D.C.'s first full-service Ukrainian restaurant is now open
Ruta, D.C.’s first full-service Ukrainian restaurant, is now open on Capitol Hill.
Why it matters: D.C.’s international cuisine game is horilka-level strong, so Ukrainian restaurants have been noticeably lacking.
Zoom in: Ukrainian food, which shares flavors and traditions with Eastern European neighbors, is loved for dishes such as varenyky dumplings and holubtsi (stuffed cabbage) — all served in the bright dining room and patio near Eastern Market (327 7th St. SE).
Big borscht energy: Chef Dima Martseniuk — nicknamed “The Ambassador of Borscht” by his fellow chefs — spent over a decade perfecting the hearty beet soup while leading New York’s East Village darling, Veselka.
- At Ruta, he simmers Ukraine’s national dish — ahem, not Russia’s — with short ribs or just vegetables.
🍜 Also on the table: Classics including Chicken Kyiv, beef stroganoff, and potato pancakes, plus fun mashups (hello, Ukrainian ramen).
👶 For kids: A lil’ pierogis menu with treats like cheesy Ukrainian pasta bake.
Zoom out: Since the Russian invasion last year, Ukrainian restaurants have been popping up from San Antonio to Manhattan, buoyed by an influx of displaced Ukrainians looking for a taste of home, and local support.
- Cue the queue at Ukrainian bakery D Light Café in Adams Morgan, where lines have wrapped around the block.
What they're saying: “We hope to be a part of restaurant diplomacy,” says Anna Volynets, a spokesperson for Ruta, which is named after a mythical Ukrainian flower. “We want to be a place where you can learn about Ukrainian culture and food, and see how beautiful it is.”
What’s next: Ruta is dinner-only, but will expand hours for brunch soon — plus live music and events with Ukraine House.
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