Food

10 Hot New Restaurants to Try Around DC This Winter

Fresh options for fried chicken and bubbles, cheffy takeout, and date night dining.

Honeymoon Chicken in Petworth. Photography courtesy of Honeymoon Chicken.

Honeymoon Chicken
4201 Georgia Ave., NW
Federalist Pig pitmaster Rob Sonderman turns his talent from barbecue to the fryer at this all-day Petworth restaurant in the former Slim’s Diner space. There’s a little fried something for everyone: pickle-brined chicken buckets and sandwiches, a kid’s menu, vegetarian options (crispy ‘shrooms!), and po’ boys—plus indulgences like Champagne and loaded sundaes to match. It’s all-indoor dining and takeout/delivery for now, but look for a big patio come spring.

The floral patio at Duck Duck Goose Dupont (with retractable windows in warm weather). Photograph courtesy of Duck Duck Goose.

Duck Duck Goose Dupont
2100 P St., NW
There are some dining rooms that just say date night. Take the flower-filled enclosed patio and candlelit interior of chef Ashish Alfred’s latest brasserie. The French menu looks pretty dreamy, too, with winter plates like roasted bone marrow, steak with duck fat fries, and foie gras-buttered bucatini. If you’re ducking the goose—and meats in general—there are interesting vegetarian options, plus a lineup of zero-proof cocktails.

Squid-ink paella with calamari at El Mercat. Photograph by Rey Lopez, courtesy of LeadingDC.

El Mercat
101 Gibbs St., Rockville
Former Tico and Boqueria chef George Rodrigues recently opened his first solo venture at Rockville Town Square. The aceitunas don’t fall far from the tree—familiar tapas like pan con tomate, croquetas, and gambas al ajillo dot the menu, alongside house specialties like cider-glazed St. Louis pork ribs and shareable pans of paella. The Spanish drink menu is equally wide-ranging, as is a generous selection of food, cocktails, and sangria pitchers for happy hour.

Himalayan Wild Yak
22885 Brambleton Plaza, Ashburn
The former partners behind one of our favorite Nepalese restaurants, Alexandria’s Royal Nepal, have branched out with their own eatery in Ashburn’s Brambleton Town Center. True to name, diners will find the mountainous animal on the menu—grilled, stuffed into momo dumplings, or simmered for 18 hours in a curry—alongside a variety of meat and vegetarian dishes. Wash it down with Himalayan yak butter tea or Kingfisher beer.

Momo dumplings can be stuffed with a variety of fillings, including wild yak. Photograph courtesy of Himalayan Wild Yak.

Solace Brewing
71 Potomac Ave., SE
Northern Virginia-based Solace Brewing expanded its popular brand to DC for the first time with a huge, hops-chic bar in Navy Yard’s Dock 79 development (neighbors include Salt Line, All-Purpose, and Nationals Park). Springtime will bring a roomy patio overlooking the Anacostia River. For now, drinkers can sample fresh beers like a “When in Rome” Italian pilsner and a”Bing Bang Boom” sour—all produced at the breweries in Sterling and Falls Church—while digging into pub fare and dressed-up sausages from Georgetown butcher Stachowski’s. We have our eye on the half-smoke with pickled Asian vegetables, Fresno chilis, cilantro, and sweet-spicy sauce.

Philotimo
1100 15th St., NW
It’s been awhile since DC has had a splashy fine-dining debut like this recent arrival from Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli. The Masseria and Officina owner focuses on the Hellenic side of his Greek/Italian heritage at the stylish Midtown Center spot, which serves prix-fixe menus (starting at $108 per person) that can be matched with a voluminous array of Greek wines. Diners can build-their-own tasting menus with dishes from four categories—pastas, vegetables, meat, and seafood—and yes, you can order three pastas or wood-fired proteins if the mood strikes.

Fine dining Greek restaurant Philotimo opens in downtown DC. Photography by Deb Lindsey, courtesy of Philotimo

Inca Social Arlington
1776 Wilson Blvd Unit #1, Arlington
A Rosslyn spinoff of the Vienna Peruvian restaurant brings a host of new options to the neighborhood in a larger, colorful space. Highlights include an indoor ceviche-and-sushi bar, a large patio and al fresco bar, and daily deals like $2 margaritas for ladies on Thursdays (sorry, guys, that’ll be $5). In addition to a lengthy food menu packed with Peruvian classics, and a weekend brunch, there’s a takeout-only ghost kitchen serving Latin meals for four starting at $60 (limited delivery available).

Magpie and the Tiger
828 Upshur St., NW
Chef Kevin Tien made a national name for himself at Petworth restaurant Himitsu (now closed). Years later, he’s back in that late restaurant’s same tiny space with former sous chef Caleb Jang, who’s now leading the kitchen. Don’t expect a copycat revival—Jang’s creative vision draws from his Korean-American heritage, and the menu is only takeout for now due to Covid. On our to-eat list: veggie-stuffed buns, sweet-and-sour fried chicken, and jajyangmeon (noodles with black bean sauce).

Noodles with black bean sauce. Photograph courtesy of Magpie and the Tiger.

Salazar
1819 14th St., NW
The folks behind rowdy Mexican spots Mission Dupont and Navy Yard are back with another free-flowing margarita meeting place on 14th Street. There’s a lot going on here for the young and young-at-liver: four bars, bottomless margarita brunch, daily happy hour, basement DJ dance parties, and a rooftop game where patrons are encouraged to chug tequila from a shot glass made of ice and hurl it at a bell.

Suga & Spice
5557 Baltimore Ave., Suite 100, Hyattsville
Chef Jeffeary Miskiri, the restaurateur behind Po’ Boy Jim and Creole on 14th, is behind this Hyattsville newcomer that pays tribute to his family’s Louisiana and Caribbean roots. This is comfort food to the max—think Hawaiian buns stuffed with braised oxtails and sided with spicy broth for dunking, jerk catfish and crab grits, and banana pudding for dessert.

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.

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