There are lots of options when it comes to the best French restaurants in Washington DC. The nation’s capital is home to many type of cuisine and great French food is one of them. In this complete guide to DC’s French restaurants, we organize the best French restaurants in DC by neighborhood so it’s easy for you to find a great cup of French onion soup or the best crème brûlées.
Best French Restaurants In Washington DC: Dupont Circle
There are lots of French restaurants in Dupont Circle and the surrounding areas. Here are some of our top picks when it comes to French styles of cuisine.
Duck Duck Goose – Top Choice
This stylish French bistro offers contemporary French fare with a twist. Diners at Duck Duck Goose can expect an interesting fusion of flavors, attentive service, and an impeccably designed ambiance. The extensive menu also features dishes that vegetarians can enjoy as well, which is not as common with many French restaurants.
The restaurant has received high praise from both the Washington Post and Gayot’s Selections, placing it firmly among the DC’s top French dining experiences. This restaurant also use to have a Bethesda location which has since closed, but you can still enjoy the delicious food at Duck Duck Goose in Dupont Circle.
Ellington Park Bistro – Swanky Hotel Design
Found just steps away from Dupont Circle, Ellington Park Bistro provides a unique take on traditional French cuisine. This stylish restaurant is inside the St. Gregory Hotel, which is a popular hotel in DC. Located just a couple blocks from Dupont Circle, it has a stylish and romantic atmosphere that is perfect for a couples getaway.
With a focus on using locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients, this chic bistro offers an innovative dining experience. Both the Michelin Guide and Gayot’s Selections have acknowledged Ellington Park Bistro for its remarkable culinary creations.
Le DeSales is known for its modern and sophisticated atmosphere. This upscale French restaurant focuses on delivering authentic flavors with creative flair. It has been recognized by the Michelin Guide and the Washington Post for its culinary excellence and outstanding service. A visit to Le DeSales is a truly memorable dining experience.
Bistrot du Coin
A neighborhood staple, Bistrot du Coin exudes a true Parisian bistro atmosphere serving classic French dishes. The cozy and welcoming ambiance pairs perfectly with its authentic menu. As one of the top French restaurants in DC, Bistrot du Coin is praised not only for its delightful cuisine but also its lively atmosphere and friendly staff.
Marcel’s By Robert Wiedmaier
This critically-acclaimed restaurant, led by renowned chef Robert Wiedmaier, offers an unparalleled dining experience. Marcel’s menu showcases exquisite French and Belgian cuisine prepared with impeccable technique. The restaurant has received numerous awards and accolades, including Gayot’s “Top French Restaurants” distinction and high praise from the Washington Post.
Baby Shank is a hidden gem north of Dupont Circle. It borders the Dupont Circle and Shaw neighborhoods and is not too far from the very popular U street which has many restaurant options as well.
Baby Shank is a newer restaurant that has blend of French-inspired dishes with contemporary flair. Known for its inventive menu and warm atmosphere, Baby Shank never fails to impress its patrons. The restaurant has been recognized by elite publications like the Michelin Guide and Gayot’s Selections for its top-tier quality and enticing menu offerings.
Best French Restaurants In DC: Shaw District
The Shaw neighborhood of Washington DC is getting better and better every year. With new restaurants popping up all over this area of DC, it’s not surprising that you will find many awesome French restaurants here as well.
Convivial – Great Happy Hour
Convivial is a neighborhood favorite. It is a modern French restaurant in the Shaw District that has a chic ambiance and beautiful far area. In addition to their popular dinner service, weekend brunch here is also very popular.
Their menu features both traditional dishes as well as unique offerings, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Some popular dishes include burrata, the grilled octopus, the quiche, and the classic French onion soup.
Nestled in the heart of the Shaw District, Petite Cerise is a charming French bistro. This restaurant is a sister restaurant to the popular restaurant The Dabney. Petite Cerise serves up authentic French cuisine in a cozy, intimate setting. Their menu includes classic French dishes such as coq au vin, bouillabaisse, and steak frites. With a focus on fresh ingredients and attention to detail, Petite Cerise offers guests a delightful dining experience.
La Jambe is a modern and trendy French wine bar located in the Shaw District. This cute spot has an extensive selection of wines and cheeses. It also serves small plates featuring traditional French charcuterie, such as pâtés, rillettes, and fromage. With its laid-back vibe and knowledgeable staff, La Jambe offers a splendid spot for enjoying various wine pairings and tasting plates.
