100 Very Best Restaurants 2014: Marcel’s

No. 5 on this year's list.
French favorite Marcel's makes lobster bisque even more decadent by capping it with butter pastry. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

If you want to see—or, if you’re old enough, to remember—what dining out looked like before the wall dividing high and low came tumbling down, book a table at this bastion of old-school. That suited guy at the host stand? That’s maître d’ Adnane Kebaier, one of the last of the breed. His tables are bathed in a buttery light, laid with military-crisp white cloth, and attended by a staff that knows how to pamper without slipping into obsequiousness.

The cooking extends the fantasy. The best of chef Robert Wiedmaier’s plates, such as a silken boudin blanc, are painstakingly built, and if there’s little in the way of experimentation, few kitchens are more consistent or more rewarding of your investment. Swipe a slice of duck breast through its rich wine reduction and you won’t be pining for novelty or flash—you’ll be thinking there’s a reason some things endure. 

Open: Daily for dinner. 

Don’t miss: Beet-and-goat-cheese trio; cold-smoked black cod; brandade fritter; crispy skate wing; Dover-sole roulade; bison strip loin; blood-orange brûlée napoleon. 

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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.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.