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100 Best Restaurants 2009: Circle Bistro
No. 92: Circle Bistro
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Cynthia Hacinli, Rina Rapuano, Eve Zibart
Comments () | Published February 1, 2009
100 Best Restaurants 2012 Happy Hour 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Circle Bistro
Address: 1 Washington Circle, NW, Washington, DC 20037
Phone: 202-293-5390
Neighborhood: Foggy Bottom/West End, Downtown
Cuisines: Modern, American, Breakfast
Opening Hours: Open Monday through Thursday 7 AM to 10 PM; Friday 7 AM to 11 PM; Saturday 8 AM to 11 PM; Sunday 8 AM to 10 PM.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Kid Friendly: Yes
Nearby Metro Stops: Farragut West, Foggy Bottom-GWU
Price Range: Moderate
Noise Level: Intimate
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Potato-crusted oysters with bacon-chive crème fraîche; roasted-beet salad with walnut vinaigrette; lamb rib eye with ratatouille and olive tapenade; duck with celery root, spinach, and orange; brownie sundae with espresso ice cream and candied walnuts.
Price Details: Lunch appetizers, $7 to $10; entrees, $12 to $17. Dinner appetizers, $7 to $18; entrees, $19 to $27. Brunch entrees, $9 to $16. Three-course pre-theater menu (served until 7 PM), $35.
Special Features:
Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Valet Parking Available, Party Space, Outdoor Seating, Breakfast
Happy Hour Details:
4 to 7 PM
Happy Hour Days:
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays

Cuisine: The departure of chef Brendan Cox dealt a bit of a blow to this bistro, known for simple, uncluttered plates of French-inspired American cooking at affordable prices. The menu hasn’t changed much under Richard King, nor has the commitment to procuring top-notch meats, fishes, and produce, but the kitchen has been uneven.

Mood: The orange-walled room is an unexpected oasis—and one of the best spots in town for the opera- or symphony-bound or anyone in need of a getaway lunch. But service is sometimes off, and waits between courses can be long.

Best for: Diners headed to the Kennedy Center; nibbles with a crowd in the moodily lit lounge.

Best dishes: Highlights have included butternut-squash soup with pumpkin-seed oil; fried green tomatoes with rémoulade; brook-trout meunière; sliced hanger steak with bordelaise sauce; roast chicken with jus; souffléd chocolate bread pudding.

Insider tips: The $35 pretheater menu, available until 7, is a good deal, as are the well-priced lunch and bar menus.

Service: •½

Open Monday through Saturday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate to expensive.

>> See all 100 Best Restaurants

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 02/01/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews