Here Are the DC-Area James Beard Award Finalists for 2023

In the running: Peruvian hotspot Causa, chef Rob Rubba of Oyster Oyster, and Albi's Michael Rafidi.

Chef Rob Rubba at Oyster Oyster. Photograph courtesy of Oyster Oyster.

It’s a big day in the hospitality world: The 2023 James Beard Award chef and restaurant finalists are out.

Nominees were announced for 22 categories, including a new award for Outstanding Bakery. DC-area chefs and restaurants made the final cut in several categories, though not as many as in previous years. Chef Rob Rubba—whose plant-centric restaurant, Oyster Oyster, was a finalist for Best New Restaurant last year—is in the running for Outstanding Chef. Rubba has been rightfully racking up accolades for his innovative, hyper-sustainable approach, including Food & Wine’s Best New Chef.

In the Best New Restaurant category, Shaw newcomer Causa and its thrilling Peruvian tasting menu are competing for the win against nine other national newbies.

The toughest competition among local chefs is typically the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic category. But of the nine DC-area chefs who made the semifinalist list, only Michael Rafidi of wood-fired Levantine restaurant Albi in Navy Yard is left standing. All of the other finalists are located in Pennsylvania.

The winners will be announced at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 5 in Chicago. Last year, DC talents went home empty handed for the first time since 2012. We’re keeping our forks crossed for a win this year.

You can view the whole list of finalists here.

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.