The 15 Hottest Restaurants in D.C., October 2018

Including Chevy Chase newcomer, Little Beast (topping the list!), this delicious list is your guide on where to eat right now around the DMV.

More often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: “Where should I eat right now?” Restaurant obsessives want to know what’s new, what’s hot, which favorite chef just launched a new project, where to sip the cocktail of the moment. And while the Eater 38 is a crucial resource covering trusted standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the ‘it’ places of the moment. Enter the Eater Heatmap, which will change often to continually highlight where discerning diners are flocking to right now.

There’s been an avalanche of D.C. restaurant openings this year, and Eater has tightened this list to reflect the newest and hottest arrivals at the moment. For now, it’s farewell to Spoken EnglishFancy RadishUrban Plates, and Poca Madre.

This month is shaping up to be a strong month for more arrivals, with from Park View’s Call Your MotherChevy Chase’s I’m Eddie Cano, and Georgetown’s Reverie coming online in the coming days. Other anticipated fall eateries like Logan Circle’s Meatball Shop and Union Market’s Coconut Club are on the horizon.

Find an archive of previous Heatmap restaurants here.

1. Little Beast

5600 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20015

The Chevy Chase neighborhood newcomer, which aims to lure the area’s big population of young couples and their kids via cocktails, wine, and wood-fired pizzas and roasted vegetables, opens daily at 4 p.m. and will be joined by a daytime cafe component later this month.

Little Beast’s 74-seat cozy interior is joined by a 44-seat colorful outdoor patio.
 Rey Lopez/Eater DC

2. Gravitas

1401 Okie St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 763-7942

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Gravitas, the passion project chef Matt Baker announced in early 2016, finally opened this summer in Ivy City. His self-styled restaurant — which seats 55 in the main dining room, 16 in a private dining room, and 16 on the patio — serves tasting menus ranging from four courses ($78 per person) to seven courses ($110); optional wine pairings run $40-$70 extra.

Gravitas opened in Ivy City in July.
 Rey Lopez/Eater DC

3. O-Ku

1274 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 888-8790

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Japanese restaurant with a Southern pedigree might sound goofy, but there’s no arguing with the crowd-pleasing dishes that flow from O-Ku’s kitchen. The dedicated sushi counter keeps seafood lovers happy with ornate sashimi, nigiri, and maki rolls featuring everything from preserved key lime and marinated eel to fried soft shell crab and extra fatty tuna crowned with buttery sea urchin. Meanwhile, the smoke-free binchotan grill works its magic on soy-soaked chicken thighs, spice-crusted pork chops, and juicy steak.

A selection of nigiri at O-Ku. 
O-Ku/Facebook

4. Pappe

1317 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 888-8220

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This colorful addition to Logan Circle is delighting locals who have been pining for an Indian option in the neighborhood. Management woos newcomers with spicy vindaloo (an early favorite), garlicky naan (more, please), and samples of single malt whiskey from India (Amrut is a winner). Meat eaters have their choice of fork-tender lamb, slow-cooked goat, zesty crab cakes, and extra buttery chicken, while vegetarians fill their tables with steamy samosas, peppery cauliflower, smoky eggplant, and cheese dumplings soaked in pulse-quickening sauces. It’s also got a hip new neighbor: underground watering hole Crown & Crow.

Assorted offerings at Pappe.
 Pappe/Facebook

5. San Lorenzo

1316 9th St NW, Washington
DC 20001, United States
(202) 588-8954

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There are those who will likely make a habit of only ordering pasta at chef Massimo Fabbri’s new neighborhood restaurant. There’s the iconic rabbit ragu he brought over from Tosca, as well as spaghetti sparked by Calabrian chiles. But Fabbri appears to be having the most fun with other fare, including fried squash blossoms stuffed with creamy goat cheese, grilled calamari layered atop shaved Brussels sprouts and drizzled with chile oil, and marvelous pork ribs with meat that smacks of salt, smoke, and citrus. Fans are only wishing pastas were a little larger.

Cheesecake with black raspberry compote at San Lorenzo.
 San Lorenzo/Facebook

6. St. Anselm

1250 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 864-2199

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The sexy new Northeast restaurant, a joint effort between founder Joe Carroll and James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr (perennially packed Le Diplomate), opened for daily dinner service last month with a 120-seat dining room, 13-seat chef’s counter, a 19-seat U-shaped bar, and an 18-seat patio.

7. America Eats Tavern by José Andrés

3139 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 450-6862

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José Andrés unveiled the new barbecue-obsessed incarnation of historically themed America Eats Tavern in Georgetown this summer, with a focus on grilled fare, raw seafood, wines, cheeses, beers, and other ingredients plucked from the Mid-Atlantic region. A redesign of recently shuttered Old Glory polishes up the 26-year-old restaurant via shiny bronze bar tables, modern lighting fixtures, brown leather seating, and bright geometric tiling.