Great French Restaurants In Washington DC: Georgetown
Of course Georgetown is going to have some amazing options when it comes to the French restaurants in DC. Georgetown is well known for its cute and cozy coffee shops, its variety of Italian restaurants, and also French cuisine. Let’s take a look at some of the best options when it comes to the best French restaurants in Washington DC’s Georgetown neighborhood.
Lutece – Very Popular
The intimate and cozy vibe at Lutece compliment the delicious food here. This Wisconsin Avenue restaurant is famous for their delicious bread and rotating menu of wonderful dishes.
With a rustic setting and warm hospitality, it truly feels as though you have stepped into a cozy French countryside inn. The bar area is also a great place to grab a drink before dinner. Come early or make a reservation well in advance as this place is very popular.
Apéro & La Bohème – Cute & Quality
This charming French restaurant located in Georgetown offers a delightful menu with dishes where the ingredients shine brightly. Apéro & La Bohème boasts a cozy atmosphere, where guests can enjoy their meals surrounded by warm lighting and comfortable seating.
The downstairs is Apero and the upstairs is La Boheme. They are on the bib gourmand list and we wouldn’t be surprised if they received a Michelin star soon.
L’Avant Garde – Fancy French
Right on M Street NW is the sleek and romantic restaurant L’Avant Garde. This restaurant has an innovative yet authentic French cuisine experience for its patrons.
The creative chefs here combine classic techniques with modern twists, ensuring that each dish is both visually stunning and delicious to the palate. The restaurant also has some amazing cocktails. This is another French restaurant that is great if you are trying to impress a fan of French cuisine. This modern restaurant has impeccable service to go along with its delicious food.
If you are looking for a casual neighborhood restaurant, then Maman is the best choice. Located right on Wisconsin avenue, this cute French spot has top-notch French pastries and delectable café selections.
Not only does it have great coffee if you’re visiting earlier in the day, it also has a wide range of options on the dinner menu. Maman Georgetown is the place to be. Serving a range of offerings, from freshly baked croissants to scrumptious quiches, Maman Georgetown offers an unforgettable taste of France in the heart of Georgetown.
A long-standing favorite among the Georgetown community, La Chaumiere is renowned for its traditional French cuisine and intimate atmosphere. This establishment is famous for dishes such as their escargot and onion soup. With a rustic setting and warm hospitality, it truly feels as though you have stepped into a cozy French countryside inn.
Chez Billy Sud
Right across from the luxurious Rosewood Hotel is the cute and cozy Chez Billy Sud. Because of its location, it is popular with both locals and tourists. The restaurant has classic French fare with a Provençal twist.
The menu features a variety of seafood options, like their popular moules frites, as well as meat dishes highlighting the flavors of Southern France. Diners can further enjoy their meals on the picturesque patio, weather permitting.
Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar
A little further away from the really busy part of Georgetown is Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar. At this restaurant diners can enjoy classic French dishes like coq au vin and crème brûlée alongside a curated selection of wines from various regions of France. Its warm ambiance and delectable cuisine make Bistrot Lepic a quintessential French bistro experience in Georgetown.
Top French Restaurants In Washington DC: 14th Street
If you want a vibe, then head to 14th street in DC. 14th street in DC has some really fun happy hours, and some of the best restaurants in the city. Amongst these awesome restaurants are several which serve French food.
Le Diplomate – Hot Spot
Le Diplomate is one of the most popular restaurants in DC. This very lively French restaurant is located in the heart of 14th Street near Logan Circle. Weather permitting, their patio is also open for dining.
Known for its lively atmosphere almost any day of the week, and delicious French cuisine, this bistro offers an authentically Parisian dining experience. Signature dishes at Le Diplomate include the savory Steak Frites and their mouthwatering burger. With a wide variety of options to choose from, guests can also enjoy brunch and seasonal menus.
Bresca – Michelin Star
For those seeking an elegant and contemporary dining experience, Bresca is a must-visit on 14th Street. This French-inspired, Michelin-starred restaurant showcases modern culinary techniques and artfully plated dishes. Some notable menu items are the Seared Foie Gras and Dover Sole Meunière.
Bresca additionally features a tasteful interior design and handcrafted cocktails to complement your meal. Depending on the season, Bresca has cute cabins available for outdoor dining. Its a great place to celebrate special events or a milestone.
