**Update 11/18/08 – Les Halles has closed!**

Quite possibly one of my favorite restaurants in all of DC is Les Halles.  It’s not just because I think they have great mussels, French onion soup, and escargot.  Or the great steak and frites.  Or their alfresco seating.  Nor is it because Anthony Bourdain is associated with the restaurant (though important to note that he’s not the chef of the DC restaurant and is considered “chef-at-large” for the five restaurants).   It’s because I always have great memories and experiences when I’m there.  Whether I’m with one friend or with a group, we always have a fantastic time.   

My idea of a perfect Saturday or Sunday in DC is to eat alfresco at Les Halles around 2 PM with friends.  When you go at this hour, they have a tendency to leave you alone so you can catch up and leisurely eat.   

  • Food: It’s simple, yet fantastic French cuisine.  I’ve never been to France (traveling is something that’s on my list!), but I have to believe it’d be a little bit like this.  The frites can sometimes be a bit soggy (as they were when I just went on Saturday), but you can usually pick out a few crispy ones.  Overall, I have yet to be disappointed by their food and my dining companions have also always enjoyed their meals.  If you only come to DC once, you should order the mussels (white wine, shallot, and garlic) and the steak and frites.  You won’t be disappointed!   
  • Atmosphere: I’ve never sat inside to eat – always alfresco.  As an avid people watcher, Les Halles is a perfect setting for such an activity.  I think you get a decent amount of room between tables so you don’t have to worry about if the guy next to you can hear what you’re saying (unless you’re loud, which, I am sometimes).   
  • Service: Moderately slow.  This is definitely not a place to go if you’re in a rush.  I cannot tell you how many times I have had to wait for various things such as a fork, more bread, etc.  They are good about getting the food out in a reasonable amount of time.  They’re just not speedy when you need something “extra.” 
  • Attire: Business casual
  • Price: $$$
  • Overall: I only order the mussels and the steak and frites.  Plus, I only go when it’s beautiful out.  But I love this place!

Check out the tags to see if this would make sense for your dining experience.  This is not a great place for vegetarians (unless they eat fish).  And of course, they have a great wine and beverage list.


  • Reservations are accepted and are strongly encouraged when you go during peak hours. 

  • Hours: 7:30am – 11:30am, Monday – Friday for Breakfast; 11:30am – midnight 7 days a week serving Lunch and Dinner; Saturday & Sunday Brunch

  • Address: 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; Washington, DC 20004

  • Ph: 202-347-6848