I’m still reeling at the number of new restaurants that opened in DC in 2013. Have you checked them all out? Of course not – NO ONE has. Here’s my list of 2013’s new restaurants, organized alphabetically and divided up by neighborhood. Use this handy reference guide the next time you can’t decide where to go for dinner!
Note: I originally published this guide in Dining Bisnow.
B Too: Bart Vandaele opened this modern sister restaurant to his popular Belga Cafe hot off the heels of his Top Chef debut.
Bakehouse: This tiny bakery-cum-cafe serves up innovative and delicious baked goods, sandwiches, and the best vanilla bean latte I’ve ever had.
Bar di Bari: An Italian cafe from Aaron Gordon (Drafting Table, Red Velvet) with a limited menu of hot and cold plates, coffees, wines, and—most importantly—free Wi-Fi and a great patio.
Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant: Offers a wide range of Spanish cuisine, from small bites to whole fish; check out the amazing patio when weather allows.
Doi Moi: Chef Haidar Karoum and partner Mark Kuller recently opened this Thai and Vietnamese restaurant just blocks away from their popular Spanish spot, Estadio. It’s already getting raves.
Etto: This cozy little Italian joint serves up expertly crafted Neapolitan-Style pizza, salumi, salads, and more.
G: Mike Isabella’s fast-casual sandwich shop. In addition to his own creations, he offers rotating “guest” sandwiches from his chef pals.
Ghibellina: Tuscan-style cuisine and Neapolitan pizzas from the folks behind the Hill’s Acqua al 2.
Kapnos: Mike Isabella’s Greek concept. Despite its focus on whole-roasted animals, the menu offers a number of tasty vegetarian options too.
Le Diplomate: Escape to Paris at Philly restaurateur Stephen Starr’s first DC restaurant. Trust us: You’ll want to plan ahead and snag a reservation.
M Café: This modern Italian restaurant, originally located in Friendship Heights, has found a new home on 14th.
Taqueria Nacional: A fast-casual taco joint from Chef Ann Cashion and her business partner John Fulchino.
Ted’s Bulletin: Matchbox Food Group opened the second location of this wildly popular comfort food joint across from their 14th Street Matchbox location—also newly opened in 2013.
All Souls Bar: A cozy, 33-seat neighborhood bar from David Batista, formerly of Jaleo and Zaytinya.
Baby Wale: The casual little sister to fine dining institution Corduroy, Baby Wale offers an eclectic, seasonal menu that ranges from pupusas to prosciutto pizza.
Dunya: This spacious, three-story Mediterranean-meets-New-American restaurant will feature a roof deck come spring.
Eat the Rich: One of three new Shaw spots from Derek Brown this year, this one features Rappahannock oysters and seafood from the Chesapeake to soak up Derek’s award-winning beverages.
Ivy and Coney: This new neighborhood dive is a haven for Chicago and Detroit “expats,” serving Chicago-style and Detroit coney-style hot dogs with a limited selection of beer and liquor to go alongside.
Mandalay: This Burmese restaurant is an offshoot of Silver Spring’s Mandalay Restaurant & Cafe; it offers a chef’s menu at dinner along with a la carte options.
Mockingbird Hill: Martha Stewart dubbed this sherry and ham bar from Derek Brown one of her five favorite places in DC.
Right Proper Brewing Company: This newly-opened, 110-seat microbrewery and pub is already getting raves on Yelp.
Southern Efficiency: Diner-meets-whiskey-bar from the unstoppable Derek Brown.
Table: Frederik de Pue’s beautiful little restaurant offers an oft-changing seasonal menu, lovely rooftop, and open kitchen for those who like to see the culinary action.
Thally: The 70-seat modern American restaurant offers a “simple, fresh, and flavorful” menu featuring dishes like a grilled peach salad and pan-seared rockfish.
Penn Quarter/Chinatown/City Center Corridor
Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken: Doesn’t the name tell you all you need to know? If not, I have six words for you: sriracha wings and creme brulee doughnuts. Go.
