Last Updated August 25, 2019, with new hot pot place
Forget cupcakes and burgers, DC’s next significant food trend that is well underway in the metro area is Hot Pot. With so many locations opening in Maryland, Virginia, and DC proper, you have to notice it! If you are not familiar, however, then we are here to help.
Hot Pot is a process of cooking and eating with a pot of soup that includes your choice of a broth. However, the only right way is (in our opinion) spicy. You can enjoy this as a family-style sharing pot, or at some restaurants, a single personal pot. Always go with friends, even if you are not sharing the pot. The more people you bring, the more food you can try.
First, you pick your broth. Many places offer different flavors, but they typically include spicy, regular, and vegetarian varieties. First-timers who are a fan of spicy should go for it or try a safer route with the vegetarian or mild broth. Everything you cook in the broth will take on that flavor. Next, you choose different ingredients like meats, fish, veggies, tofu, etc. As soon as soup comes to boil, it is safe to eat right out of the pot. Plus, every meal goes with your very own self made sauces. Sauce making is an art of its own, as anyone can combine different types of ingredients to create a perfect dipping sauce for every bite.
With so many places now in the area and more opening, we just had to rank them all. We also happened to be big fans with regular visits. We will be updating this list as more places open or discovered by us. Feel free to send us your recommendations.
Did we miss a location? let us know and recommend your favorite Hot Pot to be ranked.
8. Riverside Hot Pot
We are sad to say that 7th place is no longer going to be the lowest rating, specifically for Riverside Hot Pot in Gaithersburg. We had such a poor experience at this place that it will be ranked lowest each time we update this list. The food tasted as if it was just defrosted, everything was so wet and falling apart. This is not what your Hot Pot experience should be.
7. K-POT Hot Pot & Barbecue
We are excited to see a new addition to the tasty area scene with K-Pot Hot Pot & barbecue, a Korean place in Rockville, Maryland. In most places, you can’t order both hot pot and barbecue at the same time, so this was a treat. Maybe even take that barbecued meat and add it into the broth for extra flavor! This location is giant with many tables, but even if there is a wait time, their full bar is great to pass the time. K-Pot is another all-you-can-eat place with lunch for $16, dinner $24 and weekend $26. This is one of the few locations where the weekend is more expensive, but just for a few dollars. Plus, you can enjoy both Hot Pot and BBQ options for just $3. Staying skinny is hard.
6. HotSpot Fairfax
Another one of the regular spots that we enjoy with a large group of friends is HotSpot Fairfax, Virginia. This place is great, with lots of nomnom hot pot broths and other ingredients, as well as some very cute male writers who are quick to get you your drinks and food. Unfortunately, this location uses chemical burners instead of an electric heating coil, which means it takes longer to boil and you have no control over the temperature. I guess we’ll just have to enjoy more drinks from their full bar. After hot pot, you can go and enjoy bubble tea or shaved ice from nearby dessert places.
5. Hot Pot Hero
Hot Pot Hero in Ellicott City holds a special place in our hearts and stomachs. It must be good, as we have been here many times over the years. Hot Pot Hero was also our very first Hot Pot in the DC area. What’s not to love? Amazing flavors, plus a superhero theme! While it’s not an all-you-can-eat place, we are big fans of their broth and fresh ingredients. This had a well-earned place in the top 3 of our favorite hot pot restaurants (before our recent updates). Another great feature about this place is that every table has a call button, so you don’t have to try to hail a waiter to get more food.
www.thehotpothero.com / Facebook / Instagram / Yelp
4. Hot Pot Legend
One of our favorites in the area is Hot Pot Legend in Rockville. There are many things we love about it, and a few we don’t. Things we love: Lots of veggie and non-meat choices of toppings. We love our meat, but it’s great to have other alternatives in the noming. They offer one of the most diverse and large veggies and vegetarian options and an entire section of the restaurant dedicated to veggies and not meat things. The broth has a great flavor. Plus we love these amazing panda pillows and family pots. Things we don’t like: our primary issue is that I am 6’4″, so yeah, very tall and the tables are so low that my legs can barely fit under them, which makes it not so comfortable to sit for a long time. It takes extra effort to get in and out. The place is also very popular, so there is always a wait time.
3. Urban Hot Pot
Our favorite Hot Pot restaurant at one point was Urban Hot Pot in Rockville. You know the place is great when the food and processes of eating food are great. The main attraction of this place is its conveyer belt, with an iPad menu at every table. Who even needs waiters when you can order with a click with anything you desire? Now the belt is a bit smaller, so the servings are not as big, but if you are a size queen like us, then press that menu and order up.
Another big advantage of this place over others is the all you can eat Lunch $19, dinner $26, and weekends/holidays $26 all day. We are not the only ones to love this place, so there is always a line. Of course, unless you know a way around it, that is… Yelp Online Que is your friend! If you are within 10 miles of the place, you can enter into an online queue which will tell you when the table is ready. No need to wait there surrounded by the delicious aroma and to watch others eat. Waiting is always the worst part. We can’t wait to come back to this place again.
2. HotSpot Chantilly
We are happy to see more HotSpot locations opening in the area with the most recent in Chantilly, Virginia. While similar, it’s a little different from the Fairfax location. For one, this is a much larger place, so there are more spots to sit at, plus a personal electric heating unit where you can control the heat of your broth. They also offer a giant tower of Soju and beer that you can enjoy with friends.
1. Hot Pot City
There is a new hot pot place in our hearts, and it quickly rose to the top as one of our favorite hot pot places; Hot Pot City. How did it beat our favorite to the number one spot? First off, there is an all you can eat conveyor belt. Conveyor belts and all-you-can-eat are great by themselves, but even better together! Hot Pot City has a wide selection of meats, seafood, veggies, tofus, and more. Their broth is top-notch with several options and levels of spicy so just in case you love it even hotter, you can order an extra side of “spicy” to add into your broth.