Food

6 Hot New DC Restaurants to Try Right Now

So far 2020 is a year of big restaurant openings.

Maialino Mare from restaurateur Danny Meyer opens in Navy Yard. Photograph courtesy of Union Square Hospitality Group

We’re only a little more than two weeks into 2020, but already it’s one of the more exciting times to dine around DC thanks to these newcomers.

Maialino Mare

221 Tingey St SE
Lauded New York restaurateur Danny Meyer just opened his first-ever full-service restaurant outside NYC in Navy Yard (if nothing else, you know him for Shake Shack). The Roman trattoria, a seafood-centric spinoff of his Gramercy Park Italian restaurant, serves crudos, pastas, and entrees like salt-baked branzino in a glassy dining room in the new Thompson Hotel. Look for a huge rooftop bar, Anchovy Social, to open soon.

Annabelle from restaurateur Ashok Bajaj opens in the former Restaurant Nora space in Dupont Circle. Photograph by Evy Mages

Annabelle

2132 Florida Ave., NW
Two veterans of the DC dining scene—Rasika restaurateur Ashok Bajaj and chef Frank Ruta (ex-Mirabelle)—have teamed up for this refined modern American restaurant, which opens Friday evening. The space carries clout, too, having housed Restaurant Nora for 40 years. Highlights include a house dry-aging program for meats and cheeses, homemade pastas, and a vegetarian tasting menu (omnivores can add meat and seafood as they please). For a bite of Ruta’s famed burger, head to the walk-in only bar.

The Emmy pie, topped with banana peppers, red onion, and ranch dressing. Photo courtesy of Emmy Squared.

Emmy Squared

1924 8th St., NW
Pizza makers in DC spent the last decade obsessed with Neapolitan-style thin crusts, so we’re excited about a changing of the pies. Specifically: thick, delicious Detroit-style pizza. The Brooklyn-born chain is favored among New Yorkers for its sheet pan pizzas, double-cheeseburgers, and hot fried chicken sandwiches (so no, we’re not counting calories). The first shop is in Shaw, with more on the way. 

Reveler’s Hour, a pasta and wine bar from the Tail Up Goat team opens in Adams Morgan (pictured: pasta with broccoli, lemon, aged gouda and spicy chili breadcrumbs). Photograph by Craig Fields

Reveler’s Hour

1775 Columbia Road, NW

The team from Tail Up Goat are going more casual for their second Adams Morgan venture, a roomy wine and pasta bar with a wood-burning grill (so no, not that casual). Star sommelier Bill Jensen’s lyrical list of 50-plus glasses is worth a visit alone. Chef Jon Sybert stays true to his Mediterranean-with-a-local-approach style in dishes like dry-aged beef meatballs, wood-grilled oysters, and “mushy broccoli” pasta.

Som Tam

1309 5th St., NE
Lucky Buns chef Alex McCoy isn’t just about burgers (though yes, they’re amazing). His obsession with fiery Thai cooking, on display at his late-night pop-ups and long-gone Alfie’s, comes to fruition at this new Union Market stall. A chalkboard menu lists bright som tam salads,  khao soi curry, and street-style noodles with ground pork and chilies—all made by Thai chefs Lekki Limvatana and Satang Ruangsangwanata.

Hanumanh reopens in Shaw. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Hanumanh (Take Two)

1604 Seventh St., NW
The Thip Khao team’s modern Lao cocktail bar opened in August, so it isn’t technically new. But it only enjoyed a three month run before shuttering in August for extended gas line maintenance. It’s finally back as of last night, serving Al Thompson’s tropical tikis and street market-inspired small plates like grilled beef tongue and crab curry.

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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.