We’re in the throes of summertime in the DC area — and if you’re still in town, there are plenty of excellent reasons to fight the tourists for some sidewalk space and try some new restaurants. Chief among them: a new offering from Venezuela-born, Basque Country-trained chef Enrique Limardo, who first earned a Michelin star in 2019 for Imperfecto. With TheSaga, all of his talent and sharp-edged whimsy is on display — get there before it shows up on a raft of best-of-the-year lists. Elsewhere, we have a brilliant mashup of Tex-Mex and barbecue, plus a tribute to a fictional vehicular-riding cat — there’s something here for everyone.
TheSaga, the flagship restaurant at the Foggy Bottom Ritz-Carlton, is the latest effort from Michelin-starred chef Enrique Limardo and co-owner Ezequiel Vázquez-Ge. Here, you’ll find elevated takes on Latin American and Spanish dishes, colliding and intersecting in fun ways — like an oxtail sandwich, a play on a French dip complete with a dipping sauce, and topped with a sous vide egg. The menu’s true standout might very well be the house-made churros with mezcal guajillo chocolate sauce, which comes in a crystal clear skull-shaped glass.
1190 22nd Street NW (map)
Courtesy of the team behind The Duck & The Peach, Méli is a members-only Greek(ish) wine and mezze club inside The Silva, an apartment complex in Adams Morgan. If you’re balking at the undesirable complication of a members-centric situation: Know that the $25 annual fee supports local nonprofits like the Washington Area Bicyclist Association via the Reed Cooke Club. Once you’re in, you’ll find an intimate setting — 35 seats, with a cute outdoor patio — and a wide array of spreads, snacks and souvlaki alongside a robust wine program that highlights Greece and the surrounding Mediterranean isles. Prepared-to-go boxes are a convenient option for anyone looking to grill at home.
1630 Columbia Road NW (map)
This Burger Recipe Is a Michelin-Approved Take on the Big MacClint’s Cattle beef, mustard butter and “1001 Island” dressing combine for a killer take on the classic
Legend tells the tale of a motorcycle-riding cat who cruised the streets of Takoma Park, uniting its residents behind the beast — or at least that’s the story behind the aptly named Motorkat, which just opened in the former Republic spot. Along with seasonal standouts like citrus-brined napa cabbage and cauliflower skewers with toasted pine nuts, Motorkat roars into town with a well-sourced raw bar (music to the ears of yours truly): Start with oysters from across the Chesapeake and New England before your pick of the wood-fired dishes.
6939 Laurel Avenue (map)
Chef Tim Ma of Arlington’s Lucky Danger expands into the Navy Yard with Any Day Now. Described as a “casual and comforting all-day restaurant,” Any Day Now provides a coworking-friendly space with breakfast and coffee for those who aim to be up and at ’em early on — and then transitions into a full-service dinner space. (Note: Dinner service will debut in mid-July.) The breakfast menu features tasty takes on American and Chinese cuisine, like scallion pancake egg sandwiches and coffee from Red Rooster Coffee out of Floyd, Virginia.
2 I Street SE (map)
Head down the main strip of Del Ray during mealtime on a warm summer’s day, and you’ll find plenty of bustling eateries. Now among them: Hi/Fi Tex-Mex BBQ. This smokehouse and beer garden, conceived with “a reverence for the traditions of Texas” in mind, is in the backyard of the Evening Star Cafe and comes from Red Apron chef Nathan Anda. Hi/Fi takes the traditions of slow-cooked meats and infuses them into Tex-Mex creations, like the Sharp Dressed Man taco with chopped brisket and queso. For those who want to indulge in more traditional smokehouse offerings, the meat platters — with options like Texas hot links — come with your choice of Tex-Mex tortillas or traditional barbecue sides. Those looking for a crispy cold one to top it all off will find an impressive 25 beers on tap.
2000 Mt. Vernon Avenue (map)
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