For the past year, everyone has been talking about Washington, D.C. – but not just because of politics. The city’s dining scene soared to greater heights as a multitude of buzzy restaurants began welcoming diners and delighting locals and travelers alike. Here are 11 of the best new D.C. restaurants of 2017 that need to be at the top of your to-do list for 2018.
The backstory: A chic aquatic endeavor docked inside the newly minted Darcy Hotel on Scott Circle from Robert Wiedmaier (Marcel’s Brasserie Beck). Executive chef John Critchley helms the kitchen, putting out pretty plates that celebrate the ocean’s bounty in creative ways.
The must-order dish: The ingenious cookie platter featuring a playful black and white sporting lemony crème frâiche on one side and caviar on the other, a white chocolate macaron sandwiching a generous cloud of the tiny black pearls, and a linzer cookie with trout roe and sea buckthorn marmalade.
Make a reservation at Siren.
Voltaggio Brothers Steak House
The backstory: Brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio found fame together on Top Chef. Bryan’s successes in the DMV included Volt and Range, while his younger sibling helms Los Angles’ award-winning ink.well. For their first joint project, situated inside the MGM in National Harbor, Maryland, the siblings decided to tackle the classic steakhouse concept, but they added plenty of modernist flairs.
The must-order dish: The Voltaggios’ take on a classic wedge salad features half a head of iceberg face down in a bowl. Tomato jam hides in the folds, while the eye can see pickled red onions, panko-light bacon bits possessing the airy crunch of dehydrated beef, snowy Gorgonzola powder, and Ranch dressing perked with Old Bay.
Make a reservation at Voltaggio Brothers Steak House.
The backstory: Chef Frank Ruta began his tenure as the White House chef in 1979, ultimately cooking for three administrations – Carter, Reagan, and H.W. Bush. A quarter century and a James Beard Award later, he’s back in the neighborhood on the corner of 16th and I with a gorgeously appointed, high-end Parisian-minded restaurant.
The must-order dish: The Belleburger runneth over with French onion soup. The juicy patty is topped with swipe of garlicky mayo, sweet onion jam, and a slab of gooey Gruyere.
Make a reservation at Mirabelle.
Kith / Kin
The backstory: Executive chef Kwame Onwuachi earned breakout fame on Top Chef, but found infamy when his high-end tasting menu restaurant, the Shaw Bijou, quickly shuttered. Unbowed and unbroken, he returns with this rootsy-yet-refined Afro-Caribbean concept inside the InterContinental Hotel at the recently debuted Wharf complex.
The must-order dish: A rectangle of crispy skinned mackerel sits on jollof rice, a West African specialty made by mixing a red stew of tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and habanero with the grains. Pickled onions add pop to the proposition.
Make a reservation at Kith / Kin.
The backstory: James Beard Award-winning chef José Andrés’ latest restaurant – moored inside the MGM Grand in National Harbor, Maryland, – is Alice in Wonderland meets Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Swirling schools of fish fixtures and glass buoys float above diners while they dig into artfully arranged plates of hyper-fresh seafood.
The must-order dish: Delicately diced tuna tartare and the traditional components are arrayed around a poached yolk sitting in mustard sauce. Mix it all up and sweep up bites with one of the salt-speckled, perfectly puffy Parker House rolls.
Make a reservation at Fish.
Ana at District Winery
The backstory: The glass-walled jewel box perched on the edge of the Anacostia River in Navy Yard is home to both a winery and a restaurant. Executive chef Michael Gordon and chef de cuisine Ben Lambert craft sophisticated seasonal fare with Instagram-worthy presentations.
The must-order dish: Beignets get the savory treatment. These golden globes feature threads of Maryland crab and come complemented with a fetching Indian-vibed Romesco sauce for dunking.
Make a reservation at Ana at District Winery.