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Aug 19, 2007 11:23 AM

good value French restaurants in DC area?

One thing about French restaurants is that I've never known them to be good values - if the quality is high, the portions are usually very small for the money. Are there any good value French restaurants in the DC area, and generally which French restaurants in the DC area would you recommend trying?

I've heard about a place on Lee Highway in Arlington called "Cafe Parisien Express" which I hear is a very affordable place - but I've heard the food is of uneven quality (some decent dishes, others not so much) and despite the charming appearance from the outside, it is more like a cafeteria from the inside.

I've also heard positive things about "Belgique Gourmande" and heard about a number of places with the word "Bistro" in their name, but too little specific info to match to each place.

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  1. The Bistro des Celestins looks to be a good value.

    I have only eaten at its much more expensive sister, La Côte D'Or Café, which I have quite enjoyed. I suspect the Bistro shares the same kitchen.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dcs

      I second Bistro des Celestins rec

    2. Le Paradou is upscale French, but has an excellent lunch deal for I think like $30-32. Bistro Du Coin in the Adams Morgan area is good and as I remember on the lower end price wise.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ktmoomau

        Bistrot du Coin is actually on Connecticut Avenue quite close to Dupont Circle (north of). It's quite good, I like to try to get there during winter to get some Cassoulet. mmmm

      2. I've always thought Bistro O'Oc is a fine value. It's not cheap persay but its certainly moderatly priced and the portions are a very nice size...not to mention that its some of the best bistro food in the area.

        Bistro Francais has a great Early Bird and Late Bird deal. Something like a $30 give or take for a 3 course-meal. You certainly leave filled and satisfied. This also includes a glass of house wine. They also have a brunch special.

        And for something a little more different I always liked L'Enfant in Adams Morgan. Excellent crepes...both sweet and savory. They have a great beer selection and I also like their non-crepe menu options---especially their nicoise salad. Very tasty and a nice light summer meal.

        1. Monmarte, near Eastern Market, might be considered a good value given the consistently good quality of the food and the experience. I personally think La Chaumiere in G'town is also a good value, when the servers are on (which isn't all the time). And in Adams Morgan, besides L'Enfant, there's also Napolean. It's a pretty "Americanized" version of French, but has a nice list of sparklies by the glass, crepes, etc.

          4 Replies
          1. re: dcandohio

            Has the service at Napolean gotten better? When it first opened I was about to move out of the area. I wanted to go there with some friends (for brunch or drinks) but had heard such terrible stories about the snooty service I decided to hold off for awhile. I'm wondering if it's still uneven and/or rude service.

            1. re: Elyssa

              I've been there twice recently. CAVEAT. I was there during off hours - either very late lunch hours or really early dinner hours. I also sat at the bar both times. Service was fine - friendly, even. The bartender made recommendations for sparkly and offered pleasant chit chat without being too intrusive.

              1. re: dcandohio

                That's good to hear. Maybe I'll have to check it out sometime soon. The menu always looked tasty. Any recommendations?

                1. re: Elyssa

                  I don't remember what they call it, but there's an appetizer of beef tenderloin that is wonderful, and just the right size for a light eater (or as an appetizer for a normal appetite). The beef is just perfectly cooked.

          2. I think that Bistrot Lepic is great value for the money:


            Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar
            1736 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007

            3 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              I'm a big fan of Bistrot du Coin (when it isn't super-crowded and takes forever to get a table) and Lavandou (which, if I remember, may be a little on the pricey side but worth it.)

              1. re: taresa514

                I second the recommendation for Bistro Lepic -- but it's not bargin basement either.

                1. re: taresa514

                  Lavandou is also noteworthy for their BYOB-Corkage-Free Mondays. And their food is good.