Michelin’s famously anonymous inspectors have spoken, and four D.C. restaurants — ranging from a Latin tasting table in Northwest to a Middle Eastern marvel in Southeast — just joined the elite group of local destinations deemed worthy of a visit by the French tire company.
For the sixth edition of its D.C. guide, inspectors added four new one-star Michelin eateries: Albi, chef Michael Rafidi’s hearth-burning Levantine showpiece in Navy Yard (and one of Eater’s 11 Best New Restaurants in America); Oyster Oyster, Shaw’s vegetarian tasting room from Rob Rubba; Reverie, Johnny Spero’s sleek spot for contemporary cuisine in Georgetown; and Imperfecto — specifically, its “Chef’s Table” — where Venezuelan chef Enrique Limardo prepares elaborate tasting menus in the West End.
Meanwhile, four restaurants covering all kinds of cuisines hopped on the value-driven Bib Gourmand list. H Street’s Indian hotspot and Eater DC’s 2021 Debut of the Year Daru and downtown’s New Orleans-themed Dauphine’s, plus two in Petworth: fried chicken palace Honeymoon Chicken and ramen bar Menya Hosaki. A few notables lost their Bib Gourmand titles this year: Chercher, Chloe, Hanumanh, Primrose, Succotash, and Zaytinya, along with now-closed Hazel, American Son, and Napoli Pasta Bar.
D.C. is now home to a total of 24 restaurants with star status, and all returning eateries retained the same star count.
One glaring omission from D.C.’s newly refreshed Michelin-rated cast is Sushi Taro. The one-star sushi institution above a CVS in Dupont Circle pivoted during the pandemic with extravagant, carryout-only omakase menus before rebooting service inside. Fellow Michelin-rated neighbor Komi was also stripped of its star, which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise (the Mediterranean prix fixe place transformed into a casual takeout called Happy Gyro a while ago). Plume, the now-closed destination for Mid-Atlantic haute cuisine inside the Jefferson Hotel downtown, was the third — and most obvious — drop from the list.
With Sushi Taro gone, that leaves luxe Sushi Nakazawa as the sole Michelin-rated spot centered around sushi. The last time a D.C. restaurant lost a Michelin star was in 2019, when Blue Duck Tavern was deleted from the group.
Last year’s announcement of D.C.’s Michelin-rated restaurants added five names into the fold: Jônt (two stars), Rooster & Owl, Xiquet, Cranes, and El Cielo. Minibar by Jose Andres and Pineapple & Pearls by Aaron Silverman maintain two stars apiece, while the The Inn at Little Washington, Patrick O’Connell’s American showstopper out in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, is still the only restaurant in the D.C. guide with three stars.
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.”
Despite the trying pandemic, some restaurateurs have “managed to reach the next level in [the] quality of the food,” Michelin Guide’s international director Gwendal Poullennec tells NBC4’s Eun Yang on Wednesday.
Inspectors also consider the restaurant’s mastery of cooking techniques, personality and expression on the plate, and consistency all the way through, he says.
“The past two years have been very challenging for the industry worldwide and also the U.S.,” says,” he adds. “Inspectors had to adapt to the situations without compromising our methodology and ensuring the value of our ratings — ultimately, one star in D.C. is worth one star in Japan or Paris.”
Newly added awards for 2022 include Sommelier of the Year, which went to Nicole Ramée, Alisa Watts and the team at Glover Park’s one-starred Spanish spot Xiquet. And an “Exceptional Cocktails Award” went to beverage director Will Patton and the teams at one-starred Bresca and two-starred Jônt.
Here’s the full list of 24 starred restaurants around the District, followed by 36 Bib Gourmand-designated eateries.
Michelin’s 2022 Starred Selections for D.C.
The Inn at Little Washington
Pineapple & Pearls
El Cielo D.C.
Imperfecto: The Chef’s Table (new)
Oyster Oyster (new)
Rooster & Owl
Tail Up Goat
Michelin’s 2022 Bib Gourmand Selections for D.C.
Honeymoon Chicken (new)
Ivy City Smokehouse
Karma Modern Indian
Laos in Town
Menya Hosaki (new)
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
Residents Cafe & Bar
The Red Hen
Timber Pizza Co