Azur/Menu: Chef Frederik de Pue opened and subsequently closed seafood restaurant Azur after determining it wasn’t the right fit for the hood. He will reopen it as bistro-meets-market concept Menu in early 2014.
Casa Luca: Fabio Trabocchi’s second restaurant is a more casual foil to his much-lauded Fiola. If you’re in the mood for pasta—and really, who isnt?—I loved the carbonara.
City Tap House: This Philly-based pub offers a wide menu of options both comforting and creative, a huge copper-topped bar, and plenty of space for private parties.
Daikaya: Fast-casual ramen shop downstairs, small-plates lounge upstairs. I really love the design upstairs, which is the work of Edit Lab at streetsense.
Del Campo: Chef Victor Albisu took over the former PS7’s space to open this smoke-centric Latin restaurant. The grilled meats take center stage, but there are plenty of other great options as well.
Nopa Kitchen + Bar: Restarateur Ashok Bajaj’s modern brasserie features French food with an American spin in a bright, airy space a stone’s throw from the Verizon Center.
Mt. Vernon Triangle
Alba Osteria: Roberto Donna returns to downtown with a restaurant honoring his native Piemontese cuisine alongside wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas.
Carving Room: The menu of house-cured and hand-carved meats, pickled veggies, and homemade sides takes a surprisingly Moroccan twist in the Small Bites section.
Bar Charley: Restaurateur Jackie Greenbaum (Jackie’s and El Chucho) offers up a menu of favorites and drinks that range from familiar to crazy-creative.
Capriotti’s: Joe Biden’s favorite sub shop has at last come to town. Try the Bobbie. It’s Thanksgiving on a sub roll.
Custom Fuel: Watch your custom-ordered pizza get made before your eyes at this affordable new option near Farragut.
DGS Delicatessan: Upscale-casual Jewish deli with tasty and creative spins on traditional dishes.
Duke’s Grocery: Another new sandwich joint in the area, the gourmet options offered at Duke’s are widely varied and super-fresh.
GBD (Golden Brown Delicious): Fried chicken and doughnuts dominate the menu by day, but you’ll find a wider variety of fried goodies on the evening menus.
Iron Gate: This historic space was resurrected by Neighborhood Restaurant Group; the cozy dining room offers a formal tasting menu while the gorgeous bar and patio have casual a la carte options.
Malgudi: This is the second location of the Glover-Park-based south Indian restaurant from the folks behind Heritage India.
Mari Vanna: This international chain of Russian restaurants/vodka houses has an air of exclusivity reminiscent of LA and Paris.
Newton’s Noodles: From the chef behind Bethesda’s Newton’s Table, this fast-casual Asian spot dishes out made-to-order noodle bowls and more.
Smashburger: This Colorado-based, fast-food burger chain offers tons of fresh toppings and plenty of non-beef options.
Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine: This Cuban import offers dine-in, carry-out, and delivery options for lunch and dinner.
Takeateasy: This is the sophisticated upgrade to Fast Gourmet, the gas-station-based, sandwich carry-out with a cult following.
Teddy and the Bully Bar: From the folks behind Thomas Circle’s Lincoln, this Teddy-Roosevelt-themed restaurant offers a seasonal menu with “an emphasis on manly meat and strong cocktails.”
Ancora (at the Watergate): Bob Kinkead, known to some as the grandfather of DC’s restaurant scene, closed his beloved Kinkead’s seafood restaurant and opened the Mediterranean-accented Ancora in the Watergate.
El Centro: The huge second location of Richard Sandoval’s popular Mexican restaurant and tequileria opened in the former Third Edition space on Wisconsin.
Malmaison: A French bistro, coffee and juice bar from the family behind Cafe Bonaparte and Napoleon Bistro, ideally located on the way to the C&O trail and Jack’s Boathouse.
