100 Best Restaurants 2011: Bastille

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

The appeal of this tiny bistro, on a quiet street on the edge of Old Town, isn’t that it delivers soul-stirring French cooking. The appeal is that it’s an old-fashioned mom-and-pop. Christophe and Michelle Poteaux are on the premises daily, giving the operation the intimacy of a family business, right down to the amiable, helpful staff.

Pop does the cooking, and his robust, countrified dishes summon bistros of old: coq au vin, bouillabaisse, a grandmère-style roast chicken. Mom provides the finish, including a decadent Valrhona chocolate pot de crème and a sublime, brandy-spiked apple tarte Tatin. The wines-by-the-glass list is comparable to a good wine bar’s, offering Old and New World selections in a variety of tasting options, including generous half pours.

Also good: Trio of rillettes; pan-seared foie gras with roasted fruits; rock-shrimp beignets; ham-and-cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg (lunch only); hanger steak and French fries; cassoulet.

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

>> See all of 2011's 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.