MICHELIN Guide Inspectors spend all year on the road uncovering the best restaurants to recommend—and what they've found is too good to keep a secret. Whet your appetite with a sneak peek of the 2023 MICHELIN Guide Washington D.C.—eight new additions spread across the nation's capital.
From Three Star and Green Star The Inn at Little Washington (one of only 14 American eateries with Three MICHELIN stars) to One MICHELIN Star Bresca and Two MICHELIN Star Jônt (home to one of Washington's buzziest hospitality directors), Washington, D.C is home to some of the most fabulous MICHELIN Guide restaurants. But with our Inspectors, fabulous isn't enough. That's why in spite of the delicious flavors within the nation's capital, check out these 10 tasty additions.
And in case you wanted to know how to explore the nation's capital, here's how to enjoy it the MICHELIN Guide way.
Located in the Capitol Crossing, this Japanese steakhouse is undeniably striking with dark walls, a neon hallway and large tables with central circular grills. Chef Makoto Okuwa and an Executive Chef/butcher Takeshi Omae focus on the Japanese style of barbecue instead of the more familiar Korean. Icy cold oysters with chili koji are an ideal opener before tucking in to dishes like A5 Wagyu fried rice with soft egg, served in a steaming hot pot and folded together by the server to ensure each kernel is coated in the lush ingredients. Naturally, meat plays the starring role here. Some of the flavorful selections include prime short rib with sudachi, sea salt and black pepper; Wagyu New York strip with lime and wasabi; and aged beef tongue with excellent gamey notes.
Named for owner and well-known local chef Peter Chang, this Dupont Circle dweller has a sleek, minimalist aesthetic with a plush look and feel. The kitchen echoes the stylish look with elevated takes on classic Chinese dishes. Walnut prawns are plump and flash-fried, then drizzled with a scant amount of honey mayo. Pork soup dumplings are comfort in a bowl, but here they're precise with superb broth and tender meat. Even something as simple as snow pea shoots with garlic is crafted with care and perfectly complements any main dish. Speaking of, don't let the size of your party dictate your delight, since the crispy, juicy Beijing duck may be ordered in half sizes. Don't leave without enjoying a dessert from Chef Pichet Ong.
Dear Sushi at Love, Makoto
Are you ready for the toughest decision of your night? At Chef Makoto Okuwa's Love, Makoto, three unique concepts await under one very beautiful roof. You can't go wrong with any of the choices, but Dear Sushi is certainly a winner. This is omakase minus the sticker shock, but the price point isn't the only thing that delights diners. Opening snacks, handrolls, nigiri prepared in traditional and new ways—it's all here and it's all delectable. Tokoroten noodles in tomato water hit with sudachi, ginger and topped with fragrant shiso flowers, make for a refreshing treat, and nigiri highlights include akami with burnt negi miso and foie gras, or hamachi with smoked ponzu and chili paste. However, it's the ichigo, or strawberry, served over a cookie base, that seals the deal.
Chef Gerald Addison and Casey Patten are behind this spot that's long on nostalgia and short on shortcuts. This is hearty food that uses quality ingredients while channeling the memories of Mr. Patten's nonna's cooking. Italian-American classics are leveled up in plates of clams casino, perfectly tender and briny with sweet bacon and crunchy breadcrumbs. A handful of pizza selections includes the classics, but creative ones make interesting detours (try Heather's pie with pickled banana peppers and rings of white onions). Macaroni is given the Sunday supper treatment, but it's not just red sauce—prosciutto and peas, tossed with garlic-spiked cream, is a good bet too. Chicken Vesuvio never disappoints, just like this experience, where a buzzy bar is always packed.
