Where to Find Good French Food in DC
When people find out I am French, they always end up asking me this question: What is a good French restaurant in DC? Well, darling, I am sorry but I cook French food. Why would I go to a French restaurant and pay at least 3 times more than what it costs me to make it myself? That’s just silly! Although I soon got tired of answering that question, I also became increasingly curious. Maybe this town had some hidden gems of French gastronomy … So I went, I saw, I tasted!
First, here is my advice to you all: if you have to pay $16 for a “Croque-Monsieur,” don’t do it! I will share my recipe with you. Just don’t make that terrible mistake. After all, it is just a grilled cheese sandwich with ham! Instead, try fancier or more original dishes that you would probably never make at home. Escargots anyone?
I have only tried crepes once in DC. I went to Point Chaud, near Logan Circle on 14th Street, and I was really disappointed. In terms of price, the sweet crepes were expensive. In terms of taste, they were very thick and chewy (unlike real crepes), and the toppings were not really French, nor were the crepes. Feta, avocado, cheddar, eggplants … For all I know, those crepes might have been American, Mexican, even Greek. What is FRENCH at Point Chaud besides the name of the place?! In short, I hated it and decided to stick with throwing “Crepe Nights” at my place to save my friends from eating fake crepes.
I did find 4 good, even great, French restaurants:
- I started with Bistro du Coin near Dupont Circle (1738 Connecticut Ave, NW). Although I have found better, the food was good! I was not too fond of the “Blanquette de Veau” (veal in sauce), but they have great mussels like the ones you would eat in Normandy or Brittany. The wine and food menus are 100% French and the owner will happily speak French with you. So, you should check it out if you are in the area!
- I also tried Bistro la Bonne on 13th and U Street. So far, this is my favorite! It is a small restaurant with an atmosphere close to a real French bistro. There are only 5 dishes above $20. The lobster bisque and the onion soup are killer appetizers, the meat is cooked just right, and the bread is awesome.
- If you want to get a little fancier and get a great culinary experience, I advise you to try Poste, the “Moderne Brasserie” (555 8th Street, NW). I went there last year, so the menu has slightly changed since then, but it was delicious! Dinner prices are expensive but the Chef brings his modern and experimental touch to French dishes, and the result is amazing!
- Three weeks ago, I also tried Bistro Lepic (1736 Wisconsin Ave NW), near the Dumbarton Oaks gardens. Looking for a romantic day? Why not stroll down these gorgeous gardens and end the day with dinner at Bistro Lepic? It is a good price compromise. The wine list is amazing and the food looks as wonderful as it tastes (small portions of delicate and tasty French food). If you go there for a birthday, they can even make you a real French birthday cake. I had not had a cake that good since my last time in France! My only disappointment: my waiter did not know French.
So check out these places and do not hesitate to give me your suggestions if you happen to find other wonderful French restaurants in the area!
Image from http://chefmom.sheknows.com/articles/5401/healthy-makeover-quiche-lorraine