Meaty offerings at America Eats Tavern.
 Rey Lopez/Eater DC

8. Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill

in Canal Square, 1054 31st St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 470-6606

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Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill, nestled in a huge historic building on the banks of Georgetown’s tree-lined C&O Canal, reemerged from its former life as longstanding Sea Catch Restaurant & Raw Bar into a completely new seafood destination this summer. Along with a smooth 40-foot marble raw bar offering oysters, vodka shooters, and rare cans of tinned fish upon entry, nautical accents across the 200-seat space include sleek blue booths and circular mirrors and lighting fixtures meant to resemble port holes on ships.

Dyllan’s Raw Bar Grill
 Rey Lopez/Eater DC

9. Pisco y Nazca Ceviche Gastrobar

1823 L St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 559-3726

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This splashy Peruvian import from Miami brought pisco sours, happy hour, and ceviche to Dupont Circle last month. Centurion Restaurant Group’s 100-seat dining area inside the RL Hotel is joined by a 37-seat outdoor patio, and there’s also two private dining areas, a turquoise-colored open kitchen, and lots of colorful art.

Pisco y Nazca
 Pisco y Nazca/Facebook

10. Little Sesame

1828 L St NW
Washington, DC 20036

Quick-serve Middle Eastern shop Little Sesame made its standalone debut in September, giving its dense 9-to-5 neighborhood a sun-drenched destination to grab hummus bowls, pita sandwiches, salads, sides, and desserts. Co-owners Nick and David Wiseman, who also operate Hill Prince in the Atlas District, are partners with Israeli native Ronen Tenne on the 1,400-square-foot weekday restaurant.

Little Sesame
 James Jackson/Eater DC

11. LEON

1724 L St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 813-3867

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The bright and whimsical British fast-food chain made its stateside debut last month with an all-day lineup of affordable salads, toasts, wraps, and sandwiches to D.C. — with nothing on the menu over $10. There’s sides like baked fries and hummus start at $2.50, and most meals cost around $6.50 to $8.50.

Leon’s first U.S. location started feeding downtown workers in September.
 Rey Lopez/Eater DC

12. Wild Days at Eaton Hotel

1201 K St NW
Washington, DC 20005

The soaring and scene-y taco and tequila bar atop downtown’s newest hotel is filled with leafy palms, DJs, and mosaic art overlooking K Street NW. Find cocktails like the “Imagine” (Cimarron Reposado tequila, celery, apple, lime, and celery-ancho salt) and “Burn Baby Burn” (Civic vodka, ginger, Szechuan peppercorn, and lime), as well as local beers. For fare, there’s octopus, mushroom, and short rib tacos and Mexican sides. Stay tuned for the hotel’s main dining event, Tim Ma’s American Son, debuting on the lobby level soon.

Rooftop bar and eatery Wild Days recently debuted on the top floor of Eaton DC.
 James Jackson/Eaton DC

13. Guapo’s

3050 K St NW
Washington, DC 20007

The Tex-Mex chain went the modern route at its new Georgetown waterfront location, also adding Latin American flavors and tortas into the mix for the first time. Georgetown design firm Ernesto Santalla completely transformed the space from its former life as nautically-inspired bar Orange Anchor into a contemporary Mexican restaurant complete with smooth industrial flooring, laser-like linear lighting, and bright pops of red and orange. Along with a 100-seat dining area and 16-seat central bar, guests can saddle up to a 40-seat outdoor patio boasting prime views of the Potomac River. Brunch recently joined the mix.

Guapo’s
 Rey Lopez/Eater DC

14. Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

1119 N Hudson St
Arlington, VA 22201
(571) 527-0445

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Japanese barbecue grill Gyu-Kaku opened its first of many area locations in late July, exposing DIY diners to table-cooked meats and seafood in a sleek and industrial setting. The new 130-seat restaurant, conveniently located next to the Clarendon Metro stop, features meaty offerings like beef tongue, skirt steak, and pork belly, as well as mango Mai Tai cocktails made behind the bar.

Assorted meats at Gyu-Kaku
 Gyu-Kaku/Facebook

15. Valor Brew Pub

723 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

Veterans rule at this patriotic tribute bar, staffed by those who have served in the United States armed forces (a trio of leadership roles — GM, beverage director, brewmaster — are filled by Navy vets.) Naturally, the food skews heavily American — a chowder with Old Bay bread crumbs, fried chicken with mambo sauce, a cheesesteak, a cheeseburger. Even the cocktails are vet-themed, with names like Pettey Officer; French press cocktails serve four and go for $40.

R. Lopez
2018-10-19T19:07:18+00:00October 12th, 2018|