Ian Martorana


Reviews of restaurants in DC



O-ku is a new restaurant around Union Market in DC, serving "traditional sashimi and sushi, innovative Japanese specialties and wood-fired robata-style dishes." In reality, O-ku is a lot more. With an hyper-modern design (it has a warehouse feel, and it's a windowless restaurant), a range of seating options (I recommend the sushi bar), a friendly staff, and fantastic service, O-ku is built to impress. At the time of this writing, it's only been open about a week; I expect O-ku to get better. I had the Omakase, better known as a Japanese tasting menu. Let's dive in. Read more.


I am lucky enough to travel a bit for work, and I spent a few days in Nashville. And in Nashville, there is one place I had to try: Husk. I (admittedly) don't eat a ton of southern food, but Husk was a delightful meal highlighted by smokiness, acidity, and herbaceousness, and treating ingredients with expert care. Read more.


On a recent episode of The Eater Upsell (Eater’s awesome food pod, one of many I recommend subscribing to), various guests dove into the culinary world of baseball stadiums, which made me think of the Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich in Nat's stadium. Read more.


If there is one word to describe BLT Prime, it is opulent. The place oozes opulence, and largely, it delivers. Read more.


I went to Honeysuckle on a lark—a friend of mine made a reservation at someplace "nearby," and although I wasn't starving, I was happy to tag along (I do like to eat, after all). We ended up at Honeysuckle; you can taste and feel the Southern influences in the food and vibe, all the while having the inherent 'southernness' elevated to something more special. Read more.


Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, and as a Japanese food enthusiast, it was a meal I had been looking forward to for some time. Sushi Taro in DC is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers a nine course Kaiseki. The bottom line here is that this meal was absolutely incredible. At $90 total sans alcohol it is on the pricey side, but 10 dollars a dish isn't terrible. And you really get what you pay for: The meal is well-paced, and despite being 9 courses, you won't be too full when the meal is over. Read more.


Momofuku is the trendy place to be, and (despite the inherent contradiction) has been for a while now. One of my favorite food podcasts recently described Momofuku as one of the main restaurants responsible for "The Way We Eat Now." That is, Momofuku helped bring food into the forefront of our collective consciousness. And Momofuku preceded a lot of the ideas, products, and general zeitgeist (like this blog—how meta) that have come about as result of the celebrity chef and foodie culture. I just went to Momofuku because I heard the buns were awesome. Read more.


Plume is an amazing restaurant in the Jefferson Hotel. Boasting a Michelin star, Plume offers two dinner options: A three-course pre-fixe menu, or a tasting menu with an option for wine pairings. I enjoyed Plume with a few friends (and family), so we opted for the three-course pre-fixe menu to avoid completely breaking the bank. Read more.


Fig & Olive was a unique dining experience: The food was outstanding, the cocktails solid, the service dynamite, and the decorum unique—the last of which might not jive with everyone's expectations. Read more.


Bibiana puts unique and modernized spins on classic Italian staples that will delight the diner—whether they prefer meat, seafood, or pasta—and the robust wine list ensures a pairing to compliment anyone's tastes. That, in concert with the modern and chic decor, helps Bibiana earn its place in Washington DC's fantastic Italian dining scene. Read more.


The best word to describe Sushi Capitol is intimate—the establishment itself is small, seating around twenty people. Although you can choose individual sushi rolls, the best option is the sashimi or nigiri platters, which is Sushi Capitol's version of a tasting menu. All the choices of fish are left to the chef (photos after the jump). Read more.


It is hard to go wrong with poutine. Fries, gravy, and cheese curds: What's not to like? The answer is not much, and Urban Poutine is a DC food truck stepping up their fry game, serving gourmet versions of a classic comfort food. Read more.


In August 2016, I had the pleasure of visiting Manhattan, and dined at some excellent establishments. Although a deviation from DC restaurants, it would be a missed opportunity not to discuss the culinary adventures I had in New York. Wolfgang's Steakhouse on Park Avenue was a divine dining experience. When you come to a renowned steakhouse, you come for the meat. Read more.


In August 2016, I had the pleasure of visiting Manhattan, and dined at some excellent establishments. Although a deviation from DC restaurants, it would be a missed opportunity not to discuss the culinary adventures I had in New York. One of those restaurants, Butter, is helmed by Alex Guarnaschelli and was an amazing experience. Read more.


Brasserie Beck is a beautiful, sprawling Belgian restaurant boasting a varied menu, a fantastically diverse beer selection—they even have a beer sommelier—and a cordial staff. Read more.


Bar Deco is one of the better brunches I have had in DC in a long time. A solid bottomless deal, great service, tasty food, and modern aesthetic; Bar Deco really has it all. Read more.


Kabob Village is an Egyptian food truck serving up some tasty sandwiches and shawarma. There are a ton of kabob trucks in DC, and sometimes I get tired of one, so I like to try another. Read more.


La Tomate is an Italian bistro off DuPont Circle. La Tomate has a cafe to purchase ready made items, in addition to the restaurant, which boasts both indoor and outdoor seating. The best thing about La Tomate was the cocktail section, whether it be the bottomless mimosas or vodka cranberries, the aperitifs, or the selection of dessert wines. Read more.


