Dining

12 New Michelin-Starred Restaurants in Washington, D.C.

The city is the fifth in the U.S. to have its own red book
Washington D.C. Will Get its First Michelin Stars
Photo: Brian Holland via Flickr

On Thursday morning, a group of D.C. chefs will each be getting a very important phone call.

This is how the Michelin team delivers its good news to chefs, telling them they’ve received a prestigious one, coveted two or the exceptionally rare three stars. For chefs in a number of European capitals and even in New York, the wait during Michelin season can be exciting but stressful. And the pressure is arguably greater this year in D.C., as it’s the first year Michelin will issue a guide to the city’s dining. Joining the ranks of Chicago, New York City and San Francisco, D.C. will become the fourth city in the U.S. with a red book to call its own.

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While D.C.’s restaurant scene has often been heralded as the pinnacle of power lunches, it’s changed immensely in recent years, thanks to the help of chefs like Aaron Silverman at Rose’s Luxury and Pineapple and Pearls; Jeremiah Langhorne, who is reviving Mid-Atlantic cuisine at The Dabney; Erik Bruner-Yang, whose Taiwanese- and Cambodian-inspired cooking is just one of many reasons to visit Maketto; and Seng Luangrath and her Laos fare at Thip Khao. After dining around town, the lead inspector tells Tasting Table, “The level was unquestionably equal to all of the cities we cover in the country and internationally as well.”

Michelin announced plans for its D.C. guide back in May, but the famously anonymous inspectors were eating their way through the city’s restaurants well before that, the inspector tells us. “We’re not trying to sneak around; we just want to have the experience the average consumer has.”

What they found was a “distinct personality” to the city’s dining scene, the inspector says, continuing:

There are two very different styles coexisting: You have more formal and traditional that have been around for quite some time and they're still evolving. And then you have the young guns, these newer restaurants. They're a little edgier. These young chefs are putting a very distinct take on cuisines. It’s really exciting to see this revolution going on in D.C.”

While the list of who took home stars is top secret until chefs get the calls (and typically hop on social media to share the news), a number of guesses and rumors are floating around. The truth comes out tomorrow. So let the countdown begin.

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