Washington D.C.’s Essential New Restaurants for 2013

Washington D.C. by StephenLukeEdD on Flickr.jpg

This time last year we took a look at some of the newest restaurant openings in Washington D.C. but things move quickly in the nation’s fast-paced capital, so we’re back today with a follow-up. Here’s our pick of five new places to eat, right now…

Del Campo

Del Campo bar © 2013 Del Campo.jpg

Del Campo bar © 2013 Del Campo


The freshest newcomer on our list, Chinatown’s Del Campo has been open precisely two days at the time of writing and looks set to become Penn Quarter’s latest hotspot. Chef Victor Albisu’s new South American venture takes inspiration from his Peruvian roots, with a menu focused on ceviches, tiraditos and asado-prepared grilled meats designed for sharing (a type of Argentinian barbecue). Grab a seat at the bar before dinner and kick things off with a pisco punch.

Del Campo, 771 I Street NW, Washington D.C.


Ambar © 2013 Ambar Restaurant.jpg

Ambar © 2013 Ambar Restaurant


Opened in January this year, Balkan restaurant Ambar is an adventurous new addition to the Capitol Hill dining scene. Small-plate dishes draw inspiration from the cuisines of Serbia, Croatia, Albania and Turkey among others, with an accompanying list of drinks showcasing various fruit brandies and wines from Moldova, Montenego, Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Ambar, 523 Eighth Street SE, Washington D.C.

Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club

Dinner jazz © 2013 Bethesda Jazz and Supper Club.jpg

Dinner jazz © Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club


Fresh from an $8 million renovation, the former Bethesda Theatre has re-opened as the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club. Most rows of seating inside the fabulous art deco venue have been removed, replaced by dinner tables and a new bar and lounge area. Cajun-style fare makes up much of the menu – think blackened grouper, crab cakes and jambalaya – which is served prior to the evening shows. An eclectic line-up of entertainment from big bands and trad jazz to salsa orchestras, country singers and stand-up completes the night.

Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, 7719 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD


Just behind the Verizon Center, Daikaya is a highly-rated new ramen restaurant in Chinatown with an upstairs izakaya (a casual Japanese bar) serving a separate menu. Ramen lovers will appreciate the simple four-ramen menu (vegan, shio [salt], miso and shoyu [soy]), but the 90-seat isakaya is where things get really interesting. Expect tapas-style plates designed for grazing – crab croquettes, mountain yam, wasabi octupus – and a wide selection of sake, Japanese whiskey, plum spirits and shochu.

Daikaya, 705 Sixth Street NW, Washington D.C.

Le Diplomate

It’s been open little more than a week but it’s already proving hard to get a table at new French brasserie Le Diplomate on 14th Street, the latest venture from Philadelphia-based restaurateur Stephen Starr. The airy 250-seat restaurant occupies the site of an old dry cleaners and has undergone a total transformation, with a firm nod towards a Parisian bistro aesthetic. Open for brunch and dinner, the menu includes a range of French classics, from steak au poivre, escargots and moules frites to crme brûlée and apple tarte tatin.

Le Diplomate, 1601 14th Street NW, Washington D.C.

Header photo © StephenLukeEdD

Virgin Atlantic operates a daily flight to Washington D.C. from London Heathrow.

Have you been to Washington D.C. lately? Do you have any new recommendations to share? Let us know in the comments below.    

About Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.
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