You’ll Find a New Favorite Patio at One of DC’s Newest Restaurants

Plus: a three-part Japanese concept, arena-adjacent eats and five-star food for kids

May 30, 2023 7:25 am
outdoor seating area patio.
You need to try DC's best new restuarants — and sit at this outdoor garden patio.
Villa Yara

Summer is just around the corner, which means you’re going to need a new patio to frequent. This month’s collection of recently opened restaurants in D.C. offers one stunning new option in Georgetown, as well as a transportive Japanese market and a Wharf haven perfect for late nights on the town. Those options, and more, top our list of the latest and greatest dining options.

high-end Japense food.
Love, Makoto offers three different food concepts, with more to come this summer.
Love, Makoto

Love, Makoto

Capitol Crossing

I moved across town during the middle of the pandemic, and when driving back and forth from NE to NW, my route took me by the Capitol Crossing development. It feels like the signage for Love, Makoto has lingered in the windows forever, leaving me to wonder whether or not it would ever become a reality. Wonder no more: The high-end Japanese food hall is officially here to transport D.C. residents from one bustling metropolis to another. Inside, you’ll find three different concepts: Beloved BBQ (steakhouse with tabletop grills), Dear Sushi (elevated omakase with twists old and new) and Hiya Izakaya (street-style skewers and highballs aplenty). Spearheaded by chef Makoto Okuwa (formerly of Sushi Taro), Unconventional Diner owner Eric Eden and chef David Deshaies, the space isn’t even complete yet. A more casual side, featuring comfort foods like ramen, arrives this summer. 

200 Massachusetts Ave NW

fish on a plate.
At Vera, Mexico meets Lebanon.


Ivy City

Mexico meets Lebanon in Ivy City at Vera, the new two-story concept that draws its menu from Veracruz — a Mexican port city that opened its shores and doors to Lebanese immigration in the 1800s. Inside the industrial yet green space, diners will find distinctive flavors of both cuisines — like the branzino meshwe, which includes basmati rice, pastor adobo salsa, salsa verde and pine nuts. Meanwhile, the Vera Cruz iced coffee puts an espresso martini to shame, with horchata, tequila and cafe de olla.

2002 Fenwick St NE

bar area at Planta Queen.
Planta has a moody, club-like feel to its interior.
Planta Queen

Planta Queen


The meat-free Toronto brand Planta sets down roots in Dupont with the launch of Planta Queen. Expect a moody, club-like feel to its interior, with a dragon motif adorning its walls and plenty of earthy tones. That pan-Asian sensibility extends to the menu, which includes Thai lettuce wraps with shiitake mushrooms and tofu, Singapore noodles with curry, kale and peppers, and Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed coconut milk and espresso. 

200 New Hampshire Avenue NW

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seating area with brick wall and white, pink and green accents.
Villa Yara
Villa Yara is described as “elegant, funky and feminine.”

Villa Yara


An old Georgetown home is the setting for Villa Yara, a restaurant inspired by the titular character in a song by Lebanese chanteuse Fairouz. Described as “elegant, funky and feminine,” the restaurant’s interior draws inspiration from the 1970s, Beirut’s heyday, with small-plate, shareable food (hummus, baba ganoush, lamb chops and more) that match the spirit of expansiveness. Also of note: The stunning garden patio is well-suited to the perfect weather of late.

2815 M St. NW

busy dining room at a restaurant.
Ellie Bird offers fine dining for adults — and kids.
Ellie Bird

Ellie Bird

Falls Church

Families out in the ‘burbs looking for a good night out should try Ellie Bird — it’s the latest project from Rooster & Owl’s Carey and Yuan Tang, who won a Michelin Star back in 2021. What’s most surprising about Ellie Bird is the dedication to fine dining for adults — and kids. The children’s menu includes elevated takes on child-friendly staples like cornflake-crusted chicken tenders and a naan pizza. 

125 Founder’s Ave.

intricate seating area at restaurant.
With Mi Vida’s neighbor being Capital One, they tailor their menu to the events that are happening there.

Mi Vida

Penn Quarter

Located in a sprawling 10,500-square-foot space that once belonged to Rosa Mexicano, the newest (and biggest) Mi Vida just opened at Penn Quarter. Immediately across the street from Capital One Arena, Mi Vida is now serving dinner, with brunch on the way — and those who loved their tasty guac at the Wharf location will find plenty to love here. Speaking of concerts, Mi Vida will tailor the menu to events happening across the street: They’re already cooking up something for Madonna’s upcoming appearance, in the form of curated playlists and specials inspired by the pop legend. We’re keen to see what they prepare when Ovechkin hits another scoring milestone. 

575 7th St. NW

Lucky Buns

The Wharf

Many restaurants at The Wharf are slightly too dressy for a stop before a show at The Anthem — happily, Lucky Buns has just settled into this bustling district with a slightly more casual style. Think: juicy burgers, crunchy fried chicken sammies, craft cocktails and a relaxed, beachfront-inspired vibe. It’s open later on weekends to ensure you’ve got a spot to chill after the show is done, too.

675 Wharf St. SW


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