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Decent French in NOVA?

Anywhere decent- I'm in the mood for some decent french food. I've been to that place on King Street in Alexandria, which I didn't think was good at all. I'm trying to remember the name, but it's been family owned for years. Price isn't really an issue, but I want this to be a somewhat relaxing dinner.

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  1. I haven't been, but everyone I know who has, has liked it is Bistro 123 in Vienna, Va.


    1 Reply
    1. re: weezycom

      I'll second Bistro 123. I've been there a couple of times.

      1. re: dcs

        I second La Côte D'Or / Bistro des Célestins...being just off 66 (exit 69) and a very reasonable walk from the East Falls Church metro, I would consider it easily accessible from DC.

      2. La Refuge on Washington St. in Old Town Alex

        1. Le Petite Mistral in McLean is now Le Mistral, having moved down the street to a new, more elegant and larger location. Ate there last month and was pleased with both food and service.

          1. La Bergerie in Old Town on Lee Street between Cameron and Queen Street. A classic, real French restaurant where they still prepare caesar salad tableside and has impeccable, discreet service. The real deal. http://www.labergerie.com/

            1. For classic country French, Le Gaulois on King Street in Old Town has always been a favorite of mine, though I haven't been in a few years.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dancingfool

                So sorry to say that Le Gaulois has changed totally, as the nice French couple who started it have returned to France. None of the old fabulous dishes, like their spaghettis des cougettes with seafood, or the blanquette de veau, or the casserole with tenderloin tips and brandy peppercorn cream sauce! I REALLY miss the old place, but the new owner seems to want to change the menu often (and IMHO, not in an improved way!). We loved the real (original) LG, and are looking for a place with similar dishes. Oh, and yummy, super garlicky mussels to start!

              2. Le Tire Bouchon in Fairfax across from the Courthouse

                1. Thanks all. We ended up at Bistro 123, not what I'd call NoVA, but the woman wanted to go there. It was exactly what I had suggested we were looking for- decent. Not great, not terrible. BTW- Le Refuge is the one I was talking about that was terrible.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: jpschust

                    For future reference where do you consider NoVa?

                    1. re: viperlush

                      NoVA is basically any part of Northern VA that is easily and quickly accessable to DC. I certainly don't consider Vienna quickly accessable to DC.

                      1. re: jpschust

                        Not really. Quick accessibility doesn't have anything to do with geography . NOVA is Northern Virginia. Vienna is in Northern Virginia.

                        1. re: biscuit

                          I think the Viennese would be surprised to find they have been relegated to RoVa!

                        2. re: jpschust

                          Oh, so you mean Arlington, Alexandria, and possibly Falls Church.

                    2. Perhaps I should have specified at the time- somewhere within close reach of the metro diamond in virginia. That said, I'm still not sold that we have decent French in that area. Time to keep trying.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: jpschust

                        Recommended above but may have been missed...La Côte D'Or (http://www.lacotedorcafe.com/) is on the edge of said diamond, is easily accessible by car from 66 east or west, or somewhat easily by metro with a bit of a walk (less than 1/2 mile from east falls church), and I really enjoy it. I am no expert on French food but it would be worth a try for you in this quest.

                        1. re: jpschust

                          JP -- you gotta head out into the deep country to L'auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls. It's worth the trip if you're looking for excellent cooking from the frogs. The restaurant's ambience and decor are consistent with the somewhat countrified location, so you feel a bit like you're actually in le pays. Take your Amex, though, it ain't cheap.

                          For a very different but interesting experience you might try Chez Andre, off S Glebe Rd down in Alex. The cuisine is not green guide, but it's a family owned joint with a long history and they serve a pretty decent escargot.

                          1. re: traveler

                            I'll do just that. I'll take a trip on a saturday or so- what's the reservation system like? Is it going to be hard to do a walk in there or need I make a reservation for a Saturday night?

                            1. re: jpschust

                              Definitely make a res and go with someone who'll appreciate the french dining experience. Bon appetit!

                              1. re: jpschust

                                Chez Francois is a tough place to get a reservation, even a month out. But, on a nice night, I think they have a first come/first served patio, and I believe if you show up early they seat you there without a reservation. The reservations are for inside, and of course if you have one you can request outside if available on arrival. On a nice night, it is the most beautiful patio you can imagine. Anyway, call to see if this is still the deal, because I'd hate for you to drive out there and not get a seat. I think this is a really great country french place, although perhaps has slipped a bit since the fire a couple years ago that caused some of their staff to move on. Still, since I know you are leaving DC, this has got to be on your list if you haven't eaten there yet!

                              2. re: traveler

                                Chez Andre is on East Glebe Road. Not South. Easy shot from downtown DC. And you don't expect it to be there. Very plain looking from the outside.
                                It is a very pleasant surprise. Unassuming, pleasant place with great food for the prices. Super prix fixe menus.

                                We loved L'Auberge when it was downtown forever ago but their reservations are soooo hard to get now. Do you still have to reserve a month ahead?

                                1. re: MakingSense

                                  Right, E Glebe. Always get confused down there even though it's nto that hard to find.

                                  Was last at CF last spring; don't recall it being too hard to get a res, but we may have gone during the week. Have not yet dined on their patio, which I've heard is first come first serve. In the summer, if you go early, you might luck out with a table there.

                                  And while you're out in Great Falls there's the Old Brogue Irish Pub, sort of around the corner. Worth a stop in before dinner to check it out; or after, if you don't linger too long over wine at CF.

                            2. Maybe (or maybe not) what we need are new acronyms to better delineate the requestor's desired area. How about IBVA (Inside the Beltway Virginia) or MAVA (Metro-Accessible Virginia)? :)

                              1. Although not exclusively French, you might also check out Willow in the Ballston area of Arlington. It self-describes as modern continental, which translates into a mixture of French and Northern Italian. I've had some fine meals there. FWIW, I believe that Willow has extended its RW offering for another week.


                                3 Replies
                                1. re: dcs

                                  Thanks, but I'm looking for french, not a mix.

                                  1. re: jpschust

                                    If you want to take a bit of a ride, you might want to check out the French Hound bistro in Middleburg.

                                    There's also Frogs and Friends in Marshall.

                                  2. re: dcs

                                    This place looks very cool. Planning a visit soon. Hell of a web site. I like their description of the philosophy behind the place.

                                  3. I just want to second the recommendation of La Bergerie in Alexandria on Lee St. It truly is out of another time, with plush semicircular leather banquettes and traditional, discreet service and really good food. My husband and I ate there just last weekend, and his filet mignon was exceptionally good. It's always a very satisfying experience, which unfortunately is not always the case even when you're shelling out big bucks. Oh, and order a souffle for dessert when you order your meal.