100 Very Best Restaurants: #1 – Minibar

Cost:

Let’s address the elephant in the tasting room: Minibar is wildly expensive. Hamilton-tickets expensive. But that’s the way you need to think of it—not as merely a meal but as edible entertainment.

So what pushes José Andrés’s avant-garde place to number one for the first time in its 15 years? The 12-seat counter-within-a-kitchen received a warm make-over whose vibe harks back to its nascent days inside Café Atlántico. New head chef Jorge Hernandez comes from that time, too, and leads the 28-odd-dish progression with finesse. Each little bite is masterful—the pinnacle of creativity and deliciousness.

We thrilled at uni spherified in a jamón orb, a tangy frozen salad, ingenious non-alcoholic pairings that sometimes bested the wine, and a tree of confections in the adjoining Barmini, where you retire for dessert. There’s so much more, but we don’t want to ruin the surprise—you’ll have to see the best show in town yourself.

Very expensive.

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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.

Anna Spiegel
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.