Michelin’s famously anonymous inspectors have spoken, and a pair of D.C. establishments — a small Peruvian tasting room nestled in Blagden Alley and polished Indian restaurant in Penn Quarter — just joined the elite class of local destinations deemed worthy of a visit by the French tire company.
The coveted little red book’s annual crowning of D.C. stars adopted a new structure this year, announced live last night alongside two other cities (New York and Chicago) during an invitation-only ceremony at TriBeCa’s flashy Spring Studios emceed by Man vs. Food host Adam Richman.
For the seventh edition of its D.C. guide, inspectors added two new one-star Michelin eateries: Rania, the luxe 2022 replacement to Punjab Grill led by chef Chetan Shetty; and Causa, chef Carlos Delgado’s prix fixe, pisco-fueled ode to his native Peru — and one of Eater’s 15 Best New Restaurants in America last year — that’s co-owned by Service Bar founders Glendon Hartley and Chad Spangler.
Causa “takes diners on a journey of flavors inspired by the topography of Peru,” notes Michelin’s inspectors. “It all begins in Lima with coastal seafood, then progresses into the Andes and the Amazon.”
Twice as many eateries joined the one-star Michelin list last year (Albi, Oyster Oyster, the chef’s table at Imperfecto, and Reverie, which remained in place despite still being closed due to fire damage).
The D.C. area is now home to 25 Michelin-starred restaurants, and all returning eateries retained the same star count. Only one still holds the title of its highest three-starred status: Inn at Little Washington, chef Patrick O’Connell’s American showstopper out in rural Virginia.
One glaring omission from D.C.’s newly refreshed Michelin-rated cast is Cranes. Penn Quarter’s Spanish-Japanese restaurant from chef Pepe Moncayo, which earned one-star status in 2021, was removed from the 2023 guide. The only other times an operational D.C. restaurant lost a Michelin star was in 2022, when Dupont institution Sushi Taro left the list, and the 2019 deletion of Blue Duck Tavern before that.
Meanwhile, two previously announced restaurants joined the value-driven Bib Gourmand club: Mt. Pleasant’s Tex-Mex taco spot La Tejana and Yellow, Albi chef Michael Rafidi’s growing Levantine cafe in Navy Yard and Georgetown. A sizable count of notable restaurants (10 in all) lost their Bib Gourmand titles for 2023: Bidwell, Das, Federalist Pig, Jaleo, Ottoman Taverna, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Thip Khao, and Timber Pizza Co, along with now-closed Fancy Radish and Zenebech. And Zaytinya, which lost its Bib status last year, quietly rejoined the shrunken group that now totals 29 restaurants.
Multi-city awards included Sommelier of the Year, which locally went to Sarah Thompson of Queen’s English in Columbia Heights; Daniel Todd of one-starred the Dabney received the the “Exceptional Cocktails Award”; the rising Young Chef of the Year went to Ryan Ratino (one-starred Bresca, two-starred Jônt); and Giuseppe Formica, the general manager at downtown’s one-starred Italian mainstay Fiola, was D.C.’s 2023 “Outstanding Service” winner.
Compared to Chicago and New York, D.C. went home with the fewest honors of the evening — just two Michelin stars and two Bibs — and didn’t receive any new green stars for sustainability. Chicago stole the limelight at the end of the lavish Champagne-and-caviar ceremony, getting the only new three-starred restaurant of the group for 2023 (Smyth).
Three stars means “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey” and two stars mean “excellent cooking, worth a detour,” while one star means “high quality cooking, worth a stop.”
Here’s the full list of starred restaurants around the District, followed by Bib Gourmand-designated eateries.
Michelin’s 2023 Starred Selections for D.C.
The Inn at Little Washington
Pineapple & Pearls
El Cielo D.C.
Imperfecto: The Chef’s Table
Rooster & Owl
Tail Up Goat
Michelin’s 2023 Bib Gourmand Selections for D.C.
Ivy City Smokehouse
Karma Modern Indian
La Tejana (new)
Laos in Town
Residents Cafe & Bar
The Red Hen
Zaytinya (added back on)