DC's fall dining scene is gaining momentum with new restaurant openings
After summer’s addition of four new Michelin stars awarded to DC restaurants, the city is now showing off a different kind of star in the form of celebrities. Renowned local chef José Andrés is opening a new location of his Miami, Florida restaurant, The Bazaar, and Chef Gordan Ramsay is planning three restaurants; Hell’s Kitchen, Street Pizza and Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips. Two big hitters headlined by New York City restaurateurs are coming to Union Market - Keith McNally’s Minetta Tavern and Stephen Starr’s Pastis, a storied Manhattan restaurant.
Latin American flavors are moving in to spice up the cooler weather with the opening of a long-awaited Peruvian restaurant, Causa. Also opening: the first brick-and-mortar location of popular breakfast taco spot La Tejana, the sophisticated Lima Twist downtown and DC’s second location of celebrated chef Roberto Santibanez’s Mi Vida.
DC legend José Andrés’ hotly anticipated new restaurant, The Bazaar, opens inside the Waldorf Astoria Washington DC in late 2022, close to the White House and the U.S. Capitol Building. Its location is symbolic to Andrés, who is committed to creating an upscale and inclusive environment within the city’s culinary scene.
The Wharf heats up with the new addition of Hell’s Kitchen. Famed chef Gordon Ramsey brings surf and turf to the second phase of the Wharf in fall of 2022. This is the first Hell’s Kitchen unaffiliated with a casino and will feature Ramsey’s famed Beef Wellington. Also planned for the Wharf is Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips.
Set to open in winter 2022, Gordon Ramsay’s bottomless pizza chain from London, Street Pizza, will open in Penn Quarter as the restaurant’s first-ever U.S. branch.
East Coast hitmaker Stephen Starr (Le Diplomate, St. Anselm) will duplicate New York City’s Meatpacking District’s scene-y bistro, Pastis, in DC’s Union Market in late 2022. The new site will provide a glamorous backdrop for a French menu filled with beef bourguignon, sardines, escargot and weekly specials like decadent dover sole and duck confit.
Originally opened in 1937 in New York City, Minetta Tavern plans to make its DC debut in the latter half of 2022. Now headed by London-born restauranteur Keith McNally, Minetta Tavern has been described as “Parisian steakhouse meets classic New York City tavern.”
Irregardless, a wine bistro from hospitality professionals Ian and Mika Carlin, will open at 502 H Street, NE in late 2022. The two-story 1,600 square-foot restaurant will feature a six-course seasonal tasting menu from chef Ben Browning, who will highlight Mid-Atlantic produce and producers. Tasting menus are offered alongside two optional beverage pairings, one of which will exclusively focus on Virginia wine and spirits.
In addition to the current vendors at Western Market, there will be five more culinary openings this year. Alitiko, a Greco-Middle Eastern concept, is slated to open later this month. ExPat, a sports betting bar, as well as Hippo Taco, an Asian-fusion concept, will be joining the market in the fall. Lastly, later in the year we, Lucky Danger will bring popular Chinese-American options to patrons.
Inspired by nightlife in Spain’s Basque Country, Chef Johnny Spero’s eponymous restaurant Bar Spero joins other newcomers at DC’s Capitol Crossing this summer. It will feature open hearth cooking and seafood, like a whole turbot for diners to share. The bar will serve house-made cocktails, wine and aged sherries.
The popular Dabney team will open Petite Cerise (“little cherry”), an all-day, French-inspired restaurant in Shaw this fall. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and feature a selection of authentic French imports and wine.
Tokyo is the inspiration for a Japanese food hall on Massachusetts Avenue from internationally acclaimed chef Makoto Okuwa and Unconventional Diner co-owner Eric Eden. Love Makoto, located at DC’s Capitol Crossing development, will feature a ramen shop, a Japanese bakery, sushi and a robata grill. It’s expected to open in late 2022.
A taste of sunny Florida will join DC’s Navy Yard neighborhood soon in the form of Royal Sands Social Club. The bar is ideal for groups and features fish tacos, frozen drinks and two stories of seating and entertainment, including hanging chairs, cabana-style tables and shuffleboard.
The groundbreaking Bronze, set to open in fall of 2022, aims to reimagine the history of the African diaspora through the fictional story of Alonzo Bronze, a spice and culinary technique trader of the 1300s. The H Street Corridor location will offer a globalized menu representative of his travels.
