8 Hot New Restaurants Around DC to Try Right Now

The year is starting strong with new options for Vietnamese, Filipino, and French

A spread of Roman-Italian dishes at Aventino in Bethesda. Photograph by Scott Suchman .

About Restaurant Openings Around DC

A guide to the newest places to eat and drink.

The year is off to a blockbuster start for DC-area restaurant and bar openings. Here are eight places to add to your list.



414 K St., NW

Barbecue spread from 2Fifty. Photograph courtesy 2Fifty.

The region’s best barbecue spot has opened a new outpost in Mount Vernon Triangle. Owners Fernando González and Debby Portillo González are serving the same Texas-style barbecue with influences from their native El Salvador—now with more than double the seating. The meats, including standout American wagyu brisket and pork spare ribs, are still smoked at 2Fifty’s Riverdale Park commissary smokehouse, but the owners hope to eventually bring smokers on-site.



4747 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda

Cacio e pepe at Aventino. Photograph by Scott Suchman .

Red Hen chef Mike Friedman legitimately thinks about the Roman empire every day. For good reason: he and his team just opened this Roman-Italian restaurant in downtown Bethesda. The menu explores the roots of Jewish culture in Roman cuisine with dishes like fried artichokes and chicken liver-studded risotto fritters. Of course there are plenty of pastas too, from cacio e pepe to sunchoke tortellini. Next door: AP Pizza Shop, a smaller version of All-Purpose that also serves slices. 


The Dabney Cellar

1222 Ninth St., NW

The Dabney Cellar returns in the same form they left it at the start of the pandemic. Photograph by Andrew Cebulka.

The Dabney’s sister wine bar has returned to its subterranean lair. The low-lit, 24-seat Shaw space remains pretty much the same as it was before its pandemic shutdown. A snacky menu of regional oysters, cheese, country hams, and small plates pairs with 20 wines by the glass, plus access to the Dabney’s full bottle list. It’s only open Sundays and Mondays for now. 



1250 H St., NE

Hiraya’s bistek tagalog with A5 wagyu, cippolini, and black garlic. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

Following the debut of its daytime cafe last year, this modern Filipino hotspot has finally opened its more upscale dining room and bar. Chef Paolo Dungca’s resume spans from fine-dining Restaurant Eve (where he was chef de cuisine) to pioneering Filipino restaurants like Bad Saint and Pogiboy. Here, he’s elevating his native cuisine yet again with dishes like foie gras-and-shrimp dumplings and cassava cake with smoked trout roe and crab fat. In addition to an a la carte menu, a seven-course tasting is available at the eight-seat chef’s counter for $145 per person.


La Bonne Vache

3265 Prospect St., NW

Salade Lyonnaise and gruyere gougeres are among the bistro classics at La Bonne Vache in Georgetown. Photograph by Kimberly Kong.

While there’s no shortage of new restaurants serving French food, this quaint Georgetown bistro, replacing Booeymonger, has a particularly approachable, affordable menu. Find simple starters like gougeres or a steak tartare, plus salads and baguette sandwiches. But don’t miss the “steak haché” burgers, which riff off classic bistro dishes like steak au poivre (peppercorn-cognac aioli, mushrooms, blue cheese) or boeuf bourguignon (red wine-braised short rib and smoked bacon). 


Moon Rabbit

927 F St, NW

Moon Rabbit’s squash in fermented red curry. Photograph by Rachel Paraoan.

Modern Vietnamese restaurant Moon Rabbit closed suddenly inside the Wharf’s InterContinental hotel last spring. But chef Kevin Tien has revived the popular restaurant at a new location in Penn Quarter with an ambitious new menu that involves fermenting everything from miso to sour pork sausage in-house. Debut dishes include squash in a fermented red curry, shrimp agnolotti, and soy caramel quail with crispy chicken fat rice. Both desserts and cocktails incorporate savory ingredients, whether its a green curry sponge cake or passionfruit drink with nuoc cham syrup.



1323 Fourth St., NE

The bar at Pastis, near Union Market. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

Superstar restaurateurs Stephen Starr and Keith McNally have debuted a $13 million location of their New York bistro in the Union Market District. Starr calls it the “grittier little brother” of Le Diplomate—just don’t call it “Le Diplomate East.” (“I don’t like that. It has its own identity,” Starr says.) Expect classics like steak frites and escargots along with some Eastern European dishes like potato pierogies and chicken kiev that were revived from the original Pastis that McNally ran in the Meatpacking District for 15 years. 


Your Only Friend

1114 Ninth St., NW

A custom stained glass depicting sandwich components glows above the bar of Your Only Friend. Photograph by Clarissa Villondo.

Paul Taylor and Sherra Kurtz started slinging sandwiches out of acclaimed cocktail bar Columbia Room during the early days of the pandemic. The beloved pop-up has since evolved into this sandwich and cocktail bar in Shaw. The menu embraces fast-food and casual-chain nostalgia, with sandwiches like the “Hot Nug” (think oversized McDonald’s nugget with Nashville hot glaze) and a clarified orange cocktail that will give you flashbacks to Orange Julius at the mall. A stained glass artwork on the ceiling paying homage to the sandwich with a glowing jar of Duke’s Mayo is its own attraction.

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.