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
139 reviews since July 3, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
91% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (87)neighborhood gem (63)good for groups (50)great for outdoor dining (47)great for brunch (46)special occasion (37)romantic (34)hot spot (27)vibrant bar scene (26)notable wine list (24)great for lunch (10)late-night find (10)kid-friendly (5)scenic view (3)Show More
  • Best Brunch Ever!
    Live2eat
    Dined on 10/19/2014
    My wife and went here because we could not believe for $35 they offered both unlimited Bloody Mary's and Mimossa's and they included food. The food was the best I every had everything was fresh innovative. My wife is from Eastern Europe and she really enjoyed the Oliver Salad as she would know better than me.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for brunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Food!
    vdeschamps
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    It was our first experience eating Balkan cuisine and we really enjoyed it. My wife and I ordered a bread basket (it's not bread but fried dough), cheese pies, roasted mushroom crepes and balkan kebab. Although the bread wasn't bread, it came with three delicious spreads. All dishes were very good and very well proportioned. Four dishes split between two people was perfect. The bar is great too!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • loved it!
    Costumerone
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    Four of us had the inclusive dinner........pick any and all we desired from the menu plus drinks. To our surprise, the wine was quite good and the food was great! We tried many of the appetizers, veggies and meat dishes but the mussels were a winner. Plan to return and try some of the soups and salads. It was fun, really good interesting food. Waitress remembered everything we ordered without writing it down!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unlimited brunch is nice
    FormerFedVIP
    Dined on 10/13/2014
    Prompted by an e-mail touting Columbus Day brunches at the Richard Sandoval restaurants, my girlfriend and I went to Ambar, where we'd dined a couple-three times before. The house Mimosa and Bloody Mary were tasty and we each found several enticing items on the menu. The only disappointment was the Meeze platter for two, which provided only stingy portions of meat and cheese.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • small portions
    nino
    Dined on 10/11/2014
    We went for brunch. One option is the all you can eat (no drinks) for 35$. We decided not to do it and the portions were really really small. For 12$ steak and eggs, you get what you pay (including 7 fries)...but the food was good.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • JTNUGENTVIP
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    Great food fast service and a great atmosphere. The four of us ordered 8 small played which was just enough for everyone. Everything was fantastic.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Overall a very pleasant and tasty Balkan food experience. The balkan kebab was salty and the mushroom crepe was a little burnt otherwise it would have been absolutely amazing. So glad to have a Balkan restaurant in town.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fantastic
    JoeBVIP
    Dined on 9/30/2014
    Went for dinner. Almost everything was perfect. Service was friendly and very attentive and knowledgable. Drinks were great; loved the Mango Lemonade. Food was amazing. Balkan Salad, Cheese Pies, Mushroom Crepes, Sausages with Beans, Pork Tenderloin and Stuffed Cabbage were all excellent as were the desserts. The Gnocchi and the Apple Pie were both very good. Overall a perfect evening. I will try most of the sister restaurants in New York when I can. This place was great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Didn't meet expectations
    amateurfoodieVIP
    Dined on 9/28/2014
    It wasn't bad but also just wasn't that impressed. The brussel sprouts were good but not as good as other comparable restaurants. The cauliflower was just weird and not tasty. The cheese pie was pretty good. Most of the mixed grilled meats plate was good, especially the burger. The service was relatively good but the meat tray took a very long time. In my experience, the food at Masa 14 was much better.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Good for small plates
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006VIP
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    Overall, I enjoyed Ambar. The waitress was very helpful with respect to answering questions and navigating the menu, which had a nice variety of food. The dishes were all well-executed. I'm not a big fan of the small plates concept, but this is a restaurant that manages to employ the concept without thoroughly ripping off customers by providing portions that can actually be shared by two people at a reasonable price.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointed on 2d Visit
    Mmsjjk
    Dined on 9/26/2014
    My husband and I had been to Ambar last fall and enjoyed it so when a friend was in town. For the weekend I made a reservation. The staff was friendly and efficient, but not engaged about the food ( if you order the most expensive item and only take a bite you might think they'd ask if it was ok). The smoked trout spread was nice. Everything else we ordered disappointed. The Croatian red wine was disappointing considering that in Croatia you can't get bad wine. The Brussels sprouts with bacon and yogurt was tasty but undercooked (couldn't even cut through them). The trout was in edible-dry and flavorless.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Trying something new
    WWCGetawayVIP
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    Not a bad restaurant but it's not one that I HAVE to go to again. Good food. Music and volume are not too loud. And service was rather attentive. Felt very industrial and the lighting could come down a little.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent Serbian Food!
    VesnaDC
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Ambar has a wonderful selection of Balkan delicacies, and their Serbian food choices are well-prepared and delicious. The wait staff are always friendly and provide a clear description of the menu. The atmosphere is fun and pleasant for all ages. Wonderful dining experience!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Ambar Restaurant
    Nightshade
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    First time there. I admired their boldness to advertise a Balkan menu. Good/very friendly service, good food/drink. Bulk of menu is small plates, a trend I really appreciate. Menu is on their website. Went on a Sat. evening so the entire Barracks Row was bustling. Take public transportation, parking is scarce on a Sat. evening.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • fantastic as always.
    captainawethume
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Our third time here. Always a good choice. Service, food and atmosphere are always in good form. One visit leaves you waiting in anticipation for the next. We'll be back many times over
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delish!
    ATLmom
    Dined on 9/11/2014
    Great spot! I went with my husband and my (adventurous) 8 year old. The mushroom crepes are a must! Smoked trout dip is also great and the cheese pie. You can't go wrong. The service was really great, everyone was so nice and smiley. It is quite loud, but if you're looking for a "go out" vibe, ask for the 2nd floor. We sat on floor 1 and were very happy. The 3 of us ate and drank (the mango lemonade was great) our fill for $110 (before tip). Two thumbs up!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, romantic, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Balkan charm
    mrmrae
    Dined on 9/8/2014
    Aside from being friendly, relaxed and fun, Ambar is the only place I know of with its own rakija (Balkan fruit brandy) menu. The manager, Uros, was very welcoming and knowledgeable about the various brands and types available. The food is varied and intriguing. Unique dishes.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Consistently good place
    WashDC
    Dined on 9/4/2014
    We have been to ambar many times. The food is always very good and unique. Highly recommend to all. Bit pricey, but worth it.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • AMAZING
    happyfoodieVIP
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    The unlimited brunch is one of the best in DC! The variety of entrees is great! The best part was the service and the hidden gem of a rooftop patio. It's enclosed and they have AC, but it's quaint and cute!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • overpriced
    albinwonderland
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    The menu looked interesting but ended up being only mediocre and overpriced. The vegetarian items we ordered were the highlights - the shrimp and chicken dishes were quite disappointing.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Interesting food;hospitable service
    TeddoDCVIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Friendly and attentive but not intrusive service. Only one of our party had been to Ambar before, so we really enjoyed the "Bottomless Balkans" option as a wonderful way to sample much of the menu. I highly recommend the cauliflower, the mushroom crepes, the Balkan kebabs and the brussels sprouts.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • 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
    JuliaVIP
    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
    dcist112VIP
    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