Vin Sur Vingt
Vin Sur Vingt offers a more casual setting while still maintaining the charm of French cuisine. This wine bar specializes in French wines and serves a carefully selected collection, with over 50 options. The menu includes a range of charcuterie and fromages, as well as small plates such as Tartines and Croquettes.
For a relaxed evening of good food and excellent wine, Vin Sur Vingt is an ideal choice. It is located just next door to Le Dip.
Opaline Bar and Brasserie
Located in the iconic Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square, Opaline Bar and Brasserie brings classic French fare to 14th Street. With an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, diners can enjoy dishes like moules frites and niçoise salad. The sleek and stylish setting of Opaline also features a beautiful outdoor patio for al fresco dining in the warmer months.
Best French Restaurants In Washington DC: Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill near H street and Union Station also has its fair share of French restaurants. Let’s take a look.
Located in the heart of Capitol Hill and walking distance from Union Station is the romantic Bistro Cacao. This French restaurant has a delightful array of French dishes that are not only delicious but also beautifully presented. Featuring both classic and modern French cuisine, some of their standout dishes include Coq au Vin, Bouillabaisse, and Steak Frites. The charming interior lends itself to a romantic and intimate atmosphere, perfect for a date night or special occasion.
Bistro Du Jour
Bistro Du Jour is a local favorite in the Capitol Hill area, known for its warm atmosphere and delectable French cuisine. The menu offers familiar favorites like Escargot, Duck Confit, and
Ratatouille, as well as some innovative dishes with a modern twist. Don’t miss out on their dessert selection as they offer classic options like Tarte Tatin and Chocolate Mousse. There is another location for this restaurant in the DC Wharf.
Bistro Bis has been serving up authentic French cuisine to the residents of Capitol Hill for years. Their menu is an elegant mix of traditional and contemporary French dishes, such as Seared Scallops, Beef Bourguignon, and Roasted Duck Breast. The sophisticated decor and attentive service make this an excellent choice for business dinners or celebratory meals.
Le Bon Cafe
If you’re looking for a more casual French dining experience in Capitol Hill, Le Bon Cafe is the perfect spot. This cozy cafe offers an array of French pastries, sandwiches, and salads that are perfect for a quick lunch break or a leisurely weekend brunch. The cafe also serves high-quality coffee and tea, making it a favorite spot for a midday caffeine fix.
Le Clou is a unique French restaurant located inside the Hilton Morrow Hotel. It has a gorgeous interior and beautiful lighting. The decor and lighting create a luxury atmosphere, allowing diners to enjoy their expertly prepared French dishes like Foie Gras Terrine, Bouillabaisse, and Poached Pears. The wine list is extensive and carefully curated to complement each dish.
Le Pain Quotidien
For those seeking a French bakery experience, Le Pain Quotidien is a casual French spot in Capitol Hill. Offering freshly baked bread, pastries, and a selection of sandwiches and salads, it’s a nice place for breakfast, lunch, or a light afternoon meal. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, further accentuating the feeling of being in a French bakery.
Best French Restaurants In DC: Friendship Heights
Just north of Georgetown and near the Maryland border is the Friendship Heights neighborhood of DC. There are few options when it comes to French restaurants in this part of Washington DC.
Le Chat Noir
Le Chat Noir is a charming French bistro in the heart of Friendship Heights. Its cozy and inviting ambiance transports customers to a Parisian café. The menu offers an impressive selection of classic French dishes, such as coq au vin and escargots à la bourguignonne. Complement your meal with a glass of wine from their extensive wine list, featuring both Old World and New World selections.
Named after the famous French painter Henri Matisse, Matisse is an elegant spot in Washington DC that showcases the beauty and finesse of French cuisine. This establishment prides itself on using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients to create mouth-watering dishes.
Some highlights from the menu include the bouillabaisse, a traditional Provençal fish stew, and the tournedos Rossini, featuring filet mignon, foie gras, and truffle sauce. Matisse also boasts an impressive dessert selection, with offerings such as crème brûlée and tarte tatin.
La Piquette offers a casual, yet sophisticated, dining experience in Friendship Heights. The menu features a wide range of French bistro classics, expertly prepared by the skilled culinary team. Guests can enjoy dishes like Terrine de campagne, a rustic country pâté, and the Boeuf bourguignon, the quintessential French beef dish cooked in red wine and accompanied by seasonal vegetables.
