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
137 reviews since June 23, 2014
Overall Rating4.2
  • Food4.3
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
fit for foodies (84)neighborhood gem (64)good for groups (49)great for outdoor dining (49)great for brunch (44)special occasion (39)romantic (35)hot spot (27)vibrant bar scene (26)notable wine list (23)great for lunch (10)late-night find (9)kid-friendly (4)scenic view (3)Show More
  • Twice in one week!
    NearNeighbor
    Dined on 2/24/2013
    I went twice in one week it was so good! And the staff remembered me from the first visit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent addition to Barrack's
    JTNUGENTVIP
    Dined on 2/23/2013
    Excellent addition to Barrack's row. Tapas style dining but some of the dishes were a bit larger than expected so that was a nice surprise. Everything tasted very good and although I was a little apprehensive about Balkan cuisine, the menu had a lot of information and the staff was also very helpful. Looking forward to returning so I can be a bit more adventurous with my menu selections.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • My husband and I took my parents
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 2/23/2013
    My husband and I took my parents to dinner while they were visiting for the weekend. It was perfect. The server could not have been more helpful guiding us through the menu and making suggestions before each round of dishes. We really liked everything, but our favorite was the boneless crispy chicken, the stuffed sour cabbage, the Balkan kebabs, the mezze platter, mushroom crepes and the bread basket. The small plates were perfect for sharing and trying out new flavors. The total bill was very reasonable.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Late Evening, Light Food.
    CCAFanVIP
    Dined on 2/22/2013
    DC's restaurant scene is top drawer, and this place is one reason why. Small plates, great variety and creativity. Terrific and knowledgeable staff that works as a team. Challenging wine list. And, a dessert gnocchi to die for.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • More Stuffed Cabbage, Please.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 2/22/2013
    Awesome, loved it! Definitely get the stuffed cabbage.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Really like the Balkan dishes
    TacoTuesdayVIP
    Dined on 2/22/2013
    Really like the Balkan dishes they serve and many of the staff are from the region, so the food is prepared traditionally, but without the huge portions and heavy sauces usually associated with Balkan food. The interior is decorated with great lighting and the music is just right. Really good spot!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The food was excellent and
    Ashley
    Dined on 2/20/2013
    The food was excellent and unexpected. The grilled squid was delicious. Many specialty cocktails as well. We enjoyed happy hour at the bar first then moved to a table for dinner. Happy hour is a great deal with $4 plates and drinks. Dinner was amazing. Also the kitchen and server timed the food well so our table was not overrun with plates.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wish they had a few more beers.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 2/19/2013
    Wish they had a few more beers. The choices were odd, in that they were mostly American beers but didn't include the typical Bud Lite, Heineken, etc. It seems that there was only one Eastern European beer on the list (at $9 a beer, is also a little steep to have no choice). Great food though!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Love Ambar!
    mensan98th
    Dined on 2/18/2013
    I've enjoyed Ambar several times and recommend it whenever I can. So glad you guys are in the neighborhood!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Extremely friendly waitstaff
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/15/2013
    Extremely friendly waitstaff coupled with amazing food. Love the ideas of tapas style dishes and cocktails featuring raika brandy made from different fruits.Great date spot and not too pricey. Very pleased and will be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Two words: Balkan Tapas
    BeagleMom
    Dined on 2/15/2013
    Ambar is such an interesting idea, and it works! We weren't quite sure what to expect from Balkan small plates, but the food is amazing--really different--and the small plates aren't really that small. If you don't have a hearty appetite, you can probably just order your own plate, but you can also share with friends, and you get to taste all sorts of stuff. With 5 plates, the two of us stuffed ourselves so much there was no room for dessert. I do wish there were more vegetarian options, but there are some (nothing vegan), so most people can find something to eat. The wine is Balkan, too, which I was unfamiliar with, but luckily the menu has a glossary, and the waitress gave me an idea of what would be similar to what I usually drink.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The Valentine's Day fixed
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    The Valentine's Day fixed price menu was an absolute steal. Emphatically recommended.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • I loved the ambiance and location
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    I loved the ambiance and location in relation to the metro. The food was good; especially the butternut squash salad and the mushroom crepes (yum!!!). Everyone raved about the fried sourdough and I was so excited when I ordered it, however it was not pan fried, rather battered and deep fried and felt a lot like carnival food. Beware though that the food is very rich and a lot of dishes have cheese and/or are fried. Don't order the chicken with apple/wasabi slaw - although the slaw is delicious, the dish as a whole leaves much to be desired.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Overall, my experience was
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    Overall, my experience was great on Valentine's Day, I just wish the food were a little better. My almond crusted chicken didn't have any flavor without the wasabi slaw on top. Some of the appetizer's we had were flavorless too. I think they need to step it up in those areas. Otherwise, my veal soup was absolutely delicious and so was the potash, so the food's flavor swung wildly from excellent to not worth the money.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Different step to the beat.
