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It’s only August, but it’s already safe to say that 2014 has been one of D.C.’s busiest years yet, at least in terms of food. New eateries are cropping up on every corner, established chefs are expanding their empires, and a few old favorites have, sadly, shut their doors forever. But if there’s one thing you can always count on in the District, it’s that for every restaurant that closes there will be three more opening within the month. With Summer Restaurant Week on the horizon, here’s a look back on some of the best (and tastiest) new eateries of the year thus far.



Menu MBK

405 8th Street NW

“Throw a dart at anything on Menu MBK‘s menu–be it from the bottom floor’s market, the chef’s table or the top two floors’ full-service bistro–and you’re guaranteed to hit something delicious. We’d expect nothing less from Frederik De Pue, one of D.C. fastest-rising culinary stars and the chef behind Table, one of our favorite restaurants of 2013.” – Stephanie Breijo


Flight Wine Bar

777 6th Street NW

“The menu is separated into “Small Plates”, “Not So Small Plates” and “Endings” and chef Bradley Curtis does a formidable job reimagining what wine bar food is. Yes, of course there are cheese plates, and a lovely play on a roast beet salad (with soft egg and terragon yogurt!) but there is some serious comfort food here too: from the “fish” and chip basket (which features sardines and fried clams as opposed to your expected white fish) to the pulled duck sandwich and the Boston baked dinner, this is way more adventurous and substaintial than what your long suffering dragged-to-a-wine-bar boyfriend imagined.” – Svetlana Legetic



1064 Wisconsin Avenue NW

“The dinner menu samples from Italian classics (bruschetta, pizza, housemade ricotta ravioli, chicken marsala), along with American favorites (braised short ribs, burgers). Sampling plates of the pine nut encrusted Chilean seabass, and goat cheese & chicken over housemade fuscilli pasta, everything brought out was ready to comfort.” – Brandon Weight



5335 Wisconsin Avenue NW

“This is seal-the-deal date Italian, impress-your-visiting-parents Italian, gorgeously complex, sophisticated Italian. And it stays that way even when they encourage you to “use your hands” (which they will, on a few well meaning occasions, starting with the cheesy, funnel-cake inspired amuse bouche which greets you within moments of arrival).” – Svetlana Legetic


Roofers Union

2446 18th Street nW

“The artichoke dip is creamy and rich, and more importantly, topped with a layer of melted cheese. It smells and tastes so good you may want to just dip your face into the little cast iron skillet that it comes in. Don’t, because the only thing that makes this dip better is the crunchy little housemade crouton-like bread bites that come with the dip. These bad boys are the perfect vehicles for getting that dip in your mouth.” – Priya Konings


Fiola Mare

1300 K Street NW

“However spectacular the views and the decor may be, the real focus of this venture is the menu. The selection changes daily, but each day features different takes on fresh, mostly locally sourced fish; Chef Trabocchi places a lot of emphasis on environmentally responsible business practices, which he translates seamlessly into procuring the freshest ingredients available.” – Ashley Wright


Lupo Verde

1401 T Street NW

“Lupo Verde might mean “green wolf” but there is nothing scary about this Italian restaurant, except maybe the number of people who will fight you for snagging a table. What is all this hoopla for yet another Italian restaurant in DC? Well, the food sleuths at BYT are here to solve the mystery and the answer is shockingly simple: Lupo Verde is really fabulous. Yes, the décor is rustic and charming, the cocktails are divine, and the service is great. But it’s the food that has people filling every nook and cranny of this place.” – Priya Konings



The Partisan

709 D Street NW

“But lets face it, you’re here for the meat. From the homemade Bolognese (with guanciale AND HEART ragu) to the bollito misto to the much talked about half-head of a pig and the triple stack burger, this is officially DC’s non-vegetarian church. The name: ROTISSI-FRIED CHICKEN says it all: half roasted, half fried and smothered in spicy honey hot sauce, it somehow embodies everything you always wanted in a chicken but didn’t really know how to achieve yourself. Thankfully for you, Anda and Witt have.” – Svetlana Legetic



