19 Restaurants That Should Have Been on Michelin’s Bib Gourmand List

Pepperoni pizza with honey at All-Purpose Pizzeria. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Michelin just released its first round of restaurant recommendations for Washington: the Bib Gourmand, a list of 19 affordable eateries in DC where diners can get two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40. The coverage of wallet-friendly options isn’t as prestigious as the star ratings, which will be released in the first-ever DC guide on October 13. Still, the Bib Gourmand is a significant recognition—and perhaps a good gauge of how well Michelin inspectors know and understand DC’s food scene.

Our takeaway: maybe Michelin doesn’t know DC very well.

Doesn’t Bad Saint deserve a star (or two) for its boundary-pushing Filipino fare? What is Bidwell doing on the list instead of one of its superior Union Market neighbors? And what about Das, a white tablecloth Ethiopian that barely makes the budget? We agree that José Andrés‘s ventures are deserving, but the tapas format can get tricky—and light—given the $40 limit. Also, if we’re going to include small plates, can we get another local inclusion instead of a New York import (i.e. Boqueria)?

We don’t know how the Michelin stars will align, which may have influenced the Bib Gourmand (the BG winners don’t receive stars). We also don’t entirely disagree with the tire company’s list. Still, there are many delicious options that Michelin overlooked–including places that could easily fit into the $40 budget. Here, our recommendations for what the list should have looked like (restaurants marked * are included in the Michelin guide).

All Purpose

Baan Thai



Compass Rose

Daikaya Ramen 






Hank’s Oyster Bar

Izakaya Seki


Panda Gourmet

Rappahannock Oyster Bar

Red Hen*

Thip Khao*

2 Amys*

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.