8 Uber-Cool Asian Restaurants in D.C. to Try Now

From the city’s first tabletop Korean BBQ to Bombay-style street food, these stylish spots are all the rage.

Anju

The chefs behind Chinese-Korean Chiko on Capitol Hill join forces again for this new Seoul-style pub. Inside the space that once housed Mandu, diners find a modern two-story restaurant and bar serving up trendy-yet-elevated Korean street food fare like “tornado potato” along with the chefs’ takes on traditional dishes like kimchi fried rice and spicy rice cakes. 1805 18th St. NW, 202.845.8935, www.anjurestaurant.com

Anju

Bombay Street Food

Punchy colors, festive music and a lively Capitol Hill crowd make the second outpost of Asad Sheikh’s Columbia Heights original one of the city’s brightest new stars. On the menu, find Sheikh’s hometown street food favorites like vada pav, a.k.a. “Bombay Burger,” a fried potato patty sandwiched between two thick slices of toasted bread and served with an addicting chutney. Other favorites? The crowd-pleasing thali,
 a combo plate that also comes in a vegan/veggie version; Bombay palak chat, a pile of crispy spinach drizzled with yogurt and a sweet chutney; lal mirch, a thick curry that doesn’t hold back on the spice. 524 8th St. SE, 202.558.9506 (also in Columbia Heights), www.bombaystreetfood.us

Gogi Yogi

With the opening of this spot in D.C., diners looking for tabletop-grilled Korean barbecue no longer have to drive out to Annandale in Virginia to get their fix. The capital city’s first KBBQ restaurant offers everything you’d find in the Korean-centric Northern Virginia suburb—communal tables for galbi and spicy pork belly, plus all the famous banchans and even towers of “somaek” (beer and soju). 1921 8th St. NW, 202.525.4167, www.gogiyogi.com

Hanumanh

The owners of lauded Thip Khao and Northern Virginia’s Padaek bring their skill with Laotian flavors to this bar-forward concept, which also highlights another D.C. trend—tiki drinks. Barmini alum Al Thompson’s concoctions pair well with the funky flavors in dishes like naem khao kob, a crispy rice and herb salad, and khao jee, an egg dish refreshed with milk bread and crispy chicken skin. 1604 7th St. NW, no phone, www.hanumanh.com

Hanumanh

Laos in Town

This newbie in NoMa claims the real thing in its team (a chef and owner with deep roots in Thai/Essan cuisine and extensive on-the-ground research, plus staff from Laos). The result? Plenty of hits on the menu. Diners have raved about everything from the pork sausage fragrant with lemongrass to the seen hang, a tender, flavor-bomb beef jerky, and the grilled whole fish. The modern indoor/outdoor space filled with finds from Vientiane add to the appeal, especially as the sun dips down into golden hour. All that’s missing is the mighty Mekong. 250 K St. NW, 202.864.6620, www.laosintown.com

Laos in Town

Queen's English

New York transplants Henji Cheung and Sarah Thompson’s glam restaurant in Columbia Heights brings to life Cheung’s childhood memories spent in the Northern Territories near Hong Kong. Those flavor-filled memories find their place on the menu here in hand-cut noodles stained black with squid ink on one side and smashed cucumbers topped with smoky celtuce and trout roe. The mostly walk-in spot accepts only a limited number of reservations, so get there early. 3410 11th St. NW, no phone, www.queensenglishdc.com

Thamee

After perfecting their native Anglo-Burmese flavors at Toli Moli in Union Market, owners Jocelyn Law-Yone, her daughter Simone Jacobson and their business partner Eric Wang go full-blown restaurant with this endeavor in the nearby H Street corridor. Inside, the simple subway-tile-lined decor shines the spotlight on the food Law-Yone and Jacobson grew up eating. Dishes like whole steamed fish with turmeric and citrus reference family meals, while treats like falooda layered with ice cream, jellies and basil seeds make sweet endings. 1320 H St. NE, 202.750.6529, www.thamee.com

Zeppelin

A mural on the building housing this lively Japanese izakaya depicts Godzilla about to rumble with a giant squid. Inside the two-story space, diners wrestle with what to order—there’s so much to choose from. The wide-ranging menu references Japan’s Edomae era with sushi (rolls, nigiri, sashimi) that doesn’t lean on frilly extras for its straight-from-the-Land-of-the-Rising-Sun cuts. Aficionados can also lean on expert chef Minoru Ogawa’s omakase. Charcoal-grilled skewers and comfort favorites like takoyaki quell any lingering hunger pangs, while expertly mixed cocktails (plus a Japan-forward spirits list) may—as the menu warns—lead diners to believe they can belt along with the best of them when the dining room turns into a karaoke lounge. You’ve been warned. 1554 9th St. NW (shared rides recommended as street parking is limited), 202.506.1068, www.zeppelindc.com

Zeppelin

Anne Kim-Dannibale
About the author

Anne serves as the Washington, D.C.,&nb...