Image: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman 1946
In the before times we would do a weekly recap of activity on the site and news from the D.C. dining world. Our apologies for falling down on the job recently, but the good news is that there is news. So without further ado, let’s do an update!
Updates to the recommended restaurant list:
Lethargy and a general funk about the state of the restaurant industry dampened enthusiasm for doing updates, but a glimmer of hope on the horizon re-invigorated the team here. Here is list of places added in the last few weeks/months:
Mercy Me – The all-day spot from a talented couple of couples brings square pizza and Argentinian influenced dishes.
Tsehay – Many people immediately took a shine to this Ethiopian spot in Petworth – for good reason.
I Ricchi – The Tuscan-derived stalwart keeps going with a giant tent.
Cranes – In a near miracle, Crane’s survived the pandemic and came out on the other side with a Michelin star.
Stellina Pizzeria – The standout pizza joint on the edge of the Union Market complex.
For the time being we are not deleting those places that are closed for good from our list; partly to keep track, partly to be a reference for those who may have missed the news. Though the impact was not as deep as initially feared, there are still many places that we miss already. These include Nazca Mochica, Pom Pom, Johnny’s Half Shell, Montmartre, Oval Room, and Poca Madre (Hey Victor, the space is still available!).
The talented Kevin Tien built something special at Emilie’s, but it imploded. He is now at Moon Rabbit, which softened the blow when Kith & Kin left that location.
The hotel that housed The Riggsby changed hands, and is relocating to Bethesda (in the old Kapnos Kouzina spot no less – it all comes full circle). Ghibellina picked up for Ivy City and added Via to its name. Acqua al 2 closed, but there were rumors of a comeback outside of D.C. Lyle’s inside the renamed Lyle Hotel takes over for the Riggsby.
A few beloved spots came back after long closures including Marcel’s, Boundary Stone and Da Hong Pao. We hope for many more.
Going through our list of recommended spots, it appears that Opentable took a hit as places shifted to Resy and Tock. We are interested to see where it goes from here. The small inroads Yelp was making seem to have dissipated.
Michelin came out with its guide this week, in some cases literally ignoring the pandemic by talking about closed places as if open. They did not remove stars and added a few. They were not as kind with Bib Gourmands where they added but also dropped. They gave Napoli Pasta Bar a Bib, but missed that it moved to Virginia. It is now clear that the purpose of the Michelin Guide is not to be a guide for those looking for dining, but to be a racket of branding. We so no reason to stop picking on them.
One team we would like to commend is the Washingtonian staff. We missed mentioning this when it came out, but for its annual Top 100 issue it did an ode to 61 neighborhood restaurants we love. It is this kind of thoughtfulness that Michelin lacks.
We are hopeful that the seasons turning and vaccinations increasing will lead to a broader re-opening of the industry. We fear that many did not take the time to learn any lessons. And we can’t wait to sit down at a bar and order a meal on a random night and have that moment of joy.
We will continue to keep updating. With 300 restaurants on our recommended list and active updates as to status, we think we are the best guide in D.C. right now. Just saying.
Stay safe. Get the shot. Tip Big!