DC’s food scene is still white-hot. With a buzzy new restaurant opening basically every week, keeping tabs on the latest “it” spot is a task more futile than Sisyphus’ eternal boulder to-do list. It sucks having to spend hours surfing the web just to choose where to have dinner tonight or brunch this weekend, so we’re here to help. These are the best restaurants in DC right now.
The Salt Line
When you’re slurping oyster shooters and eating lobster rolls on the waterfront, you know you’ve reached peak summer. This oyster and ale house from Chef Kyle Bailey channels New England to bring you fresh seafood and a killer beer selection. You can check off all the classics, from clam chowder to Johnny cakes, or branch out with experimental dishes like Nashville hot chicken-style softshell crab or seacuterie (seafood charcuterie, obviously). Did we mention it’s also right across from Nats Park?
All-Purpose brought together some pedigreed partners: the teams behind the dynamite Red Hen and neighborhood bar Boundary Stone. Together, they created an Italian-American, red sauce-inspired joint, serving everything from Jersey-style eggplant Parm to house-made tuna mousse. And don’t ignore the pizzas: The dough goes through a three-day fermentation process, creating serious flavor and generating a crunchy crust with a chewy inside and crispy bottom.
Tail Up Goat
“Three veterans of DC’s best restaurant walk into a bar… ” No, it’s not the start to a joke — it’s actually how one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants got its start. The triumvirate behind Tail Up Goat all gained their street cred at Komi, Johnny Monis’ Mediterranean fine dining destination, before striking out on their own at the neighborhood joint in Adams Morgan. A heavy focus on house-made breads (actually more like open-faced sandwiches, doused with crazy toppings) and pastas keeps the carbs coming, and the gorgeous lamb ribs can satisfy even the pickiest carnivores. Oh, and, the name? In the US Virgin Islands, it’s a way to differentiate animals from a distance: “tail up goat; tail down sheep.” The more you know.
Mike Isabella is slowly but surely making his way around the globe. His culinary empire was founded on Italian and Greek cuisines, but he’s since branched out into Mexican, French, and Japanese fare, and now with his newest venture, he’s getting into Spain and Morocco. As the name suggests, arroz, or rice, is a main attraction. Huge pans of creamy and crispy bomba rice are meant for sharing, with elaborate toppings like fried soft-tshell crab or suckling pig. Arroz may be part of the expansive new Marriott Marquis hotel, but the decor in the restaurant is transportive, with striking geometric patterns, pops of blue, shiny gold accents, and booths nestled in wall alcoves that will instantly elevate any date night.