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D.C.'s restaurant scene continues to expand

Monday - 1/13/2014, 9:58am  ET

Bluejacket was one of roughly 69 restaurants that opened in the District this year. (WTOP File Photo)

Dining trends of 2013

WTOP's Rachel Nania reports


D.C. welcomes 69 new restaurants in 2013

WTOP's Rachel Nania reports


WASHINGTON - Reflections of 2013 in D.C. include pandas, shutdowns and food yes, food. Dining Bisnow Editor Alia Khan says 2013 was "the year of the new restaurant" in the nation's capital.

According to Khan, roughly 69 new restaurants opened in the District, alone.

"That means we had almost six new restaurant openings, on average, per month," Khan says. "On the 14th Street corridor, alone, we had 13 new restaurants open up."

If that number seems daunting, Khan says she understands. That's why Dining Bisnow recently published a guide to all of the city's new restaurants of 2013, ordered alphabetically and arranged by neighborhood.

"Whenever you're going out for dinner, you can just check and see what are some of the restaurants you haven't checked out yet, or that sound interesting to you. Hopefully you can use 2014 to work your way down this very long list," Khan says.

In addition to the sheer magnitude of new restaurants, Khan says a couple of notable trends emerged throughout the year in the restaurant scene. One of these trends is what Khan refers to as a theater-style kitchen.

"These are those restaurants that have these beautiful open kitchens, designed for the diners to pull up a seat, basically across from the chefs, and sort of watch the culinary show as it happens," Khan says.

"So you get to watch your meals and everyone else's meals get cooked up and plated."

For those looking to catch dinner and a show, Khan recommends Table in Shaw, Red Hen in Bloomingdale and Roses Luxury in Eastern Market.

"A lot of people are really enjoying being able to see their food made, and the care and detail that the chefs put into it," Khan says.

Another trend that emerged in restaurants this past year is a careful eye in the design and overall atmosphere of a dining space. Many restaurants worked with outside designers and architects to help execute an ambiance that elevates the food and dining experience.

"It's really adding a layer of depth to the dining experience here in D.C. that I think diners really appreciate," Khan says.

Khan notes Penn Quarter's City Tap House, which uses reclaimed barn wood from Amish Country into its space, and Daikaya, which incorporates Japanese fishing ropes and comic strips on the walls. Both restaurants use design elements to craft a space with a specific feel.

Another restaurant that pleased diners with its design is Frederick de Pue's Table in the Shaw neighborhood of Northwest.

"It's really warm and cozy. Walking into that restaurant, you feel like you're walking into the house of a friend of yours who has really, really good taste," Khan says.

For more trends, highlights and restaurant recommendations, visit Dining Bisnow's webpage and Guide to 2013's New Restaurants.

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