Le DeSales

4.5
320 reviews
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$31 to $50
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French
"Have you met Le DeSales? You ought to..."
Tom Sietsema/Washington Post

Warm and enticing, Le DeSales is a french restaurant located in South Dupont, across the street from the historic Mayflower Hotel. Michelin-starred Chef Raphael François presents a rustic French/American cuisine in an informal, cozy, and romantic setting.

For its bar program, Le DeSales accentuates Old World liqueurs, with a focus on regional beers and ciders. The custom cocktail menu includes the GoldenBeard and the DeSales Rickey on draft. The specialized wine list includes diversified appellations encompassing regions as unexpected as Macedonia and Portugal, with a concise focus on France, Italy, and California.

Le DeSales is available for large parties, semi-private events, and buyouts. Outdoor seating is available, weather permitting.
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Sat 5:30PM - 6:00PM 9:00PM - 10:00PM

What 320 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

The lobster soup is too salty and the steak is just so so. The server was nice though.

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OT
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great biz lunch.

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OT
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great lunch venue. Service was great and food delicious. We had the lunch special which was great value. Will return!!’

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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 1food 2service 3ambience 5

Not worth the money

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v
Miami
7 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great for my birthday

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o
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Nice place but too loud to hold a business conversation or to talk with a date.

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JP
New England
44 reviews
Dined on February 6, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Great meal, excellent service

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SD
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Really great place - delicious food, very nice ambiance (feels European), and overall a very enjoyable experience. Service can be a little slow - but it also tends to be busy.

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GS
Washington DC
103 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

The entrees are superb, I had the venison which was perfectly cooked and tender, my date had the entire branzini fish. The martinis were perfect, fries salad was crisp and well dressed and the wine list perfectly complimented each portion f the meal. Les Desales is a treasure in a city that boasts good French cuisine, but don't let the name fool you. There is something for everyone on the menu and you "don't have to dress to the nines" to get a meal worth a million. This is my 4th or 5th visit and I have never been disappointed.

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r
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on January 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What more can I say? All was good, well, and fine.

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DM
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on January 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love this place! Working my way through the lunch menu.

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MW
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was surprisingly good! We have been to a lot of restaurants in DMV area with high ratings (and some are way way way more expensive) but ended up finding the food just so so.. But Le DeSales is tasty! From appetizer to dessert, every dish is a pleasant surprise even if it only comprises simple day-to-day ingredients. Will be back!

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NC
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Went in for restaurant week and enjoyed the appetizer, main, and dessert. Tried the wine pairing and was great. Not giving the the five starts because we noticed everyone was being given bread to start and we weren’t even asked. The place wasn’t too noisy until we were getting to leave. Overall food was very tasty, especially the onion soup.

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LA
1 review
Dined on January 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The lamb was excellent! Very nice ambiance and attentive waiter.

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P
Philadelphia
27 reviews
Dined on January 22, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Excellent French bistro inspired food elevated by sophisticated twists such as crab "pie" with remarkably light potatoes and extra but palate stimulating zing (lime?) in the trout presentation.

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W
Washington DC
41 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We've been here before and are NEVER disappointed! Their drinks could be a tad larger but their food is superb and staff always friendly. I booked reservation for the wrong Saturday and they accommodated us w/no hassle. Partner and I shared the "Lamb for 2" and it was AMAZING!

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JJ
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 1ambience 5

Never had I ever witness a waitress go from perfect to nearly wasted in a 90 minute dining experience. The food was amazing, ambience is great, but our waitress was 3 sheets to the wind (admitted to drinking tequila while serving us. Hmm?!)

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RM
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

The food is fine. However the restaurant was much louder and more casual than I expected.

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DC
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Everything at Le DeSales was just a little better than average. Decent cocktails, decent food, decent service, decent ambiance. Nothing was bad, but nothing there would bring me back.

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r
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on January 16, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Was all a great evening, save that - with frenetic kitchen - server gave my friend a regular latte at 9 PM, instead of the decaffeinated one he ordered. He was up until 4 AM. Very unfortunate.

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CH
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

My wife and I had a very nice Friday night dinner at Le DeSales, our first visit. The waiter was very knowledgeable about food prep and was able to make great recommendations. We shared a fish dish that was great, along with a creative cocktail, and some appetizers. We will definitely return to the bar (large and great design) sometime for small plates and/or happy hour. We also plan to hit the place for an intimate lunch sometime (dinnertime is a bit loud, but that's the only "negative" I can think of. It does not have an extra large menu, but everything sounded good and tasty.

