Ambar
Ambar

Ambar

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.ambarrestaurant.com/
  • Phone: 2028133039x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Dinner:Sunday-Thursday: 4:00pm - 11:00pm
    Dinner:Friday-Saturday: 4:00pm-12:00pm
    Brunch:Saturday-Sunday10:00am-4:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Modern European, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Executive Chef: Ivan Zivkovic
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Cafe, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Private Party Facilities: Event Facility – up to 250 reception style
  • Private Party Contact: Alyssa Stanton at astanton@richardsandoval.com x
  • Special Events: Please contact Alyssa Stanton at astanton@richardsandoval.com

Getting there

  • Cross Street: E Street
  • Public Transit: Just south of Eastern Market Metro Stop
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: Street parking
A word from Ambar
Where southeastern Europe meets South East D.C.

Our aim is to put together the finest products of the New World and Old World for your dining pleasure. Perennially on the edge of great empires, the Balkans owes much of its food culture to its history, geography, and climate. The term Balkan is generally believed to come from the Turkish word meaning: “a chain of wooded mountains.” With a desire to introduce Washington, D.C. to cutting edge Balkan cuisine, proprietor Ivan Iricanin has created a dining space that will delight and indulge the senses. Primarily featuring “small plates,” Ambar will also offer wines and spirits from the Balkans not often experienced by the American diner.

