will sprawl outside with 90 more seats. Expect the same tasty Chesapeake bivalves from owners/oystermen Ryan and Travis Croxton, plus a new menu from chef Autumn Cline. Look for a bigger lineup than at the Union Market outpost, with more crispy seafood (fry baskets, po’ boys, whole fish), fun riffs on classics, and a diner-style smash burger.
11915 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda
The team behind the Cava empire flex its finer-dining muscles at this sleek French bistro with Middle Eastern influences in the Pike & Rose development. Former Doi Moi chef Sasha Felikson turns out dishes like foie gras torchon, salmon crudo, and lamb tagine. Look for an all-day cafe to launch in the future.
Potomac Distilling and Tiki TNT
1130 Maine Ave., SW
Veteran barman Todd Thrasher pioneered the so-called “speakeasy” trend in the DC-area with his landmark bar, PX. But now he’s lightening up with a three-story tiki bar and rum distillery at the Wharf. Zombies, pina coladas, and frozen rum-and-cokes keep the party lively (especially on the rooftop if it’s warm-ish). Hawaiian-inspired eats include poke, Spam musubi, and coconut shrimp flatbread. Don’t forget to sample one of the four house rums; Bottles are available for purchase if you like ’em.
Green Almond Pantry
1314 Ninth St., NW
Former Etto head chef Cagla Onal finally found a brick-and-mortar home in Shaw after selling her lovely Mediterranean dips, salads, and vegetable dishes at local farmers markets. You’ll find similar offerings in the cozy space (formerly Seasonal Pantry), plus a sit-down lunch menu—think braised lamb over hummus with homemade bread—ample to-go items, and dinner coming soon.
Pizzeria Paradiso Spring Valley
4850 Massachusetts Ave., NW
The newest location of Ruth Gresser’s wood-fired pizza and beer empire just opened near American University. Go for the thin-crust pies Gresser has been turning out for 25-plus years; a lengthy list of beers (14 taps plus umpteen bottles); and fun distractions like pinball and video games. Once the weather warms, you’ll find the biggest patio of all the Paradisos.
301 Water St., SE
Navy Yard seafood spot Whaley’s is embracing the cold and transforming into a Japanese hot pot restaurant for the winter season (beginning December 18). Diners pick a broth—classic dashi or umami-rich red miso—and ingredients to cook in the liquid (plenty of seafood, plus homemade udon noodles). Chef Daniel Perron is also serving tempura and charcoal-grilled dishes, and there’s a roving Japanese cocktail cart if you’re thirsty.
Bombay Street Food
1413 Park Rd., NW
Restaurateur Asad Sheikh, who created popular NoVa Indian spots London Curry House and Curry Mantra, just opened his first DC restaurant. The colorful 65-seat space in Columbia Heights dishes up fiery vindaloo, Indo-Chinese eats like chili chicken, and street snacks such as vada pav (AKA the “Bombay burger”). Tame down the heat with Mumbai chai.
A Taste of Urbanspace
2001 International Dr., McLean
Tysons Galleria’s previous food hall, Isabella Eatery, collapsed after just nine months, following sexual harassment allegations against restaurateur Mike Isabella. (His entire company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy yesterday and will go out of business by Dec. 27.) But the mall has moved to quickly replace the failed venture with a new food hall featuring a variety of DC-area chefs and restaurateurs. Look for Laotian noodle bowls at Sen Khao from the Thip Khao owners; creative scoops courtesy of Ice Cream Jubilee; Japanese rice bowls at Donburi; Southern biscuit sandwiches and coffees from Stomping Ground; and Andy’s Pizzas. More vendors will be added soon.