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  • Ambar

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Ambar Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.ambarrestaurant.com
  • Phone: (202) 813-3039
  • Hours of Operation: Dinner:Sunday-Thursday: 4:00pm - 11:00pm
    Dinner:Friday-Saturday: 4:00pm-12:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Tapas / Small Plates, Modern European
  • 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 & Promotions: 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.

Foodspotting photos
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Diner Reviews
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/18/2014
  • "The food was excellent everyone of the entries we tried was super!! Great service and we had a good time."
    Dined on 8/16/2014
  • "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!"
    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."
    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!"
    Dined on 8/15/2014
  • "You have to get the bottomless balkan; it's amazing"
    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."
    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."
    Dined on 8/12/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 8/11/2014
  • "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!"
    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."
    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."
    Dined on 8/10/2014
  • "The food at Ambar is excellent. The forest gnocchi is my favorite dessert in DC, possibly my favorite dish in DC."
    Dined on 8/8/2014
  • "Everyone at the establishment was excellent. All greeted me with a smile. The food was excellent."
    Dined on 8/8/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/4/2014
  • "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."
    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)."
    Dined on 8/3/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 8/1/2014
  • "Seems as if it would also be good for a special dinner. Wonderful food. Too loud upstairs, but they moved us downstairs cheerfully."
    Dined on 7/31/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/28/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 7/27/2014
  • "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!!!"
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "Amazing food, wonderful service, great restaurant."
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "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!"
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "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."
    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!"
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "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."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "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!"
    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."
    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."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "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."
    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."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "The was a return visit - and our previous dinners have been terrific, so we are assuming we just hit an off night. Service was attentive, food was fine, just not the stellar experience we've had before."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "Unique spot in DC. Good food tapas style. Great selection of Rakya."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "Wasn't sure what to expect, but was happily surprised. A variety of inventive meat and vegetable dishes. And the cheese pies - oh, yeah!"
    Dined on 6/20/2014