Food

9 New Restaurants to Try Around DC Right Now

Creative Tex-Mex, upscale Italian, and two Korean hotspots.

Brisket enchiladas at Republic Cantina. Photograph courtesy of Chris Svetlik

Republic Cantina
43 N St., NW
Owner Chris Svetlik’s Tex-Mex cantina isn’t brand new, but after a few weeks of limited preview dinners, the place is finally ready to roll out breakfast/daytime and dinner service, seven days a week. That means egg tacos on homemade flour tortillas in the morning and evening dishes that include classics (queso, poblano chicken enchiladas) and creative twists (Czech-style sausage fajitas, smoked-tuna tostadas). The bar gets creative, too, with sotol or a fermented chili margarita. To celebrate, they’re throwing a party—complete with a mariachi band—on Friday, September 6 from 5 PM to midnight.  

Best new restaurants to try around DC
Modena chef John Melfi rolls out the antipasti cart. Photograph by Evy Mages

Modena
1100 New York Ave., NW
Restauratuer Ashok Bajaj recently closed his decade-old Bibiana to open this chic modern Italian restaurant in its place (soft opening this weekend, full opening Monday). There’s new talent in the kitchen, too: executive chef John Melfi, a rising talent who previously helmed the kitchen at sister restaurant Oval Room and cooked at Blue Duck Tavern and Fiola MareA roving antipasti cart will ferry seasonal salads, oils, carved prosciutto, and homemade focaccia to tables. The lunch and dinner menus are full of classics with a modern twist, such as seafood fritto misto atop risotto or an heirloom tomato salad with straciatella cheese, balsamic pearls, and lemon-basil gelato. Look for a full preview coming soon.

Best new restaurants to try around DC
Anju, a modern Korean restaurant from the Chiko team, in Dupont. Photograph by John Rorapaugh Leading DC

Anju
1805 18th St., NW
We’ve loved our first bites at this modern Korean gastropub in Dupont Circle—the first full-service venture from the team behind popular “fine-casual” Chiko and the Lee family (Mandu). You can experience the restaurant in a variety of ways and price points, whether happy hour or late-night eats in the first-floor bar with plenty of soju, or a feast in the upstairs dining room. Either way, the steak tartare, Korean fried chicken with addictive dipping sauces, and seared galbi ssam board are musts. 

Taïm, a popular Israeli-style falafel shop, opens its first location outside New York in Georgetown. Photograph courtesy of Taïm by Morgan Long Photography

Taïm
1065 Wisconsin Ave., NW
One of New York’s most popular falafel shops has launched its first location outside the Big Apple in Georgetown. Israeli-born chef Einat Admony serves a fast-casual vegetarian/vegan menu of fried-to-order falafel (herby green or spicy harissa), fresh-baked pita, mezze, and smoothies. We’re also fans of her sabich (fried eggplant) sandwich.

Best new restaurants to try around DC
Gogi Yogi, DC’s first tabletop Korean barbecue, opens in Shaw. Photograph by Evy Mages

Gogi Yogi
1921 Eighth St., NW
DC’s first tabletop Korean barbecue spot finally opened in Shaw with plenty of fiery grills for cooking your own galbi, spicy pork belly, and octopus (plus a few fancy cuts like dry-aged ribeye). Grab friends—and a reservation if you can—for the communal tables and somaek towers that blend beer and soju. The place is open lunch through late-night.

Bar Lorea opens on 14th Street with casual Mexican fare. Photograph via Bar Lorea Facebook

Bar Lorea
2005 14th St., NW
The seemingly cursed restaurant space that housed Diet Starts Monday and several Hilton bar concepts has a promising new occupant: an unfussy Mexican bar serving $10 cocktails ($6 during happy hour), cold cervezas, tacos on homemade corn tortillas, and homey caldero stews. The place takes taco Tuesday to a new level—all-you-can-eat tacos go for $28 within a two hour limit.

Best new restaurants to try around DC
Bronson Bierhall takes inspiration from classic German drinking halls. Photograph courtesy of Bronson Bierhall

Bronson Bierhall
4100 Fairfax Dr., Arlington
Co-owner Scott Parker transformed the raucous A-Town into a slightly more low-key drinking establishment fashioned after an Old World German beerhall (that being said, you can still have plenty of fun with patio games and ping pong). Patrons can match draft beers with eats like brats, pierogies, and cheesy pretzels. The team also recently opened a second Roy Boys fried chicken-and-oyster restaurant in Navy Yard.

Vintage78
2100 P St., NW
Brothers Shahab Farivar and chef Maziar Farivar, who are behind Georgetown classic Peacock Cafe, have expanded to Dupont Circle with a modern Persian restaurant that pays tribute to their native Iran. Look for dishes like grilled grape leaves, pomegranate-glazed chicken, and khoresh, a Persian-style eggplant stew.  Service is dinner-only for now, with lunch and brunch to come.

Best new restaurants to try around DC
Try pies topped with octopus or ham and peaches at TIno’s. Photograph via Tino’s Facebook

Tino’s Pizzeria
3420 Connecticut Ave., NW
If cheese pizza sounds boring, check out Tino’s. The newly opened Cleveland Park pizzeria serves wood-fired pies topped with charred octopus or Surryano ham, peaches, and “shallot goo” (guests can also DIY with their own toppings). Local brews and a small wine list round out the offerings,  along with Nutella pizza for dessert.

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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.