In the beginning was Ardeo, an upscale casual bistro with a passionate (ardent, right?) name. Soon (with clever word play) came Bardeo, a gathering place/wine haven like a lover on the side. Now thanks to a seamless “wedding” in name and menu, Ardeo + Bardeo continues its 17-year romance in Cleveland Park.
Known for a sophisticated kitchen, always manned by serious talents, this outpost of the award-winning Ashok Bajaj empire sets a lighthearted tone with its 80-foot, black-and-white mural of nostalgic D.C. dining. Favorite British designer Harry Gregory has allowed for a range of seating, from cozy tables to a communal board, from high tops to a “floating-island” zinc bar.
But consider the fresh attractions—a new executive chef Jonathan Dearden and a flourishing rooftop patio-garden. Native son Dearden returns to D.C. from glam stints in Miami, New York and Santa Lucia, where he oversaw the food at luxe Jade Mountain Resort, named No. 1 in the Caribbean by Travel and Leisure. No wonder this season’s colorful plates reflect the chef’s varied culinary experience and the garden he tends and cherishes.
Current highlights: Thai-inspired ceviche of red snapper and shrimp with purple sweet potato and coconut; heirloom tomato salad with mint, toasted cumin, mâche and almond brittle; goat cheese agnolotti with green garlic, lemon butter and Thai chili; watermelon salad with arugula and yogurt; King salmon with black rice, jicama slaw and poblano vinaigrette; and vadouvan-spiced red snapper with succotash and peach agradolce.
Always expect here: fine charcuterie, cheeses, brick oven pizzas (one with “rooftop” basil), pastas, desserts like blueberry tart and smart wine pairings.