Michelin Guide Releases Its 2021 DC Bib Gourmand Awards

Six restaurants were added to the list, but nine were removed.

Lapis serves modern Afghan fare in its airy dining room. Photo by Scott Suchman

The Michelin Guide added six DC restaurants to its latest Bib Gourmand list, which recognizes more moderately priced destinations. The new additions include bakery/restaurant Elle, soul food staple Hitching Post, Hong Kong-inspired Queen’s English, Malaysian newcomer Makan, Karma Modern Indian, and all-day Dupont Circle spot Residents Café & Bar.

Ten* restaurants were taken off this list—including Ambar, Tiger Fork, and Supra—bringing the total number of Bib Gourmands in DC down from 44 to 40. Meanwhile, several restaurants that have closed permanently or since the start of the pandemic, such as Hanumanh, Hazel, and China Chilcano remain on the list. *UPDATE: About three hours after list was released, Michelin sent an email saying Federalist Pig was “mistakenly excluded” from the Bib Gourmands “due to a technical error.” So, actually, only nine restaurants were taken off the list, bringing the total to 41.

Bib Gourmands must offer standout food at a “good value,” which for Michelin translates to $40 for two courses and a glass of wine or dessert (not including tax or tip).

The list of starred DC restaurants will be released on Thursday.

Over the past year, most restaurant critics paused reviews, or at the very least doling out stars, as the industry grappled with government restrictions, massive unemployment, upended business models, and other crippling effects of the pandemic. But the Michelin guide charged forward. Through it all, its criteria has remained the same. Anonymous inspectors continued 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,” Michelin Public Relations Lauren McClure told Washingtonian last August as inspections got underway. “Our inspection team is fully committed to support and promote restaurants by being flexible, respectful and realistic as recovery takes shape.”

Michelin has previously released its DC guide in the fall, but it was pushed back about six months due to the pandemic.

Here’s the full list of Bib Gourmand winners:

American Son
Astoria DC
China Chilcano
Ellē (NEW)
Fancy Radish
Federalist Pig
Hitching Post (NEW)
Ivy City Smokehouse
Karma Modern Indian (NEW)
Laos in Town
Makan (NEW)
Napoli Pasta Bar
Ottoman Taverna
Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
Queen’s English (NEW)
Residents Cafe & Bar (NEW)
Stellina Pizzeria
Taqueria Habanero
The Red Hen
Thip Khao
Timber Pizza Co
Toki Underground
Unconventional Diner

Restaurants removed from the list: 

Joselito’s Casa de Comidas
Spoken English
Tiger Fork

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.