100 Best Restaurants 2011: Marcel’s

No. 7

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

One of the few Washington restaurants where men wear jackets, chefs wear toques, and servers wear suits, chef Robert Wiedmaier’s oldest place (he now has four others and a market) is an anachronism in this day and age of informal bistros. The amber dining room, rimmed with red banquettes, features arched ceilings, heavy drapery, and ornate carpeting—and you won’t hear the next table’s chatter.

The decades-ago feel is less evident on the menu, a seamless mix of sauces and skills from an Escoffier cheat sheet with more contemporary ingredients and innovations. Take, for example, a fricassee of Burgundy snails with garlic flan. A flexible format means that choices for a three-, four-, five-, or seven-course dinner can include any dish on the menu. Before 7 pm, a three-course pre-theater menu is a good deal at $58.

Also good: Lobster bisque under a dome of puff pastry with a side of lobster tartare; filet of Saint Pierre fish with salsify, black-trumpet mushrooms, and mustard sauce; the signature boudin blanc, a sausage made with a mousse of chicken and foie gras; local-veal paillard with lemon-caper butter; chocolate soufflé with hazelnut ice cream.

Open daily for dinner. Very expensive.

>> 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 Logan Circle.