Nara-Ya: The New Must Try Restaurant at The Wharf DC

We hope you’re excited because your mind’s about to be blown.  We recently had the opportunity to check out the Wharf’s newest spot, and we can’t even begin to tell you how much we enjoyed our meal.  Located below La Vie, Nara-ya’s basically a magical wonderland – really though, words don’t do the aesthetic justice – with incredible food, incredible drink and an incredible view.

nara-ya seaweed salad

Nara-ya’s Seaweed Salad

We’ve been long time fans of chef Albani Caolo so we were thrilled to see that she was the sous there.  We were familiar with her talent from Gravitas so suffice it to say, we walked in with HIGH expectations and left completely and utterly satisfied.  Everything from presentation to flavor was on point, and the bar program was awesome as well.  More on that later though.

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miso clam chowder

Nara-ya’s Miso Clam Chowder

Everything was phenomenal, but our favorites were as follows:

  • Miso Clam Chowder:  made with littleneck clams, crispy bacon and potatoes.
  • Smoked Zuke Tuna: presented table side in a smoking cloche of cherry wood chips.
  • Pan-seared Duck Magret: Okra-jicama salad, kimchi cloud and crystalized soy.
  • Nara-ya Roll: cherry blossom rice, spicy salmon, asparagus, topped with salmon, avocado, black pepper, torched with a lemongrass miso glaze, finished with crispy quinoa and micro greens.

Ridiculously tasty.  All of the aforementioned dishes were awesome, but their smoked zuke tuna was next level, like we could’ve easily devoured two orders…and then some.  And FYI, make sure you have your cameras ready because you’re gonna want to capture said dish for instagram – the presentation will wow you.

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smoked zuke tuna

Nara-ya’s Smoked Zuke Tuna

As for drinks, we’re excited to tell you that they have a Toki Highball machine (!!!!!!) in addition to a slew of cocktails you’ll undoubtedly love.  We really enjoyed their “Japanese 75” (blue butterfly pea infused Roju gin, yuzu, pineapple, coconut water, cranberry syrup, sparkling rose), their “That Bubble Power” (shochu, tozai Snow Maiden Sake midori, lime juice, sakura honey syrup, cucumber, and honeydew melon juice), and their “Sweet Otera” (crème of cacao Tempus Fugit, biscotti faretti, heavy cream, coconut milk, and matcha green tea powder).

nara-ya cocktails

Nara-ya’s “That Bubble Power”

“That Bubble Power” kind of tasted like a Korean Melona bar – yes, the popsicle – so it was hella nostalgic, but our favorite drink of the bunch was probably “Sweet Otera.”  We’re not big into dessert drinks so we were surprised that we loved this as much as we did, but it’s a must, especially if you’re into matcha.

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matcha cocktail

Nara-ya’s “Sweet Otera”

Nara-ya’s open Tuesday through Thursday from 5PM-10PM, Friday & Saturday from 5PM-11:30PM and Sunday from 4PM-10PM.  Click here to secure your reservation, and let us know what you think post nom-sesh.  For more on DC foodporn, click here and stay tuned for fresh new content coming your way.  Until next time!


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