1250 Connecticut Avenue NW

“The crowd, mostly women, was fashionable and upscale. More of a steakhouse meets lounge feel, it’s definitely got more of a nightclub atmosphere than a fine dining one. The space is gorgeous and smartly design with dark wood and white leather (which we hope will hold up well with the amount of cocktails that will probably be spilled). This will certainly be a spot for VIP events and a place to be seen.” – Farrah Skeiky


Red Light

1401 R Street NW

“All of the desserts at Red Light are surprisingly complex; each one is complete with complementing elements and depth of flavor, a feast for your eyes and your taste buds. The Black & Tan Donuts are the perfect example of this; plump pale ale beignets are piled high, beautifully dusted with powdered sugar and served with a fudge stout-chocolate sauce. Ideal for sharing with friends, this dessert makes the marriage of beer and chocolate seem like the most natural pairing in the world. Yes, chocolate and beer. Who knew?” – Priya Konings


Toro Toro

1300 I Street NW

“The menu is brimming with 90-percent-local meats like Elysian Fields Pennsylvania Rack of Lamb, Dry Aged Langenfelder Farms Pork Rib Chop and Marcho Farms Veal Porterhouse, as well as seafood like the Chilean Sea Bass with shrimp, scallops, calamari, cau cau sauce and mint leaves or the Spicy Miso Salmon with aji chiles, red miso, grilled asparagus and pea shoot salad.” – Stephanie Breijo


Soi 38


2101 L Street NW

“When owners Nat Ongsangkoon and Dia Khanthongthip visited the night markets of Bangkok, they dreamed of one day bringing Thai market food to D.C. Now, just off L Street, their vision is a reality complete with a comprehensive menu that’s equal parts fried street traditional and innovative, upscale twists on classic Thai fare. The cocktails–conceived by beloved beverage director JP Caceres–are all as thoughtful as you’d expect from on of D.C.’s top mixologists, each one more alluring than the next be it in tea pot or tiny bottle.” – Stephanie Breijo


Dino’s Grotto

1914 9th Street NW

“For the main course, go with the skirt steak with anchovy salsa verde and tuscan potatoes. And, if you don’t mind bone-in meats, the Stacotto Di Capra with cubes of goat and pancetta is about as comforting as it gets. That is, until you try desert. If nothing else, or if your stomach can’t fit anything else, dig into their cloud of Tiramisu. You won’t regret it.” – Farrah Skeiky



1926 14th Street NW

“Chef George Rodrigues, Schlow’s executive chef at Tico Boston is relocating to DC to work on a signature menu of original Tico favorites for the 164 seat restaurant, and from what we can see you can expect from their signature ceviches, to up to eight different taco variations (including a crunchy fried chicken one) and small-to-massive plates including the Tico “for the table selections” which range from “Kinda Hungry” to “Forgot to Eat Lunch” to “Full On Tico Experience”. Brunch and lunch are incoming too.” – Svetlana Legetic


Crane and Turtle

828 Upshur Street NW

“Inspired by a Japanese fairy tale celebrating “friendship, longevity and mutual support”, the tiny restaurant (with a very well balanced seating scenario for the summer: 23 seats inside, 20 on the outside) will serve dishes on the intersection of French and Japanese cuisines, as overseen by Chef Makoto Hammamura (who will still be in the kitchen at Petworth Citizen as well).” – Svetlana Legetic



Chaplin Bar and Restaurant

1501 9th Street NW

“Jeremy’s handmade dumplings have been honed with years of perfection from his time spent at Rex, the Orlando Culinary school and various Asian inspired kitchens such as Toki Underground. The Knockout ramen packs a fist full of Pork Shoulder, Jeremy’s amazing handmade noodles, a soft boiled egg, pickled ginger, and scallions in a Tonakatsu Broth.” – Franz Mahr


The Oval Room (Redesign + Menu)

800 Connecticut Avenue NW

“The bar has been expanded, and both the cocktail menu and the bar snacks options (Duck confit tartare tots, anyone?) seem almost designed to be conversation starters and the menu (still, thankfully, done by Conte) is brimming with flavorful sounding dishes like Indian Spiced Lamb with charred eggplant and arugula, charred jalapeno spaghetti and oysters with plums and rhubarb sauce.” – Svetlana Legetic

Miss any of your (new) favorites? Drop a note in the comments and we’ll pop ‘em in.