The DC Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In Washington DC
Your guide to the best new restaurants in Chocolate City.
The Hit List is where you’ll find our favorite new food and drink experiences in DC. We track new openings across the city, and then visit as many as we can. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of every good new spot, one thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places that we have genuinely checked out.
Our goal is for this list to be as diverse as the city itself—inclusive of a wide range of cuisines, price points, neighborhoods, chefs and owners of all backgrounds, and the multifaceted communities within the industry. If you think we missed a great new place, we want to hear about it. Shoot us an email at email@example.com.
Whether you’re looking for in-person dining, takeout, or delivery, The Hit List is here to help you find a great new spot to support. Read on to find your new favorites.
photo credit: Rey Lopez
José Andrés' DC empire continues with The Bazaar, a Spanish restaurant located in the Waldorf Hotel at the Old Post Office with lush cathedral arches and grand crystal chandeliers. There are cherry blossom trees in full bloom, indoors. It’s dramatic and fantastical—which is exactly the vibe at The Bazaar, where drinks are displayed in clouds of dry ice to guests wearing dark wash jeans and $30,000 watches. On the menu are quirky and creative tapas like cotton candy foie gras. But, as is the flaw with some of Andrés’ restaurants, the menu is inconsistent. Some entrees are excellent, like the philly cheesesteak, a deconstructed take on an old-school classic, and some fall flat, like the dragon fruit ceviche served with a peach-ring fruity foam that just does not work.
photo credit: Tristiaña Hinton
Ward 8 deserves all of the best things, and this restaurant is one of them. Kitchen Savages is all about the community, and brings a much-needed fancy spot east of the river, complete with black linen tablecloths, gold flatware, and comfortable blue velvet chairs. It’s a good pick for date night or just for a fun ‘round the way evening. And from the signature Savage fries to the jerk lamb chops, you can taste the care that goes into every bite at this Anacostia soul food spot. We’re especially obsessed with the lobster mac and cheese that comes topped with a perfectly fried lobster tail. The drinks are simple, but we love that the Sweet Irene, a spin on the French martini, is an ode to the owner’s mother.
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photo credit: Michelle Goldchain
Spicy Water African Grill
This Ivorian restaurant on U St. is so good you almost want to gatekeep, but then remember you’re not a hater who finds joy in other people’s misery. Starting as a pop-up and now in a brick and mortar shop, the restaurant specializes in grilled chicken platters and kebab sandwiches that are smoked and seasoned to perfection. We recommend the platter, which comes in a takeout container brimming with steak fries heaped on a quarter chicken. Add a side of plantains because plantains make any meal instantly better and you’re good to go. Literally. The restaurant is snug with a limited seating area so most people grab their meals and head back out.
photo credit: Vina Sananikone
If you’re looking to cosplay as a famous DC diplomat on a random Tuesday night, Le Clou is your spot. The French restaurant, which is connected to The Morrow Hotel in NoMa, gives big power lunch energy. Classical music plays in the background as waiters take your order and you'll see people wearing matching embossed cufflinks in serious conversations. When you go, get the escargot simmered in a garlic butter and parsley mix, and the tender roasted chicken and potatoes.
photo credit: Jennifer Chase
The bar at Yasmine’s is always packed and that’s because they’ve cracked the code to good fun: kebabs and cocktails. The smell from the Lebanese shop's grill at Union Market is so irresistible that you can’t help but follow the scent. The best thing on the menu here is the shish taouk, a simple, but classic wrap made with charred chicken, french fries, pickles, and garlic. Pair it with the apricot soda (or the alcoholic apricot sour), which balances savory and sweet.
photo credit: Rey Lopez
Doro Soul Food
This take-out joint on H St. blends two of our favorite things: soul food and Ethiopian cuisine. It’s like peanut butter and jelly—we don’t really know why they work so well together, they just do. The fried chicken is coated in a buttermilk marinade made with berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend that consists of chili peppers, coriander, garlic, and ginger. The result is crispy skin that turns this burgundy-caramel red and meat that’s packed with flavor. You can choose your spice level for most dishes, ranging from a mild “Naked” to “Burna Boy,” which is made with African bird’s eye chili pepper so hot, hot, hot.
photo credit: Nina Palazzolo
There’s a lot going on at Alice DC on U St., but that’s what makes it wonderful. There’s a fast-casual pho restaurant on the bottom floor, arcade games on the second, and a club playing hip hop R&B on the third. The theme, as you might have guessed, is an ode to Alice in Wonderland and the venue has curated a loopy, surreal experience to match. There are crystal chandeliers, beaming lights and a hallway mural painted in neon colors. But if you don’t care about any of that and are really just here for the food, it’s great. The pho is crafted from a cherished family recipe passed down from the owner's mother, who also happens to be a cook in the kitchen. And the chinito wings, tossed in a sweet sesame and scallion marinade, are a hit.