100 Best Restaurants 2009: Cafe Du Parc

No. 32: Cafe Du Parc

Cuisine: French bistro cooking full of technical rigor and subtle artistry. Pulling the strings, mostly from afar, is consulting chef Antoine Westermann, who earned three Michelin stars for his Strasbourg restaurant and also runs two superlative Paris cafes.

Mood: Depends where you’re sitting. Under the umbrellas on the outside patio, it’s the epitome of cafe society. The upstairs dining room lacks charm. A seat at the downstairs bar splits the difference and is the best bet in cold weather.

Best for: Satisfying longings for Paris without getting on a jet.

Best dishes: The area’s best mussels; classic steak tartare; masterful pâté en croûte, the terrine of veal, pork, and foie gras cooked with wine and Armagnac and swaddled in crispy pastry; roast chicken in its natural juices; a square of pork belly, expertly rendered; old-school renditions of profiteroles and mille-feuille.

Insider tips: The cafe serves breakfast, making it a destination for power diners—the White House is two blocks away.

Service: ••½

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Expensive.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurants

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.