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14 of The Hottest and Best Restaurants in Washington DC2021

The pandemic caused many restaurants to close down. It’s a regrettable turn of events. With things turning better every day, the situation is now starting to go back to normal. Businesses are opening up again, and there are now restaurants making a huge comeback. Here are some of the freshest and hottest places to grab some good eats in D.C.

#1. DLeña

DLeña Wood-Fire Mexican Cocina & Mezcaleria is a modern Mexican restaurant situated in the Mount Vernon district of Washington, D.C. Through an upgraded dining experience, the chef-driven concept proudly presents a contemporary twist on Mexican food and embraces their background and culture. 

In its 5,000 square-foot indoor and outdoor space, they have approximately 250 chairs. The new restaurant plans to incorporate both traditional and sophisticated modern elements. The classic, rustic wood-burning cooking hearths of the past will be felt throughout the venue by diners.

#2. Imperfecto

Enrique Limardo and the crew behind Seven Reasons opened a new restaurant called Imperfecto. This restaurant’s inspiration is the crossroads of Mediterranean and Latin American cultures, and Enrique Limardo’s daring culinary style perpetuates it. The Greek culture reflects the restaurant’s design. 

According to the team of this restaurant, the earliest definition of “perfection” dates back to Aristotle, who divided the term into three categories: that which is complete; that which is so good that nothing else could be better; and that which has fulfilled its function.

#3. Spanish Diner

On various levels, Andrés’ most hospitable concept is the Spanish Diner. With his wife, Patricia, and three kids, Carlota, Ines, and Lucia, the chef-turned-humanitarian has called Bethesda home for years. The restaurant’s comfort food, although upscale enough to complement Spanish architect Juli Capella’s vivid setting, pays homage to Andrés’ adopted home of the United States as well as Asturias, Spain’s northwest area.

Dishes from the mountainous region, such as smoky fabada bean stew with cured meats, are unique to the Bethesda locale. Stews, meatballs, and pasta such Canelones Gratinados con foie, wide noodles packed with chicken, pork, and duck foie gras and baked in a bed of béchamel sauce, are on the menu of “La Cocina de la Abuela.”

#4. El Secreto De Rosita

El Secreto de Rosita, located at 1624 U Street NW, serves pisco drinks with ceviches, hearty Criollo fare, and other dishes that reflect Peru’s Japanese and Chinese culinary traditions. Mauricio Fraga-Rosenfeld, the owner of the Latin Concepts group, which opened Chi-Cha in 1997, gives Eugene Perret, a 28-year-old chef. The latter has experience working at Michelin-starred restaurants, his first executive chef role.

#5. Las Gemelas Cocina Mexicana

In March, the restaurant group behind Espita Mezcaleria opened two new restaurants in Northeast’s La Cosecha all-Latin market. A high-volume taqueria grinds its Mexican blue corn and makes soft-serve with mole negro chocolate sauce, and a more upscale Cocina where accomplished chef Rob Aikens whips up pretty toasts alongside seafood-centric small plates.

#6. Dauphine’s

Executive chef Kristen Essig, who spent two decades cooking in New Orleans, presents Cajun and Creole dishes with Chesapeake influences, such as charred soft-shell crab, rockfish amandine, and two-person duck jambalaya. The opulent New Orleans-meets-Mid-Atlantic restaurant, which will debut in 2021, is D.C.’s most anticipated opening to date. 

Dauphine’s welcomes patrons into a split-level dining room with a mezzanine framed in wrought iron and palms reminiscent of the French Quarter since opening in early May.

#7. Caruso’s Grocery

Matt Adler, the first chef at D.C.’s Osteria Morini, teamed up with Neighborhood Restaurant Group to open an updated homage to his father’s old-school Italian-American restaurant in upstate New York. This place is where he learned techniques like using limoncello in shrimp scampi and pounding out chicken cutlets to the proper thickness.

#8. Lyle’s

Lyle’s looks like Dupont Circle’s new neighborhood “it” location, tucked inside London-based Lore Group’s second luxury D.C. hotel. A gluten-free, twice-fried chicken sets up in potato starch overnight before getting a final coating of rice flour is one of Chef Nicholas Sharpe’s New American recipes. The simple white cheddar cheeseburger with Thousand Island dressing, focaccia, and a delicate scallop Crudo dressed in “green” (jalapeno, yuzu, and green apples) is a good choice.

#9. Little Food Studio

Espresso, British-style sausage rolls, and creative pastries like almond and mascarpone danishes with flowers, blueberries, and lemon-thyme compound butter attract customers in this incredible restaurant. Chef Danielle Harris’s cafe, which has a forest green paint job and sticks out on Petworth’s main strip, has been criticized from the start.

The Burnetta (mortadella, burrata, pistachio spread, olive cream) is a focaccia sandwich named after the matriarchs and aunts who strongly influenced Harris.

#10. Pogiboy

This gussied-up fast food endeavor from former Bad Saint chefs Tom Cunanan and Paolo Dungca, located in the Block’s newest food hall in downtown D.C., was packed on its inaugural weekend in late January. It’s open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

With go-cups of gravy, fried chicken seasoned with sour tamarind powder and hot chiles, Filipino-style spaghetti with hot dogs and banana ketchup, simple cheeseburgers with locally farmed beef, and other sandwiches and novelties, the crew calmly stuffed bags for walk-ins, preorders, and third-party delivery apps.

#11. NaRa-Ya

Executive chef Lucas Irwin, a Maui native who decorates plates with lots of bright flowers, opened this third-floor space overlooking the Potomac River for indoor dining in March with a few tasting menus showing off “neo-traditional” Japanese dishes. The extravagant drink list and menu (smoked zuke tuna served tableside in a smoking chamber) match the maximalist design. It includes hot pink leopard print cloth seats, a cherry blossom bar backsplash, and a Versace-themed gold restroom.

#12. The Point D.C

This massive seafood restaurant with a wood-burning grill heralds the beginnings of a boom in Buzzard Point, the waterfront community growing around D.C.’s professional soccer stadium and connecting the Wharf and Navy Yard developments. Executive chef Benjamin Lambert manages the Fish & Fire Food Group initiative, the firm behind Ivy City Smokehouse and sustainable provider ProFish.

He’ll be serving crab dip-stuffed doughnuts sprinkled in Old Bay, as well as grilled oysters bathed in miso-crab compound butter to Chesapeake crab fans.

#13. Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats

Brandon Byrd has been selling his Wisconsin-style vanilla custard, rum cake, apple cider doughnuts, and cobbler in a 1952 Metro van around the D.C. area since 2012. He opened a Goodies custard stand in Old Town on Memorial Day weekend, using a renovated ice house from 1931.

#14. The Freshman

From noon to night, Mothersauce Partners (Takoma Brewing Company, Thompson Italian, the Eleanor) serves breakfast, gourmet toasts, sandwiches, salads, and heartier meals like steak, Frites, or pappardelle with roasted mushroom ragout at this well-rounded cafe in Crystal City. Locally roasted Swings coffee, various beers from Virginia breweries, and gin and St. Germaine mules are among the drinks available.

Just a reminder, even though things are opening up slowly, it is still better to avoid any risk. Just like these establishments having airtight and watertight access doors that provide safe access to the utility areas, you as a customer should also put your safety as a priority.

If you’re looking to buy a home or condo near your favorite eaterie, let our experienced Eng Garcia realtors help you today!

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