12 DC Restaurants Earn Michelin Stars

An ice cube holds tea-laced soba noodles with sea urchin at Pineapple and Pearls. All photographs by Scott Suchman.
An ice cube holds tea-laced soba noodles with sea urchin at Pineapple and Pearls. All photographs by Scott Suchman.

After months of speculation and hype, DC’s very own Michelin guide has finally arrived. Twelve restaurants earned recognition, but none received the highest rating of three stars.

Although Michelin has not officially announced the winners yet, Jason Tilery, who works in health insurance, pre-ordered the guide in advance on Amazon and received a copy this morning. He sent Washingtonian photos of the guide.

Here’s the breakdown:

THREE STARS – “Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey”

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TWO STARS – “Excellent cooking, worth a detour”

Inn at Little Washington

Minibar

Pineapple & Pearls

ONE STAR – “A very good restaurant in its category”

Blue Duck Tavern

The Dabney

Fiola

Kinship

Masseria

Plume

Rose’s Luxury

Sushi Taro

Tail Up Goat

DC is not the first US city without a three-starred restaurant. The ill-fated Los Angeles guide, which only lasted two years, never included one. Currently, only 13 restaurants in the entire country have three stars.

A group of around ten anonymous Michelin inspectors from across the world judged restaurants on five criteria: quality of ingredients, cooking technique, harmony and equilibrium of flavors, consistency, and value. Although the guide was supposed to only include DC, Inn at Little Washington made the list.

Last week, Michelin also released its (confounding) Bib Gourmand list of more affordable eateries, and 19 spots made the cut.

The DC guide is much smaller than any that of other American city. New York has 76 starred restaurants, San Francisco has 50, and Chicago has 22.

While some have taken Michelin’s arrival in DC as a sign that the dining scene has arrived, others have questioned whether the city merits its own guide.

Michelin International Director Michael Ellis says the growth and innovation in the dining scene over the past few years drew the company to the nation’s capital city, but proximity to the federal government was also a factor. “Our main activity is not publishing guide books, it’s making and selling tires,” Ellis says.

If you’re interested in getting your hands on a physical copy of the littlest little red book, it will be available for $12.95 at bookstores (and online) beginning Friday. Upshur Street Books has ordered 140 copies, which are expected to arrive at the Petworth shop by 4 pm tomorrow. They’ll also be available at a public Michelin guide launch party at Columbia Room that same evening from 5 to 7 pm.

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