Convivial

4.6
575 reviews
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$30 and under
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French American
Chef Cedric Maupillier welcomes you to his award winning American Cafe. Located in the heart of the historic Shaw neighborhood, Convivial brings diners to a table alive with the deep and provocative marriage of American and French cuisines.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
French American
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Hours of operation
Sat & Sun Brunch
Sat, Sun 10:30 am–2:30 pm
Sun & Mon Dinner
Mon, Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Tue -Thurs Dinner
Tue–Thu 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
Fri & Sat Dinner
Fri, Sat 5:00 pm–10:30 pm
All Night Happy Hour
Mon, Sun 5:00 pm–9:00 pm
Weeknight Happy Hour
Tue–Fri 5:00 pm–7:00 pm
Late Night Happy Hour
Tue–Thu 9:00 pm–10:00 pm
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Phone number
(202) 525-2870
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Cedric Maupillier
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Private party facilities
In addition to a semi-private alcove table seating up to 8, we offer a full private dining room accommodating parties of up to 40 guests.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Located on 8th Street on the corner of 8 and O
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Parking details
We offer the convenience of complementary two-hour parking in our building's dedicated underground parking garage. Parking entrance location on 8 or 9 street between O and P street
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Public transit
Mt. Vernon Square / 7th St. - Convention Center (Green / Yellow Lines)
Shaw - Howard University (Green / Yellow Lines)
Additional
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Full Bar, Gender Neutral Restroom, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 575 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.4
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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MC
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

You hosted us for a large group dinner on Dec 12. Everything was excellent, thank you.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great meal; pleasant service. Will definitely return again, soon!

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OT
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

Server seemed distract, went for brunch, food is amazing and atmosphere perfect.

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CB
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious French cuisine with a twist! Always on the top of my list for brunch, especially because of the cinnamon bun! We had the burrata (pictured) which was amazing.

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GD
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was amazing! Convivial, the owner/chef and all the staff were amazing. The food was great. Highly recommend.

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DL
Washington DC
16 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Saturday night dinner with a couple of girlfriends. I had the leek starter and the dorade entree and both were excellent. Only major complaint was that the room that faces O Street was having a temperature regulation issue - it alternated between too hot and too cold (the windows may be a little drafty, which presents challenges on a cold night).

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B
Miami
6 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great French restaurant that did not disappoint at either the dinner or brunch we ate there. Enjoyed the great Bees Knees cocktail, wonderful escargot, Dorade fish entrée and leek salad. Desserts are great too! Nice ambience and pleasant wait staff. All around great restaurant that met all our expectations!

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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great setting and ambiance. Out of this world potato chips and dip. Bouillabaisse left much to be desired, but everything else was wonderful.

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OT
Houston
1 review
Dined on December 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was the effin best meal I have ever eaten in my life. Holy sh*t.

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s
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 3

After having a great time for our book club brunch one Saturday I decided to try Convivial for dinner. We arrived very early (6pm) which was probably why I said it was "quiet" in the DR. However our waitress Sarah was fabulous and all of her suggestions were all delish.

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2
Washington DC
58 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Excellent restaurant for brunch. Medium sized restaurant but with small dining rooms that feel cozy and intimate. Warm contemporary decor. Spacious seating. Good windowside seats for twos.

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ID
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I had my birthday dinner here and it was an amazing experience. The French-inspired food was fantastic and the service top-notch. I’d highly recommend this place for a special occasion or nice night out. Plenty of vegetarian options, too.

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F
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I attend Immaculate Conception Church down the street, it is a nice place to grab a bit before meetings and after Mass on Sunday. I only eat their burgers, but they have the best beef for the burger. I often find other parishioners there.

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KL
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Ambience was nice for a dinner out with friends and service was very good. Solid but not the best French fare in town. Duck was a little tough. Appetizers were good but not memorable. Cocktails were also very good as was dessert

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SJ
Washington DC
35 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Convivial is a place to visit regularly. The poulet rouge for 2 remains not only one of the city' s great meals; it is also an extraordinary bargain. To start, try the crispy garlic parmesan bread and whitefish latkes, and finish with the (relatively) new pear mousse and Amoretto cake. The red wines by the glass list has never been better. Simply put, Convivial is one of the city's dining gems.

