Bistro Cacao

4.6
2574 reviews
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$31 to $50
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French
Top Tags:
  • Romantic
  • Quiet Conversation
  • Good for a Date
Where Romance meets Flavor… At Bistro Cacao, chef-owner Kemal Deger brings nearly 25 years of culinary expertise to your table. In Bistro Cacao’s historic location we now invite you to enjoy our new concept of modern bistro-style French cuisine in a romantically charming and comfortable setting blending old France with modern creative touches.
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
French, European
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Hours of operation
Brunch: Saturday 11 am - 3 pm, Sunday: 10:00am - 3:00pm;
Lunch: Monday 11:30 am - 2 pm, Tuesday - Friday: 11:30am - 3:00pm;
Dinner: Monday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm, Sunday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm

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Phone number
(202) 546-4737
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Executive chef
Kemal Deger
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Catering
Yes we do Cater
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
3rd and 4th NE
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Public transit
Union Station red line three blocks away
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Gift Card
Additional
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Chef's Table, Corkage Fee, Fireplace, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, Weekend Brunch, Wine

Private Dining

All type of private events welcome, Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch, Dinner, Cocktail etc. Green Room, up to 26 people Red Room, up to 40 people Rouge Room, up to 16 people Cacao Wine Bar, up to 50 people cocktail, receptions, happy hours etc. Private outdoor available.

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Specials

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Daily 5:00PM - 5:45PM

What 2574 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
4.5
service
4.7
ambience
4.4
value
Noise · Quiet
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
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4.0Dined 3 days ago

I went to Bistro Cacao for an early catch-up dinner with my mother. We got there just in time to be able to order from their $35 3-course pre-theater menu. We both opted to start with the escargot which was traditionally good, for the main entrees we got the salmon and the duck--both were excellent and very filling. For dessert we went with the trio of creme brulees and the profiteroles. The profiteroles were the winner--I'm still thinking about the chocolate sauce they came in.

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5.0Dined 6 days ago

What you should expect from a quaint French resturaunt

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5.0Dined on June 14, 2018

Always delicious plates and excellent service. Absolutely recommend

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5.0Dined on June 14, 2018

Great place for a quite dinner.

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3.0Dined on June 13, 2018

This was not our first time at Bistro Cacao, and as per usual, the food was delicious, exciting, and all around a good value for what you're paying for. 9/10 there. The anomaly, however, was the service, which was surprisingly sub-par on this particular evening. The service was very slow (about 10min to have anyone stop by and even offer water), there was no engagement from our server, and we honestly were not sure if we were being waited on or if a bus boy had picked up a table because they were busy.

The whole thing just seemed off and slow every step of the meal. I, again, must iterate that this was an anomaly. I truly do enjoy this establishment and typically have an exceedingly wonderful time, but that night just did not meet the standards you expect from a nice restaurant, or from the standards of Bistro Cacao.

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4.0Dined on June 12, 2018

Ambience outside was lovely. Quiet and cute even though adjacent patio (whose Mexican food smelled good) was rowdier than Bistro. Food was quite good for the price. I especially liked the Parmesan curd that came with the salmon. My guests said the duck was also good. Nice wait staff.

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5.0Dined on June 12, 2018

Loved the patio!!! Great service and food/drinks!

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5.0Dined on June 11, 2018

Gotta love this Frenchie on the hill.
Great food and service Eating inside is very cute, particularly the curtained private booths. Eating outside is also a pleasure for alfresco dining.

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5.0Dined on June 11, 2018

Nice wine selection. Lovely choice of entrees. Enjoyed our meal!

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5.0Dined on June 11, 2018

You know how it is. You visit a restaurant because you like the place. You like the ambiance, the food & the service.

It's in your rotation.

You never think to review the restaurant because it has so many reviews already. What more could you add?

But then you just happen to read a review which makes you shake your head. You realize you need to add your voice.

Here's the deal. This is not a perfect restaurant. Nothing is. If you eat dinner out like I do - 3 to 4 times per week - you know restaurants have issues with staff who call off, shipments that don't arrive on time, computers that go offline, etc. Not every meal is cooked to perfection every single time. All restaurants can get behind no matter how hard they plan. It's just the name of the game.

But Bistro Cacao solidly delivers better than most high caliber restaurants in the DMV. The decor is charming and reminiscent of what one would find in France. Most dishes are classically French. They're prepared well, delivered in ample portions, & fairly priced. I'm not a fan of their mustard sauce so tend to stay clear of items with that. But I love everything else I've eaten there. I especially love the lamb.

What I love just as much as the food is the service - the real reason for this review. I want to make sure all know this is a restaurant that welcomes ALL.

As a part of a mixed couple of color, I can assure you we are welcomed warmly each time. Managers arrive at our table, time permitting, to check on our meal and experience. We are always given a nice table. We are treated quite well. We note all patrons are treated well.