Ri-Ra: This Irish pub was originally Gerry Nangles Pub in Summer Hill, Dublin. The pub was actually restored in Ireland, then shipped to Washington piece-by-piece.
Rialto: From the owners of Thunder Burger and Bodega comes this Italian small plates and pasta restaurant in the heart of Georgetown.
The Grill Room at the Capella: Specialities include hand-cut, bone-in artisan meats, fresh seafood, and tableside preparations.
Ambar: Balkan cuisine was brought to the Hill as a pet project of Ivan Iricanin, Richard Sandoval’s director of operations and partner in Masa 14 and El Centro.
Bearnaise: Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn’s French-inspired steakhouse is his third restaurant on the 300 block of Penn Ave SE.
Beuchert’s Saloon: Farm-to-table, seasonal food served in a lovingly restored space with a rich history. Try the burger. Trust me.
Ninnella: This little Italian gem took over the Park Cafe space on Lincoln Park, much to the neighborhood’s relief.
Nooshi: The second location of this pan-Asian restaurant is a bit fancier and offers one key specialty that the original doesn’t: some of the best Peking Duck in town.
Rose’s Luxury: The menu at this cozy, eclectic new joint is the personification of Chef/Owner Aaron Silverman’s whimsy, and has been delighting diners and critics from day one.
Tash: This Persian restaurant is located on the lower level of the aforementioned Nooshi. The owner hails from Iran and spent years running Moby Dick House of Kabob in the ‘burbs before opening Tash.
H Street/Atlas District
Chupacabra: This taco truck has settled into a tiny brick-and-mortar carry-out.
Indigo: The wide variety of veg and non-veg options tastes as authentically homemade as Indian food gets in the DMV.
Red Rocks: The fourth location of this popular pizza joint is huge, has a great rooftop, and a more extensive menu than its other locations.
TD Burger: Top Chef alum Timothy Dean’s casual neighborhood burger and beer spot also offers pizzas, salads, and more.
Vendetta: Offering Italian food and two 25-foot indoor bocce courts in the heart of the Atlas District.
Agua 301: Modern Mexican cuisine from the family behind Zest Bistro on Barracks Row.
The Arsenal at Bluejacket Brewery: The Arsenal is Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s restaurant nestled inside their beautiful new brewery, Bluejacket.
Buzz Bakery: Next door to Bluejacket is the third location of this charming bakery and cafe from Neighborhood Restaurant Group.
Osteria Morini: NYC restaurateur Michael White’s made his first foray into DC with his popular Osteria Morini.
Chez Billy: This popular Parisian neighborhood bistro is just steps from the Petworth Metro.
Mothership: This eclectic American small plates restaurant comes from former Dino chef and the owner of the El Floridiano food truck, Stephan Boillon.
The Rest of the City
The rest of the new restaurants in 2013 opened in ‘hoods that didn’t have enough openings to merit their own section of the guide. They’re definitely still worth checking out though!
Arcuri – Glover Park: American-Italian fare, including wood-fired pizza and homemade limoncello.
Fainting Goat Tavern – U Street: With a beautiful design courtesy of Edit Lab at streetsense, this American tavern is bound to be popular.
La Piquette – Cleveland Park: A new French bistro in the former Bistro Le Zinc space from the owners of Bistrot Lepic.
Malgudi – Glover Park: This south Indian restaurant from the folks behind Heritage India has been wowing patrons.
Mi Cocina – Friendship Heights: Texas expats (like me!) have been thrilled by the opening of this Dallas-based Tex-Mex chain.
MXDC – McPherson: Todd English returns to DC with this Mexican concept that was panned by critics but is doing well on Yelp.
Red Hen – Bloomingdale: This Italian restaurant features a fancy wood-fired grill and is one of Martha Stewart’s favorite spots in town.
Republic – Takoma Park: Jeff Black’s newest restaurant is an eclectic neighborhood spot that, in keeping with Jeff’s style, is heavy on the seafood.