Every fall, Michelin releases its coveted Michelin Guide, an inspiring and cutthroat restaurant guide that steers the eyes and forks of restaurant patrons across the world. It’s so renowned, it can make or break the reputations of even the world’s most coveted chefs. Its three star system has been touted the most competitive and prestigious ranking system for restaurateurs in the world.
Unlike other foodie awards, the Michelin has incredibly specific criteria and only takes into account the quality of the cuisine served. No attention paid to the style of the tablecloth or the wait service, it’s only the taste of the dish and its presentation that matters. Even a single Michelin star is extremely rare, and that has made its award a beacon for restaurants who attain it.
2018 marks the second year in a row that Michelin has created a restaurant guide for Washington DC, and things are only getting more delicious in the Capitol. For 2018, DC was awarded a total of 14 Michelin-starred restaurants. While there are no 3-star restaurants on the list, two new locales were awarded their first star. So on on your next outing, why not explore all that DC has to offer and enjoy some world-class food. Without further ado, here are the 14 best restaurants in Washington DC, according to Michelin.
For driving directions to each location, use this customized Google Map to simplify your trip.
★ ★ — Excellent cooking, worth a detour
1. Chef Patrick O’Connell’s Inn at Little Washington
For an Incredible experience of creamy, salty, crunchy, sweet, succulent, delicately prepared works of art, explore the Inn at Little Washington. The restaurant inside the Inn at Little Washington has been the culinary domain of renowned chef, Patrick O’Connell for more than 40 years. The restaurant’s patrons can choose from three different tasting menus that highlight various aspects of American cuisine. Their dishes are also prepared using local produce from the inn’s own lush gardens. Top entrees include shrimp-and- pork dumplings, carpaccio of herb-crusted lamb, and Antarctic Sea bass with lemon vodka sauce.
2. Chef Aaron Silverman’s Pineapple & Pearls
This two-star gem is both large and crowded, and entry is reserved in advance via a ticket
system. Led by Chef Aaron Silverman, Pineapple & Pearls is known for its multi-course meals
which allow patrons to taste a variety of fine American dishes. Some of the more noteworthy
creations include smoked sturgeon salad, fennel bon bons, and potato ice cream.
3. Jose Andres’ Minibar
At Minibar, presentation is everything. After a creative cocktail in a stylish entry lounge, up to six guests take a seat at one of two diner-style countertops. From there, guests can watch as Chef José Andrés and his team prepare intricate dishes in a stainless steel kitchen that is theatrical in its presentation. The menu is constantly changing, but may include up to 30 different mini-dishes at one time. Look out for hand-crafted beeswax cups, edible parmesan spoons, and Ibérico ham gel shaped like a snail.
★ — A very good restaurant in its category
4. Chef John Malfi’s Fiola
Located near the National Archives and often frequented by Capitol Hill politicians and lobbyists, the Fiola is an upscale restaurant that offers rich Italian dishes that are both rustic and stylish. Some noteworthy entrees include the gorgonzola fonduta with lobster ravioli with ginger and creamy parmesan that pairs incredibly with their impressive wine list.
5. Chef Daniel Hoefler’s Blue Duck Tavern
Located inside the upscale Park Hyatt hotel, this the Blue Duck Tavern is as opulent as it is delicious. Upon entry, your eyes will drift to the 25-foot doors and floor-to- ceiling windows. In addition to this impressive decor, the Blue Duck Tavern offers a variety of East Coast-inspired dishes like fresh Maine scallops, roasted duck breast, and braised lamb shank.
6. Chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s Masseria
Located near Union Station, Masseria is another Michelin-starred restaurant with a multi-course prix fixe menu. This chic establishment was built out of the remains of a former warehouse. A few of their signature dishes include tripe and lobster stew, handmade pasta with goat ragù, and beet ice cream.
7. Chef Jeremiah Langhorne’s The Dabney
Set in a restored row house, this one-star restaurant offers a perfect blend of modern and traditional flavors. Led by Chef Jeremiah Langhorne, the Dabney’s open kitchen serves up gourmet versions of Mid-Atlantic dishes like grilled bok choy, fresh pan-fried catfish, and creamy grits.
8. Chefs Eric Ziebold and Celia Laurent’s Kinship
At Kinship, the à la carte menu is comprised of simple categories like “indulgence,” “craft,” and “for the table.” Chef Eric Ziebold and partner, Célia Laurent, deliver New American cuisine in a modern, stylish setting. Some of the more noteworthy dishes include lobster French toast and double-cut Berkshire pork chops.
9. Chef Ralf Schlegal’s Plume
Located within the elegant Jefferson Hotel, Plume serves fine New England cuisine amid splendid colonial decor. The grand marble pillars and silk wallpaper were inspired by the designs of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello gardens. Like many other Michelin-ranked restaurants, Plume offers a prix-fixe menu. Some highlights include the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab tea, King salmon poached in beeswax, and violet Pavlova.
10. Chef Aaron Silverman’s Rose’s Luxury Unlike the last several restaurants on this list, Rose’s Luxury offers creative cuisine in a casual setting. While the surrounding Capitol Hill neighborhood was sculpted from marble and stone, this modern eatery is made of concrete, plywood, and stainless steel. Rose’s Luxury’s menu is equally adventurous and features dishes like jerked pig ears, pasta with Thai basil, and lychee salad.
11. Chef Nobu Yamazaki’s Sushi Taro
Sushi Taro is widely regarded as the best sushi restaurant in all of Washington DC. While their offerings include several entrees and tasting menus, the Omakase tasting counter is the main attraction. At the counter, visitors can watch chefs Nobu Yamazaki and Masaya Kitayama create meals grill tuna cheek, fry soft-shell crab, and craft mouthwatering sashimi and nigiri creations.
12. Chef Jon Sybert’s Tail Up Goat
Tail Up Goat is a delicious Caribbean-inspired restaurant, and it features a funky bistro decorated with pastel tiles and lightly stained woods. The menu features stuffed porgy, maltagliati pasta, and cannoli with lemon filling. The bar also offers creative, island-themed cocktails, including several daiquiris and aguas frescas.
★ — New Stars! A very good restaurant in its category
13. Chef Johnny Monis’s Komi
The next establishment is a new addition to Michelin’s list of one-star restaurants. What Komi lacks in pizzazz, it makes up for in anticipation. Komi has no menu, so patrons must trust the guidance of the wait and kitchen staff. While it’s nearly impossible to predict your meal, some past confections have included mascarpone-stuffed dates and roasted kid goat.
14. Chefs Eric Ziebold and Celia Laurent’s Métier
And last but certainly not least, Kinship’s sister restaurant, Métier, is the other new addition on this list. While the two locations share both a kitchen and a chef, they offer very different experiences. If Kinship is casual and upbeat, Métier is sophisticated and mature. Patrons can look forward to dining on foods like Osetra caviar, smoked lamb loin, and deconstructed apple pie.