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ST
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

I really enjoyed our experience. However, one of the guests though the food was average. I disagree, it was an interesting take on country French. An excellent value for the price (particularly the wine list, which has some stellar offerings under $50). But one cranky guest panned the charcuterie tray and the special bison stew as only okay. I’ll be back — often — for lunch and dinner. Tucked on a quiet street right off of Connecticut Avenue downtown it’s an easy walk, yummy food, and a good value. Just giving the heads up that everyone may not agree.

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M
St. Louis
1 review
Dined on January 11, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

I really wanted to like this place. We ordered two different soups and two different pastas (recommended by waiter)— it was all over salted. The tagliatelle and cavatappi pastas tasted similar but the portion sizes were very small for what you pay. The rabbit in the tagliatelle had multiple bones in it (gross). Wouldn’t go back..

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BC
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Great spot. Great service. Very comfortable place to have dinner. The music isnt blaring, the decor isn't overdone. You can have a conversation. It feels like a special place without being pretentious. Food was great. The beet appetizer was the best. Good drinks too.

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C
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Dined at Le DeSales for the first time a few days after Christmas, when a friend and I had lunch there. The decor is contemporary with a touch of rustic; the wood is blond, keeping the interior pleasantly bright. The noise level was moderate enough to conduct a quiet conversation, though the restaurant wasn't at full capacity. Service was excellent, and so was the food. We loved the $27 prix fixe for two courses plus a glass of wine. We chose avocado toast (which, along with a lot of avocado, included some feta cheese and a bit of a hot pepper kick) and the curled lettuce salad (very fresh, with a delicious slightly creamy vinaigrette dressing). The portions were generous without being excessive.

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PE
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delightful, interesting preparations of superior ingredients. Service was attentive and friendly. Very reasonably priced for the quality.

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JL
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 3

Poor service and ok food. I felt like we were pretty much ignored by our server. With so many great dining options in DC, I can’t imagine ever returning here.

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S
Washington DC
210 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

We celebrated Christmas with our family and had a very festive time! Our food was very good as were our cocktails. The service is friendly and happy.

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LP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect portions. Lovely food. Good vibe. Felt a little like I was back in France for a moment.

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P
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 12, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

It’s a pleasant place, the staff was attentive and friendly and prices are reasonable, but all that doesn’t make up for the food. We were quite disappointed with pretty much everything our party of 6 ordered. The chef wants to give a creative touch to French cuisine but it just doesn’t come together. Maybe our expectations were too high because we know what the original dishes would taste like (most of us were foodies originally from France and Spain). If you mess with a recipe as simple as steak tartar, the outcome as to beat the original. A footlong toast with beef poke under a blanket of cheese definitely doesn’t get us there.
I cannot recommend to anyone looking for French cuisine.

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DM
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on December 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My new favorite lunch spot. Trying to work my way through the whole menu.

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C
Washington DC
20 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Le DeSales is truly a hidden gem - I hesitate to write this only because I would love for it to remain hidden. One of the best meals I have had in recent memory. Excellent food, service, and ambiance. Thank you for a great evening.

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DS
Washington DC
8 reviews
Dined on December 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Service was great. Very friendly and engaging staff. And, delicious food, as always. The crab dish was so different from any other crab dish I’ve had before - such a surprising treat. We’ll definitely return again.

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

wish it were quieter but the food and service are both superlative

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OT
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A little loud, but a great experience otherwise!

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S
Washington DC
46 reviews
Dined on November 28, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

One of our starters, the Alamo Jack—a sort of ceviche or crudi, was outstanding. The cavatelli with mushrooms was also brilliant. The salmon main course was dry and not successful. Very good service, and warm atmosphere.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Was closed but did not update OpenTable or website.

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OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The waitress was very nice and recommended some of the food that was great. Food was served pretty quick.

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F
Washington DC
17 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very nice, good food and excellent caring service

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MJ
1 review
Dined on November 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great lunch, food was outstanding, service was great. We had a business lunch and was viable for conversation. Wait staff were attentive but not overbearing- wonderful experience, will come back.

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