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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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "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
  • "Unique spot in DC. Good food tapas style. Great selection of Rakya."
    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."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "Best place in the city to watch Croatia play in the World Cup! Happy hour coincided well. Food was great!"
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "Ambar does something similar to other places in town and offers a flat rate for brunch, including bottomless mimosas & Bloody Marys. Copious booze aside, I've really enjoyed the food here every time I've gone. The Balkan cuisine brunch menu is excellent and offers both sweet and savory items, served tapas-style. Brunch also lasts until 4pm, which is great for all the folks out there who like to sleep in on the weekends. We've had great service every time we've been here. Favorite items: ham & cheese crepe (which they manage to make crispy), cinnamon sourdough (with Nutella), and the blueberry compote waffle."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "If you thought Balkan food would never make your Top 10 list, think again! Ambra, on lively 8th Street, NE, has a part rustic, part elegant decor and a pleasing ambience. Don't miss the mushroom crepes, the quinoa cauliflower and the almond-coated chicken! All creative and delicious. Service was warm, helpful and attentive. The drinks were a bit disappointing, the only reason for an overall rating of 4 rather than 5. A different and delightful dining experience."
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "This is my fourth time going to brunch at Ambar, I can't stop. The food and service is THAT good. Try the mushroom crepes and cheese pies!"
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "I love Ambar and am always surprised by how uncrowded the place seems to be. They have great all you can eat and drink brunch and dinner options. I recommend going for brunch or dinner with a group and getting the small plate all-you-can-eat option. It gives you a chance to try tons of great food. For dinner, the only unfortunate thing is that some of their most interesting balkan drinks are not included on the all-you-can-eat option, and I recommend trying at least one of those. The service is reliably good, and their outdoor seating is lovely if you can get a table. They used to be open for a great weekday lunch, but are no longer open at that time. "
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "The service and welcome from the entire staff is always warm and sincere. you are always make to feel special. The food never disappoints. Service is fast and efficient but you are never rushed. The food is always hot and beautifully presented."
    Dined on 6/4/2014
  • "This was my first time at Ambar for the unlimited brunch. You can choose from 3 cocktails and a variety of small plates. Overall the food and drinks were high quality. The disappointing part was most of the food options were fairly Americanized, nothing much "Balkan" about it. I gave the service a fair rating because the server seemed busy and not quite as attentive as you would like someone to be when you want to keep ordering unlimited beverages and food! "
    Dined on 6/1/2014
  • "Four of us, two for the first time, had an early dinner. We relied extensively on our server to guide us through the menu, giving us suggestions for both small plates, and rakija. We ordered lots of both, and were very happily surprised. Service by the entire staff was great, they were friendly and helpful, and the food and drinks were top-notch. We would definitely go back. They were also very accommodating to our changing schedule, taking us almost an hour earlier than our reservation."
    Dined on 6/1/2014
  • "I live in the neighborhood and am a frequent guest at Ambar. I don't eat meat, but everything on the menu that I can eat is very tasty. Mushroom crepes are one of my favorites. The cinnamon sourdough with nutella at brunch is a must. Scrumptious! "
    Dined on 5/31/2014
  • "We had a great dinner at Ambar. The staff was so friendly and really took care of us. It was quite pleasant to sit near the open front door, until it got a bit chilly. Everything was tasty and the dishes we ordered came out in a good spacing. One side note: it's a got lovely low lighting. If you have parents who have a tough time with menus in low lighting, bring a small penlight or magnifier for them. "
    Dined on 5/28/2014
  • "The space is lovely -- all golden wood, and big windows out to the street, and the food is interesting and very good. And it's a little different than anything else you can get in DC, which is nice. My sister-in-law practically licked her bowl when the "forest gnocchi" was gone!"
    Dined on 5/27/2014
  • "We took my stepfather for dinner the other night. Not only was the food good (especially the mushroom crepes) but the service was friendly and attentive. High marks all the round. "
    Dined on 5/27/2014
  • "Our party of four had the "Bottomless Balkan," a variety of small plates. Our very friendly and knowledgeable server, Aleksandra, suggested items from the large menu. We were so impressed that we asked her to "surprise us." Everything she served us was wonderful! It was so great trying so many new small plate items. Nothing was a "miss." We've been to other Balkan restaurants in the DC area, but Ambar impressed us with the most unique selections. "
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "We had a nice dinner with wine at Ambar. The server was attentive and had a solid knowledge of the food. We sampled several items, and the stand outs were the brussels sprouts and the salmon. I'll be back to try more at Ambar!"
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "We shared dinner with friends who we hadn't seen for several years and pretty much put ourselves in the hands of our waitress for a selection of small plates. Everything was delicious and the pacing was perfect. "
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "Who even knew what Balkan food is? At Ambar, turns out it's delicious and different from anything we'd tried before. Even hummus, a favorite from Middle Eastern restaurants to grocery shelves, is different (but still very good) here. Everything was beautiful on the plate as well as tasty. We had a red and gold baby beet salad with goat cheese -- again, a dish I'd had elsewhere but never as good as this; grilled calamari with gremolata; grilled salmon over arugula & spicy eggplant jam; and a platter of Balkan kebab. The chef was able to modify the dishes to meet our dietary needs and keep the food tasting good. Our server did a good job of explaining dishes and delivering food & drinks promptly. We'll be back."