The food may be upscale, but the atmosphere isn't pretentious. It doesn't matter how we dress or whether or not we have a reservation. We've always been welcomed as a friend would welcome one into his or her own home.

So read reviews with a grain of salt. Anyone can have an off night with service or food prep, but Bistro Cacao is a gem & one I hope stays for a long time.

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5.0Dined on June 10, 2018

In a city full of pretentious, over-priced & over-hyped restaurants screaming to be noticed, Bistro Cacao offers a soft place to land. It's the perfect place to dress up and take a date or celebrate an anniversary. It's the perfect place to come as you are in jeans. It's just a great place to go when you're looking for a great meal in a serene environment.

Let's talk about the physical stuff first. No issues finding parking on the street. The outside patio has ample seating that provides a nice people watching spot during good weather. But the restaurant's interior is where I prefer to eat. The cozy, shabby chic French style envelops one into the experience. And dining at Bistro Cacao is indeed supposed to be an experience.

Most restaurants in DC are designed to get you in and out the door. The seating is intentionally uncomfortable. Not here. Here you'll sit in overstuffed, upholstered chairs that invite you to sip your drink the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Bigger tables sit in the middle of the rooms where tables for two are separated into intimate enclaves by sheer draping. There are knick knacks on the wall, low lighting and twists and turns which take you thru various spaces. The effect is more akin to sitting in a private home than in a public space.

As for the food? Some reviews have stated it's uninspired. I disagree. It's impossible to be everything and still retain an identity. Bistro Cacao is classically French. It delivers what it purports to deliver and that suits me just fine.

There are certainly dishes I've preferred over others, but you can't go wrong with the lamb. It's some of the best the city has to offer. The escargot is also well done. For dessert, try their trio of creme brulee. They offer it with vanilla and chocolate. The first time I tried it the third version was mango. The next time I visited the third version was orange. Delicious. Coffees are on-point as well as the wine list. Just Go. You're welcome.

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5.0Dined on June 8, 2018

Food here is always very good and the servers go out of their way to please. The new menus did not have my daughters favorite scallop appetizer but the waiter was able to get the chef to prepare her one anyway
Highly recommend

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5.0Dined on June 7, 2018

Always superb!

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4.0Dined on June 2, 2018

Great ambience, great food, amazing service

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4.0Dined on June 2, 2018

We've always enjoyed our dining experiences at Bistro Cacao. It's a funky, unpretentious yet romantic place where the service is always great and the food is delicious. It's also one of the few places you can hold a conversation and end the evening without your ears ringing. We booked our last dinner through OpenTable and noted it was our anniversary. Our server greeted us then immediately wished us happy anniversary, which set the tone for a very pleasant experience. We ended up too full for dessert but they brought us a lovely decorated plate with just enough delectable chocolate morsels to satisfy but not overwhelm. A perfect end to a lovely evening. Definitely recommend!

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5.0Dined on May 31, 2018

The food is fantastic here. This is a wonderful place and has such great ambience. It also is terrific for outdoor dining on a cool day.

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5.0Dined on May 27, 2018

The staff, service & food atte exceptional! 5 Stars!

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2.0Dined on May 26, 2018

Tried this place based on the reviews. It was a huge disappointment. Appetizers were decent and the service was pretty good but our entrees were awful. Ordered filet—it tasted like day old pot roast. My sides were cold and virtually inedible. My wife ordered rainbow trout which was supposed to be stuffed with lobster. It had a few small prices of lobster meat on the side of the plate. Everything was bland and sorely in need of seasoning. Will not repeat and do not recommend. Plenty of other great restaurants in DC.

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5.0Dined on May 26, 2018

The best meal I have ever had! Many thanks. Makes me wish I lived in Washington.

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5.0Dined on May 20, 2018

My boyfriend and I went here looking for a romantic date night during our weekend trip to DC and we found it. The ambiance was great. It was cozy and romantic. The cocktails were wonderful and the wine list was outstanding. The food was delicious and well prepared. It's just a shame we live too far away to make this a regular date spot.

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5.0Dined on May 19, 2018

Oh so Romantic! We live on the West Coast, but when we visit D.C. we make a point to dine here.
The cooking is classic French, the French onion soup and Escargot are to die for, and the menu is varied and can accommodate those with vegetarian preferences too.
The service is discreet and polished. Most of the tables for two are intimate, w/ curtains for a bit of privacy, and comfort.
Housed in an older Victorian type row house, it is charming & unique.

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5.0Dined on May 19, 2018

Was great!

