100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Minibar
No. 2 on this year's list
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Jessica Voelker, Anna Spiegel
Sous Chef Charisse Dickens in the kitchen at Minibar. Photograph by Scott Suchman.
Comments () | Published January 27, 2014
100 Best Restaurants 2014 100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Minibar
Address: 855 E St., NW, Washington, DC 20004
Phone: 202-393-0812
Neighborhood: Penn Quarter/Chinatown
Cuisines: Spanish/Portuguese, Modern
Opening Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner.
Nearby Metro Stops: Gallery Place-Chinatown, Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter
Price Range: Very expensive
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Required
Best Dishes Oaxacan marshmallow; pig-tail-curry panini; chicken shawarma; Thai soup; carrots with coconut; beech-mushroom risotto; oysters with escabeche; squab with oysters and seaweed; “pine snow” with honey; sticky rice with mango.
Price Details: $250 per person (before alcohol)
Special Features:
Valet Parking Available

At $250 per person (before alcohol), José Andrés’s Penn Quarter culinary lab—with 12 seats surrounding an intensely focused kitchen—is among the most expensive restaurants in the world. Yet as you make your way through the thrilling 25 to 30 courses, you’re constantly reminded how few chefs have the creative capacity and technical wizardry to make food that’s at once perspective-altering and delicious. Bite the head off a meringue “rubber ducky” and a burst of ice-cold foie gras envelops your tongue. A tempura-fried sea bean invokes the lushness of a tropical island. A liquefied Marcona almond, frozen and stuffed with blue cheese, pays homage to an iconic Spanish tapa.

If you go, go all out—wine pairings, which begin at $75 per person, elevate the experience and showcase the skills of the exceptional service team. If you want to marvel at the place on the (relatively) cheap, book a table at the adjacent Barmini, where 15-minute cocktails complement such snacks as uni panini. Open: Tuesday through Saturday for dinner. Don’t miss: Parmesan canalé; chicken shawarma; Vietnamese pig ears; chocolate doughnuts; mezcal-flavored gummy bears.

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