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Ambar reviews from OpenTable diners
167 reviews since May 3, 2014
Overall Rating4.3
  • Food4.3
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
91% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (100)neighborhood gem (81)great for outdoor dining (68)great for brunch (59)good for groups (49)special occasion (46)romantic (42)hot spot (29)vibrant bar scene (28)notable wine list (26)great for lunch (14)late-night find (8)scenic view (6)kid-friendly (4)Show More
  • A Balkan dining experience
    DCTraveler
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Went to the restaurant with a friend from the Balkans. His starting point was whether or not the food was as good as his mother, an ethnic Serbian. He found almost all of the items on the menu to be generally as good as his mother's. He is considering coming back to the full tasting menu to see whether the remaining items on the menu pass that expections Had a glass of rakia. He also said that he wanted to come back on a Sunday, when they had thier half price menu for this drink. The waitress who was from Serbia, was quite helpful in advising him as to her personal choices. An overall fun evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Romantic setting/mediocre food
    DebonairGent
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Nice little restaurant in the heart of Barracks Row has a wonderful ambiance in stark contrast to the noisy spot next door; unfortunately the food was underwhelming both in portion and taste. At least the bill didn't break the bank.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Best Balkan food ever!
    lou07VIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    The chef does a fabulous job creating flavorful dishes that have the right amount of spice. Loved ever dish out of 15 that our table tried from the white fish dip to the mussels to the pork tenderloin. Definitely going back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Perfect!
    Alli
    Dined on 8/18/2014
    We have gone to Ambar numerous times. On Monday, it was my mother-in-law's birthday and we were going for the first time with our six week old. Was not sure how it would be with the baby but they were very very gracious and they had gave us outdoor seating because it was beautiful out and it ended up being just perfect.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Mario
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    The food was excellent everyone of the entries we tried was super!! Great service and we had a good time.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • SO GOOD
    Julia
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Ambar is one of my new favorite restaurants! I went with friends for dinner during restaurant week and our group opted for the $50 unlimited small plates and bottomless drinks option. It was well worth it! The food was fantastic, some highlights were the bread basket with various dipping sauces, the smoked trout dip, and the brussels sprouts. We also tried about a million other things and were never disappointed. The drinks were also great, the mango lemonade was a big hit as well as the mojito. They were also kind enough to reserve us a seat on their patio so that we could be outside. I cannot wait to go back!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Disapointing
    Foodie
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Went for restaurant week. The mussels were shriveled and overcooked, and the duck tough. Desert was good. Won't go again.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Balkan food on Barracks Row
    TravelingDPS
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    A friend and I tried Ambar for Restaurant Week. Great menu and value. We were able to share the small plates giving us a chance to try eight different menu items. Stand outs: Smoked Trout Dip, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, the Salmon entree with the horseradish sauce, and the four chocolate dessert. They like to turn over their tables quickly, so service can feel a little rushed. We requested a table outside or on the first floor due to mobility issues and were given a lovely table on the sidewalk cafe. I highly recommend and will definitely be going there again. A great addition to Barracks Row!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bottomless Balkan
    dcist112
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    You have to get the bottomless balkan; it's amazing
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good food, terrible service
    Dcfoodie
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Had a great time sharing food with my friend and enjoying all night happy hour, but the server really put a damper on our evening. She acted like she was doing us a favor by being physically present in front of us, never checked in on us, and was generally ride when she dropped off and picked up our check. Absolutely terrible.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    I had high expectations for the meal and unfortunately the food was not as good as I had hoped based on friends raving reviews. The white veal soup had started separating when it was served, the almond crusted chicked was burned to a crisp, and the sauce on the asparagus was separating when it was served. The seasoning on the food in general was bland. The dessert was wonderful. The time and attention to the presentation and the flavors was what I expected for the entire meal. The server, Anna was amazing. She was attentive and gracious, friendly and fun. Anna was the saving grace of the meal. I intend on going back for another try as this was my first visit to see this experience was anomaly.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great service (and food)
    CaitlinE
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    The food was delicious, but what really stuck me was the service. Our server helped us navigate the menu with my peanut allergy in mind and offered substitutions for sides, etc. Great service and the Balkan kabob was the best!
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Joke!
    travels64
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    This "Serbian " restaurant left us still hungry .A tapas experience at an Eastern European is a joke! Anytime you dine at a Eastern European table ,it always fills ypu to the brim with overabundance of all sorts of dishes. This was short of a simple sampling of appetizers. No live Balkan music= NO AMBIANCE!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Staff Changes, Maybe?
    Monique
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    The last time my girlfriends and I visited Ambar, the service and food were impeccable. This time, not so much. The waitress kept forgetting to enter our orders, at times saying other waiters picked up our dishes by mistake. The meat pie was either overcooked or had sat out for awhile; it was very hard. The waffles were inconsistent; some were light and fluffy, others were hard and nearly burned. We hope service gets better.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Solid Brunch Option
    AJFoodie
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    $35 bottomless brunch can't be beat, and the portions are quite healthy. Conveniently located near the Eastern Market metro, I will certainly be returning here.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Favorite in DC
    CharlesSchwein
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    The food at Ambar is excellent. The forest gnocchi is my favorite dessert in DC, possibly my favorite dish in DC.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    Jazzie
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    Everyone at the establishment was excellent. All greeted me with a smile. The food was excellent.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for lunch, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Interesting
    JTNUGENTVIP
    Dined on 8/4/2014
    A refreshing change of pace from all the typical DC fare. Balkan-inspired tapas/meze and some good Bulgarian wine. There are many different types of meze to choose from, including some bigger plates to share. It is very easy to go several times and not order the same things twice. Monday is also half-price bottle of wine night, which was very welcome.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ambar Summer
    HaaP
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    I went in a group of 9 to Ambar for my sister's birthday brunch. The staff were very accommodating to our large group and the food was excellent. It did get a little loud at times in the dining area but nothing overwhelming. Overall a great experience.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    I loved the food as usual. One thing that I didn't like was how there was such a lag in between delivering my dishes. I felt as though it may have been a tactic of theirs to discourage ordering more than just a few dishes on the unlimited brunch plates special, which I was disappointed by because I wanted to try more dishes than I was able in the few hours that I was there (we were there for 2.5 hours and I was only able to try 4 dishes during that time).
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • expensive
    BenH
    Dined on 8/1/2014
    price to expensive for the service and food portion ratio. The servant was not flexible and had attitude. We walked out of the place hungry.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Outstanding casual dinner
    DCTCA
    Dined on 7/31/2014
    Seems as if it would also be good for a special dinner. Wonderful food. Too loud upstairs, but they moved us downstairs cheerfully.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Two floors of awesome