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CS
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Really good restaurant, with excellent value for the money and high quality dishes.

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M
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really good experience. Fine cuisine and smooth service. Great

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l
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Delicious food, did not feel wholly original, but good spot for a group for brunch.

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RF
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Incredible service that was friendly and attentive without ever being overbearing. The Rockfish appetizer is exquisite, and perhaps surprisingly, a dish I will remember for some time. Excellent restaurant. Yes, dishes are a bit on the smaller side as other commenters have said, but the quality and attention to detail still makes this dining experience very worth the price which I found very reasonable. Highly recommended.

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MW
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 3

I've heard this place was hit or miss, and our 3-course dinner on Thanksgiving was unfortunately a miss. Perhaps the waitress was overwhelmed (as they did have a fair amount of people dining on Thanksgiving evening), but she hardly checked in and wasn't the most friendly. And after we finished, we had to wait a pretty long time until we spotted her again to get the check. The wine by the glass selection wasn't very exciting, and I'm a bit surprised that they didn't offer any bread as we waited for our meal. I got the Turkey Dinner (traditional turkey/gravy, yams, brussel sprouts, stuffing, cranberry sauce), and the roasted yams were amazing, but everything else was pretty standard and not exciting at all. My partner ordered the mixed gren salad with Dijon Vinaigrette as appetizer, and the dressing had way too much vinegar for her taste (I tasted it, and I'm not very picky but yet it was too tangy for my liking as well). I did enjoy the roasted cauliflower appetizer though. Partner got the Bouillabaisse dinner option, and one of the fish (not sure what fish it was, as we weren't offered an explanation of what was what when it was dropped off) was flavorless. My pumpkin pie was so boring (felt like I could get something better across the street at Giant), but her pecan pie was pretty tasty, so that saved the day. I may try again one day (not on a holiday) if someone else really wants to go, but I would rather spend my money elsewhere, as the Thanksgiving deal was $60/person and was definitely not worth it for us.

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F
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great thanksgiving dinner!

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J
Washington DC
38 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Absolutely lovely and delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

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C
Raleigh
3 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 4

I gave two stars because our waiter was nice and the food wasn't bad. But it wasn't great either. Despite the pleasant-enough waiter, the service was what poured a sour sauce over what was an otherwise okay culinary experience.

When you order a $15 drink that arrives with an ice cube that's 85% of the size of the glass, take 3 sips and realize there's almost nothing left already, it seems reasonable to express disappointment about it when asked by the waiter "how is everything?". And when he takes the glass (still with one of the 4-ish sips it started with) away and a manager returns to ask about it, it seems reasonable to expect at least a "sorry about that, is there anything we can do?", even if I was being an obnoxious and antagonistic customer (I don't think I was). But instead she somewhat condescendingly explained to me that essentially the drinks are measured scientifically and the size of the fancy ice could not possibly vary between drinks (my sister got the same drink and had a smaller ice cube and more liquid), and she asked me if I wanted another one - not making it clear at all whether she was just offering to replenish my (mostly) empty drink for another 15 bucks or give me another 4 sips in another glass with another ridiculously large ice cube for "free". It seems like a place called Convivial might want to aim for a more convivial response to this type of situation.

The beef tartare was good, as was the roasted cauliflower in beet puree, the gnocchi was alright but not thrilling, and the burger was a not-quite-as-good version of the amazing one they have at Mintwood Place. I'd skip the bouillabase next time - the broth was flavorful but the seafood (generous portions) was all a bit underseasoned and/or overcooked. The ambiance of the restaurant is really nice, with good lighting and a relaxed vibe.

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OT
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 4

Duck dish was very tasty

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S
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love the friendly, cozy atmosphere at Convivial and the music joyfully added to our dining experience. We are all vegetarians and thoroughly enjoyed the chick-pea fries and garlic bread appetizers. The quiche was outstanding the gnocchi delicious. The Vegetable Medley was good, but a little on the rich side. This is a great place for vegetarians who want to visit in a warm, comfortable restaurant. I'll definitely be back with more friends!