    TrishalVIP
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    We went for their pre-fix Valentines Dinner, which was really good. They had plenty of vegetarian options, which were very unique and taste. The leek-croquettes and the mushroom crepes were probably my favorite, although the panko crusted pepper were very impressive as well.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • New place, great for pairs,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    New place, great for pairs, easy to split the dishes to try a little bit of everything, get over there now so you can still feel ahead of the curve. p.s. try the forest gnocchi.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ambar is a great addition
    AshleyK
    Dined on 2/14/2013
    Ambar is a great addition to Barracks Row! We had dinner here for Valentine's Day. It was a prix fix menu, but delicious nonetheless. We would definitely recommend the veal stew, asparagus, and mushroom crepes. (Stay away from the calamari though.) The house wine was great for sipping. My husband had a mojito...it was a little too sweet...he's from Miami and has high Mojito standards though. The ambiance is good -- lively but not too loud, very modern. Would definitely recommend to others.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Didn't know what to expect
    reviewer
    Dined on 2/13/2013
    Didn't know what to expect of Balkan food. It was delicious. Dishes tend to be filling.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Adds needed element to dining scene
    FormerFedVIP
    Dined on 2/13/2013
    The refreshingly different Balkan menu and friendly service make this a great place to dine on Capitol Hill. The stuffed cabbage was the best of the small plates my girlfriend and I tried.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • This was our second visit
    MaxlovestodineVIP
    Dined on 2/12/2013
    This was our second visit and we weren't disappointed!! Urush our server was great, he was very knowledgeable about both the food and the wine list; he even explained to us the meanings of the words and told us stories about each wine or dish! We tried the Duck this time which has now been added to my list of favorites. Can't wait for the next visit to try some new dishes!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The best thing about the place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 2/12/2013
    The best thing about the place was that our server was actually Serbian and fit to recommend the foods and idenfiy exactly what was what. The food was tasty, the portions on some of the items was rather small, even to share. Some items were just akward to share. The high-top table stools were totally uncomfortable. I will definitely go back but request a low table with more comfortable seating.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • went during restaurant week,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 2/10/2013
    went during restaurant week, and a great deal. . . three selections available per customer, plus a drink. . .service very efficient, friendly....although a slight hitch with a delay in one of the orders. . . loved the food. . .classic Eastern European mix of roasted vegetables with meat (i.e., the kabob) . . .the venison had a wonderful sharp and crisp taste; the bread basket with assorted dips (i.e. lutinetsa (sp ?) was a great way to start off the meal. . . I plan on coming back here again.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ambar was truly great. Food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 2/8/2013
    Ambar was truly great. Food was delicious, service was great with pleasant and accomodating staff, and ambiance was very pleasant.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Having lived in the Balkans
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/8/2013
    Having lived in the Balkans for 8 years, I was looking forward to some longed-for familiar favorites and was thrilled to find several! I highly recommend Ambar for anyone who likes comfort food with a twist; they won't be disappointed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • My friends and I had a lovely
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 2/8/2013
    My friends and I had a lovely time during Restaurant Week. The food was delicious and interesting, and our waitress was so sweet and helpful. She gave us some great recommendations. I loved that we were able to try and share so many different dishes. The portions were quite generous for "small plates", and our only complaint was that we wish we had had room to eat even more!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Incredible food, ambience,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 2/7/2013
    Incredible food, ambience, and excellent service. There aren't many Serbian restaurants in Washington, and Ambar will surely become a favorite place even for those who aren't familiar with Serbian cuisine.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Balkan "Meze"
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 2/7/2013
    The restaurant week menu is best described as Balkan influenced. There was a good variety of small plates. Not enough fish options to suit this patron. The grilled calamari is excellent.The plates are meant to share and the plates arrive more on the order of a meze than on a set of courses. The venison carpaccio is execellent and unusal. The noise level in the front is a roar but at the back acceptable to the noise sensitive. The food is interesting and well executed. The wait staff is helpful and attentive to this patrons desire to avoid dairy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great ambiance, tasty food,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 2/7/2013
    Great ambiance, tasty food, fantastic presentation... but, above all, the team that makes the guests feel really well taken care of! We enjoyed every moment of the experience and will be back! Thanks for a lovely evening!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for brunch, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Only Balkan cuisine in N America
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 2/6/2013
    This was our first visit to Ambar, which recently opened in our neighborhood. We went in somewhat skeptical (what is "Balkan cuisine", anyway??) but were absolutely delighted. The fare is based upon the Spanish tapas model, which avoids being served a mountain of one heavy thing and instead being able to try several different items, not all of which will be heavy. Our waitress was extremely helpful in explaining the menu, describing certain items on the menu, and assisting us in selecting a Balkan wine (she narrowed the choice down to two, and then brought tastes of each for us to decide which we preferred). Turns out we were seated next to two women who identified themselves as Serbian, and they attested to the authenticity of the dishes,
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Small plate concept is good.
