100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 14 Le Diplomate

Dining on French standards at Le Diplomate. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

Stephen Starr’s smoky-mirrored Francophile fantasy of a corner brasserie was last year’s buzziest debut. And while it’s easier to nab one of the crimson leather banquettes these days (especially for walk-ins), the kitchen still churns out hits in Taylor Swift-like fashion.

It handles bistro standards—a strapping cassoulet, mussels in an addictively creamy broth—with ease, sprinkling in the occasional elegant surprise, such as a gorgeous salad of plump shrimp with beurre blanc, avocado, and roasted tomato.

Starr’s biggest talent is making sure no part of the experience lags, whether it’s the top-notch desserts, excellent breadbasket, well-made cocktails, or efficient but warm service.

Oh—and the area’s best burger, a riff on a Big Mac that one of our food critics cops to eating once a week. It all adds up to one of our favorite hangouts, as suited for brunch with the kids as it is for an anniversary dinner.

Don’t miss:

  • Seafood plateau
  • Onion soup
  • Foie gras parfait
  • Mushroom tart
  • Steak frites
  • Duck sarladaise over crisp potatoes (at brunch)
  • Crème brûlée
  • Milk-chocolate pot de crème

Try Le Diplomate’s Chef Recipes

Le Diplomate’s Burger Américain

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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.