The kind of stars Washington, D.C. traditionally respects are the ones found on a flag or a military uniform. But the nation’s capital also has a bright culinary constellation and the Michelin Guide just released its annual ranking of the city’s finest restaurants, after a pandemic-induced hiatus. The guide itself will be completely virtual by way of a three-week aptly titled series called Still Serving, which will be announcing stars and special distinctions for the District of Columbia, Chicago, and New York.
Michelin’s 2021 list for Washington is based on Covid-era dining—masks, dividers, outdoor seating—but is complicated by the many worthy restaurants that have been shuttered by the pandemic. “This starred selection highlights the remarkable strength and innovation of chefs and restaurants who continue to serve D.C.’s community of locals and tourists with high-quality cuisine,” Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, said in a statement. “Michelin inspectors were especially impressed to discover inspiring new restaurant openings, despite the challenges of the global health crisis.”
The capital’s guide has certainly come a long way since Michelin started evaluating its restaurants. Its inaugural list in 2017 offered not a single three-starred establishment—and it stayed that way until The Inn at Little Washington was finally awarded its third star in 2019. And this year it was awarded another first: a green star, which highlights the importance of a restaurant’s sustainability efforts. It’s certainly another major achievement for Chef Patrick O’Connell, who has been at the helm of the inn since its opening in 1978.
“Michelin inspectors have been observing sustainable initiatives and the evolution of this new virtuous path for quite some time. We have adapted our tools to highlight these committed restaurants to our community of food lovers,” the guide’s chief inspector and international director said via email. “Before visiting a potentially Green Starred restaurant, inspectors conduct in-depth research about the establishment to understand more about its DNA and values… The green star highlights those establishments with an approach to sustainable gastronomy that we regard as being the most sincere, ambitious and impactful, with initiatives adopted by entire teams, embodied by a chef and delivered through an experience that customers can enjoy.”
As for the two- and one-starred honorees, there are a total of 23—with five new entries: Jônt, Rooster & Owl, Xiquet, Cranes, and Elcielo D.C. And four are temporarily closed. Overall, there hasn’t been much movement—as expected.
To view the full list of Washington, D.C recipients scroll all the way down. And to view the city’s 41 Bib Gourmand honorees, click here—or download the all-new Michelin mobile app on your phone. Also: Michelin will be releasing its Chicago and New York guides on April 29 and May 6, respectively.
Michelin Guide 2021: Washington, D.C.
THREE STARS (EXCEPTIONAL CUISINE, WORTH A SPECIAL JOURNEY)
TWO STARS (EXCELLENT CUISINE, WORTH A DETOUR)
ONE STAR (HIGH-QUALITY COOKING, WORTH A STOP)
THE WASHINGTON, D.C. 2021 SOMMELIER AWARD
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