Michelin Inspectors Are Already Visiting DC Restaurants Again

The guide has been delayed until an unspecified date

Beet fettucini with Osetra caviar at The Inn at Little Washington. Photograph by Scott Suchman

Most food critics have paused restaurant reviews, or at the very least awarding stars, as the industry grapples with government restrictions, massive unemployment, upended business models, new safety protocols, and the crippling effects of the pandemic. The Michelin guide, however, is marching on and has gradually resumed restaurant visits in DC, a spokesperson confirms. Eater reported yesterday that Michelin’s anonymous inspectors have also returned to New York, despite an indoor dining ban there.

How might Michelin’s process or criteria change amid this crisis? How will inspectors handle restaurants that are open for takeout only?

Michelin Public Relations Lauren McClure responded to such questions with an email statement saying the criteria remain the same. Inspectors will continue to look for quality of ingredients, cooking technique, consistency, value, and the chef’s personality expressed in the cuisine. Michelin has never officially factored in service in its ratings.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, inspection teams have stayed in close contact with chefs and continue to monitor local safety guidelines to determine an appropriate time to return to their fieldwork,” McClure writes. “Our inspection team is fully committed to support and promote restaurants by being flexible, respectful and realistic as recovery takes shape,”

The next edition of the guide has been delayed, McClure says, “and official timing will be announced as the pandemic recovery takes shape.”

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.