First Michelin Guide on DC Restaurants to Be Released Thursday

Washington, D.C., will join the ranks of New York, San Francisco and Chicago, on Thursday and get its first Michelin Guide to the city’s growing restaurant scene.

All over the world, the Michelin Guide helps travelers and residents in select cities identify the best dining a city has to offer.

Michael Ellis, Michelin Guides' international director, told News4’s Eun Yang that anonymous inspectors rate restaurants on a one to three-star scale using five criteria:

  • Quality of ingredients
  • Mastery of cooking technique
  • The harmony and balance of flavors
  • Regularity over time and throughout the menu
  • Value for your money

The inspectors, qualified by their cooking or hotel school background, always pay their bills, which Ellis said ensures that they are independent. Many of them are also former chefs.

Bon Appetit magazine named D.C. their restaurant city of the year in August, and a Michelin Guide is another testament to what the city's restaurants have to offer. 

“We’ve been looking at the D.C. area for quite a while now, and we noticed a real evolution, a real dynamic, going on in the cooking scene,” Ellis said. “We thought the timing was good, so we started last year, and we came up with what we think is a very good selection.”

The contents of the guide will be kept a secret until the list is released Thursday. The Washington Post polled 56 industry insiders for which restaurants they think will be contenders for three, two and one-star ratings. 

They said they expect Pineapple and Pearls, Komi, Minibar, Fiola and Metier to come out on top, with the maximum three stars.

Almost 80 percent of the restaurants that appear in the guide will not receive a star, but that doesn't mean they aren't great, Ellis said. 

“Just the fact that a restaurant is in the Michelin Guide is already a sign of very good food,” he said. 

Michelin released a Bib Gourmand list of D.C. restaurants earlier this month, rating affordable restaurants. 

“Our inspectors are looking for good food, well-prepared, with a chef who is in charge of the kitchen, in charge of his team and producing very good food at a very moderate, reasonable price,” Ellis told News4. "We were amazed at how many restaurants fit this bill in D.C. and the variety.”

Keep an eye out for the complete guide Thursday, and be prepared to make reservations. 

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