The 10 Most Exciting DC Area Restaurant Openings of 2023

Filipino, French, and fancy food halls

Amparo Fondita's sopesitos with black beans, crema, salsa chipotle, avocado, and queso fresco. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

About Restaurant Openings Around DC

A guide to the newest places to eat and drink.

This was a big year around for French food, fancy food halls, all-day cafes, and seafood-centric Mexican restaurants. Here are 10 places that got us excited about the DC-area dining scene.


Amparo Fondita

2002 P St. NW

After years of pop-ups, former Oyamel and Muchas Gracias chef Christian Irabién finally has a home for his modern Mexican cooking in this intimate, minimalist Dupont Circle dining room. The all-day menu focuses heavily on seafood, including build-your-own sopesitos with fish chorizo and raw bar platters. Equally worth your attention is the lightly breaded chili relleno in bright tomato sauce and a feast-worthy platter of lamb barbacoa with Oaxacan chocolate-chile mole rub. The restaurant will sell its own tortillas, mole paste, salt mixes, spices, and salsas. Meanwhile, a takeout operation dubbed Taco el Gabacho sells a separate menu of tacos and tortas. 



1245 H St., NE

Leopard print booths in the “pre-earth” bar of Afrofuturism restaurant Bronze. Photograph by Derek and Victoria Miller.

Owner Keem Hughley reimagines the culinary legacy of the African diaspora with a sci-fi history twist at this first-of-its-kind Afro-futurism restaurant. Building off a legend of an eternal being, unburdened by race, who traveled the globe trading spices before settling in the modern-day Caribbean, the eclectic menu embraces a world where no ingredient is off limits. What this actually translates to: dishes like charred yuzu squid with herb pesto or braised oxtail pappardelle with dashi kombu and butter beans. The moody bar and dining room has an other-worldly design, complete with leopard-print booths. (OK, yes, Bronze technically opened a couple days before 2023, but like the restaurant, we’re taking some creative liberties.)


Ellie Bird

125 Founders Ave., Falls Church

Photograph courtesy of Ellie Bird.

A cheffy restaurant where you can still bring the kids? Owners Yuan and Carey Tang aimed to create a more casual, family-friendly space as a sequel to their DC tasting menu restaurant Rooster & Owl. The eclectic menu includes a Vietnamese-pho inspired French onion soup and fennel rigatoni with a dry-aged bolognese, plus cornflake-crusted tendies and a naan pizza for little ones. Brunch is also worth a visit for its mochi waffles with fermented banana creme anglaise and tornado omelet over kimchi fried rice.


El Presidente

1255 Union St., NE

Dioramas featuring an array of creatures sit above the bar. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

Le Diplomate boss Stephen Starr’s flashy new spot is an ode to the melting pot of Mexico City—from tacos and tlayudas to whole grilled fish platters. The raw bar in particular is a big attraction with marinated-to-order ceviches and a showy, dry-ice seafood tower. The colorful Union Market space is also one of Starr’s most eccentric and whimsical yet with sculptured sea creatures and taxidermy coyotes and monkeys above the bar and a theater dining room with dramatic burgundy velvet curtains. 



1250 H St., NE

Hiraya’s Filipino breakfast with soy-garlic marinated short ribs. Photograph by Andrew Banez.

Chef Paolo Dungca has been elevating his native Filipino cuisine for years at restaurants like Bad SaintKaliwa, and Pogiboy. The culmination is this H Street restaurant and cafe, a partnership with the Filipino owners of Supreme Barbeque. The downstairs all-day cafe serves Filipino breakfast plates, creative pastries, comfort foods, and an Instagram-hit rainbow latte. An upstairs dining room, bar, and tasting counter will debut on January 20 highlighting Dungca’s more ambitious cooking, including foie gras-shrimp dumplings and cassava cake with crab fat and smoked trout roe. 


I Egg You

517 8th St., SE

Loaded breakfast potatoes with cheese sauce and candied jalapenos. Photograph by Leading DC.

What started as a popular pandemic breakfast sandwich pop-up has evolved into this egg-centric Capitol Hill restaurant from the same chefs behind Korean/Chinese fast casual spot Chiko and modern Korean favorite Anju. You’ll still find egg sandwiches on buttery milk toast from local Korean bakery Shilla. But the menu spans from loaded potatoes with cheese sauce and candied jalapenos to a toad in the hole with caviar, plus lunchier sandwiches and salads. In evenings, the dining room turns into a private event space for the restaurant group.



8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna

A roast chicken with apples, prunes, and apricots at Joon in Tysons. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

Cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij is a star in the world of Persian cuisine. Now, she’s opened a restaurant in Tysons with the help of Chris Morgan, one of the original chefs of Maydan and a partner in a slew of other DC restaurants. The dining room focuses on lesser-seen regional Iranian dishes, such as pistachio soup and fried sardines with sour oranges. But you’ll also find family-style platters, including a show-stopping lamb shoulder and whole rotisserie chicken with dried fruits.


Love, Makoto

200 Massachusetts Ave., NW

Yakinaku-style steakhouse Beloved BBQ. Photograph by Mike Fuentes.

This Japanese food hall serves fast-casual soba, ramen, dumplings, salads, sushi rolls, and more with kiosk and online ordering. But the venture from chef Makoto Okuwa and the owners of neighboring glam-Italian hotspot L’Ardente is also home to an izakaya and two fine-dining restaurants. Dear Sushi serves an omakase menu of old- and new-school sushi, while Beloved BBQ specializes in yakinuku with tabletop grills for top-tier wagyu tastings.



 6619 Wilson Blvd., Falls Church

Nue’s seafood cha gio stuffed with wild Gulf shrimp, crab, pork, taro and carrots. Photograph courtesy Nue.

Vietnamese food is gussied up at this pretty Falls Church dining room, wrapped in a impressionist pastel garden mural. Start with a fashionable cocktail alongside briny Kusshi oysters livened with nuoc cham-yuzu granita and seafood chả giò—crunchy spring rolls ready to wrap with an array of lettuces and herbs. Groups can dive into crispy whole fish, though don’t sleep on the braised short rib pappardelle inspired by a Vietnamese beef stew.


Petite Cerise

1027 7th St., NW

Petite Cerise prides itself on its croissants, which are made with French butter. Photograph by Scott Suchman .

The team behind the Dabney (named Washingtonian’s No. 1 restaurant in 2023) is cooking French at this sunny corner bistro and cafe in Shaw. On weekend mornings and weekday lunch, find dreamy omelettes with gruyere cream, crackly croissants, and burnt honey buckwheat crepes. The dinner menu initially focused on lesser-seen regional French specialties and simple vegetable plates but has since added more bistro classics like moules frites and beef bourguignon. 

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.