14 New Restaurants Around the DC Area

The dining debuts we’re most excited about.

The couple behind DC’s Rooster & Owl recently debuted Falls Church’s Ellie Bird, which serves this kimchi bouillabaisse. Photograph by Albert Ting. Photograph by mebrett/Flickr.

About Restaurant Openings Around DC

A guide to the newest places to eat and drink.

Now Open

Alfresco Tap and Grill

2009 18th St., NW

Alfresco Tap & Grill has three outdoor patios and an al fresco bar. Photograph by Jennifer Chase

The owners of the Tex-Mex institutions Cactus Cantina and Lauriol Plaza are branching out with an American hangout in Adams Morgan. On brand, the indoor/outdoor place is huge and caters to groups with a crowd-pleasing menu (pizzas, steaks, salads) plus wallet-­friendly drinks like frozen Negronis and, yes, margaritas. 2009 18th St., NW.


Charley Prime Foods

9811 Washingtonian Blvd, Gaithersburg

Charley Prime Foods is a spinoff of DC’s Bar Charley. Photograph by Deb Lindsey.

A much larger, more “mature” version of steak-centric DC date spot Bar Charley has just opened at RIO Lakefront in Gaithersburg. An expanded menu from chef/partner Adam Harvey includes housemade pastas plus American and Japanese wagyu. The lengthy cocktail list features a dozen on-tap options (like nitro negronis) and fun tiki drinks.


Ellie Bird

125 Founder’s Ave., Falls Church

Honey glazed duck at Ellie Bird. Photograph by Albert Ting.

Carey and Yuan Tang, the couple behind the 14th Street tasting room Rooster & Owl, take flight in West Falls Church with a restaurant that’s ambitious on the plate (shares include crispy oyster larb) and family-friendly in the vibe.



5505 Colorado Ave., NW

Photograph by Rochalle Stewart.

Area native Candice Mensah lands her traveling Ghanaian American pop-up at this snug 16th Street Heights cafe. Urban farm Lederer Gardens specially grows West African ingredients (garden eggs, okra) for her homey offerings, which include peanut soup with fufu and stewed oxtail.


 Johnny’s All-American

3226 11th St., NW

Johnny’s All-American owner Branden Givand. Photograph by Jessica Sidman.

This tavern with a “neighborhood Ohio vibe” takes over the former Bad Saint space in Columbia Heights. Head here for solid martinis, cheap beers, “no BS” egg sandwiches, and strong coffee.



4822 MacArthur Blvd., NW

Kappo’s salmon sashimi. Photograph by Kimberly Kong.

Sushi chef Minoru Ogawa and the team behind Zeppelin in Shaw breathe new life into the Palisades’ long-­dormant Makoto space. Eight-course dinners ($150 a pop) center around A5 Miyazaki Wagyu, plus fish flown in from Japan.


Love, Makoto

200 Massachusetts Ave., NW

Choose from American and Japanese beef at Love, Makoto’s yakiniku restaurant. Photograph by Mike Fuentes Photography.

The region’s first Japanese food hall just debuted near Judiciary Square. Global sushi star Makoto Okuwa has launched three sit-down concepts—spaces with omakase-style menus for sushi and yakiniku (Japanese barbecue), plus an izakaya—followed this summer by a bakery/coffee shop and street-food stalls.


The Noodle Lady

2000 Fifth St., NE

Thai native Kitima Boonmala—also behind the popular street-food pop-up Toh Roong—has nabbed ghost-­kitchen space in Ivy City. She sends out flavor-packed noodle bowls and soups such as fried-chicken khao soi.



327 7th St., SE

Borscht at Ukrainian restaurant Ruta is served with rye bread and salo (pork lard). Photograph by Anna Volynets.

DC’s first full-service Ukrainian restaurant recently opened near Eastern Market in Capitol Hill. Ruta comes from Dima Martseniuk, former executive chef of New York’s famed Ukrainian restaurant Veselka (aka the “Ambassador of Borscht”). Expect modern takes on stroganoff, chicken Kyiv, and more. Plus, borscht, of course.



1190 22nd St., NW

TheSaga’s take on patatas bravas. Photograph by Deb Lindsey.

The team behind modernist Latin restaurant Seven Reasons has a new all-day fine-dining Spanish-Latin restaurant in the West End Ritz-Carlton. TheSaga serves up unexpected takes on classics like patatas bravas and pan con tomate (there’s a tomato water spray involved), plus bomba rice dishes and an intriguing-looking oxtail-calamari sandwich.


Trouble Bird

1346 Fourth St., SE

Maxwell Park Navy Yard is now a late-night cocktail bar. Look for fun drink themes, shareable cocktails, and “elevated late-night carbs” such as fried-­chicken bao.



2002 Fenwick St., NE

Vera’s dining room is lined with cacti. Photograph by Gallery Armada.

This Lebanese-Mexican newcomer in Ivy City—named after the port city of Veracruz that welcomed Middle Eastern immigrants more than a century ago—features mash-ups like fattoush tostadas and oyster ceviche with labneh. You’ll also find beautiful cocktails in a chic cacti-lined dining room with retractable roof.


Coming Soon

Aventino and AP Pizza

4747 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda

The latest big-name chef to arrive in Bethesda is Mike Friedman of DC’s Red Hen and All-Purpose. He’ll open two adjoining Italian concepts: Aventino pays homage to Roman dishes and cocktails, while all-day AP Pizza Shop serves pastries, sandwiches, and pizzas.


Whitlow’s 4.0

901 U St., NW

Whitlow’s bar manager Ben Nelson, co-owner Jon Williams, and GM Mike Egan. Photograph courtesy of Whitlow’s.

Whitlow’s—which got its start in downtown DC at the end of World War II, moved to Arlington for decades, and bar-hopped on U Street—has now settled in the old Brixton space. Some things haven’t changed: wallet-­friendly beer and whiskey, pub fare, and a beachy rooftop bar.

This article appears in the May 2023 issue of Washingtonian.

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.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.