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The DC Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Washington DC

Readers and friends of The Infatuation often share one very specific request with us: they want to know about the city's best brand new restaurants ​​before we write a full review. While we’re currently investigating purchasing mind-reading devices and time machines, The Infatuation Hit List will have to suffice for the time being. It’s a regularly updated guide of the new DC restaurants that we think are worth spending your hard-earned cash on.

On this list, you’ll find new places we’ve recently reviewed and places we’ve enjoyed and will likely have good things to say about in the future.

One thing you can always rely on: we’ll only put places on this list that we have genuinely vetted. This means that we have eaten at all of these spots and like how the food tastes, not just how it looks on Instagram. Nothing is on this list just because Michelle Obama had lunch there once. Although she does have excellent taste. Michelle, if you’re looking for a side gig once you become unemployed, hit us up.

The Spots

1

The Sovereign

1206 Wisconsin Ave NW
MAP

The Sovereign has really hit on a need in Georgetown: a place to grab a drink, or some food, that isn’t hyper-douchey or filled with people who look like they just got off of their private plane from Beverly Hills. A Belgian spot with a huge beer list, they also have one of the larger absinthe selections in town, too, in case anyone's into absinthe. For the food, we recommend the mussels in any of the flavors they’re offering, especially since they come with great fries. The skate is also a great choice if you’re looking for something more substantial.

2

The Dabney

122 Blagden Alley NW
MAP

Located in the heart of Blagden Alley, that place where you’ve seen all the cool Instagram posts, is The Dabney. It keeps with the trendy, cool vibe of Blagden, with an open kitchen and a hearth instead of an oven. Everything here is sourced locally, and because of that the menu changes frequently. We’re fans of the small plates where the creativity really shines like the BBQ pork rinds or charred greens. You’d be missing out if you didn’t try a drink here with local shrubs as well.

3

Convivial

801 O St NW
MAP

French food that isn’t stuffy. We didn’t think it was possible either, but the Mintwood Place team has done the impossible. Set in a big, open space with a pretty great vibe near the convention center, we’re big fans of the food here, especially the Leeks Dijonaise. An added bonus: they have a great happy hour that includes both drinks and food.

4

Espita Mezcaleria

1250 9th St NW
MAP

Upscale Mexican can simply mean more expensive tacos. While they do have tacos that are pricier than your local taqueria, they’re also pretty damn good. And I’m guessing that local taqueria doesn’t serve mexican-inspired ceviches and have a mezcal list longer than most restaurants’ wine lists. You really can’t go wrong here, but the lamb barbacoa tacos are especially good, as is the Hamachi Ceviche.

Photo: Rey Lopez
5

Nazca Mochica

1633 P St NW
MAP

Don’t be ashamed, we didn’t know what Peruvian food was either before we came here, but if most of it is like what is served here, we’re big fans. Nazca is a two-story spot where the upstairs is a more traditional, sit-down style and the first floor has a bar atmosphere. The bar serves a nearly identical menu, so we recommend it for dates, but if you’re a big group stick to the upstairs portion. Either way, make sure you order the quinoa salad and causitas.

6

Kyirisan

1924 8th St NW
MAP

In the red-hot Shaw area, Kyirisan doesn’t make any sense in the best possible way. Basil ice cream with coconut risotto and scallops? Sure! Matcha tea macarons with black sesame puree? Absolutely. A sexy vibe that we’ve seen people get engaged at? Yep. Note that they only take same-day reservations, but you may be able to luck out with a bar seat if you’re by yourself or with a party of two.

7

Whaley's

301 Water St SE Suite 115
MAP

Opened by the DGS Delicatessen team, Whaleys has some of the freshest (and best tasting) fish in town. In a bright, open space overlooking the Navy Yard waterfront, you could do worse for date night than grabbing a big seafood tower to sample the excellent raw bar here.

8

Chaia

3207 Grace St NW
MAP

Veggie tacos. In Georgetown. With cold-pressed juices on tap. Trendy AF. Yes, we were just as skeptical when we first heard of this place as you are right now. But here’s the thing, they’re actually really good. Even for people who don’t describe their diet as “plant-based.” The tortillas rival any of the better taco joints in the area and the veggie and cheese fillings are much better than those tofu-stuffed “tacos” your aunt made that one time she was going through a health-kick. Go on a weekend when you have the option of topping your tacos with a fried egg and eat outside with a view of the canal.

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