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5.0Dined on May 18, 2018

French food is the best, and Bistro Cacao does it right, with the bonus of the perfect ambiance to go with it. Each booth table is a cocoon, with cushy, cozy chairs, red curtains, red-shaded lights, candles, and rose petals on the table. The escargots were divine (my favorite!) and main dishes were perfect. Our server, Damien, was awesome - friendly, relatable, and responsive, but not intrusive, and his wine recommendation was spot-on. There are VERY FEW restaurants we return to when we travel because we always want to try new places, but this one’s on our list for D.C.!

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5.0Dined on May 18, 2018

Whenever I go to Washington, I make reservations in advance for Bistro Cacao--the wine bar is delightful with a great selection; the dinner seating is comfortable and private. It is very easy for small groups to converse and the waiters are very knowledgeable regarding the menu and wine selections. We had a lovely evening!

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5.0Dined on May 16, 2018

A nice surprise. Very cozy. Friendly wait staff. Good value for delicious food.

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5.0Dined on May 16, 2018

Our meal was excellent

We had a small table with plush antique chairs. It was cozy and romantic. The service was excellent and our meals were very interesting. We will definitely dine here again.

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5.0Dined on May 15, 2018

We had a lovely lunch in a cozy setting with intriguing vintage posters on the walls. A find!

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

This is fast becoming our go to date night restaurant. The ambiance is very pleasant and romantic, the parking not a problem and the food is excellent. We had the venison medium rare and it was perfect with a lovely blue cheese brown sauce and the trout in a lobster sauce. A great date for me and my wife.

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Wonderful decor and atmosphere. Fantastic service and the food was absolutely divine.

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Mother’s Day pre-fixe brunch menu was wonderful. They lovingly gave out a rose stem to each Mom present.

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1.0Dined on May 13, 2018

This restaurant was just awful. I selected this restaurant based on the thousands of reviews giving Bistro Cacao nearly 5 stars; clearly there’s some disconnect. I brought my mother and daughter for the Mother’s Day brunch. The host was cold & unwelcoming as he seated us. The decor is evidently intended to only be seen by candlelight or by dim lighting because the location is very thinly stretching the definition of shabby Parisian chic. In the light of day, the wallpaper & paint are scuffed & chipping. Everything was drab & neglected; striving to be considered eclectic & quirky. Ambiance aside, we were most disappointed by our meals. My “lobster bisque” arrived cold with a thick film on top denoting it had been sitting for some time. The bisque, which I suspect came out of a can, was reddish brown in color with not a single piece of lobster throughout. My vegetable omelet was also bland, uninspired, and lukewarm. The omelet was accompanied by an overdressed salad and exactly two fingerling potatoes. My mother’s salmon was overcooked and also sat atop an overdressed salad. A manager walked thru and checked everyone’s table but ours to ensure their satisfaction. I will not assume it was due to our race, but I will note we certainly stood out among the other families in our room. I can’t imagine anyone who is from, or has traveled to, any of the cities or countryside of France would be impressed by this restaurant or its offerings. Needless to say, I would not recommend.

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Excellent Mother's Day Brunch with top-notch service. Would definitely consider going again next year.

Only knock is that they charge for each non-alcoholic beverage. Was charged $2.95 for each iced tea.

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5.0Dined on May 13, 2018

Excellent food, service and ambiance for a good value. Great for an special romantic celebration

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4.0Dined on May 12, 2018

A birthday occasion which met every expectation: a quiet, romantic, old world setting with excellent service and food and many gluten free selections. We will return.

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5.0Dined on May 12, 2018

The food is amazing! We’re definitely going back soon. The service is also great. They all seem to work as a team to get things running smoothly. The staff is super friendly!

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5.0Dined on May 11, 2018

The atmosphere was great the staff was very friendly and warm and the food was exquisite. My wife had a lovely time celebrating her birthday

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4.0Dined on May 11, 2018

Overall great experience especially the ambiance. Our only complaint is the waiter/server who was too PUSHY. Rather than giving us a moment to think for ourselves, he acted like a hustler. Throughout the night, he pushed with the intention to get the bill as high as possible! I hated him. He should go sell cars!!!

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5.0Dined on May 11, 2018

The food is amazing and the service outstanding. I will be back.

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5.0Dined on May 9, 2018

Intimate dining upstairs with tables for two surrounded by curtains which can be drawn for absolute privacy, Very comfortable chairs. Wait staff knowledgeable, polite, informative, nothing rushed, none of the "Hi, I'm Joe, I'll be your guy tonight" - just classy. The duck breast and scallops were delicious, and the wine by the glass or half-carafe very good. One can spend anywhere from 40 to 600 dollars for a bottle, with very thoughtful selections in the lower price ranges. Profitroles and tea for dessert for one of us, and Beaume de Venise for the other. Don't try to park, as there isn't much; but proximity to Union station makes subway transportation easy, and we were within walking distance. Lovely evening. Never been there before, wish there were a place like it in Seattle!

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5.0Dined on May 8, 2018

We loved everything!! Eating outside is great with friends; inside is great with a date.

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