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "Overall it was fine but nothing really stood out. My biggest disappointment was how the food descriptions matched what was delivered. The spicy crab sounded amazing but when it arrived it was actually 90% cheese and 10% spicy crab. Every other item we ordered seemed to be doused in cream or butter which was not noted on the menu. It seems to me that dishes that overly rely on heavy dairy content show other weaknesses in cooking which surprises me based on this being a Richard Sandoval restaurant."
    Dined on 5/23/2014
  • "We love sampling from the small plate menu and the large plates too. The mushroom crepes are exceptional, and a stuffed zucchini special was a very good addition. The grilled meat large plate is perfect for sharing. Service is quite good, attentive and prompt. We love having Ambar close to home for us."
    Dined on 5/22/2014
  • "We had dinner here to celebrate my daughter's graduation from GU. We had a large group that was eager to taste everything. The food was fresh and prepared quickly and the flavors were amazing. The bar is a lot of fun and the service is excellent."
    Dined on 5/17/2014
  • "Fantastic spot! The food is delicious, fresh, and exciting. Authentic Balkan dishes are given a light and creative touch. How nice to have a new set of flavors available on the DC restaurant scene. Did I mention that the service and food presentation is outstanding?"
    Dined on 5/18/2014
  • "Every dish was amazing! Definitely check it out! We all wanted to keep eating but, after two hours, some time you have to throw in the towel."
    Dined on 5/18/2014
  • "The vegetarian dishes came out quickly, but the meat dishes took nearly an hour to arrive. We asked our waitress twice about the dishes and she kept saying they'd be out shortly. Despite the slow service, the food was good and the spicy mango drink was excellent. "
    Dined on 5/15/2014
  • "I've been to this restaurant many times and I've never been disappointed! The service is always wonderful and the food is absolutely amazing! The dishes are very unique and favorable. T "
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "Went for brunch, but didn't partake in the bottomless brunch special. Instead, I got the Balkan Panini with a side mixed greens salad. Tasted pretty good and the portion size was perfect for me, but it is a bit on the smaller side. The bottomless brunch special seems like a great deal; I'll have to come back and try it another time. The decor inside is really great. One thing I will note though is that they seemed really confused when I wanted to order something to-go. I had to convince my server, and she advised me they only have a "few" take-out boxes so she will try to find one for me. But then, the food was brought out to me on a plate anyway, so then the server had to take it back to box it up for me. A little strange? Oh well."
    Dined on 5/4/2014
  • "Doesnt get better than the unlimited brunch, but you might want to bring a wheelchair to get yourself out of there. Food is so good. The only bad part is there isn't enough room in my belly to eat all of the things I want to. "
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "Unlimited small plates and drinks for a fixed price, at dinner, is unheard of! It helps that the food is delicious and the cocktails (we did not have wine or beer) are decent. Between a party of two for dinner and drinks, you're over $98 a la carte easily. Great deal!"
    Dined on 5/11/2014
  • "The food at Ambar was great, while I met my friend for brunch we did not purchase the expensive all you can eat brunch, but just ordered from the menu. The crowd that day was huge since there was a baseball game, however, I was a bit put off by the "warning" that we would only have an hour and half for our brunch and that time would start as soon as my party was seated. But, since that hour and a half went into game time, the crowd had thinned out, and we were not asked to leave, but it did make us aware of the time. We all ordered either the crepe or the BLT and they were perfect and then we shared a couple of the fruit waffles. The bloody marys are excellent. "
    Dined on 4/27/2014
  • "You don't need to be be an adventuresome kind of gourmand to eat at Ambar, but the mix of many familiar ingredients with exotic flavorings makes the dishes worth remembering. Consider the menu as unconventional comfort food - in a beautiful setting with top-notch service. We smiled when our server claimed to remember our last visit 4 months earlier, but then he continued on to inquire whether I'd be drinking the same drink and be saving room for the same special dessert. All members of the serving team had a thorough knowledge of the ingredients. "
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "I've been to Ambar several times and they've got a great menu with a lot of different small plate choices. Dimitri our waiter is great - so friendly and extremely helpful. From this dining experience I'd recommend the following: duck breast, beet salad, brussels sprouts, mushroom crepes, and the sausage and beans which was one of the more authentic dishes. One that I thought could use improving was the Roasted Squash salad. From the menu I'd imagine it to be a bunch of squash with some lettuce, but it was more like a regular salad with the essence of squash; there were maybe 6 small pieces of squash in it. They always change things in and out on their menu so I look forward to returning to try some new dishes! "
    Dined on 5/1/2014
  • "Enjoyed the food a lot would go back. The forrest gnochi is one of the best deserts in town. The duck breast is a very weak dish do not order. The break basket does not provide a lot of bread for the $6. You literally cannot reasonably finish the dips you get withe small amount of bread provided. "
    Dined on 4/25/2014