1. Copycat Co.1110 H St NE, Washington
2. Nonna’s Kitchen1212 U St NW, Washington
3. Denson Liquor Bar600 F St NW, Washington
4. El Camino108 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington
5. Ocopa1324 H St NE, Washington
6. Thip Khao3462 14th St NW, Washington
7. The Washington Firehouse Restaurant626 North Capitol St NW, Washington
8. Dog Tag Bakery3206 Grace St NW, Washington
9. The BBQ Joint1309 5th St NE, Washington
10. BUL2431 18th St NW, Washington
From Barmini graduate Devin Gong, hip restaurant/bar Copycat Co. combines craft cocktails with Northern Chinese bites like pot stickers, skewers, and bao buns. In addition to a permanent cocktail menu loaded with the classics, bartenders rotate through weekly (hand-drawn!) specialty menus featuring toddys, daiquiris, juleps, and more. Copycat is spread out across two floors: the first is for a quick beer and bao, while the upstairs is a relaxed lounge where you can unwind for hours.
A small dining room located on top of its sister restaurant, Alphonse Italian Market & Osteria, Nonna’s Kitchen is a trip to Italy, sans the seat reclining battle and line at customs. More specifically, it's a trip to a region in Italy. Every five weeks the restaurant changes its $90 tasting menu and accompanying wine list to capture the very best that a region has to offer. You’re supposed to feel like you’re in a rustic Italian kitchen belonging to an Italian grandmother (hence the name). But, what you really feel is that you’re in the capable hands of a young team fired up with the kind of passion that only leads to inventive cooking.
It takes a little effort to find this bar that is seemingly in the basement of FUEL Pizza. But, it’s worth it. Look for a light globe that reads "Denson" and climb down a set of stairs. Your feet slapping the metal will alert the doorman (BALLER!) to swing the door open and welcome you into a sexy, boozy lair. Cocktails like Sazeracs and Negronis are the go-to here (especially during happy hour, when they’re $9 instead of $14). Along with your libations, there are snacks like steak tartare, Greek-inspired lamb meatballs, and even a green curry chicken pot pie.
The hot spot comes from the team behind 1905. Order like a boss on your first visit by requesting one of every kind of taco, and tack on the chilaquiles — a cast iron skillet filled with chips, salsa verde, and gobs of smoked Gouda. Nothing vegetarian and gluten-free ever tasted so good.
The majority of the seats in this small, Peruvian dining room face the kitchen, because it’s the heart of the operation. This set-up allows diners to watch Lima-born Chef Carlos Delgado crank out ceviche, grilled meat, and rotisserie chicken while sipping on strong drinks with even stronger names (like the "Tatted Rack", for example, with lime, truffle honey, cassis, brut, and La Diablada pisco.
Named for the basket used to make Laotian sticky rice, Thip Khao comes from Chef Seng Luangrath (of the famous Thai-Lao restaurant Bangkok Golden in NoVa), who brings Southeast Asian cuisine and expert cocktails to DC with this sleek Columbia Heights spot. On the concise menu, you'll find specialties like grilled chicken thigh skewers with lemongrass and snakefish head steamed inside banana leaves with red curry. To cut the spice of your meal (feel free to let the waiter know how much heat you can tolerate), order the Phak Tai, a Laos-inspired cocktail with gin, mint, lemon, and sparkling sake.
The Old Engine Company 12 building that’s been converted into a restaurant and bar creaks in the best way possible, because nearly everything’s original. In fact, many of the former firemen who called the firehouse home donated pictures of the building back in the day to pepper the walls. Try not to think dirty thoughts about the big brass fire pole that runs straight through the establishment as you nosh on Wagyu sliders, juicy burgers, mussel pots, and three kinds of lasagna. Also lovable: an enviable patio for when the warmer months arrive, and a generous happy hour.
Dog Tag Bakery hires and trains wounded veterans, and when the vets aren’t making irresistible confections, sandwiches, and breads, they’re taking classes at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, to acquire skills to run a business. The cozy environment and cool touches, like an old-school dog tag-maker and a dog tag chandelier, make it the perfect place to plop down with a chocolate financier.
The Union Market location of Chef Anthony Evans’ BBQ Joint offers meats with a lot of TLC. Load up your tray with as many lbs as you can, plus some sides, and four different sauces. As far as locals are concerned, The BBQ Joint is the best place to eat barbecue in Washington DC, and we have to agree.
"Pojangmacha" is the term for the street food stalls in Korea that people gather around for bites to go along with their beer. BUL captures this scene with a menu dazzling with Korean and Japanese street food and bar snacks, in addition to hot, steamy, comforting bowls of pork belly fried rice. But before you go wild with all that, start by selecting which meat-on-a-stick will make you the happiest. BUL, which means "fire" in Korean, serves dinner and brunch, and their hangover soup means business.