Korean BBQ Taco Box is a dynamite food truck I had the pleasure of trying at Truckeroo. I ordered the Beef Bulgogi Rice box. In addition to the thinly sliced, tasty beef and rice were vegetable roll slices, a salad with ginger dressing, and a spicy chicken wing. Read more.


Whaley's Raw Bar and Restaurant is the newest addition to the Navy Yard neighborhood in DC. An area that once only had one small restaurant now boasts a robust selection. And you won't find fresher seafood in DC than at Whaley's.

A friend and I decided to check out Whaley's the second week of July. This restaurant had not been open long, but the service was firing on all cylinders, and I couldn't be happier. Read more.


The first thing that struck me immediately about Sei was the decor; almost the entire restaurant is all white. The chairs, the tables, the sushi bar; everything is white. It is so visually striking, and gives Sei an upscale feel right off the bat. 

Sei is some of the best sushi in DC. The hamachi sashimi is absolutely delicious, but the star of the sushi menu is the Fish and Chips roll, made of flounder, malt vinegar, potato crisps, and wasabi tartar sauce. Read more.


Bearnaise bills itself as an upscale Parisian bistro, and it absolutely lives up to that description. Having been for brunch twice and dinner once, I can unequivocally say Bearnaise is one of the better places to grab a bite to eat on Capitol Hill. 

Bearnaise boasts a relatively affordable bottomless brunch at $17. Most people know that bottomless brunches are highly sought after by DC-ites (DC-ians?). Bearnaise doesn't use the traditional champagne flutes either; these are glasses that can hold a healthy amount of champagne, and the waiters and waitresses have a heavy pour that I appreciate. Read more.


El Centro and Masa 14 have similar atmospheres, and even better, similar pre-fixe brunch deals. They all have all-you-can-eat + drink brunches, which are some of the better and more inclusive brunch deals you will find in all of DC. The brunches are the best value here, as the quality of the dinners at these restaurants vary more than the brunches. Read more.


China Chilcano, Jose Andres' newest restaurant in DC, is quite the culinary experience. If you've never been before, waiters and waitresses usually make a point to tell the patrons that contrary to appearances, China Chilcano is not a fusion restaurant (one can be forgiven for thinking that, given the variety of South American and Asian influences on the menu). 

China Chilcano is serving up genuine Peruvian food, and that's that. However, Peru has massive diaspora of both Chinese and Japanese peoples. Over time, their cuisine has naturally incorporated Chinese and Japanese elements into their South American cooking tradition. Peru has, in essence, a tradition of food that is in many ways a fusion of cultures. Read more.


Provision No. 14 (referred to by the cool kids as P14), is a cool spot that serves 'modern American' and small batch cocktails. P14 has a sizable patio (I sat inside when I went, because it was ~90 degrees out) as well as an upstairs area that I did not check out. I went here for a late dinner, and I enjoyed my experience. 

First, the cocktails: I tried both the Lime In The Coconut (Clement Select Rhum, coconut orgeat, and lime) and the Rhu-Bourbon Anne, Take My Hand (Old Forester 86 Bourbon, fresh rhubarb juice, egg white, Combier pamplemousse, and lemon). Read more.


On its website, Zentan is described as a "contemporary Japanese restaurant located on Thomas Circle, Zentan features izakaya-style comfort food." I had the pleasure of visiting Zentan during DC's Restaurant Week, which featured a prix-fixe menu.

The first thing I noticed was the ambiance of Zentan. It is a fairly large restaurant, and the space is very open and modern. The decor is what you would expect of a contemporary Japanese restaurant; earthy, dark tones are the predominant color palette, splashed intermittently with pops of color. Read more.


Radici is more of a market than a restaurant, but don't let its set up fool you - this place is serving up genuine, homemade, dynamite Italian cuisine. 

There are few things better than sitting on a patio with a baguette, bruschetta and pesto, and a bottle of wine. If you want fresh, delicious pasta, the perfect tomatoes for a homemade pasta sauce, authentic Italian wine, or handcrafted pasta, then this is your place. Read more.


You will not see me review a ton of diners. Although I love a good diner, it isn't always my style when I choose to go out to eat. Pete's Diner is an exception. It is less a restaurant, and more a Capitol Hill institution, serving the kind of excellent, diner-quality, eggy breakfasts you'd expect.

Nothing about Pete's tries to be anything more than it is; cheap (but good) coffee, omelettes, fried eggs, pancakes, crispy bacon, and sausage galore. Even former Speaker John Boehner is known for his trips to Pete's. Read more.


SUSHI. BURRITO. Those are the only two words you need to know, think, or care about if you are interested in Buredo, a sushi-burrito restaurant near the McPherson Square Metro.

Despite being a tiny brick and mortar, hole-in-the-wall type place, Buredo is serving up some high quality sushi at affordable prices. Read more.


Roaming Rooster is a dynamite food truck that I recently discovered at Truckeroo. As the name suggests, this food truck offers a cooked bird - in this case, awesome fried chicken with twice-fried french fries. For less than 15 bucks, you can get a ton of awesome food. Read more.


Jaleo is one of the many superb restaurants owned by restaurateur and chef Jose Andres. Fun fact: he is one of the (if not the) biggest importers of iberico ham to the United States. And thank god for that. Iberico is one of the finest ingredients in the world (think Wagyu beef for pigs), and Jaleo leans heavily on some creative and delicious preparations of iberico. Read more