This season’s collection of the best new restaurants in DC includes, somewhat surprisingly, a few dedicated spots in the V-part of the DMV. Our neighboring westward state brings the launch of yet another food hall — although this one arrives with a few critical distinguishing factors — and a new sports bar off of I-395. As for the DC outposts, a pop-up finds a permanent home on H street, a French bistro expands off The Wharf and a Virginia pub for all takes on the District.
The latest H Street fixture is Hiraya, an all-day cafe that serves Filipino-inspired favorites. After the initial success of a pop-up at The Block Foodhall, chef Paolo Dungca’s permanent space is a two-story building with unique vibes for each floor. The ground-level cafe is home to vibrant breakfast sandwiches, pastries and coffees from Sun & Stars Filipina Coffee Roasters, while the top floor (arriving by year’s end) will feature heavier fare. But don’t be fooled — there are still plenty of tasty treats to be found in the cafe, like Wagyu bistek frites, duck confit with heirloom rice and even a burger. On the drink side, lattes in a variety of surprising flavors (sweet potato!) make it well worth hitting for a morning or afternoon coffee run, especially if you add a peach mango tart or cookie to go alongside it.
Seafood and the Wharf go hand in hand, so it’s not entirely surprising that Reston’s Makers Union picked it as the first DC neighborhood in which to drop anchor. Union fancies itself as a neighborhood pub and has the energy to match. Dinner includes a combination of fancier fare (a three-course tomahawk ribeye dinner for two) alongside bar classics (wings, chicken tenders, burgers) and even new twists like a “sea-cuterie board” with lobster tail, shrimp, crab and oysters. On the libations side, Union features a handful of DC breweries, an impressive list of bourbons and plenty of spirited cocktails. The aquatic theme extends to the interior with lots of blue hues to contrast with bold, brassy tones and an expansive patio with swanky blue umbrellas. Makers also serves weekend brunch and features live music Thursday through Saturday evenings.
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Hotel guests on Capitol Hill are about to receive a huge upgrade to their morning commutes, thanks to a second Bistro Du Jour location. Located inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel, diners will find plenty of tasty morning treats like pastries, breakfast plates and steak frites (all carried over from the Wharf location), alongside new offerings like a soufflé au fromage and more. The same striking mosaic-tiled floor from the Wharf also made its way to the space, which features a full bar to keep those Champagne pours coming during brunch. In short, it’s likely to be a great destination for weekend meals, post-work drinks or a place to take your folks when they’re in town and footing the bill.
Not to be confused with, well, an actual water park you’d find at Disney or Universal, Water Park is the splashy (pun intended) new outdoor food hall in Crystal City. Oriented right across from Alamo Drafthouse in the increasingly developed National Landing area, Water Park is an outdoor food hall that brings fresh lunch offerings to the myriad of corporate offices nearby. There’s something for everyone, whether it’s the delicious gelato of Dolci Gelati, tried and true Thai offerings from Tiki Thai, runny egg sammies from Cracked Eggery or the plant-based burgers from Bubbies. The central fixture is the Water Bar terrace, which sits atop the hall’s expansive waterfall and includes plenty of seafood offerings, a selection of oysters and a sharply curated cocktail menu, complete with a dedicated Martini bar with four distinctive takes on the classic refreshment. It’s bound to be a busy spot for after-work eats or a hearty discussion after seeing the week’s newest film release.
Those living close to Shirlington in and around the I-395 corridor will be happy to know there’s another new restaurant arriving in the bustling neighborhood. Astro Beer Hall took over the former Capitol City Brewing Co. space, flipping it into an otherworldly experience. Upon entering, a galactic-style theme will greet those looking to partake in arcade games, including Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Big Buck Hunter and some soon-to-come billiards tables. The Hall is operating on an impressive day-to-night schedule, serving baked goods (doughnuts!) and Compass Coffee in the mornings through the late afternoon before turning to its namesake beer hall in the evenings with an expansive brew selection, snacks, sandwiches and salads. You can also catch the game on a significant number of TVs.
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