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Washington, D.C.’s 6 most exciting restaurant debuts of 2023

A photo of Red logo
by Christabel Lobo
Updated December 18, 2023

Washington, DC’s, dining scene is like a mesmerizing mosaic, and its newest crop of restaurants only amp up that signature diversity. Choose from a MICHELIN-starred Indian hotspot in Penn Quarter, a sleek and sceney sushi shrine in Georgetown, and an award-winning Creole place in Anacostia. In a city that thrives on differences, these newcomers stand out for being especially unique. Read on for a guide to the six best DC restaurant debuts of 2023.

A photo of Philippe Chow - DC restaurant
4 (625)
$31 to $50
Southwest Waterfront
About the restaurant

The Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema singled out the Peking duck at this NYC import as a “splurge to remember” soon after it opened in June. Crispy, glossy, and just the right kind of decadent, Philippe Chow’s claim to fame isn’t just a signature dish—it’s an experience (it can take an hour to prep) that makes this swanky Chinese restaurant one of the hottest spots in town. A wraparound patio with IG-worthy Potomac River views adds to the destination vibes as you devour a family-style Chinese feast. Run, don’t walk—and bring someone you want to impress, because this newcomer is all about the wow factor.

Top review
Dined 6 days ago
As always great experience at Phillipe Chow. Starting with the service provided by Mina and her crew. Paying attention to every details. The Spicy Mignon is delicious. The lettuce wraps and dumplings are delicious too.
A photo of Kitchen Savages restaurant
4.2 (125)
$31 to $50
Navy Yard
About the restaurant

Darrell Gaston’s vibrant love letter to his Anacostia community burst onto DC’s dining scene in April, serving remixed Southern comfort food like crab cake egg rolls, extra-crunchy mumbo wings, and banana pudding cheesecake. The soul-warming spot hasn’t gone unnoticed—Washington City Paper readers voted it the best new restaurant in the “Best of DC” awards this summer. Gaston is all about uplifting his surroundings, which is why he hires many employees from Ward 8 and offers a culinary training experience for at-risk youth.

Top review
Dined 5 days ago
Great food! I will be going back! The lamb and ribs were incredible.
A photo of Any Day Now restaurant
4.5 (33)
$31 to $50
Navy Yard
About the restaurant

If you think you know diner food, chef and restaurateur Tim Ma wants you to think again. Any Day Now debuted in June and specializes in global comfort fare, pairing Ma’s Asian American background with chef de cuisine Matt Sperber’s Puerto Rican heritage. The plantain tots with adobo shuttle you to San Juan, and the honey-walnut calamari is Sperber’s answer to a Chinese restaurant classic. The runaway hit here is Ma’s genius take on the classic egg and cheese, which swaps the traditional bagel or English muffin with a couple of scallion pancakes—the cafe griddles over 100 an hour on some days (!) and they still regularly sell out.

Top review
Dined on Feb 4, 2024
Short limited menu but all the selections were great.
A photo of Kyojin Sushi restaurant
4.7 (245)
$50 and over
About the restaurant

This subterranean sushi spot from Arlington’s Yume Sushi team opened in July and quickly scored glowing reviews for its refined but experimental menu, which includes seared foie gras nigiri, gyozas stuffed with wagyu and lobster, and a large list of signature rolls. The 5,000-square-foot space is decorated with over-the-top Japanese murals and kimonos that stand in for seat cushions. It’s a total vibe on weekends (read: it gets packed, so reserve well in advance), complete with live DJs and late-night seatings. Stay tuned for a 10-seat omakase counter coming next year.

Top review
Dined on Apr 8, 2024
The service and food was outstanding. The ambiance was chic and cozy at the same time. Well done!
A photo of Rania DC restaurant
4.7 (296)
$50 and over
Penn Quarter
About the restaurant

Hello, glow up. In May, the former Punjab Grill was reborn as Rania, a regal South Asian spot led by Indian Accent alum Chetan Shetty. Fittingly, its name means “queen” in Sanskrit and the royal vibes are strong, thanks to lots of mother-of-pearl inlay and a carved piece of pink sandstone that tops the bar. Not to mention a private dining room decked with thousands of hand-laid mirrors. From the monkfish in red-onion masala to the ghee-roasted lamb with paper-thin lentil pancakes and tangy buttermilk mousse, every inventive dish here feels worthy of the MICHELIN star Rania recently earned.

Top review
Dined 6 days ago
Lovely dining experience, kind and attentive service, beautiful decor. Overall it was such a nice way to celebrate a friend's birthday. They even set a bday card on our table for the occasion. Our only wish was that the lighting was a little lower for dinner service but otherwise no complaints. Be aware the shrimp in the first course of the prix fixe menu is spicy!
A photo of Makers Union - The Wharf restaurant
4 (103)
$31 to $50
Southwest Waterfront
About the restaurant

This Virginia-based pub unveiled its second location in October—and it isn’t your average watering hole. Makers draws District residents for killer local brews, a knockout seafood selection, and is already setting itself apart as a weekend favorite. Bottomless Makers Union has quickly anchored itself as a popular neighborhood gem on the Southwest Waterfront.brunch here is a treasure chest of hits like crab cake benedict and smoked lox with lemon-parsley cream cheese.

Top review
Dined 4 days ago
Delicious brunch. Lots of options on the menu. Fresh tasting food. We had the cornflake French toast and the 3 egg meal that had ham, potatoes, biscuit. Best French toast ever said my husband. Mimosas were large and good. Wait staff could have been a bit more attentive to check for a coffee refill/additional cup and should have immediately explained you can pay at the table when finally getting us the check. Recommend for certain if you are down at the Wharf.
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