Over-the-top Southern comfort food will reign at Uncaged Mimosas, an all-day brunch spot in Truxton Circle by innovative chef and DC-native Damian Brown. Visitors can get excited for boozy slushy machines and mimosas showcasing Black-owned alcohol brands. Menu options will include dishes like salmon cake Benedict on a tater tot waffle.
A New York City art-nouveau-styled brasserie, La Grande Boucherie, will be opening an outpost in the historic Federal-American National Bank building near the White House. The New York City location was featured recently on the Sex and the City reboot and exhibits authentic French dishes with an emphasis on seafood. Restauranteur Emil Stefkov, of The Group NYC, will also open a Japanese restaurant called Washoku Room and an indoor/outdoor Italian trattoria called Olio é Piu at the same location.
An ambitious 25,000 square foot culinary marketplace (don’t call it a food hall!) is on the way to downtown DC. Called the Square (1875 I Street, NW), it will be housed inside International Square, the complex above the Farragut West Metro station. Unlike a traditional food hall with individual vendors, it will be collaborative, with the in-house butcher and bakery furnishing several stalls and shops. Operations for the entire place will be handled by one team.
Opening a new location at The Wharf, Milk & Honey Café is a New Orleans-style eatery serving a Southern brunch that features award-winning shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, Rum Chata French toast, and other slow-cooked, mouth-watering favorites. Guests come for the food and stay for the abundant Southern charm and hospitality.
Chef Nicholas Stefanelli expanded his Greek concept Philotimo with Kaimaki in the spring of 2022. Named after the Greek term for the rich, micro-bubbled top layer of coffee, this more casual adjacent restaurant offers wine, cocktails and mezze along with light dinner options.
NoVA’s Aslin Beer Company opened a Logan Circle beer garden and coffee shop in the summer of 2022, and brought their famed colorful cans and beers named for DC’s neighborhoods. Aslin Coffee opens early for lattes, then transitions to brews and dinner from the onsite Bun’d Up food truck over a firepit.
A rebooted version of Alexandria’s Carlyle Club opened in downtown DC in summer of 2022, with a pair of concepts: event venue Carlyle Room and Brennan's Bar. The venue offers indoor and outdoor seating and serves American cuisine with seafood.
Famed DC restauranteur Hakan Ilhan has reactivated a glitzy space near the White House, il Piatto Restaurant, as a new Italian home away from home. Naples native and Al Crostino alum, Lina Nicolai, mans a comforting menu full of homemade meatballs, arancini, fettuccine alla Bolognese, ricotta gnocchi, eggplant parmigiana and chicken Milanese. Happy hour starts early (2:30 p.m.) at its gold-plated bar, and weekend brunch brings “build-your-own” Aperol spritz kits to the table.
Bandoola Bowl, a Southeast Asian salad shop, is now open inside Western Market, and brings flavors from Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, and beyond highlighted across a menu of fresh ingredients. Guests will enjoy customized salad or warm bowls, topped with spicy rice noodles or brown rice and a variety of proteins, spices, fruits, vegetables and garnishes.
Tigerella opened for lunch in Western Market in August 2022. Headed by chef Vincent Falcone and founded by the creators of Mount Pleasant Elle, the cafe menu includes coffee, baked goods, sandwiches and more. Tigerella is slated to start dinner service in early September.
Mi Vida 14th Street opened on Aug. 8 and is the second iteration of the highly praised Mexican restaurant at the Wharf. Rooted in tradition and history, 14th Street continues the Mi Vida story with new and intriguing contemporary twists. Celebrated chef Roberto Santibañez adds new dishes to the menu to cater to the lively neighborhood crowd like skewers with agave-marinated chicken, Chilean sea bass with pumpkin seed salsa macha and skirt steak with mole negro and crispy shallots. Cocktail and tequila flights will be new additions, offering guests the option to taste some of their favorite tequilas and cocktails.
Immigrant Food+ at the Planet Word Museum launched its Negroni Patio in July. Guests can look forward to $21 Negroni flights or opt for a favorite from the menu of new takes on the classic drink with inspiration from Italy, France, Chicago and Mexico.
AC Hotel Washington DC Capitol Hill Navy Yard welcomed a new executive chef, Angela Rose, to the team in July. Chef Rose now leads the hotel's three well-respected kitchens, including Smoke & Mirrors, the beautiful rooftop bar and restaurant located on the 11th floor of the hotel, plus the AC Lounge and the AC Kitchen.
SURA, an underground Thai dinette and cocktail bar, is serving up authentic Thai recipes with a modern culinary twist. Former sushi chef Billy Thammasathiti opened the restaurant in May in Dupont Circle. In addition to offering a rotating menu, the restaurant also serves distinguished craft cocktails handcrafted by Billy's older brother Andy.
“In Bocca al Lupo” translates as “into the wolf’s mouth” and is the Italian way of wishing someone good luck. The subtle meaning is that one is faced with a serious challenge and can overcome it and succeed. This Roman-style pizzeria in Glover Park, centers its menu around “pizza bassa,” or round pies with a crispy, cracker-thin crust and also offers bruschetta, cacio e pepe arancini, spritzes, Negronis, and beer and wine on tap. The lively look from Italian American designer Esther Konrad is an Italian soccer lover’s paradise, complete with green and red banquettes as an ode to the country’s flag.
Ghostburger, the popular burger and cheesesteak pop-up, opened its first brick-and-mortar location across from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in August. In addition to established favorites of smash burgers and Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks, the “glam-casual” restaurant also has offerings like scrapple and drinks such as the “Ghost Claw,” Ghostburger’s take on hard-seltzer brand White Claw. The restaurant will continue to include vegetarian options.
Causa opened in Shaw’s Blagden Alley in August with a prix-fixe menu that aims to capture the bounty of Peru. While ingredients, preparation and presentation vary weekly on Causa’s menu, the six set courses follow the same path: raw fish, vegetable, anticucho (skewer), rice, meat and dessert. The intimate space with just 22 seats lends itself to an immersive, personalized experience captained by Peruvian-born chef and co-owner Carlos Delgado.
DC’s wildly popular breakfast taco pop-up, La Tejana, opened its first standalone store in August in the Upper Northwest neighborhood, bringing Rio Grande Valley’s border cuisine in the form of breakfast tacos and coffee. Guests find house-made flour tortillas and made-from-scratch ingredients inspired by the countless taquerias that co-founder and McAllen, TX native Ana-Maria Jaramillo grew up with on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border.
From the team behind Duke's Grocery, Gogi Yogi and Duke's Counter, Chesapeake opened in August, bringing the region’s favorite shellfish dishes to the heart of U Street. The bar only serves beers brewed in DC, Maryland and Virginia, alongside a wide selection of spirits and classic dockside drinks like orange crushes.
Opened in early August, Clubhouse is Georgetown’s new grown-up replacement to Church Hall. Located at the end of the neighborhood’s longest set of stairs, featured in the iconic Exorcist film, the subterranean spot is now a polished, wi-fi enabled café during the day, and a 23-and-up bar at night, offering a refined menu of natural wines and clarified cocktails.
Lima Twist, which previously closed in 2015, re-opened in June in Downtown DC, offering a sophisticated Latin lineup of ceviches, crudo, chimichurri ribeye, empanadas, mofongo and pisco sours, with ingredients sourced from local farmers’ markets.
Enjoy a daily Diet Coke Happy Hour at Compliments Only, which recently opened its permanent location in Dupont Circle, where guests will also find sizeable subs and playful desserts like Fruity Pebble-topped cannolis. The restaurant was born from the pandemic, when co-owner Pete started making subs and brought them to friends to lift their spirits.
Opened in June, Bar Ivy combines the cool, relaxed vibe of the West Coast with a Mid-Atlantic approach to ingredients, shining the spotlight on seafood and vegetables, vibrant cocktails and low-intervention wines. Guests can expect an elegant but laid-back atmosphere with subtle influences from the opposite coast, with attractive al fresco dining, an open, airy bungalow-style interior, and a casual Kiosk serving morning coffee and breakfast.
TAKODA Restaurant and Beer Garden opened a sibling venue, TAKODA Sports, which is now the biggest rooftop bar in Navy Yard - 40 percent larger than its sister Shaw location. Enjoy bottomless brunch and a large selection of all-American cuisine, American beers, whiskeys and draft cocktails.