The long-awaited return of D.C.'s best Ethiopian restaurant and the debut of a hot new hummus destination were August's biggest dining headlines.
Zenebech: Washington's best Ethiopian restaurant — as ranked by The Washington Post's Tim Carman — reopened on August 24, eight months after a fire at the neighboring #1 Juicy Cajun Seafood damaged its building. Michael Demissie, the son of Zenebech's founders, told Carman in February that the time off “will give us a chance to work on some things and come back better than ever.” So far, the indications are good. 2420 18th St. NW.
Little Sesame: Another return of sorts finds Ronen Tenne and Nick and David Wiseman opening a new downtown branch of their hummus-centric fast casual restaurant, which originally got its start in the basement of their now-closed DGS delicatessen near Dupont Circle. The bright and airy space has been drawing long lines of lunch customers for its bowls, which might include roasted cauliflower, tahini, green onion and everything spice, and the pita sandwiches, which find za'atar, avocado, 10-hour egg and chopped salad stuffed into a fluffy pita. Save room for vanilla tahini soft-serve. 1828 L St. NW.
Guapo's of Georgetown: A generation of Washingtonians associates the local Guapo's chain with sizzling fajitas, nachos slathered with chicken and cheese, and frozen margaritas served in large, icy goblets. But for its new flagship location at Washington Harbor, the owners drafted chef Nathan Breedlove, formerly of José Andrés's Oyamel, to spruce up the menu. Guapo's of Georgetown, the company's sixth location (not counting its rotisserie restaurants) features old favorites as well as tortas and ceviche, and the daily happy hour, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m., includes $5 food (tacos, queso fundido, ceviche) and $6 frozen or regular margaritas. 3050 K St. NW.
Little Havana: The 3700 block of 14th Street NW is shaping up to be a casual dining destination. Taqueria Habanero and Mezcalero draw crowds for tacos, tortas and tequila, while Lyman's Tavern and Red Derby offer bar food to go with canned beer. Now Alfredo Solis — the owner of Mezcalero and the well-reviewed taqueria El Sol — has expanded the block's Latin American offerings with Little Havana. Chef Joseph Osorio's background includes training at the French Culinary Institute and with his Cuban immigrant godmother, preparing him to serve Cubano sandwiches and egg rolls, Cuban chicken stews and whole fried fish. Heriberto Casasanero, a veteran of Copycat Co. and other cocktail-focused bars, is responsible for the rum-heavy drinks menu, packed with classics including the El Presidente, a fresh daiquiri and, of course, mojitos. 3704 14th St. NW.
Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill: The former Sea Catch restaurant is home to D.C.'s first “tinned fish bar,” which pairs mackerel and other preserved fish with crusty baguettes and glasses of wine. The rest of the seafood-focused menu is “hit or miss,” says The Post's Maura Judkis. “Dyllan’s is one of those places that tries to appeal to everyone but doesn’t have a strong point of view.” Among the hits: arctic char topped with pico de gallo and a side of avocado mac and cheese. 1054 31st NW.
Birds Eye Eatery: Last summer, Doi Moi launched a weekend-only sandwich pop-up called Birds Eye Sandwiches. The name has been recycled for the restaurant's newest project, Bird's Eye Eatery, which offers a South Asian-influenced menu from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the week, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Highlights include dragon fruit smoothie bowls; doughnuts with Thai iced tea or Vietnamese coffee filling; egg sandwiches with bacon or Asian-spiced sausage; and fried chicken with Thai basil buttermilk and Kaffir lime chili salt. Inside Doi Moi, 1800 14th St. NW.