Boqueria: “Boqueria is a party you don’t want to miss,” Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema says. The Penn Quarter location of the New York-based chain of Spanish restaurants differentiates itself from its siblings with a rotisserie, “which turns out to be the source of one of the restaurant’s most enticing dishes: roasted organic chicken,” Sietsema reports. He also praises the patatas bravas and scallop crudo, although the loud (70 decibel) atmosphere is a turnoff. 777 Ninth St. NW.
Busboys and Poets: The seventh of Andy Shallal’s restaurant/bookstore/activist hubs is the first located east of the Anacostia River, bringing weekly open-mic nights, bimonthly play readings presented by the Capitol City Readers Theater, book discussion groups and family-friendly brunch to a neighborhood that has been crying out for more dining options. 2004 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE.
Estuary: Brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio are the team behind the restaurant in CityCenterDC’s new Conrad Hotel, which features an airy dining room decorated with giant blue willow ceramic art and floor-to-ceiling windows. The menu is infused with the flavors of the Chesapeake: Toasted almonds dusted with a house crab spice are served at the bar; small plates include Maryland-style crab rolls and local oysters; and a clever take on ramen uses “noodles” of cuttlefish and enoki mushrooms. 950 New York Ave. NW.
Little Sesame: The original Little Sesame near Farragut Square often has long lines at lunch, and it hasn’t taken long for the branch near Capital One Arena to make a splash in its new neighborhood. The Post’s Tim Carman says this Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant has the best hummus in Washington. Judge for yourself with one of the creative bowls, starring roasted cauliflower or a seven-minute egg and served with warm pita, or sample the irresistible chicken shawarma sandwich. 736 Sixth St. NW.
The Outsider: The small one-room restaurant next to Biergarten Haus on H Street NE looks like a bartender’s bar with Japanese flair: wide counters, minimal decor, menus folded into origami animals. (A bear? An elephant? Whatever, it was kinda charming.) The kitchen sends out exactly two dishes: kushiyaki, or skewered meats/veggies/tofu, and onigiri, or rice balls stuffed with salmon, pickled plums, salt beef or spicy pork and wrapped in nori. “There are no chopsticks or forks here,” says bartender and owner J.D. Quioco. “Just pick it up and eat it like a taco.” He pairs the satisfying snacks — most $3 to $4 each — with a selection of classic cocktails, including a bright and citrusy Hemingway Daiquiri, short lists of sake and Greek wine, and two sizes of Sapporo beer in cans. 1359 H St. NE.
Northside Tavern: The north-of-Dupont Circle tavern formerly known as Timberlake’s and Maddy’s has been taken over by the group behind familiar bars near (the Front Page, 801, Madhatter) and far (the Starboard in Dewey Beach, Del., Mango’s in Bethany Beach, Del.). Northside Tavern’s soft-opening menu hits hard on trends — avocado toast with a soft-boiled egg on pumpernickel, truffled deviled eggs, organic kale salad with soft eggs and preserved mushrooms — but the house cocktails are well-made and, surprisingly, just $10. The Sleepwalk — a tequila/cherry herring/pineapple drink reminiscent of a Singapore Sling crossed with a Matador — is a standout. 1726 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Sonny’s Pizza and No Kisses: The hottest new pairing on Georgia Avenue NW is an odd couple. Sonny’s Pizza is an everyday pizza restaurant, with seats salvaged from bowling alleys, a giant photo mural of an Italian soccer team and an attractive tiled bar counter. The slices — regular, not jumbo — and pies are rectangular, with pepperoni, sausage or cheese piled atop a crunchy crust that’s more like focaccia than Neapolitan or New York style. Its quirky neighbor is No Kisses, a beautiful bar with crushed velvet booths, mod color-changing light fixtures and classy cocktails from a veteran of Pineapple and Pearls. (Amaro is prominent on the menu.) Out back is a spacious patio with trellises and picnic tables. Both new businesses come from the owners of O.G. Park View coffee shop Colony Club, which allows for a symbiotic relationship: Place an order for a pizza or Italian sandwich at Sonny’s and they’ll deliver it to the garden. Stop in No Kisses to order a glass of wine or a craft beer to sip on while you wait. 3120 Georgia Ave. NW.
Sugar Fox: A spinoff of the much-loved Little Red Fox market and cafe, Sugar Fox focuses on essential treats: cupcakes, sheet cakes, ice cream, milkshakes and malts. The cute little shop, open Wednesday to Sunday, offers two varieties of sheet cake — fudgy chocolate with dense chocolate buttercream, and vanilla with strawberry buttercream that tastes like fresh fruit. The cake comes in “slices,” which are more like large chunks, or a whole cake for four to six people. Ice cream, made with milk from Maryland’s South Mountain Creamery, includes such inventive flavors as crunchy PBJ and creme fraiche with strawberries, as well as a mint chip (flavored with mint leaves) and espresso. The coconut and lime sorbet is a vegan option. Seating is in short supply, though you have to love tables with built-in cone-holders. 5027 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Tacos, Tortas & Tequila and Buena Vida: Last summer, restaurateur Ivan Iricanin branched out from his Balkan-themed Ambar concepts to bring Tacos, Tortas & Tequila and Buena Vida to Silver Spring. The two-level restaurant features TTT, a casual spot for cocktails and street food, on the ground floor, and the small-plates Buena Vida upstairs. For this new Clarendon location, formerly La Tasca, Iricanin has upped the ante by hiring Gerardo Vázquez Lugo, the executive chef at Mexico City’s Nico, as the “concept chef.” The physical split is the same: The street level features a large patio, a DJ booth, and an indoor/outdoor bar serving margaritas and Mexican wines, while the upstairs dining room offers a raw bar, seafood and Caesar salads prepared tableside. 2900 Wilson Blvd., Arlington.
Tallboy: Need a late-night snack in Shaw? The former Smoked and Stacked space at the Convention Center has been converted to Tallboy, a no-frills bar specializing in grilled cheese sandwiches, including variations inspired by Reuben and cubano sandwiches, and 16-ounce cans of beer. There are also wings with Old Bay dry rubs and General Tso sauces, and a few cocktails, including one on draft. The best part: The kitchen will be open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, offering a solid option for those who can’t face another post-bar pizza. 1239 Ninth St. NW.