    Haven2012
    Dined on 7/28/2014
    At first I was a bit worried about the noise level. The first floor is on the street level and was rather full. Luckily they seated my friend and I upstairs on the second floor. Not only did the second floor have a nice view, it was quiet and we were one of two tables up there. There are full-service bars on both the first and second floor. The kitchen is on the first floor. Whether you are looking for a quiet place with pleasant hubbub of background noise, or being in the middle of the busy/noisy city life, indoors or outdoors, this place has options! The food was amazing. The staff helped us navigate the menu. We both opted for the bottomless small plates, but I still had the option to just do food and my friend did food & drink.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, scenic view, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great for groups!
    Stacey
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    Jojic Uros was our wonderful server for a recent brunch with eight women -- what a fantastic experience, eating little Balkan tidbits, sitting and chatting. I would definitely go back!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great go to restaurant!!!
    marshVIP
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    I take everyone who comes to town to visit here...the food is really good and reasonably priced. What I like best is that its not the same old food. The flavors are so interesting -- the drunken mussels are just fantastic and must be tried. The servers are all great and very knowledgeable about the menu. I highly recommend to anyone coming to Barracks Row!!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Incredible
    dcmike
    Dined on 7/21/2014
    Amazing food, wonderful service, great restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • surpassed expectations
    Tara
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    Having been to Masa 14, zengo, and El Centro df, my expectations for Sunday brunch were quite high. First off the service was excellent on food delivery, refills, courtesy, and knowledge of the menu. Then the food. Some of the faire which didn't sound top exciting, once ordered, was tastier than could imagine. Multiple dishes highly impressed the whole crowd. The only down side (and super minor) is some of his other restaurants have a more unique special drink to accompany the typical brunch mimosa. While the one at ambar was delicious, it wasn't a stand out. As a side note, the bread basket that accompanies brunch as well should not be passed up. It was different from the typical muffins or scones and exceptional.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tasty and great variety!
    Sherm
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    The small plates here are done well and taste great. They will remind you of some of Eastern Europe's most notable dishes, but they're nuanced a bit and are not quite what you would find in Belgrade or Sarajevo. That part was disappointing.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Happy to host guests here.
    NearNeighbor
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    With a note on the reservation request, we were able to get handicapped accessible seating. Food was delicious, as always. So happy that food is so reliably good as is service. Only regret is that leek croquettes have no been on the menu for quite a while now. They are certainly better than the almond crusted chicken which was flavorful but hard and dry as stiff cardboard.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very Pleased!!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 7/15/2014
    I made a reservation for 10 to celebrate a friend's bday! Our waiter was very friendly and did his best explain the different options we had for dining. I didn't realize until I got there that they had the unlimited tapas options for a set price. But I should have know since this is another Richard Sandoval restaurant. We opted for the unlimited option at 845 with the kitchen closing at 10. The staff did their best to make sure that all of our orders came out in just enough time before the kitchen shutting down. Great restaurant, impeccable food, great ambiance, and definitely a great staff! Did I mention that the food was amazing??? I will definitely be back when I have more time to really enjoy the bottomless tapas and drinks!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    Alec
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    I live very close and have been to Ambar several times. I've never had a bad experience. The service is great. The plates are smaller than at most other places which makes them perfect for sharing. Unlimited brunch for $35 is an incredible value. The menu has enough variety to satisfy all tastes. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Vrlo Dobro!
    Zrowe
    Dined on 7/13/2014
    Brunch was very good! My only problem was my stomach: it was not big enough, so I and my sister could not eat everything we wanted. :) Thank you for your food and great service!
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Place!
    Azazello
    Dined on 7/12/2014
    The service and food were both excellent at Ambar. In addition they had a good selection of wines and beers from the Balkans which one normally does not see at restaurants or wine shops. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bottomless Brunch
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 7/5/2014
    Food was great and service was solid. $35 for endless choices was more than worth it. Waffles were especially good...only mildly sweet and very light.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • better than ever
    charlieb
    Dined on 7/3/2014
    I've been to Ambar a number of times, and on the last visit had the "bottomless balkans" special, which is a recent addition to the menu. Ambar has always been good, and this time it was better than ever. Everything was outstanding; this is a great way to explore the small plates menu, and at $49, a great value for all that you get. Table favorites this time included some of the best calamari I have ever had, along with an interesting and great flavored steak tartare. House wines that were included were excellent. Service was very attentive. Highly recommend. Your entire party must choose this option, which is reasonable and makes sense given the nature of the special and the tendency to share these types of dishes.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome!
    SammyKVIP
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    Four of us went to Ambar's this past Saturday night and did the $49 bottomless small plates and drinks--we had a fantastic time! We tried a ton of different things--everything delicious--and just kept drinking! Sandoval's restaurants never disappoint!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Really good, and rustic as all hell
    Carlo
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    I've never been to an upscale farmhouse on the Balkan Peninsula, but I'm guessing it would look exactly like Ambar (decor is like a less ostentatious version of Mari Vanna, which pretty much encapsulates the Balkans relationship to Russia as a whole). Service was very attentive, bordering on awkwardly attentive. The food was really really good. Zucchini soup, white flatbread, Balkan kabob were all perfect. Crispy cauliflower was good, but we didn't finish it because it was a lot of fried food. Spicy crab dip was good, but forgettable - get the bread basket instead. And the desserts were all elaborate, beautiful, multi-component dishes, which I wasn't expecting. The 4 chocolates was really good.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great bottomless brunch spot
    KathleenVIP
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    I really love trying different brunch spots, especially bottomless. The menu at Ambar is different but everything we got was delicious. The plates are bigger than I would like for bottomless - I like small plate style better. The service was awesome - our waiter was super attentive and our drinks were never empty. The only disappointing part was where we were sitting. We were upstairs which was pretty empty. I recommend sitting downstairs. Outside would be best but there are only 2 tables outside.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Exploration
    RDS554VIP
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    We have been to Ambar many times and it never disappoints! This trip was with some dear folks who have not had many opportunities to explore new cuisines. Ambar was perfect for opening their horizons in a cool, friendly, and inviting environment. And of course the food was the star. We will be back many times.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, hot spot, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • One of the best tapas deals in town
    PntblRvw
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    I strongly suggest you go and try Ambar for yourself; chances are you will thank me. For $50/person you can get unlimited small plates and select drinks (several beers, cocktails and house wines to choose from). That alone is worth checking out. To top it off, the staff is excellent, providing excellent advice should you need it, and the ambiance is wonderful. The Cheese Pie and Balkan Kabobs are a must. The duck breast was perfectly tender. The mango lemonade cocktail was a great refreshing drink. And be sure to save room for dessert! The traditional passion fruit and cream (the actual name escapes me) is amazing. You can try as many dishes as you have room for; you can't go wrong.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic