On Tap Winter 2018

ON TAP | WINTER 2018 | www.ontaponline.com 38 By Lani Furbank The continued growth of the DC food scene in 2017 was studded with expanded global influences, boundary- pushing trends, game-changing construction projects and buzzy new restaurants that turned into instant classics. Chefs brought fresh flavors from Africa, Cuba, China, Korea, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, India, Switzerland, Georgia, Hong Kong and more. “Fine casual” became a commonly used phrase. The long- awaited District Wharf finally came to fruition, bringing with it a handful of scenic waterfront eateries. Across the region, hot spots like a modern Parisian bistro, a sumptuous Spanish palace and a hip Asian food hall captured our fascination. While it seemed like there were new restaurants and wine bars cropping up every week, these 20 are the ones that cut through the noise and should continue to impress in 2018. Arroz Chef Mike Isabella’s restaurant empire grew by leaps and bounds in 2017 with the opening of Isabella Eatery at Tysons Galleria and Requin at The Wharf, but perhaps the most enticing addition is his Spanish and Moroccan restaurant, Arroz, in the Marriott Marquis Hotel. The namesake ingredient takes center stage on the menu, with massive bomba rice pans decorated with seasonal vegetables, succulent meats and fresh seafood. To drink, there are cocktails flavored with piquant spices, three sangrias and sidra. The geometric patterns, gold gilding and deep colors are visually stunning, and the in-wall booths are elegant and inviting. 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; www.arrozbymic.com The Block This Asian food hall quietly opened in Annandale in late 2016, but has since become one of the buzziest hangouts in the DMV. The expansive space is home to six concepts: Pokéworks, which slings bowls and burritos with the wildly popular Hawaiian, marinated raw fish salad; Snocream Company, which spins avalanches of Taiwanese shaved ice; Munch, which sandwiches exotic ice cream flavors between donuts; Balo Kitchen, and its supply of Asian comfort food; Roots, with a focus on Thai street food; and The Block Bar, which offers bar snacks and booze. Instead of choosing one, try something from each and picnic at one of the large communal tables. 4221 John Marr Dr. Annandale, VA; www.facebook.com/theblockva Photo: Courtesy of Arroz Photo: Courtesy of The Block Photo: Rey Lopez Bresca’s sea urchin linguini