Sure, there’s something so exciting about looking forward to a weekend reservation, but there's a new trend in town -- "walk-ins only.”

And if you thought, "Wow, cool! Now I have better chances at getting a table," you would be wrong. Very, very wrong. No-reservations restaurants are some of the most popular and sought-after in Washington, D.C., and they often encourage their patrons to come early in the evening to get your name on the list so you can eat (at minimum!) three hours later. 

While that does not sound appealing to some (and in various cases I would have to agree), these five restaurants are so good and have received such high praise that, in my opinion, they’re worth the wait. 

Little Serow

1511 17th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20036

Little Serow is the hot new thing around town. And in order to be trending in this city, you can’t be traditional -- and that means no reservations ahead of time. The restaurant is also a pre-set menu kind of place, featuring cuisine from the northern part of Thailand. Though you’ll wait a while to get in (honestly, maybe not even being successful on your first try), once you do, you’ll want to make sure everyone you know knows you were there. Everything from the dark, intimate décor to the perfectly curated menu is worth raving about.  

restaurants

Courtesy of travelandleisure.com

Hank’s Oyster Bar

1624 Q St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20009

Located right off of the bustling 17th Street in the neighborhood of Dupont Circle, Hank’s Oyster Bar has some of the best oysters in town -- and some of the best people-watching from their patio! I wouldn’t say that you would have to wait hours to get a table at this popular spot, but plan on an hour or so. Lucky for you, there are tons of bars around to grab a drink at in the meantime. 

restaurants

Courtesy of wheretraveler.com

Bad Saint

3226 11th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20010

Bad Saint has received much high praise both locally and nationally for their menu, filled with authentic Filipino delights. This is, in fact, one of those places you will have to wait three to four hours to eat at, so I recommend coming in around 5 p.m. to put your name on the list, then expecting to eat around 8 p.m. The restaurant only has fewer than 20 seats, so when you finally do sit down for dinner, you can expect a very personalized experience. 

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Courtesy of dc.eater.com

Duke’s Grocery

1513 17th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20036

I wrote a year ago that this was the best burger in Washington, D.C., and I still stand by that statement. Everything about this burger is just delicious, from the aioli to the fried egg, to the tender, tender meat. There are other great items on the menu, of course, but if you haven’t tried the burger, that should be at the top of your list. 

Duke’s Grocery doesn’t take reservations for parties under six people. So, if you’re coming with a big group, call ahead and you’ll be all set. But if there are just two of you or something like that, get ready to wait. The most crowded times are happy hours and brunch. 

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Compass Rose

1346 T St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20009

Compass Rose makes my top five favorite restaurants in Washington, D.C. Their menu’s theme is international street food, and they’ve got small plates from all over the world. If you come on a weekday or a little bit earlier on the weekends, you might be able to sit down right away, but their main dining room is on the smaller side, and on the weekends you're looking at about a two-hour wait. However, you're right off of 14th Street, so there are plenty of places to bide your time. 

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Have you guys been to any of these restaurants before? How long did you have to wait before you got in? Share with us in the comments below!

Looking for something different to do? Take a pirate cruise on the Potomac! Yes. A pirate cruise.