A Picturesque Food Hall and Buzzy Breakfast Tacos Anchor DC’s Best New Restaurants
If your friend group can never decide where to eat, we've got a spot for you
Washington, D.C. has regretfully bid goodbye to a number of restaurants this summer, with Magpie and the Tiger, Espita and Newland all closing their doors. Luckily, some new players are here to add life to the scene — from an Austin-inspired taco shop to a Panamanian empanada joint, international flavors abound. Thanks to some of the capital’s culinary veterans, we can also say buongiorno to a new Italian lunch spot in Western Market as well as a brand new pizza spot as some of the best new restaurants in D.C. Meanwhile, a bit further afield, Riverdale Park, MD, is welcoming its own internationally inspired food hall.
You’re here because… You were in the market for a new spot for breakfast tacos, so this husband-and-wife-owned taco shop is right up your alley. Inspired by the tacos co-owner Ana-Maria Jaramillo grew up enjoying in her Texas hometown, the menu has been road-tested via the duo’s pop-ups since late 2019. With this new permanent home, they hope to cultivate not just a great taco joint but a community hang.
You’re dining on… Tacos (obviously). The 956, named after Jaramillo’s hometown area code, unites bacon, fried potatoes, refried beans, scrambled eggs and queso in a house-made flour tortilla. The vegetarian Super Migas pairs scrambled eggs with tomato, poblano, onion, queso and crunchy tortilla strips, while the El Frijolito pairs refried pinto beans with melted cheese, onion and those same tortilla strips for texture. Enjoy alongside a chilled Topo Chico, Mexican Coke or cold brew from Lost Sock Roasters. The menu is starting small, but the pair has high hopes for dinner options and a liquor license in the not-too-distant future.
You’re here because… You’re all about the food halls that have been popping up all over D.C. of late, and this new spot from the team behind Elle is about to become your go-to in Foggy Bottom’s Western Market food hall.
You’re dining on… What Chef Vincent Falcone dubs “Italian-ish” cuisine: grandma-style pizza and fresh pasta extruded on-site and served, in one example, with a cultured butter and tomato sauce. Sandwiches might include a muffuletta or a summer veggie tartine; the bread for these, as well as the house pastries, come from the masterful hands of Elle’s baker Andrew Myers.
H Street Corridor
You’re here because… You’ve been in the market for a new pizza joint, and this cozy local spot from the team behind Shaw’s All Souls Bar is about to become your go-to, with sourdough crust pizzas featuring seasonal, mostly local ingredients. And in keeping with the spirit of the original address, it also boasts a full bar that will stay open even after the kitchen closes.
You’re dining on… A combination of classic and seasonal pizzas from New York City Chef Bobby Hellen, who also developed the Sicilian pies at Black Seed Pizza. The menu boasts both classic and vegan-cheese pies as well as pepperoni, meatball and even vegan sausage. More off-the-wall offerings range from crushed potato and rosemary to two ever-changing seasonal pies: one white and one supreme. The former will be topped with fresh ricotta and chili oil, while the latter boasts mozzarella and pepperoncini; both will also include a farm-raised veggie.
You’re here because… The very idea of Panamanian food made with love and time-tested recipes is too tantalizing to ignore. Fresh, bold flavors are on the menu at Mola Empanada, which offers a new take on traditional empanadas with a choice of fillings, each more enticing than the next.
You’re dining on… Hand-crafted empanadas based on a recipe from founder J’Nae White’s Panamanian grandma, which turn this special-occasion treat from White’s childhood into a potential daily ritual. Inside the house-made dough, you might sink your teeth into braised chicken curry with bell pepper or cinnamon-spiked picadillo beef. Plant-based diners will love the spiced chickpea curry with coconut milk sealed up in a special vegan dough, and sides of twice-fried plantains or yuca are sure to satisfy.
Riverdale Park, MD
You’re here because… Your friend group can never decide where to eat, and this brand new, internationally inspired food hall in Riverdale Park has something for everyone. Featuring seven ghost kitchens and three dine-in stalls, there’s more than enough choice at this 8,500-square-foot space for even the pickiest of diners. And with a full-service bar and a French-bistro vibe, complete with black-and-white subway tiles, brass fixtures and a “phantom” mural, it’s the perfect place to spend a night out.
You’re dining on… A wide variety of options from a veritable who’s who of chefs. The three dine-in food stalls are helmed by chefs Esther Choi, Kevin Sbraga, and Chin “Steve” Liang. Choi’s Mökbar delivers casual Korean fare like the noodle and rice bowls already beloved by New York diners familiar with her small but popular chain. Former Top Chef winner Sbraga, meanwhile, promises to deliver the very best in fried chicken at his Sonny & Sons. Liang’s modern creative sushi concept, Horu Sushi, will bring the same contemporary Japanese fare he’s already delivered in Dallas and Nashville to this new space. On-site ghost kitchens offer a range of tacos, Indian food, Greek fare, dumplings and more, with one stall devoted to hosting a rotating up-and-coming chef to help springboard new local culinary talent.
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