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  • Ambar

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Ambar Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.ambarrestaurant.com
  • Email: info@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
  • "All-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink for less than $40?! The food is AMAZING. I went with two friends, and we split 10 or so plates. We left full and tipsy and so incredibly satisfied. We'll be back soon!"
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "This is our go to place when we have friends in town. The food is interesting and delicious and everyone is very friendly. I have nothing bad to say about it."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "The Bottomless Balkan is a great deal for a special occassion ($49/person all you can eat small plates and all you can drink). The all you can drink is limited to a smaller section of the menu, but the house red was good, and all the cocktails were quality. I highly recommend the bacon and peanut pork tenderloin - delicious. Other great dishes - roasted mushroom crepes, cheese pie, brussels sprouts with bacon, and smoked trout dip. It was a little loud because we were seated by the bar, but it quieted down later in the evening (around 9:30). Our waiter was great and good at recommending dishes."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "The food was ok- the options were varied & the portions were decent, was definitely full after but the seasoning was bland. If you're out on the patio, prepare for oftentime unbearablely loud groups. That was a major turnoff. Otherwise, nice space."
    Dined on 4/6/2014
  • "We loved the food and I was amazed at how well the server took care of us, even though we ordered numerous times. I would recommend the pork tenderloin, mussels, and beet salad. The only negative feedback I have about Ambar, was the seating. We sat at a table with about two inches of clearance on either side. We were celebrating an anniversary, and looking for a more intimate meal. Plus, it was impossible to not rock your neighbor's table when you head to the restroom. All-in-all, we had a great time and the food was amazing."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "Dropped in after an all-day Smithsonian tour of VIrginia caverns. The small plates at Ambar were just what we wanted. She got asparagus and a flatbread while I had the Balkan Kebab and always-delicious stuffed cabbage (which was again served in a very hot iron dish but this time lacked the lid on which I burned my fingers on our last visit). She got a Mango Margarita and I had a couple glasses of red wine and a Belgrade Mule. Service was reasonably attentive. A noisy child (is there any other kind?) at a nearby table was a mild annoyance. Ambar was understandibly crowded on a Saturday night. As we were leaving, the staff was moving tables next to us to accomodate a party of seven that we feared might include more Future Taxpayers."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "Great restaurant. Well executed menu with a great scene. Don't be intimidated by Balkan fare... the restaurant uses Balkan influences and merges them with the American palate. Nice selection of Southeastern European wines/beers."
    Dined on 4/4/2014
  • "As a well traveled foodie who eats out often I can that Ambar stands out in every category. Forget the waits for Ambar's good and popular neighbor Roses. You can reserve online here and have an interesting creative taste of the Balkans that certainly equals or rivals anything else in Washington-not just the Hill."
    Dined on 4/3/2014
  • "Delicious food, interesting dishes, friendly and attentive wait staff! An all around great dining experience. Thank you, Ambar!"
    Dined on 3/30/2014
  • "Phenomenal brunch experience. Great food choices, modern portions allowing variation, wonderfully informed waiter. The wine prices are reasonable, the staff is great, and the food is delicious. What is not to love?!! Will be back"
    Dined on 3/23/2014
  • "I can only speak for the brunch at Ambar which is unlimited and delicious. Most unlimited brunch specials are actually limiting in what food you can order. Ambar's unlimited is no joke- you can have one of everything if you're really into that kind of overeating. Whatever you decide on, you must get the doughnut holes. And ham crepe. Sweet and savory in the perfect brunch."
    Dined on 9/15/2013
  • "The Ambar mimosa was great, but unfortunately the omelets were cold and lacking in flavor. Those of us that ordered sandwiches were more pleased with our order."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Third time here - service varies, but the food is always good."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "This is a small plates restaurant that specializes in food from the Balkans (SE Europe). The unlimited plates option really only works if you have a very hearty appetite, but I had my 19-yr-old son with me, so we didn't have a problem. Unlimited plates are available without cocktails for a lower price. Our favorites included the various meat options - ground meat and sausage plates were tasty and the chicken kabobs were surprisingly moist. We also tried the dessert gnocchi. It was an unusual-looking dish, to say the least, but the flavors all worked well together. It would be interesting to know how the chef came up with the combination of flavors and textures. The service was quick and attentive."
