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Mar 13, 2005 07:13 AM


  • j

What is the very best french bistro in all of DC ???

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  1. Are you talking about just the District or its environs also? If it's just DC, I'd say Bistro Francais in Georgetown with Les Halles on Pennsylvania Avenue downtown a close second (don't like the service much there). If you include Maryland and Virginia though, it gets trickier. In Virginia, I like Le Tire Bouchon in Old Town Fairfax and Le Mistral in McLean. Oops, also Le Gaulois in Old Town Alexandria (King St.) and L'Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls (tricky driving at night though and have to reserve four weeks in advance). In Maryland, I like Jean Pierre in the Wildwood Shopping Center in Bethesda on Old Georgetown Road, Les Vieux Logis - also on Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda, and Cafe de Paris in Columbia, MD.

    7 Replies
    1. re: foodiejudy
      lorraine in dc

      While these are French, most are far from being bistros. Les Halles? Steakhouse / brasserie. L'Auberge - an Alsatian country inn. Jean Pierre, which is not even the right name (it's Jean-Michel) isn't a bistro either. Cafe de Paris - not.

      Marty had great suggestions. I would add Montmarte on the Hill, as well as Bistro du Coin in Dupont Circle.

      1. re: lorraine in dc

        Cafe de Paris is definitely a bistro, and a very good one, or at least it was when it was in Laurel before the move to Columbia.

        1. re: Gareth

          Glad to see you seconding my recommendation of Cafe de Paris. Like to go there again sometime (without the Stone family some of whom seem to think anything not old fashioned American is weird and disgusting).

      2. re: foodiejudy

        Hate to show my ignorance, but could one of you kind souls please tell me how to pronounce "les halles"? Do Americans pronounce it differently than the French (as we oft do)?

          1. re: Rosco

            It should be pronounced LAY-AHL, not LAY-ALL

            1. re: plotnick

              Well, that's how I've been pronouncing it, and no one knows what I'm talking about. Do Washingtonians call it les-hal or le-hal or le-halay? It's kind of annoying to have to spell the joint's name over the phone... :)

      3. I think that the Chowhound consensus for bistros within the District has been Bistro D'Oc, Bistro du Coin, and Bistro Lepic, approximately in that order. (Each of the three has its proponents. And Bistro Francais if it's after midnight.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Marty L.

          I am a big fan of Bistro d'Oc and Bistro Lepic. The greeting is especially warm at the former, while the food is a notch more impressive at the latter - and the prices a notch higher. The food at either easily outshines Les Halles, in my opinion.

        2. My vote would go to Bistro Le Pic. Bistro du Coin is fine, but not all that it's cracked up to be. My other suggestions would be: Bistro Francais, Bistro d'Oc. Haven't been to Montmatre, but I hear great things. Les Halles has great fries and pretty good steak, but it feels very "chain-y" to me.

          1. I think Les Halles (pronounce the s) was good years ago, but the last few times I've been there it's been beyond awful. I think Bistro Lepic is terrific.
            Petits Plats has pretty good food (and really good cassoulet) but definitely does not have the energy of a bistro.
            Bistro to la coin struck me as a Balthazar wannabe..

            2 Replies
            1. re: adamsoho

              If you'd like to visit Les Halles in Paris by cab, I suggest you pronounce it like "Lay All," or you will never make much progress.

              No liaison before a consonant, even if it is H, which is not pronounced in French.

              1. re: adamsoho

                I had a great onglet at Les Halles a few months ago. I believe it's their speciality; I can't vouch for any of the other dishes though, or how consistent the cooking is day-to-day.

              2. If you are looking for great French food...look no further than Chez Andres. It is family owned and completely authentic. My father in law is a professional "foodie" and this is one of his favorites. Service A++++++, Atmosphere..doesn't get any "frencher" and the food..wonderful. A must!

                1 Reply
                1. re: carhowland

                  Thanks for your post.
                  Do you mean Chez Andree? Where is it exactly? Please tell us what you've had there that is wonderful; I'm sure we'd all like to know.