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FRENCH BISTRO ????

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josh Mar 13, 2005 07:13 AM

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

  1. f
    foodiejudy Mar 13, 2005 12:11 PM

    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
      l
      lorraine in dc Mar 13, 2005 02:55 PM

      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
        g
        Gareth Mar 13, 2005 03:51 PM

        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
          f
          foodiejudy Mar 14, 2005 01:58 PM

          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
        c
        Connave Mar 14, 2005 01:15 PM

        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: Connave
          r
          Rosco Mar 14, 2005 02:16 PM

          lay-ALL

          1. re: Rosco
            p
            plotnick Mar 16, 2005 02:27 PM

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

            1. re: plotnick
              c
              Connave Mar 16, 2005 03:43 PM

              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. m
        Marty L. Mar 13, 2005 12:53 PM

        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.
          g
          Gee Mar 14, 2005 12:38 PM

          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. z
          Zelda Mar 14, 2005 09:19 AM

          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. a
            adamsoho Mar 14, 2005 02:22 PM

            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
              s
              Steve Mar 14, 2005 03:47 PM

              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
                c
                casu marzu Mar 14, 2005 04:54 PM

                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. c
                carhowland Aug 13, 2006 06:49 AM

                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
                  s
                  Steve Aug 13, 2006 03:29 PM

                  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.

                2. d
                  dhi Aug 31, 2006 04:18 AM

                  Bistrot D'Oc is our favorite, though it used to be even better when the hanger steak was wagyu beef. Now just run of the mill black Angus.

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