D.C.’s culinary cred is rising: seven places to go right now (book early).
Komi and Little Serow: Young chef Johnny Monis and his wife, Anne Marler, run Komi ($$$), a haute Dupont Circle spot that takes Greece as a starting point (slow-roasted baby goat with pita and tzatziki; foie gras and Wagyu-beef-tongue gyro). Also of note: the duo’s new and nearby northern-Thai spot, Little Serow ($$$).
The Source: Wolfgang Puck’s sleek and spacious glass-and-steel dining room in the Newseum plays with pan-Asian flavors, skipping from China (lacquered duckling) to Japan (stir-fried yaki-udon), Korea (barbecued-steak salad) to India (tandoori arctic char). $$$
Rasika: D.C.’s elite, from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to Virginia Senator Mark Warner, flock to this classic Indian restaurant and its flashily mod new sibling Rasika West End for authentic northern Indian cuisine. Ask the server for guidance, and share everything. $$
Supper Club at Seasonal Pantry: The city is slowly embracing the pop-up restaurant, with the Wednesday-through-Saturday 12-seat dinners at this specialty market in the Shaw neighborhood. Chef Daniel O’Brien—a contestant on the current season of Top Chef—turns out an ever-changing multicourse menu with seasonal delights such as wild mushrooms accompanied by chicken, pumpkin, and pickles. $$$
Jaleo and Minibar: Spanish-born star chef José Andrés jump-started his career in his new home city with Jaleo ($$), a tapas restaurant that recently unveiled a playful makeover. Sample from the new menu—a classic paella or a tortilla with sobrasada, onions, and Mahón cheese. Or if you’re looking for something more daring, head to Andrés’s reopened Minibar ($$$$) nearby, where one-bite molecular concoctions take center stage.
A 14th Street Culinary Crawl
These days, the best place to eat (and drink) is Logan Circle’s 14th Street corridor.
The Place: Ben’s Chili Bowl, a 60-plus-year-old institution known for its no-frills grub.
The Order: The Chili Half Smoke, a half-pork-and-half-beef smoked sausage on a steamed bun with mustard, onions, and Ben’s signature chili sauce.
The Place: The Gibson, a clubby speakeasy serving classic cocktails.
The Order: One (or two or three) of the old-fashioned fizzes or sours; plus olives or another light bite from the snack menu.
The Place: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, a low-key bar and restaurant with a retro-nautical feel.
The Order: Oysters, oysters, and oysters, accompanied by a light white wine, a local microbrew, or the Pimm’s-based Pearl Cup. $$$
The Place: Estadio, an ode to tapas in a chic, loftlike space.
The Order: The roasted shishito peppers and the montadito (a Spanish open-faced sandwich) of duck and foie gras. $$
The Place: Birch & Barley and Church Key, an upstairs/downstairs, beer-focused restaurant and gastropub.
The Order: At Birch & Barley ($$$), cavatelli and flounder tartare; at Church Key ($$), Tater Tots and charcuterie.
Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150