Judging New Restaurants – Ambar

528 8th Street, SE

Ambar recently opened back in Jan. in the former Jordan’s 8 space on Barracks Row. Their website says:

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 Balkan meaning “a chain of wooded mountains”. With a desire to introduce 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.

You can see their menus here. Anyone check them out yet? Any must order items?

14 Comment

  • Pro –
    Interesting selection of food.
    Everything I tried was delicious.
    Decent Service

    Small Plates.
    Lack of serving size

    • Agreed.

      For the price, the portions seemed small. We shared the mezze platter which was good but nothing special. I liked my balkan salad.

  • My boyfriend and I went for dinner on Friday and had nothing but compliments! The food was excellent and the service was perfect. The upstairs gets great light and I love the design choices. Great new spot for the neighborhood. We’re already planning our next date night there.

  • I went there for happy hour last night. The upstairs bar was nice and sunny from the skylights and the bartender was attentive and nice. I had the leek croquettes, which are worth the trip alone. The butternut squash potage was good. I can’t speak for the kebobs or bread basket, but my HH companions ordered them and they *looked* delicious. I’m looking forward to going back.

  • ledroittiger

    I went there for Valentine’s Day and the prix fixe was excellent – both for selection and price. Food was excellent and I left feeling full. The slivovitz-style cocktails take a bit of getting used to, but they’re worth a try. Service was tremendous – helpful and attentive. Nice decor. We were very satisfied. Stuffed cabbage was awesome.

  • one of the better meals i’ve had in a long time. great service, and for “small plates” i think you actually get a decent amount of food to share!

  • I’ve eaten there twice and I thought the food and service was good both times. I used to travel to the Balkans for work and while “small plates” is NOT the norm the food is pretty authentic to me.

  • We’ve been once. Food was very good and, even though they were small plates, the portions seemed decent.

  • As someone who lived and traveled throughout the Balkan countries for a year I was really excited for Ambar to open. I went the 2nd night they were open with a group of friends. I definitely agree with most of the comments already offered.

    1. The food was delicious and a great selection
    2. Tapas is great in terms of getting to try a variety of dishes
    3. It was a definitely pricey for almost all of their tapas options
    4. The portions were quite small, and offered the equivalent of a bite per person for the 4 of us.

    The wine selection was also quite pricey considering how affordable I know Bulgarian/Serbian wine can be (though I don’t know the cost of importing).

    Over all great food and experience, but I definitely can’t afford to eat there often.

  • Went last night – it was yummy! Prices were a little steep, yes, but the food was delicious. The sorbet trio was great, and the duck was succulent.

  • only issue I’ve had is the music! To damn loud. But, $4 HAPPY HOUR, can’t be it.

  • It’s fairly authentic Balkan food, which means, among other things, that it’s pretty heavy. Small portions, as others have said, but there’s a lot of starch and fried stuff packed in. I also thought the service a bit heavy-handed, assuming we would not know anything about the cuisine and lecturing a bit. Bottom line is that it did not blow me away, but I don’t regret trying it.

  • The duck is the best I’ve ever had!!

  • I agree that the service was excellent! I went for drinks after work. We shared the bread basket and I had a glass of wine. Both were pretty good. I’d certainly go back.

Comments are closed.