Forget cupcakes and burgers. The trend well underway in the D.C. metro area is hot pot. With so many locations opening in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. proper, you have to notice it! However, if you are not yet familiar with hot pot, we are here to help.
About Hot Pot
Hot Pot is a cooking process, and eating with a pot of soup includes your broth choice. However, the only right way (in our opinion) is the spicy way. You can enjoy this meal in a family-style sharing pot or, at some restaurants, a single personal pot. We’d recommend going to a hot pot restaurant 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 fans of spicy food should go for the spicy version 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 a boil, it is safe to eat right out of the pot. Plus, every meal comes with your sauces you can combine and customize for the perfect flavor. Sauce making is an art of its own, but anyone can find a way to make a perfect dipping sauce for every bite.
With so many hot pot places in the area, we just had to rank them all. We are big fans and have made regular visits. We will be updating this list as more places open or are discovered by us. Feel free to send us your recommendations
We are sad to say that 7th place is no longer the lowest rating on this list. Eighth place goes to 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 they just defrosted it, and everything was wet and falling apart. This is not what a hot pot experience should be.
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. You can’t often order both hot pot and barbecue simultaneously, so this was a treat. Maybe even take that barbecued meat and add it into the broth for extra flavor! This location is giant and has many tables, but a full bar visit is a great way to pass the time, even if there is a wait time. K-Pot is another all-you-can-eat place with lunch for $16, dinner for $24, and weekend meals for $26. This is one of the few locations where the weekend is a bit more expensive. Plus, you can enjoy both hot pot and BBQ options for just $3. Staying skinny is hard.
Another one of the regular spots that we enjoy with a large group of friends is HotSpot Fairfax in Virginia. This place is great and has lots of nomnom hot pot broths and other ingredients. We’ve also noticed some charming male waiters who quickly got us our drinks and food. Unfortunately, this location uses chemical burners instead of an electric heating coil, which means it takes longer for the hot pot to boil. You have no control over the temperature. I guess we’ll have to enjoy more drinks from their full bar. After finishing a hot pot meal here, you can go and enjoy bubble tea or shaved ice from nearby dessert spots.
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 experience in the D.C. 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 the broth and fresh ingredients. This had a well-earned place in our top 3 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.
One of our favorites in the area is Hot Pot Legend in Rockville. There are many things we love about it and a few things we don’t. Things we love: Lots of veggie and non-meat topping choices. We love our meat, but it’s great to have other alternatives in the noming. They offer tons of veggies and vegetarian options and an entire restaurant section dedicated to various veggies and non-meat items. The broth also 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″, and the tables are so low that my legs can barely fit under them, which makes it an uncomfortable place to sit for a long time. It also takes extra effort to get in and out. The place is also trendy, so there is always a wait to get in.
Our favorite Hot Pot restaurant at one point was Urban Hot Pot in Rockville. You know the place is great when both the food and process of eating food are great. The main attraction of this place is its conveyer belt. Who even needs waiters when you can order anything you want on an iPad at your table? Now the belt is a bit smaller, so the servings are not as big, but if you are a size queen like us, press that menu and order up. Another big advantage of this place over others is the all-you-can-eat lunch for $19, dinner for $26. All-you-can-eat meals on weekends and holidays are also$26 all day. We are not the only ones to love this place, so there is always a line. In this case, 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 a 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.
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. This HotSPot also offers a giant tower of Soju and beer that you can enjoy with friends.
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 options are great by themselves, but even better together! Hot Pot City has a wide selection of meats, seafood, veggies, tofu, and more. The broth is top-notch with several options and levels of spiciness. If you love it even hotter, you can order an extra side of “spicy” to add to your broth.