2018 Spring Dining Guide

With so many new restaurants in D.C., who can keep up? Tom Sietsema reviews 30 places that opened in the last year, including his top 10.

Angel eggs at Little Pearl. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)
Angel eggs at Little Pearl. (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

Washington’s crush of new places to eat, in almost every neighborhood, is an embarrassment of riches. That’s why this spring, rather than revisiting old restaurants, we are celebrating only those destinations that have opened in the past year.

Not every fresh face is toast-worthy. (An obvious contender, Requin from Mike Isabella, was dropped from consideration when the restaurateur was sued for alleged sexual harassment and his chef left last month.)

That still leaves a lot to celebrate. My Top 10 list alone includes a mouthwatering tavern, two all-day cafes and a game-changing, plant-focused destination. 

My advice: Strap on the feed bag and eat up the scene.

No. 1 Elle

Fun and flavor are on the menu at any time of day in the bakery/cafe/restaurant.

No. 2 Fancy Radish

There are no animal products in sight, but eaters of all stripes will love Richard Landau’s cooking.

No. 3 Del Mar

Fabio Trabocchi’s ode to seafood is the Wharf’s most enchanting, indulgent and comforting restaurant.

No. 4 A Rake’s Progress

Baltimore star Spike Gjerde opens his first D.C. restaurant in the Line hotel.

No. 5 Little Pearl

The cafe/wine bar is the most casual way to get a taste of Aaron Silverman’s cuisine.

No. 6 Maydan

Rose Previte’s carnival of a restaurant just keeps getting better.

No. 7 Chloe

Chef Haidar Karoum might have a second calling as a travel agent.

No. 8 Unconventional Diner

Sure, chef David Deshaies cooks comforting classics, but watch what he does with a little inspiration.

No. 9 The Tavern at Rare Steak and Seafood

The ground-floor bar below the formal steakhouse is the place for moderately priced fun.

No. 10 Old Maryland Grill

Crab cakes, coddies and ham biscuits that hit the mark make every night homecoming in College Park.


Generous portions and excellent bread make Jeff Black’s restaurant a Montgomery County standout.


Go heavy on the fine appetizers at this Loudoun County restaurant.


District Winery’s restaurant is now serving made-in-D.C. rosé.


The venture from Ashok Bajaj packs in more than the Cleveland Park original.

Bistro Aracosia

Omar Masroor and his family serve Afghani food with a side of warm hospitality.


Chef Ryan Ratino wants his fine-dining destination to be at home in the neighborhood.

Brothers and Sisters

The all-day menu inside the Line hotel is particularly noteworthy for fabulous desserts.


In the space that once housed Vidalia, Hamilton Johnson shows off his technique.


The waterfront seafood spot comes from the team behind Restaurant Eve.


Cathal Armstrong showcases Filipino, Thai and Korean dishes at the Wharf.

Karma Modern Indian

The Penn Quarter dining room ups the drama.

Kith and Kin

Missteps are holding back Kwame Onwuachi’s restaurant.

Mi Vida

New York chef Roberto Santibañez brings great margaritas, enchiladas and more to the Wharf.


The intimate Mount Pleasant haunt excels in the personal touch.


It’s a looker of a wine bar, with food, drink and service to match.

Royal Nepal

Don’t pass up the dumplings, chops and roasts at this Alexandria newcomer.


Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s latest spotlights the flavors of the Middle East in Cleveland Park.


Chef John Critchley gets to strut his stuff in the Darcy hotel.


In a former fire station, Peter Prime cooks the food of his native Trinidad.


This taste of Georgian food and wines doesn’t quite measure up to memory.
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