Travel to Eat

A Guide to Washington, D.C.’s 18 Michelin-Starred Restaurants

A plate of food in an upscale restaurant

By Lola Mendez

It’s no secret that Washington, D.C. is a gastronomical city jam-packed with incredible cuisine with restaurants representing cultures from around the world. There’s a perfect dessert for every type of sweet tooth and an impressive amount of brunch options. The District even has an astonishing 18 Michelin-starred restaurants.

If the thought of dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant in D.C. has you feeling like a hole is burning through your pocket don’t fret—the capital city has 44 eateries on the 2020 Bib Gourmand list of establishments which offer two courses and a dessert or glass of wine for $40 or less. There are also 125 recommended restaurants on the D.C.Michelin Guide. But, if you’re a foodie you won’t want to miss the chance to indulge and dine at least once at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Washington, D.C.—especially after a great day on a Fat Tire Tour. Here’s the full list for where you can dine. Go ahead and treat yourself; you deserve it!

The Michelin stars are awarded on a three-star system: one star is “a very good restaurant in its category;” two stars are “excellent cuisine, worth a detour;” and three stars are “cooking worth a special journey.”

Three Michelin-starred D.C. Restaurants

The Inn at Little Washington by chef Patrick O’Connell in Virginia is the region’s only restaurant to be recognized with three-stars. The quaint accommodation offers an elegant dining experience with impressive tasting menus of creative culinary creations such as the heart of smoked Scottish salmon. There’s a selection of three tasting menus to choose from based on your preferred palette for $248 per person; wine pairings are an additional $180 per person.

Two Michelin-starred D.C. Restaurants

minibar by José Andrés in Penn Quarter is uber-popular, so be sure to make a reservation well in advance. If you can’t manage to grab a table, José’s four other restaurants are all Bib Gourmand selections. Minibar is known for innovative bites that bring together art, science, and flavor. The imaginative tasting menu is $295 and enjoyed at a communal table.

Pineapple and Pearls by Aaron Silverman’s nine-course tasting menu in the Barracks Row on Capitol Hill is carefully crafted. Each dish is paired with a beverage. Have a similar experience for a fraction of the price by sitting at the bar and enjoying the $150 five-course tasting menu and order your drinks a la carte.

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One Michelin Star D.C. Restaurants

Little Pearl by Aaron Silverman is more affordable than the two-starred Pineapple and Pearls but equally delicious. By day the casual restaurant is a café, and in the evening it’s a wine-bar. There’s a pre-fixe dinner menu for $49, but you can also order a few snacks a la carte.

Maydan by Rose Previte is one of the most exciting restaurants in Washington, D.C. with zesty decor and an equally exciting menu that’s heavily influenced by Middle Eastern and North African cuisine. They encourage guests to have an exploratory experience with their meal, which may include dishes such as turmeric-spiced whole chicken or lamb shoulder dressed in Syrian seven spice.

Gravitas by Matt Baker is located in a reclaimed tomato cannery—the perfect setting for a true farm-to-table dining experience. The industrial space is charming with exposed brick and modern design elements. Choose from the seasonal five or seven-course tasting menu to sample dishes such as yellowfin sashimi and a chocolate ganache. In the Conservatory, a greenhouse-to-bar experience, order a cocktail made with fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

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Sushi Nakazawa by Daisuke Nakazawa doesn’t have a menu. Instead, you can expect to be served up to 20-courses of omakase-style sushi. The restaurant is located inside the Trump International Hotel.

Kinship from chef Eric Ziebold (previously of a Michelin three-star restaurant, The French Laundry) brings his culinary expertise to his beautiful eatery, which focuses on bringing people together. Order crispy Jerusalem artichokes and avocado carpaccio to share before an entree such as the Maine lobster French toast with marinated rhubarb.

Métier by chef Eric Ziebold is located on the ground floor of the same brick building where Kinship can be found. The upscale dining experience is intimate with just 36-seats. The theme is French cuisine, and the seven-course tasting seasonal menu costs $200.

Plume by Ralf Schlegel comes from a family of Michelin-starred chefs. His menu offers European-inspired dishes on a prix-fixe menu in the glamorous restaurant located inside The Jefferson Hotel. You can also order dishes a la carte such as the seared diver sea scallops with blood orange hollandaise.

Masseria by chef Nicholas Stefanelli is located in the NoMa neighborhood. The Italian restaurant offers unparalleled coastal Italian dishes inspired by Puglia paired with covetable wines. The prix fixe tasting menus are available on a tiered system, four-courses is $98, five-courses is $115, or six-courses is $143. The best time of year to visit is during the truffle season.

Bresca by chef Ryan Ratino offers imaginative dishes of cult classics such as pastrami beets served with whipped feta and dill on rye and a PB&J with foie gras. The dishes are incredibly fresh as many of the herbs are picked daily from the restaurant’s rooftop garden. Beyond the dishes, you’ll love the plush decor complete with a living wall of succulents.

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Komi by chef Johnny Monis is only open for dinner and offers a phenomenal Greek tasting menu. The Mediterranean tasting menu is $165 and usually includes a dozen dishes. Complete your meal by adding the wine pairing, which focuses on European wines for $85.

The Dabney by chef Jeremiah Langhorne serves Mid-Atlantic fare. The restaurant is only open for dinner and creates dishes with ingredients sourced directly from farmers. The rustic space is incredibly welcoming from the wood-burning oven to the raw wood tables and exposed brick walls. Small plates range from $14-$28, making The Dabney one of the most affordable Michelin-starred restaurants in Washington, D.C.

Fiola by chef Fabio Trabocchi in Penn Quarter is known for making a mean negroni, but be sure to save room for homemade pasta and seafood inspired by the Italian coast. Opt to dine in the main room to try the build-it-yourself four or five-course tasting menu or let the restaurant create a menu to your liking. In the Ezio Room, you may order a la carte dishes.

Rose’s Luxury in Barracks Row was named the best new restaurant in America in 2014 by Bon Appétit. The restaurant is so busy that they now offer an in-home dining experience. It’s best to make a same-day reservation so you don’t have to wait in line to enjoy lychee salads, broccoli fusilli, crispy cauliflower, and more.

Sushi Taro by chef Nobu Yamazaki in Dupont Circle specializes in dining omakase-style. Meals are crafted by the chef and rotate often. Beyond sushi, you may indulge in Wagyu beef and lobster for $180.

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Tail Up Goat in Adams Morgan offers Mediterranean specialties and is a favorite among locals. Goat is seen throughout the menu, including goat lasagna. They also have a wide array of vegetarian options.

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