Up from 22 in the 2018 installment, an astounding 39 affordable eateries—19 of which are new—have joined the ranks of the highly-regarded Bib Gourmand list in the 2019 MICHELIN Guide Washington, D.C.
Introduced in 1955, Bib Gourmand restaurants are selected by Michelin’s famously anonymous food inspectors, who choose restaurants serving high quality food on their menus and make it possible to order two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included).
“In the inaugural edition of the Guide, our team found 19 restaurants that really impressed,” says Michael Ellis, international director of the MICHELIN Guide. “After two years, these restaurants were consistently impressive, and we uncovered nearly twice as many to join their ranks. Our inspectors recognize these as their favorite restaurants.”
With the number of restaurants added to the selection in America’s capital, there’s a lot of ground to cover, with many different cuisines represented, including Balkan (Ambar), Spanish (Mola and Del Mar), Southern (Succotash) and Middle Eastern (Maydān).
Balkan cuisine gets little play in most cities, and it’s exciting to see Ivan Iricanin’s stalwart Ambar continue to deliver gorgeous plates of food. The kebabs, the baked phyllo pies, the stuffed cabbages—it’s all done with care and attention.
Three years ago, chef Edward Lee moved from Louisville, Kentucky to bring Succotash to Maryland's National Harbor. Last fall, he opened a second outpost in the landmark Equitable Bank building. Southern comfort classics like pimento cheese, shrimp and grits and bourbon chocolate pies were never want for flavor and often had their own spins.
We are excited to recognize Napoli Pasta Bar, which opened in March of this year. The place is a real win for Sherman Ave., and the kitchen delivers serious and authentic Neapolitan fare. The neighborhood-friendly, laid back atmosphere makes for a fine pairing with the wonderfully prepared dishes.
The Line Hotel has a handful of restaurants and bars, but the one we’re drawn to the most is the smallest of the lot. Erik Bruner-Yang’s Spoken English is tiny, has no chairs, and practically pits customers next to chefs who are cooking. And yet the food shows fantastic edge and technique, from the whole roasted duck to the fermented durian curry.
H Street’s Toki Underground is no stranger to the ramen game in D.C., and the lines to get in are long for a reason. This year we were particularly impressed by the tonkatsu broth, especially the condensed one. The depth, the intensity, the purity—that alone warrants a Bib Gourmand designation. Other dishes on the menu aren’t things to gloss over either.
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Restaurateur Rose Previte and co-chefs/owners Gerald Addison and Chris Morgan have something quite special in Maydān, which opened in November of last year. From the copper-capped grill to the dancing flames in the fire pit, Maydān successfully cooks with live fire (no easy task) and impressed us with a wide array of dishes drawing inspiration from Tunisia, Lebanon, The Republic of Georgia, Tehran, Morocco and Turkey.
Other new Bib Gourmand entrants include Chloe, Fancy Radish, Joselito’s Casa de Comidas, Kaliwa, Millie’s, Sababa, Spark, Supra, Tiger Fork, Timber Pizza Co., Unconventional Diner and Whaley’s. (View the full list below.)
Congratulations to all Bib Gourmand-designated restaurants in the third edition of the MICHELIN Guide Washington, D.C. The Michelin-starred restaurants will be released next Thursday, September 13.
Bib Gourmand Selection
Fancy Radish (NEW)
Ivy City Smokehouse
Joselito’s Casa de Comidas (NEW)
Napoli Pasta Bar (NEW)
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
The Red Hen
Spoken English (NEW)
Tiger Fork (NEW)
Timber Pizza Co. (NEW)
Toki Underground (NEW)
Unconventional Diner (NEW)