Michel Richard Citronelle

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Michel Richard Citronelle
Restaurant information
Head chefMichel Richard
Food typeFrench with North American and Asian
Street address3000 M Street NW
CityWashington, D.C.
CountryUnited States

Michel Richard Citronelle was an American restaurant located in Georgetown, Washington, D.C. The chef and owner of Citronelle was James Beard Award-winning chef Michel Richard.

Background and opening[edit]

Michel Richard became a nationally-renowned chef in Los Angeles in the 1980s, and he opened his first Citronelle restaurant in Santa Barbara, California in 1989.[1] In 1993, he opened Citronelle at the Latham Hotel at 3000 M St. NW in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., hiring Etienne Jaulin as the executive chef.[2] Subsequent versions of Citronelle opened in Baltimore, Tokyo and Carmel, California.[1]

A review in the Washington Post noted that even though Richard was not regularly in the kitchen, the food had "the brilliance, the originality and the quality of Richard's cooking in California."[3] A Washingtonian magazine review noted the "sense of festivity," highlighting the Reuben sandwiche ravioli and Richard's re-envisioning of a Kit Kat bar.[4] The New York Times called Citronelle "one of the most consistently excellent newcomers" in the D.C. dining scene.[5]

In its early days, Citronelle was a regular destination for members of President Bill Clinton's administration. Attorney General Janet Reno was seen there having dinner with Barbra Streisand.[6] Citronelle was also frequented by First Lady Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State Warren Christopher.[7]

Renovation and recognition[edit]

In 1998, Richard renovated the restaurant and renamed it Michel Richard Citronelle.[8] He sold off half of his interest in his Los Angeles restaurants and moved to Washington, D.C., making Michel Richard Citronelle his flagship restaurant and giving it his full-time attention.[9]

In 2002, Citronelle was named Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, and Richard was named Chef of the Year.[10] In 2001 and 2006, it was named among the top 20 restaurants in the country by Gourmet magazine.[11] In 2007, Richard won the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef, and Citronelle wine director Mark Slater won for Outstanding Wine Service.[12] Washingtonian magazine named Citronelle the No.1 Very Best Restaurant in Washington in 2007 and 2008.[4]

In May 2009, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama celebrated their first date night at Citronelle.[13]

In July 2012, Citronelle closed due to water damage.[14] The restaurant did not reopen.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Grimes, William (2016-08-15). "Michel Richard, Acclaimed Chef at Citronelle, Dies at 68". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  2. ^ Sagon, Candy (January 13, 1993). "French Food, California Fun". Washington Post.
  3. ^ Richman, Phyllis (May 2, 1993). "Master of Invention". Washington Post.
  4. ^ a b Limpert, Ann (August 13, 2016). "Michel Richard, Famed Washington Chef, Dies at 68". Washingtonian Magazine.
  5. ^ Burros, Marian (April 13, 1994). "Washington Dining: A Deficit No More". New York Times.
  6. ^ August, Lissa (May 21, 1993). "Barbra Streisand visits the capital". Entertainment Weekly.
  7. ^ Conway, Ann (April 1, 1996). "Top Chefs Team Up in Winning Style". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ Sagon, Candy (March 11, 1998). "Blast Off". Washington Post.
  9. ^ Burros, Marian (September 30, 1998). "Food's Ambassador to Washington; Michel Richard is so creative his mission may well succeed". New York Times.
  10. ^ Chamis, Elani (July 1, 2002). "Matalin, Carville not enough to stave off West 24 closure". Washington Business Journal.
  11. ^ "Biography: Chef Michel Richard". National Gallery of Art. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  12. ^ Hacinli, Cynthia (May 8, 2007). "Scenes From the James Beard Awards". Washingtonian.
  13. ^ Zeleny, Jeff (May 2, 2009). "After 100 Days, a Date". New York Times.
  14. ^ Sidman, Jessica (July 12, 2012). "Citronelle Closes Due to Water Damage". Washington City Paper.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°54′17.6″N 77°3′34.6″W / 38.904889°N 77.059611°W / 38.904889; -77.059611