100 Best Restaurants 2012: Cafe Du Parc

Tried and True: 10 Restaurants That Have Consistently Offered Very Good Dining


The term “seasonality” is typically shorthand for produce that a restaurant features as the market changes. This cafe, operated by the famed Willard hotel and overseen by a Michelin-starred chef, is “seasonal” in a different sense. It’s most desirable in the warmer months, when you can loll on the patio by the park. Inside, the small bar and upstairs dining room don’t match the charm outside. Fortunately, no matter where you sit, you’ll find well-executed pâtés and terrines, exquisite salads and soups, and main courses that are models of elegant simplicity. If only the service had the same polish.

What to get: Crab-and-avocado cocktail with lobster gelée; one of the area’s best crabcakes; lamb stew; sweetbreads with English peas; salumi board; vegetable-stuffed trout in Riesling sauce; roast chicken with light jus; steamed mussels with garlic and white wine; roast cod; salty caramel topped with crème brûlée and meringue; Jivara milk-chocolate bar; Saint-Honoré cake, candied cream puffs.

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

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.