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "The specials were wonderful and we really liked everything we got!"
    Dined on 3/20/2014
  • "A group of friends went. Plates were a little too small for sharing but good."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "I had family in town, and have heard great things. Being a restaurant vet now for 10 years and a culinary student, I am very picky about where I take people. I had never been to Ambar, but have heard good things. Although quite noisy, everything else made up for that fact. Our server was very kind and punctual, we never went in need of anything and enjoyed his service along with the hard work of his food runner and busser. I would absolutely recommend this spot to anyone who is down for a good meal in a vibrant environment. The five of us had a great time. Looking forward to dining / brunching with you again, soon. Cheers!"
    Dined on 3/16/2014
  • "$35 for all you can eat and all you can drink...that's hard to beat! We tried nearly everything on the menu and each dish was delicious. Definitely would go back again, especially for Saturday brunch!"
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "This is a tapas restaurant and three of us recently shared several orders. They were, with one exception, simply delicious. Recommended without any hesitancy are: the cheese pies, the mussels, the duck, the Balkan kebabs, the grilled squid, the salmon (this is from one who generally doesn't much care for salmon.) and the Brussels Sprouts. Only the mushroom crepes were, to us, less than exemplary. Cannot speak to the wine list as only one of us had wine by the glass (good), although the prices seemed somewhat high. The beers are all in bottles. r All in all an excellent meal and a restaurant we will look forward to visiting often."
    Dined on 3/9/2014
  • "If you're looking for good food and an excellent dining experience, you can't go wrong with a visit to Ambar. The food is amazing and the brunch special is fantastic. However, I would recommend making reservations. The restaurant tends to get quite busy. I also recommend trying one of their Croatian wines or specialty drinks."
    Dined on 3/9/2014
  • "We had the brunch but found several items not prepared carefully. Over cooked meat, not hot enough fries, seemingly stale bread. The execution was lacking and this is not a cheap place. The iced tea was bitter too."
    Dined on 3/9/2014
  • "I loved the relaxed atmosphere. The staff is very courteous and helpful. Food is a delight!!! I will definitely go back to try new dishes."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "I was happy and so were the people i brought. So. we will definitely be coming back within the next month or so"
    Dined on 3/5/2014
  • "What a great idea. Everything we ordered was very good to outstanding (ham and cheese crepes and waffles were especially yummy) and our party of 4 really enjoyed being able to try almost every item on the menu. Service was attentive and helpful as usual. We'll definitely be back."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Excellent meal, attentive service, nice variety of Balkan liquor, wine and beer. Small plates allow sampling many of the interesting and tasty dishes. The braised cabbage and the stuffed cabbage were particularly good."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Do you want a $6 break basket with three-four little lumps of bread---good bread but such a tiny amount for $6? Or the hummus served with three-four pieces of (good) lavash? Once you get past those overpriced disappointments the portions/quality of food/prices pretty good. This is not the place to go for a nice conversation. Decibel level among the highest in the city."
    Dined on 2/26/2014
  • "Went to Ambar for my birthday brunch, decided not to do the unlimited since there were only a few of us. Everything that we ordered was very tasty."
    Dined on 2/23/2014
  • "We live in the neighborhood and this restaurant is popular with all of our neighbors, from the thirty+ to the 70+ crowd. Lovely food, fresh ingredients, nicely balanced combination of flavors. While the traditional Serbian cuisine that inspires this restaurant can be heavy and meat based Ambar has taken the essentials and successfully incorporated a modern approach. The result is fresh and tasty. One of our party was a vegetarian and there were plenty of interesting options on the menu. Service was attentive and consistent without being obtrusive. On several previous occasions we have gone for brunch and it was fabulous!"