    HighExpectationsVIP
    Dined on 2/6/2013
    Came during restaurant week, so that may have generated the packed dining room. Food was interesting and delicious. Service was spotty; a major mistake from the bartender filled my husband's request for a non-alcoholic drink with a drink heavily spiked. Management apologised, but did not offer compensation. One further comment - my Slovakian friends say the small plate idea goes against their large plate traditions. I thought the small plate concept was well employed here.
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • My friend and I went to Ambar
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 2/6/2013
    My friend and I went to Ambar for lunch, and it just happened to be Restaurant Week in DC. They had a special 3-course meal for a little over $20, which is normally more than I like to pay for lunch, but was really worth it. The squash soup first course was terrific, and we both really enjoyed the sour stuffed cabbage entree. By then we were so full that we shared just one of the desserts, a cherry pie wrapped in phyllo dough served with a dab of ice cream. We each enjoyed the unsweetened peach tea as the beverage, which we both liked - can't say anything about the wine list, because we didn't look at it. The decor is fine - a bit on the rustic side, is the intent, I believe. This may start to look old after the place is open a whil
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • I came with a group of 3 others
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 2/5/2013
    I came with a group of 3 others for dinner during Restaurant Week. Going upstairs we noticed an air of paint/varnish since they are still a new restaurant, but didn't notice any smell once we were seated. It was around 8pm on a Tuesday and the upstairs bar looked packed. Our waitress took a while to get to our table, but once there she took our drink and food orders right away. The rakia sours were great, although a little weak. All of the food was outstanding though! Big enough portions for people to share. Our table shared the veal soup, squash soup, cheese pie, mushroom crepes, calamari, asparagus, shrimp risotto, parm crusted steak, and duck. The duck was the clear winner! Dessert was odd, but good. Definitely will return!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food was amazing, hospitality
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 2/5/2013
    Food was amazing, hospitality and decor were spot on....and they stay open until 2 am. $4 dollar happy hour? Yes please!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • I very much enjoyed my visit
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 2/5/2013
    I very much enjoyed my visit to ambar. I come from Eastern European descent, and can attest to the dishes being creative and innovative spins on traditional offerings. The decor is lovely and the service was very good. The wine list is notable in that it features many Eastern European/off the beaten path wines. Cocktails are very good as well. Definitely will be returning!
    Special Features:
    vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Our group of 8 dined at Ambar
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003
    Dined on 2/4/2013
    Our group of 8 dined at Ambar during Restuarant Week, and thus we had good sample of the dishes on the menu. The verdict: all plates were winners! Very interesting choices (some quite unfamiliar but not scary), beautifully presented, varied sauces. Favorites included cheese pie, almond-walnut crusted chicken, veal stew, muschroom crepes, calimari, and parmesan crusted steak. Instead of dessert, Ambar offered three courses of plates plus wine, beer, or one of their selected cocktails. The pacing of the three courses was perfect -- enough time between dishes to savor the last and anticipate the next. Our waiter was a charming young Balkan woman who explained some of the more unfamiliar items. Highly recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Belgrade favorites
    Trish
    Dined on 2/4/2013
    The food took my friend and I back to our days in Belgrade, Serbia. Went there during restaurant week. between the two of us we could choose 6 dishes...never before have i been able to decide so quickly :-) it took only 3 minutes max, and my friend and i were ready to order! Thankfully it was Serbian food with a modern twist, and we didn't waddle out! Very happy to have a modern Serbian restaurant in DC!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not many vegetarian options,
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 2/4/2013
    Not many vegetarian options, which makes me not want to go again. Great cherry pie! Mediocre cream puff and egg plant sandwich. Good shopska salad, but mediocre mushroom salad. This restaurant really needs more veggy options.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lived in Eastern Europe and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/2/2013
    Lived in Eastern Europe and know what good Serbian food is. Ambar serves a lovely rendition, with a tapas flair. Great for sharing and trying multiple selections. My table of 4 ordered all desert selections and raved about each of them. Great wine selection with some Serbian beer offerings as well. Would highly recommend and plan to return for a birthday celebration.Excellent ambience and offerings.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • great first experience
    soxgalVIP
    Dined on 2/1/2013
    I was very impressed with our first visit to Ambar. The service was great, very helpful especially considering that we were not familiar with many of the dishes/ingredients. The flavors were really great. Only real complaint was the corn bread in the bread basket was super dry, the fry bread was amazing though. Really looking forward to going back and exploring more of this food.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Ambar is a fabulous addition
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 1/31/2013
    Ambar is a fabulous addition to our "small town in the city"! It isn't just that the food is fantastic, it is that the waiter made the meal an experience! Hearing about the meaning of Ambar, the tradition of how food and beverages are consumed in the Balkan, the knowledge and personal experience of the waiter as a native, transported us to the area and away from DC for a delightful evening!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall