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"Real" French in Maryland/DC?

A friend lived in France for a while, and he occasionally pouts about not being able to find "real" French food in America - correct as to both the cooking and the order in which the course are presented. The one exception he makes is Gabriel's Inn in Ijamsville, but he feels that is "terribly far". Any suggestions for other places that do "real" French, either as a normal menu option, or by request?

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  1. I love Le Vieux Logis in Bethesda. Arguably the entire menu is not "real" french, but there are some true staples. The menu is more European, but consistently creative and high quality food and service. (And the only place I know of that imports Danish herring and serves it, as it should be, with Aquavit.)

    1. Hard to find. When I want my French comfort food, I find it at La Chaumiere in Georgetown. The menu is available at http://www.lachaumieredc.com/ I love their Cervelle de Veau au Beurre Noir when I can deal with the cholesterol spike. Great fish soup and other lovely traditional dishes.
      Wonderful food in a country inn setting. Lovely dining room, warm, friendly service.

      1 Reply
      1. re: MakingSense

        La Chaumiere is overrated. I was there last year, and aside from the food which was mediocre at best, the place seemed like a senior center. For my salad, they used CANNED PEARS on a bed of spinach DRENCHED in a balsamic vinagrette dressing. Crab cakes were so overloaded with cream and salt, yet lacking flavor, that they gave me a stomachache afterwards. Presentation was horrible. We were probably the only ones in the restaurant under age 60.

      2. La Chaumiere, agreed. Also Bistro Lepic, Montmarte, and Bistro Francais. We spend at least three weeks in France every year, and these places all satisfy us sufficiently (not quite Tout va Bien in NYC, but close enough! 8;).

        As to course order, for example preferring a cheese course before (as we do), rather than in lieue of, dessert: that is up to the diner to specify. Any good restaurant will accomodate your desires.

        -- Larry

        1. How could I forget Montmartre? One of my favorites! They've just opened a second restaurant, Montsouris, at Dupont Circle which I have yet to try.
          Also, Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls for Alsatian food - this restaurant has been popular for over 30 years - hard to get a reservation.
          La Cote d'Or in Alexandria is owned by Raymond Campet, who started in Washington at the French Embassy and formerly owned the wonderful La Brasserie on Capital Hill.

          3 Replies
          1. re: MakingSense

            Where is the new place at Dupont Circle?

            1. re: GregJ

              Montsouris is at 2002 P St, NW, formerly the location of Johnny's Half Shell, which has moved to the former site of La Colline on Capilal Hill. If it's as good as Montmartre, it will be a great addition to Dupont Circle.

              Most restaurant locations can be found by googling using the restaurant name plus the city name. Many have menus online, reviews and sometimes reservation service information.

            2. re: MakingSense

              "La Cote d'Or in Alexandria..."

              Arlington, not Alexandria.

              And, while I'm thinking of it, we would also take the onglet with frites and salad at Les Halles over any other steak in the entire DC area.

              -- Larry

            3. Let me add Bistro D'Oc on 10th Street in DC for yet another region of France. Chef Bernard Grenier pays homage to his native Languedoc regin in the south of France.

              1. Augberge Chez Francois; and in MD, Tersiquel's.

                1. Les Folies on Riva Road in Annapolis has good food and a fun brasserie atmosphere:


                  1. There hasn't been a french restaurant in this city since Lion d' Or closed more than 10 years ago with the possible exception of Gerard's Place.

                    There is "bistro" food available lots of places, and most of it is pretty bad. I would recommend Le Chaumiere, but I would prefer that fewer people knew about this little gem. So instead, I will suggest you try Bistro Francais. In fact, it is much better, and much more authentic, than Bistro Lepic, Bistro d' Oc, Bistro Bis, Bistro d' Coin, Bistro Les Halles, etc, etc, etc.

                    1. I agree in general with your comments about "authentic" bistros but take exception with adding Bistro D'Oc to the list of suspects. I can't imagine anything more authentic than Chef Bernard Grenier representing his native Languedoc region in the south of France. And , yes, I agree that Le Chaumiere is one of, if not the, best.

                      Although Gerard's Place has a Belgian flavor, it is too often overlooked as a great Freench restaurant.

                        1. re: Pappy

                          I think Marcel's, technically, is more Belgian than French.

                          1. re: GregJ

                            Which is exactly why I was suggesting to Dakota Guy that he probably meant Marcel's when he wrote "Although Gerard's Place has a Belgian flavor, it is too often overlooked as a great Freench restaurant."

                          2. Café de Paris serves about the best French I've had in the area-- I've gone to the Laurel and Columbia locations. Great wine list, as well.


                            NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Nosher

                              Cafe de Paris serves delicious food.

                              1. re: elgringoviejo

                                Agreed. And the owner is actually French.

                            2. I live in Baltimore, and we go to Petit Louis -- great atmosphere and wonderful food.


                              1. If you want to eat French circa 1950s (American), in Baltimore, there's a place called Martick's. Nothing like it in DC. :-)

                                There's also a place called Brasserie Tatin, which is a self-described "classic French Brasserie."


                                2 Replies
                                1. re: atls21231

                                  Is Martick's open again? I heard it was closed. And Petit Louis is great as far as I'm concerned. Can't wait to go for lunch over the holidays.

                                  1. re: Procrastibaker

                                    Petit Louis started serving brunch, to mixed reviews. I haven't tried it yet, as I'm not much of a brunch person...but I'd be interested in hearing if it's worth the drive to Roland Park on a Sunday.

                                2. Martick's just re-opened after Morris took his first vacation in like 25 years to St. Thomas.