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j
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 5

Everything was quite good - the one problem was that the menus (and the waiter) did not adequately describe the items. For instance, the "sausage in brioche" that I ordered turned out to be the opposite of what I imagined (and less desirable) - pressed sausage in the middle of a round circle of fried something (seemed like potato, tho may have been bread/brioche). When I asked the waiter what this was he did not really describe it (I had an image of a roll, with a long sausage in it).

Similarly, and with an easier fix, we would not have ordered two desserts had we been told the profiteroles were served as five small items - far more than I imagined a single "profiterole" would be. That should be on the menu!

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KG
Washington DC
42 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I really enjoyed it. Food and drinks were very good. I think the shrimp and grits were awesome.

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a
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 5

The toast and fresh juice were excellent and perfect and fresh coffee served quickly. We sat at a table in the back for brunch where the blinding hot sun beat down on us. They need a curtain. Really high concept and beautiful preparation of food. Design of menu was not what I wished for which was simple, unadorned, high quality French. The foods were prepared very richly (quiche, quinoa porridge, omelette) and so a few of us did not eat much of our entrees. The cinnamon bun was very good - but shared among 5 of us. Not sure what the strange "birthday" item was - a bowl of whipped cream over ice cream with a candle on top. I thought this was going to be the pate choux cream dish. This is subjective - I also do not like Blue Duck's brunch for the same reason. Diplomat menu is great but quality has declined a lot. Still searching for a good breakfast.

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RL
Washington DC
13 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We loved Convivial from the moment we walked in. We were greeted warmly and shown to our table immediately. Our server was friendly and knowledgable, and his recommendations were spot on. The panisse and the homemade potato chips were a tasty way to start our experience. My trout was moist and delicious, and my husband's steak was tender and flavorful. We shared key lime pie for dessert, which arrived with a candle, as we were celebrating a special occssion. Our server kindly took photos for us.
The validated free parking was a great bonus. We have already recommended Convivial to several friends.

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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect place for a business dinner!

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CB
Washington DC
24 reviews
Dined on November 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We two friends were looking for a place with great food that was conducive to conversation for a weeknight after-work get-together. Convivial was recommended by another friend, and it was perfect. We chose from the first and second course menus and enjoyed a lovely French white wine. Everything on the menu was intriguing. We are already planning for next time and we'll try hard to figure out how to include dessert. Our server was excellent in making recommendations and in making us feel welcome to stay as long as we wished. Convivial lives up to its name and is now a favorite.

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M
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food here is always great. Mini pot-au-feu was delicious as was the house made Merguez and steak tartare. Chef Cedric is a Rock Star!

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Great service. Fun atmosphere

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L
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 2

It was just okay. The server may have been new but he kept forgetting us for things like taking our drink order (someone else finally did), bread with the bouillabaise, sugar for the coffee. And the food was okay just nothing special. I expected more because this restaurant gets great reviews. Also, the ambiance in the dining room was bland- just kinda dated looking and the tables and chairs were worn and unattractive. I could look past this if the food was amazing, but it wasn't. Maybe it was just an off night.

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M
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great ambiance, prices, food options, service, the list could go on! I highly recommend the place!

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A
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

First time eating here. The staff was great and the menu had alot of healthy food options. However, i would have liked to see more options for brunch. Dessert was amazing. And yes I would go back.

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JM
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food, very diverse and healthier than at many restaurants. Great ambiance and decor that perfectly match the name "Convivial". Beautiful, yet unpretentious and comfortable. Relatively quiet thanks to the configuration (no huge open space) and (thankfully) the absence of music. Easy to have a conversation without screaming, something that seems to be rare these days. Service was absolutely top notch. Everybody in our group really enjoyed the evening. Highly recommended.

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BO
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was delicious. The wait staff was attentive. I had the duck breast, which was perfectly cooked and just the right amount.

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A
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrating early Thanksgiving with family that won’t be with us on the day.

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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My group had an amazing time. We ended up having more than 8 and needed to add chairs and they were so accommodating of it! It made for one of the best brunches ever! Food, service and drinks were AMAZING! Can’t wait to go back.

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