L’Auberge Chez Francois

This rustic, romantic French/Alsatian cottage is a popular special occasion spot.

From January 2006 100 Very Best Restaurants

THE SCENE. Rusticity and romance come together at this old-world Alsatian-French restaurant presided over for half a century by Francois Haeringer and his family. Son Jacques has long been in charge of the kitchen, but Francois is often found at the Tudor-style cottage's door greeting customers. Reservations, taken up to four weeks in advance, are hard to get, especially during the holidays.

WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. Hallmarks of Alsatian and haute French cuisine–aperitifs with floating raspberries; mousselines; Dover sole; Chateaubriand; Grand Marnier souffles–presented without pretension. And the value  makes this restaurant hard to resist: Entree prices include appetizer, salad, dessert, and coffee or tea.

WHAT YOU WON'T. The embroidered frilliness–complete with red-vested waiters, copious doilies, and flowered curtains–will either feel charming or kitschy.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.