With its high-gloss redesign, joining of the main dining room and bar, and hiring of a new chef, Ardeo has become one of DC’s most exciting mid-level destinations.
Owner Ashok Bajaj’s million-dollar facelift has brought about a livelier, louder atmosphere, in which diners linger. The best reason to stay is Nate Garyantes’s small plates–by turns elegant and homey, incorporating influences from Mexico to the Mediterranean. You can swing by to knock back half pours of wines from a wide-ranging list or indulge in a well-paced, well-priced meal.
What to get: Chicken-liver mousse; salmon rillettes with everything bagels; fritto misto with green-goddess dressing; Southwest-style green-chili/chicken soup; “carbonara” with smoked ricotta; rabbit Bolognese with ricotta agnolotti and carrot purée; suckling pig with red-eye gravy and cheddar grits; chocolate-pistachio tart; vanilla-citrus cheesecake.
Open Monday through Friday for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate.