100 Best Restaurants 2010: Circle Bistro
No. 86: Circle Bistro
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Cynthia Hacinli, Ann Limpert, Kate Nerenberg, Rina Rapuano
Comments () | Published January 1, 2010
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: After a rocky year, the kitchen seems to have stabilized with the arrival of Ethan McKee, a veteran of Equinox and Rock Creek at Mazza, whose French- and Mediterranean-influenced American menu runs to plates such as wild Alaskan halibut with chorizo, Swiss chard, and saffron butter.

Mood: Deciding where to sit can be hard. Will it be the teeming lounge, where you can nibble on snacks such as fries with fines herbes mayonnaise, or the conversation-friendly dining room done in shades of orange, yellow, and cream?

Best for: The Kennedy Center–bound—there’s a $35, three-course pre-theater meal from 5 to 7.

Best dishes: Crisp potato-crusted oysters with bacon-chive crème fraîche; roasted-beet salad with arugula and walnut vinaigrette; lamb rib eye with ratatouille and olive tapenade; duck with celery root, spinach, crispy leeks, and orange; a deconstructed brownie sundae including a dense, fudgy wedge of cake, house-made espresso ice cream, and candied walnuts.

Insider tips: There are lots of deals, including half-price cocktails, beer, and wine at the bar Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 7:30 and free bottomless mimosas at Sunday brunch.

Service: ••

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


See all of 2010's 100 Best Restaurants


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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/01/2010 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews