When the weather conditions are just right (or when there’s a massive awning shielding you from the sun), dining al fresco in D.C. can be spectacular. These newcomers provide diners with just the right amount of exposure to the elements, with the option of taking things inside should the situation get too heated.
Debuting a 4,000-square-foot gelato factory earlier this year just wasn’t enough for the husband-and-wife duo behind Dolcezza. The couple is set to open a sixth location in June, this time in a former corner deli on 14th Street NW. You’ll find the same quality (sometimes wacky) flavors like Thai coconut milk, avocado, honey and orange, and strawberry tarragon, as well as Stumptown coffee and espresso. New this go around: a sugar high-inducing sundae bar and a to-go window. Sit outside, or seek shelter within the apothecary-inspired interior.
Dolcezza, 1418 14th St. NW.
Marjorie Meek-Bradley is the breakout star at Ripple in Cleveland Park. Earlier this year, the overachiever was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Awards’ Rising Star Chef award and opened Roofers Union, where the emphasis is on farm-fresh dishes influenced by local producers. Though she’s classically trained, Meek-Bradley doesn’t take herself too seriously: You’ll find chicken wings and onion rings mingling with pig-ear salad and sweetbread po’ boys. Brunch on the rooftop overlooking Adams Morgan is a must.
Roofers Union, 2446 18th St. NW; 202-232-7663.
Chef Fabio Trabocchi is not one to scrimp. His Mediterranean-leaning menu at Fiola Mare includes nearly every variety of fish, all prepared in a decadent manner. Among the dishes on offer are lobster ravioli, scallops with truffles and smoked potato gnocchi, and Icelandic cod poached in olive oil. And you better believe there will be seafood towers. Enjoy your fresh catches in the waterfront dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows or outside on the waterside patio.
Fiola Mare, 3050 K St. NW, Suite 101; 202-628-0065.
Three words: Get the khachapuri. Compass Rose features sidewalk eats from around the world (like the must-try Georgian dish of bread, cheese, butter and egg) in a dreamy, garden-like setting. Inspired by her international travels with her husband, NPR “Morning Edition” host and former foreign correspondent David Greene, owner Rose Previte took the best bites from every country and serves them in one place. Also worth a try: the lamb kefta from Lebanon and Salvadoran pupusas.
Compass Rose, 1346 T St. NW; 202-506-4765. (U Street)
Great news for fans of Red Derby: Next door to the ridiculously cheap, PBR-loving bar comes Lyman’s Tavern, a laid-back joint from Cafe Saint-Ex and Raven alums. A rooftop provides sweeping views of Columbia Heights; on the small back patio, local bands will play as you nosh on bar food and free popcorn. For additional local flavor, one of the six brews on tap will always be from DC Brau, starting with the On the Wings of Armageddon IPA. Lyman’s opened at the begining of this month.
Lyman’s Tavern, 3720 14th St. NW; 202-723-0502.