Located a few steps below street level, this restaurant from Chef Minoru Ogawa has a minimalist decor. The counter faces the sunken kitchen where an eight-course Kappo-style tasting menu with a focus on Wagyu woven with seafood is the main event. The kitchen is exacting when it comes to flavors, but their style is approachable. Go ahead and add caviar and uni if you're feeling flush, but you won't need them to feel well taken care of here. Wagyu sukiyaki is a hot pot-style course served in two parts; the first offering a quickly seared, razor-thin slice of Wagyu ribeye, while the second presents the beef in a slowly simmered broth with sweet potato noodles. Sashimi arrives as a trio, while curry udon is a flavorful and satisfying finale to the savory courses.
This address in Petworth has been a revolving door for numerous chefs, but we’re bullish on its latest tenant. A merry band of friends have come together to deliver bold flavors from Vietnam and beyond. From cumin lamb dumplings lashed in chili oil to duck fat rice to an off-menu chicken Caesar rice wrap stuffed with chicken skin, the tightly curated menu is as tasteful as it is inspired. To the heavy beats booming overhead, courses like lemongrass red curry with duck confit and springy Sun noodles pack fiery punches. The young team has nowhere to hide in this tiny, open space where the curved bar sits right on top of the kitchen. Be warned: there’s no website, phone number or reservations, so scoring a table is a matter of faith.
Everything old is new again at Petite Cerise, where classic French bistro fare is the order of the day. This large restaurant is set over two floors; downstairs offers a view into the open kitchen. Kick things off on the lighter side with a slice of bread browned to a crisp and topped with yellowfin tuna with preserved chili mayo, or go all in with an order of foie gras beignets with raspberry sauce for a sweet-savory hit. Pork croquette is served with a creamy Dijonaise and sided by fruit, while a cornmeal-crusted soft shell crab is set over blanched green beans in tarragon mustard sauce. Finally, French bistro dining practically mandates dessert; a single profiterole with a delicious chocolate ganache sauce fits the bill.
Cocktails are designed to complement the rich, bold flavors. ""This fine dining concept seems fit for a queen, and good thing too, since Rania translates to ""queen"" in Hindi and Sanskrit. Chef Chetan Shetty, formerly of Indian Accent in New York, delivers something entirely new here with an inventive three- and four-course prix fixe menu. There are plenty of contemporary touches along with a few surprises (think braised pork belly vindalooo). Dishes like shiso leaf chaat balance a playful spirit with elegant overtones, while ghee-roasted lamb folded inside a delicate lentil cheela has a spicy kick that is tempered with a buttermilk mousse. Finally, Shrikhand mousse, a slightly sweet strained yogurt mousse with a hint of pistachio and cardamom, is the perfect finale.
The Saga is the latest from Enrique Limardo of Imperfecto. Just to the right of The Ritz-Carlton, this restaurant is minimalist to the max with a cream and beige palette, glass walls and light wood. Stylish all the same, they're saving the drama for the food, which is a blend of Spanish classics with updated, Latin American-influenced twists. Tapas and small plates are plentiful; enjoy the reimagined pan con tomate or patatas bravas. The menu features an entire section devoted to arroz, and the arroz morada is a worthy choice. Made with a salt-baked beet purée, the pink-hued rice is tucked with roasted vegetables, fava beans and a pine nut vinaigrette for a riot of flavors. Main dishes are meat-forward and sized for sharing; the lamb shoulder is a good choice.
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Chef/owner Michael Rafidi and team are behind this daytime casual concept in Georgetown where Levantine cooking takes center stage thanks to a wood-burning oven. It's always humming here, where long lines form for pastries, breakfast sandwiches or shashuka in the morning and pita sandwiches, spreads and sides (creamy labne with charred corn, urfa chili crisp and smoked feta, anyone?). Fluffy pitas filled with chicken shawarma, Palestinian pickles and green tatbili labne, or tender lamb with smoked peppers, feta and toum are popular. Just try not finishing the batata tots, or golden-brown potatoes with shawarma spices and urfa sauce. To finish, a brown butter and cinnamon cookie, Turkish coffee brownie or soft serve are compelling choices.
Hero image: Scott Suchman/Petit Cerise