12 Exciting New DC-Area Bars and Restaurants to Try Now

Where to find shrimp wontons, Southwest-style queso, uni pasta, and more

Hei Hei Tiger. Photograph courtesy of Hei Hei Tiger

About Restaurant Openings Around DC

A guide to the newest places to eat and drink.

Hei Hei Tiger
2001 International Dr., McLean
The team behind Shaw’s modern Cantonese spot Tiger Fork are infusing Tysons Galleria food hall with flavors from Hong Kong. Their stall, opening today, serves a mix of composed dishes like shrimp wontons, smashed cucumber salad, and beef noodle soup alongside build-your-own Cantonese bowls. Pick from bases like congee, rice, or soup, and top them with barbecued meats, smoked tofu, and veggies. A separate bar will pour versions of Tiger Fork’s “traditional Chinese medicine” cocktails, milk and boba teas, and more.

Try wood-fired Mediterranean cuisine at Albi in Navy Yard. Photograph by Scott Suchman

1346 4th St., SE
After nearly four years in the works, ex-Arroz chef Michael Rafidi’s highly anticipated Levantine restaurant has finally fired up its wood hearth in Navy Yard. The menu speaks to Rafidi’s Middle Eastern and Mid-Atlantic roots, plus his fine-dining background. (We can’t wait to try the foie gras and “ufra-thing” bagel.) A team of rising stars includes cocktails from Green Zone owner Chris Francke and funky, smoky, salty, and just all-around delicious wines from partner and sommelier Brent Kroll, who’s opening a second Maxwell Park wine bar adjoining Albi in March.

The Handover focuses on temaki. Photo by Evy Mages.
The Handover focuses on temaki. Photo by Evy Mages

The Handover and King’s Ransom
728 King St., Alexandria
The cocktail and seafood void left by the closing of Alexandria staples PX and Eamonn’s Fish n’ Chipper has been filled by two new concepts from the team behind Chop Shop Taco and The People’s Drug. Get your sushi fix at The Handover, a small counter specializing in made-to-order temaki (hand rolls), while King’s Ransom mixes international cocktails and tiki drinks with Japanese snacks.

Lulu’s Wine Garden, a group-friendly indoor/outdoor wine bar. Photograph courtesy of Julep PR.

Lulu’s Wine Garden
1940 11th St., NW
Take all the things you like about a beer garden—casual, good for groups, kid and dog-friendly, outdoors—and apply them to wine. That’s the thought behind Lulu’s, now open in the former Vinoteca space. Owner Paul Carlson prices most wines on the bottle-driven menu at a moderate $49—from offbeat Mexican whites to real French Champagnes—plus a small by-the-glass offering and coastal cocktails. Chef/partner Cable Smith of sister spot Royal is behind Southwest-inspired dishes like queso with freshly fried tortillas and pastrami-style brisket on Texas toast.

Cabanas at Throw Social. Photograph by Rey Lopez

Kick Axe and Throw Social
1401 Okie St., NE
Summer people and winter people finally have a place to meet: a two-story game bar in Ivy City that boasts a beach theme on one floor and alpine lodge on the other. Games are equally elaborate—there’s axe throwing, iceless curling, and “footbowl,” which is like bowling with footballs. Drinks and bites are also themed, whether you’re in the mood for aprés-ski fare (hello, pigs n’ blankets) or tiki drinks.

Cranes serves Japanese and Spanish tapas. Photograph courtesy of Cranes.

724 Ninth St., NW
Barcelona native Pepe Moncayo explores the intersection of Spanish and Japanese cuisines at his ambitious new Penn Quarter restaurant. Patrons can order seasonal tapas like duck gyoza, salt cod tempura, or patatas bravas with yuzu kosho ketchup alongside an extensive list of sakes and wines. There’s also a six-course omakase menu ($88 per person plus $45 optional pairing). For something more economical, try the artful lunchtime bento boxes.

Wings at The Eleanor. Photograph courtesy of The Eleanor.

The Eleanor Silver Spring
931 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring
Chef/owner Adam Stein brings a second location of his eclectic Noma game bar to downtown Silver Spring, which just opened Monday. Five mini bowling lanes, Skee-Ball, and arcade games provide entertainment, while patrons can fill up on global bar fare like elote-style hushpuppies, General Tso’s wings, flatbreads, mussels, and a ton of local beers, wines, slushies, and swizzles. Look for lunch and brunch to start soon, as well as multiple happy hours.

Echo Park
2012 Ninth St., NW
“Beer. Pizza. Fireplace.” is the tagline for Ian and Eric Hilton’s latest Shaw venture. Sold? We are, especially when you factor in the rear garden patio. The restaurateurs transformed their former Gaslight Tavern space and collaborated with Andy’s Pizza for the new concept, which also operates a late-night shop on the same block. Head to Echo for thin-crust pies, draft limoncello, ice cream cookie sandwiches, and other goodies.

Tonari mentaiko pasta. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

707 Sixth St., NW
The team behind top DC ramen spots Daikaya, Bantam King, et al. tackle a different kind of noodle (and pizza) at their new Penn Quarter spot. “Wafu,” or Japanese-style, Italian cuisine is on the display in dishes like buttery uni pasta, pappardelle with Japanese mushroom sauce, and thick, Detroit-like squares of pizza topped with seaweed and clams. Contrasting the Italian-ish menu is a traditional Japanese design revamping the former Graffiato space, complete with horigotatsu floor seating.

Palm motifs bring Miami to the Wharf. Photo by Rey Lopez.
Palm motifs bring Miami to the Wharf at The Grill. Photo by Rey Lopez.

The Grill
99 Market Sq., SW
Mi Vida chef Roberto Santibañez and restaurant group Knead Hospitality + Design are behind this glitzy new steakhouse at The Wharf, which specializes in meats and seafood cooked in Josper charcoal grills from Spain. To drink: martinis (natch), which can be mixed with your choice of vodka or 100-plus gins.

Silver Lyan from famed London-based bartender Mr Lyan in Riggs DC. Photograph by Peden Munk.

Silver Lyan
900 F St., NW
One of the world’s top bartenders has taken up residence in DC, opening his first bar outside Europe in Penn Quarter’s new Riggs DC hotel. Mr Lyan, a.k.a. Ryan Chetiyawardana, creates whimsical drinks like fancy Jell-O shots, microwaved Manhattans, and an eye-popping $375 Scotch concoction in a space that partially inhabits the historic bank building’s former vault. Looking for a bite? Lobby restaurant Cafe Riggs serves all-day new American fare—and an intriguing caviar grilled cheese—from former Momofuku CCDC chef Patrick Curran.

Kitsuen, a new ramen, hookah, and cocktail bar on H Street. Photograph courtesy of Kitsuen.

1362 H St., NE
What do rapper Pusha-T and veteran Japanese ramen chef Munehiro Mori have in common? They’re both involved in this bi-level cocktail, hookah, and ramen bar on H Street alongside nightlife entrepreneurs Wayne Johnson and Tony Perry (Saint Yves). The atmospheric space boasts a concise Japanese food menu from Mori with five styles of ramen, ranging from porky tonkatsu to vegetarian mushroom. 

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.