Ahead of its big 2023 reveal next month, Michelin Guide named 10 new D.C. restaurants that could be up for star(s) or Bib Gourmand (“good value”) status. All instantly join the coveted little red book’s selection of “recommended” restaurants.
Japanese chef Makoto Okuwa’s multi-part Love, Makoto gets two separate shout-outs for its Beloved BBQ and Dear Sushi establishments. Also on the list: downtown’s Italian showpiece Grazie Nonna, Palisades tasting room Kappo, and Dupont’s Chang Chang — Chinese chef Peter Chang’s first D.C. restaurant. Petworth’s pint-sized Little Vietnam, which just announced it’s looking for a new home, is also on Michelin’s radar.
Michelin Guide’s annual crowning of D.C. stars adopts a new structure this year, announced alongside two other cities (New York and Chicago) at an invitation-only ceremony on Tuesday, November 7 in TriBeCa.
The D.C. area is currently home to 36 Bib Gourmand-designated eateries and 24 Michelin-starred restaurants, but only one holds the title of its highest three-starred status: Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Virginia. Teasing out choices before the big reveal — a move that started in 2022 — marks a turn from Michelin’s former format as an attempt at making the guide more relevant. D.C. chefs that already hold Michelin stars — Enrique Limardo, Michael Rafidi, and Jeremiah Langhorne — get new nods for the Saga, Yellow, and Petite Cerise, respectively.
Here’s the list of TBA additions with some inspector notes about each restaurant:
Beloved BBQ at Love, Makoto (Japanese): “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.”
Chang Chang (Chinese): “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.”
Dear Sushi at Love, Makoto (Sushi): “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.”
Grazie Nonna (Italian-American): “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.”
Kappo (Japanese): “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.”
Little Vietnam (Vietnamese): “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.”
Petite Cerise (French): “Everything old is new again at Petite Cerise, where classic French bistro fare is the order of the day ... 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.”
Rania (Indian): “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).”
Yellow (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?).”
The Saga (Spanish): “The Saga is the latest from Enrique Limardo of Imperfecto ... 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.”