Both Pittsburgh and D.C. (my two home bases) have become meccas for new and exciting restaurant ventures. Since I'm always behind the times, I still have a fair number of these new restaurants to try in 2017. These restaurants are diverse with everything from cheesy pierogies to savory panini to juicy burgers. Read on, if you're looking for new restaurants to spice up your 2017.
Photo courtesy of Apteka's Instagram
I've heard amazing things about Apteka and their all vegan menu, as well as their eclectic atmosphere. They've grown from a pierogi pop-up night to a brick and mortar restaurant on Penn Avenue. I've been wanting to go here for a while, because the restaurant's signature dish is a platter of pierogies and like a true Pittsburger, pierogies are one of my favorite foods. Apteka puts a twist on these classic Polish dumplings by filling them with nontraditional ingredients like tart sauerkraut and soft mushrooms, as well as crisp celeriac, crunchy apples, starchy potatoes, and spicy horseradish. There are some other promising dishes at Apteka that I'm anxious to try as well, like the Kluski Slaskiecarrot, which is carrot broth filled with rich porcini butter, soft potato dumplings, savory oyster mushrooms, and fresh fennel yogurt. Maybe this restaurant will turn me into a vegan. 4606 Penn Ave., Bloomfield.
Photo courtesy of DiAonia's Eatery's Instagram
DiAonia's Eatery is a recently opened Italian cafe, located in the foodie capital of Pittsburgh, the Strip District. I've been dying to try this place, because I am a connoisseur of well-cooked Italian food (who isn't though?). I've seen pictures of their light and airy atmosphere on Instagram and I can't wait to experience it in person. They have extensive menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner which gives you a variety of options with dishes from sweet Nutella panzerotti (fried dough filled with Nutella) to fresh caprese panini to creamy lasagna. These are only a few of the tasty dishes I want to sample. DiAonia's also has a classic coffee menu that is every hipster's dream. I think this place is the closest I'll get to Italy for now. 2549 Penn Ave., Strip District.
Good pizza in the District can be hard to find, so when Declaration Restaurant opened last year, I was excited to taste their pies. The restaurant is located in Shaw, which is the hotspot for new D.C. restaurants. Declaration's pizza allows you to take a historical culinary tour, as each of their pies is inspired by the original thirteen colonies. One of the pies inspired by the state of Maryland and one of its early representatives, Samuel Chase is topped with soft butternut squash, creamy sage ricotta, chewy mozzarella, potent roasted garlic, and rich truffle honey, which sounds like the perfect combination of flavors and sensations to me. If you're not that adventurous, you can always build your own pizza, too. Declaration also offers some tasty "beginnings", like crispy fried mozzarella, creamy gnocchi mac and cheese, and sweet brixx oven-roasted apples. I know this is the most delicious history lesson I'll ever have. 804 V St. NW., Shaw.
Red Apron Burger Bar is the most recently opened restaurant on this list, having just opened its doors in Dupont Circle at the beginning of January. A good burger can solve a lot of problems and the meat experts from Red Apron Butchery apparently know their stuff. I'm eager to try these meaty masterpieces, as they all have tasty twists on the classic burger. Their "Double Vision" burger has two hearty beef patties, spicy pimento cheese, crispy bacon, and savory tomato jam and the "Piggyback" has a juicy pork patty, gooey provolone, fresh broccoli rabe, and rich tomato aioli. However, they also have a classic burger, which is usually my go to order at any burger place. Sometimes you shouldn't mess with a good thing. They also have fries cooked in dry-aged beef fat, which is in line with the Red Apron Burger Bar's whole-animal approach, and topped with strong roasted garlic and fresh rosemary. The best part about Red Apron Burger Bar? I'll be able to finish off my meal with soft serve. 1323 Connecticut Ave. NW., Dupont Circle.