UMAYA: An Inside Look At DC's Hottest Japanese Style Restaurant!

by Morgan Evans · February 17, 2015


Looking for a fresh new take on Japanese food in DC? The District's Asian food scene just got better as we welcome soon to be restaurant hot spot, Umaya, to DC! Guest of a Guest was invited to an exclusive media preview for the new restaurant, where we had the delicious opportunity of tasting and sipping select items from Umaya's decedent menu. Check out why Umaya is soon to become a District favorite with our inside look at the new Japanese eatery!

On Tuesday, January 27, Guest of a Guest, along with several other of the District's top media outlets, came together at one table for the exclusive media preview of new Japanese style restaurant, Umaya. The Japanese inspired restaurant brings together Eastern and Western concepts—providing the serenity and simplicity of a Western-style beer garden melded with traditional Asian plates and dining experience.


The restaurant, whose title directly translates to ‘place that tastes good’ in Japanese, is a brand new Asian restaurant emerging onto the District dinning scene this May. Opposite of the upscale sushi restaurant, Umaya is a posh place where you can go to enjoy yourself after work, or if you want want to hit the town, it serves as a trendy night out destination and a great place to meet for drinks!

Umaya presented a creative assortment of handcrafted cocktails during the restaurant preview. We awarded the Mandarin Shisho and Ginger Honey as our favorite cocktails, which exponentially brought out the flavors in the food and excited the palate. And as for the food? Umaya offered a delightful presentation of dishes from the Izakaya style menu. Similar to tapas, Izakaya restaurants propel guests to share food and enjoy their time together—always over a few drinks. Accompanying our food with drinks allowed for a greater appreciation of the menu at hand. It was hard to pick just a few plates that stood out, but two of the dishes that made our heart sing were the succulent Grilled SABA Mackerel, which practically melts in your mouth and the Kani Haru ~ Maki (Crab Spring Rolls).


Umaya’s kitchen is headed by Chef Munehiro Yonemoto and Sous Chef Calvin Yim. The experienced chefs have extensive knowledge of the DMV Asian food scene after working together for 3 years at Arlington's Sushi Rock. In addition, Chef Yonemoto worked for almost 20 years in Japan and Hong Kong and looks to bring those elements to the U.S. After tasting Umaya's dishes, the years of experience are truly evident and there is clear care and love that goes into the cooking. Both chefs are excited to bring the culture and authentic Izakaya cuisine to DC – introducing ‘something that is more true to the culture.’


The same care and expertise is also infused into Umaya's unique beverages, designed by Marco Maffeo-Robinson. Robinson, who many may recognize from TLC’s hit show, "Sunday Brunch," has been honing his skills and experimenting in the new frontier of "molecular mixology,” which is how Umaya's cocktails are prepared.

Excited to experience this new taste of DC?  We are counting down the days until Umaya's grand opening this May, and we do not doubt that Umaya will take the District's restaurant scene by storm!