At the corner of Columbia Road and Mintwood Place, this charming, family-run bistro is the American dream of a multi-generational family of Afghan refugees. After launching multiple successful restaurants in DC, Lapis was born of a desire to smell the foods of their homeland, and introduce this healthy way of cooking and eating to their Kalorama neighbors.
With an outdoor patio, indoor bistro, and both upstairs and downstairs bars, you’ll no doubt find a place to relax and learn to love these spices as well: earthy, rich, with just the right amount of heat. Try craft cocktails to start, more adventurous takes on classics (cardamom in your Manhattan, or chili liquor in your negroni? Yes, please.) The menu hosts a bevy of dumplings and small plates, heavy on veg — we loved the eggplant-based buranee bademjan as well as the gulpee, cauliflower in a tomato sauce (but, full disclosure, we loved everything we ordered). Meat lovers, don’t despair, try the lamb shank or the kofta, rich meatballs; from the grill come especially delicious lamb chops and a whole trout fillet. The wine list is not deep but well-curated and well-priced.
Servers are casual yet professional, amplifying the ‘why would you wish to be anywhere else’ vibe of the entire place, decorated like the chic den of your globe-trotting BFF. Michelin and Eater DC concur; Mama Shamin’s cooking attracts awards like the Lapis patio attracts foodies on a warm fall night.
If it’s a dream, please do not wake me.