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Nice concept of bottomless and unlimited menu options, but it;s time to change it up. The veal soup is great, but all other items are just so so. The waffles are great also. Service is spotty. There are long periods where no one visits the table - for food or to refill the bottomless mimosas."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Made a reservation for my dad's birthday. When we arrived, the service was amazing, food was amazing, drinks were amazing. Although it is a bit pricey, I am definitely going to go back because the food is delicious. Definitely get the mixed meat platter.. They even prepared a special birthday treat free of charge with a candle for the three of us, along with multiple people wishing him a happy birthday throughout the night. This was a very memorable experience."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "I went to brunch with a group of friends last Saturday- excellent service, amazing tapas & unlimited bloody mary's and mimosas!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Comfortably chic décor. Tables are close together, but its still possible to have a private conversation. Interestingly dishes - not your typical offerings. Large portions for "small" plates - certainly enough for two to share. The squash salad was quite nice. The mushrooms crepes a bit too heavy - less cheese would be better. The pork tenderloin was excellent - moist and flavorful. The duck was also terrific. Service was good - friendly, but not intrusive. Dinner was nice, and service good - a major accomplishment for any restaurant on Valentine's!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Great food, great service, and I loved the decor!! The service was amazing. The staff was always smiling and constantly bringing out small plates of food. Their small plate tapas deal is unbelievable and they give 20% discounts. I have no complaints and I would go to this restaurant again!!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Amazing food, outstanding service, great atmosphere. Please go try it!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Reserved Ambar several weeks ago, unable to get a table for the 14th. Ended up at a small table at the bar, (not very comfortable) but the food and service made up for it. Subtle mixing of flavors, the presentation was good, the waiters explanations clear. We ate a total of 3 dishes plus dessert. Highly recommend for a two-some or group. Will definitely go again!"
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "Really enjoyed the food and hospitality at this great new restaurant. We had the "Bottomless Balkans" option and loved all of the food and drinks. The way the tables are arranged encourages conversation and we had a wonderful time getting to know the peolpe at the table next door."
    Dined on 1/27/2014
  • "The food was great - a contemporary variation on the traditional Serbian / Balkan dishes. Service was friendly and helpful. We ordered "bottomless" sampling menu (small plates sample for $49 - which was reduced to $40 since we ordered drinks not included in that sample). The selection was great and the presentation of the food was excellent - and there was a lot of food. However, we were seated across the bar so the noise level was such that it hampered meaningful conversation - seating upstairs may have been more advantageous. Next time, now when we sampled a lot of dishes, we may order from the menu which may be a bit cheaper."
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "I've visited Ambar for both lunch, dinner and happy hour, but this was our first brunch. A group of my friends and I traveled to Croatia in August and decided to reminisce over brunch at Ambar. Not only was the food absolutely fantastic, but it is hands down one of the best deals you are going to get in DC. For $35 on Saturdays and Sundays between 10:30 and 2:30, you can get bottomless mimoas/bloody marys and bottomless ANYTHING YOU WANT ON THE MENU! The food just keeps coming as long as you ask for it! They have savory dishes, sweet and everything in between. If you aren't drinking, it's $25 which is easily consumed! The only catch is everyone at the table has to partake in the bottomless brunch -- trust me its worth it!!"
    Dined on 1/26/2014
  • "As a Balkan restaurant, the menu was very different from any other restaurant in the DC area; our waiter was quite helpful with his suggestions. Everything the 4 of us had was delicious. We want to return to try other choices."
    Dined on 1/26/2014
  • "Had a lovely meal. The cabbage dishes are great -- savory, stuffed with perfectly done pork, colorful and piquant red peppers. The cheese puffs ("pies") were perfectly done and would meet high French standards. The pork loin came with a perfectly tarragon mustard sauce on the side, encrusted with peanuts. Had a glass of fine Croation red wine, and the desert, forest gnocchi, was very unusual, with coarsely ground semi-sweet chocolate, bitter orange cake bits, passion fruit genache, which the diner mixes himself in a bowl. Wonderful flavors. Our waiter, Dimitri, was so helpful and knowledgeable about the food, and shared his food experiences growing up in Belgrade with us. I'd go back again and again."
    Dined on 1/25/2014