Forget dieting. Make your new year’s resolution to move out of your culinary comfort zone. Try something new and a little exotic at one of these five restaurants in 2016.
As the District’s first Balkan restaurant, Ambar encompasses a welcoming spirit and traditional flavors. Housemade bread is served with specialty spreads and kajmak alongside meat kebabs, veal stew, pork belly-stuffed cabbage and sausage platters. The resto’s cocktails are created with Balkan rakia. 523 Eighth St. SE, 202.813.3039, ambarrestaurant.com
In the heart of Georgetown, the venue serves traditional cuisine with menu highlights that include shiro wat (a mildly seasoned ground chickpea stew) and steak tartare kitfo (an Ethiopian twist on steak tartare seasoned with mitmita and served raw). 1201 28th St. NW, 202.333.4710, dasethiopian.com
Little Serow serves a set of family-style, regularly changing menus that celebrate the flavors of Northern Thailand. Sample items include snakehead fish spiced with galangal and granchai, and rock shrimp served with pomelo and lemongrass. The menu is updated weekly. 1511 17th St. NW, littleserow.com
The modern Argentine menu here is vast and includes housemade sausages, gourmet empanadas and Argentine pizzas. Standouts are smoked veal tongue with grape mustard and pomegranate, and Quilmes-steamed mussels topped with tomato confit and shishito-pepper salsa verde. 1177 15th St. NW, 202.587.2629, ruralsocietyrestaurant.com
The Vietnamese menu boasts a la carte options, but try a family-style meal for two to 10 diners for the ultimate dining experience. A menu highlight is pho, a traditional Vietnamese meat-broth soup served with a variety of noodles and meats. 8190 Strawberry Lane, Ste. 1, Falls Church, Va., 703.539.8560, foursistersrestaurant.com