Dining

D.C.'s Best New Restaurants for Spring 2018

The Wharf prepares for a second round of openings, a Philly transplant arrives and more
Best New Restaurants D.C. Spring 2018
The breakfast tostada at Buena Vida | Photo: Timothy Yantz

The start of spring signals new life, and that includes a jolt of fresh energy in D.C.'s restaurant scene. Prominent chefs and restaurateurs are expanding their empires with new additions, The Wharf is preparing for a second round of openings and we'll even see the arrival of a Philly transplant. Here are the most exciting restaurant openings of the 2018 spring season. 

Fancy Radish

Philadelphia's plant-based phenomenon, Vedge Restaurant Group, is putting down roots on H Street with a restaurant dedicated to vegetables. Fancy Radish, named after a Vedge signature dish, will incorporate aspects of both the street food bar, V Street, and the more upscale cuisine at the flagship. The menu will give produce the star treatment, with dishes like rutabaga fondue and dan dan noodles with slivered zucchini and oyster mushrooms. 

Gravitas

After many months of anticipation, chef Matt Baker is now poised to debut in Ivy City in the former Pappas Tomato Factory. The tasting menu concept will take an elevated approach to classically inspired fare, with a commitment to hyper-local sourcing from the rooftop garden and the Chesapeake region. As such, there will be a robust selection of vegetarian offerings. 

 

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Kaliwa

The husband-and-wife duo behind Restaurant Eve, Hummingbird and Society Fair is opening a riverfront spot that features Asian cuisines: namely Korean, Thai and Filipino. Chef Cathal Armstrong has a personal affinity for both Korean and Thai food, and the Filipino influence is from his wife, Meshelle. The menu is divided by country, with family favorites in each section; think stuffed whole fish from the Philippines and spicy jjampong from Korea. The wood hearth will fire Southeast Asian staples, and an outdoor grill will sear skewered meat and other street food in the summer.

La Vie

Social Restaurant Group, which runs Provision No. 14, Pamplona and others, has planted its new Mediterranean restaurant at The Wharf to play up the coastal vibe. Expect plenty of raw and grilled seafood, as well as bistro standbys like steak frites. The beverage program will be overseen by the Service Bar team, with light spritzes, shared cocktails and a French and Italian wine list that focuses on bubbly.

Lupo Marino

Lupo Verde is hitting the waterfront with a pizzeria focusing on southern Italian fare. Naturally, there will be a brick oven for pies, as well as pasta, sandwiches, fried snacks and street food. The coffee corner will supply cappuccinos, espresso and deli items to go.   

 

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Tacos, Tortas & Tequila (TTT) and Buena Vida

Ivan Iricanin, the restaurateur behind the Balkan-inspired Ambar, is venturing into Mexican eats with two new concepts in one building in Silver Spring. On the first floor, TTT is an all-day diner with tacos, tortas, quesadillas, coffee, milkshakes, agave cocktails and Mexican beer. Upstairs, Buena Vida offers an option for unlimited small plates during dinner and brunch, including more than 40 dishes such as a mescal-cured salmon tostada and sweet corn empanadas. The drink menu highlights Spanish and South American wines, Mexican beers and, of course, tequila and mescal.

Lani Furbank is a freelance food writer based in the D.C. area. Follow her on Instagram at @lanifurbank.

  • Kaliwa's pan de sal, a type of bread found in the Phillippines.

    Photo: Kaliwa

  • Kaliwa will also draw upon Korean influences, like this jjampong noodle soup.

    Photo: Kaliwa

  • Expect plenty raw and grilled seafood once La Vie opens on The Wharf.

    Photo: Social Restaurant Group

  • The breakfast tostada at Buena Vida.

    Photo: Timothy Yantz

  • Buena Vida's sweet potato tostones.

    Photo: Timothy Yantz

  • The inside of Tacos, Tortas & Tequila.

    Photo: HapstakDemetriou+

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