The atmosphere at La Piquette is both welcoming and refined, making it an ideal destination for a date, family dinner, or casual meetup with friends. Be sure to pair your meal with a glass of wine from their well-curated wine list, boasting a variety of French vintages.
Top French Restaurants In DC Metro: Virginia Restaurants
It is not uncommon for people who live in DC or Maryland to venture into Virginia to find good food. From Alexandria and Arlington to the the more suburban parts of Virginia, there are some great options when it comes to French food.
L’Auberge Chez Francois
Located in Great Falls, L’Auberge Chez Francois offers an authentic French dining experience in a picturesque countryside setting. Known for an exceptional view and an exceptional dining experience, the restaurant has been a go-to spot for French food enthusiasts for years. It is great for a special occasion.
The menu showcases classic French dishes with ingredients sourced from local farms, ensuring the freshest and highest quality ingredients possible.Popular dishes at L’Auberge Chez Francois are Duck a l’Orange and the bouillabaisse.
La Côte D’Or Café
La Côte D’Or Café in Arlington brings a taste of France to the heart of Virginia’s dining scene. With a cozy, bistro-like atmosphere, patrons can enjoy the warm and welcoming ambiance alongside scrumptious French classics. The attentive and friendly staff complements the authentic culinary experience, making La Côte D’Or Café a must-visit destination for French food aficionados in the area.
Popular menu items include the Coq au Vin, Escargots de Bourgogne, and the Tarte Tatin. The restaurant also offers a nice wine selection of fine French wines, expertly paired with the dishes to enhance the dining experience.
Le Bistro VA
A hidden gem tucked away in Alexandria, Le Bistro VA offers an intimate setting for a memorable French dining experience. The menu at Le Bistro VA is inspired by traditional bistro fare, with a focus on providing simple yet delicious dishes for its patrons. The cozy, rustic ambiance contributes to the overall charm of this dining establishment. Some of the signature dishes at Le Bistro VA are the truite meunière and the crème brûlée
Top French Restaurants In DC Metro: Maryland Restaurants
The DC metro area in Maryland also has some good options when it comes to French food.
Located in the Pike & Rose neighborhood of North Bethesda, Julii offers a contemporary twist on traditional French cuisine. Signature dishes include the Ratatouille Provençal and Duck Confit.
The modern, elegant setting makes it a perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a special celebration. Parking is easy and they have a great happy hour as well.
Mon Ami Gabi
Mon Ami Gabi boasts a classic French bistro experience in the heart of Bethesda. Known for its Steak Frites and Onion Soup Au Gratin, the menu includes a variety of starters, salads, and entrees to suit every taste. With its charming, cozy atmosphere and lovely outdoor patio, Mon Ami Gabi is an ideal destination for lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch.
Maman Bethesda brings a taste of Provence to its patrons. Specializing in French-Mediterranean cuisine, innovative dishes such as the Bouillabaisse or Coq au Vin are sure to delight. The intimate, rustic setting creates a warm ambiance perfect for a casual meal or a celebratory gathering.
Praline Bakery & Bistro
Located in Bethesda, Praline Bakery & Bistro offers a fusion of French-American dishes, alongside a selection of exceptional baked goods and pastries. Must-try dishes include their savory Quiche Lorraine and tempting Tarte Tatin. Enjoy a relaxing meal with friendly service in this quaint and inviting establishment.
La Ferme Restaurant
La Ferme Restaurant, situated in Chevy Chase, is a charming and elegant eatery serving traditional French cuisine. Known for its romantic atmosphere and beautifully plated dishes, guests can indulge in classics such as Escargots de Bourgogne and Filet de Boeuf with Sauce Périgourdine. The attentive service and delightful garden setting make it a memorable dining experience.
Bistro Provence in Bethesda offers patrons a cozy, rustic atmosphere, showcasing the flavors and charm of the Provence region. Menu highlights include Bouillabaisse Marseillaise, Moules Frites, and Crème Brûlée. The curated wine list features an array of French wines, complementing the delicious culinary offerings of Bistro Provence.
Best French Restaurants In Washington DC: Summary
The best French restaurants in Washington DC include Duck Duck Goose, L’Avant Garde, Apero Wine Bar, Maman, Bistro Caco, Convivial, Bresca, and Le Diplomate.