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.
Saturdays 11:30 pm to 3 pm
Monday - Friday 11:30 am - 2:30 pm
2:30 pm to 5 pm
Monday - Thursday 5:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Friday - Saturday 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Monday - Friday 4pm - 7pm
Great place for a business meal. Entrees are small, but was delicious.
Incredible food. We had 3 courses-including pate, tagliatelle, bavette de boeuf, and meatballs—all delicious, and all a surprise, since descriptions on menu are minimal. Do not let that put you off, there is some magnificent cooking going on!
Unfortunately, our dining experience at Le DeSales Restaurant was very disappointing. The noise level, perhaps due to poor acoustics, was painfully loud. We had to literally shout at each other in order to be heard. This is never good! Then came the service, or lack there of. Our server seemed disinterested and was rather snotty. We had to ask for water throughout the dinner, and she rarely came to our table. The food was pretty good but not at all "French". We are still trying to figure out the relationship between this restaurant's cuisine and French cooking - there doesn't appear to be one. Lastly, the wine list is mediocre at best. If you are looking for a loud happy hour, this may be the restaurant for you. If you are looking for great food, good service, a good wine list and the ability to talk with your friends during dinner: go elsewhere.
We had a really nice going-away date together here. The restaurant was almost empty at 830 on a Thursday which was surprising - the food was fantastic, the ambience nice, and the service attentive. Would definitely recommend for an authentic French bistro meal
Very tasty and moderated portions for an healthy and delicious experience. Nice atmosphere and location, perfect for a peaceful lunch in the middle of a busyday!
The food was very good. The noise level was very high. It wasn't conducive to nice conversation until the restaurant was about half full. Good service.
Lovely food, wine list, ambience and service. Not your typical French, which was a nice surprise. I agree with our guests, we’ll be back.
Fantastic food and service. Great wine list and vibe.
This restaurant is great but with a fatal flaw. The food is great, the service is wonderful, but the noise level is simply unacceptable. Why can't restaurant managers understand that people occasionally might want to ask a question of the server or even talk to the people they came with to the restaurant? Le DeSales must have specially designed hard surfaces that amplify every sound except those from the people at your table. And just for good measure, they sometimes open the windows to add street noise and then turn on music. I would only come to this restaurant if I were dining alone.
A friends get together to celebrate a birthday. The highlight of the outing was the outstanding service and cheerful personality of our wait staff person — she was amazing!!
Great food but not fantastic. Other items might be much better. We had the lamb. Lamb was excellent but needed better sides than the green salad.
A quite little gem with great food at a great value. I will definitely be back!
This place is a value and a wonderful find! I think every bit as good (or better!) than Le Diplomate with better ambience, FAR less attitude, nicer staff, much less expensive. Almost hate to post this as it seems to be relatively "undiscovered" so far - at least the two times I've been - and would be nice if it stayed accessible!
Fab Food and Great Value
While in Washington we ate at Le DeSales twice and every dining experience was excellent. The food was fresh, creatively presented and delicious. We started with the Squash Blossoms and they were the best Squash Blossoms we have ever had. This dish was beautifully presented and delicious. For our mains we had the Tagliatelle Pasta with rabbit, mushrooms fresh herbs and pistachio and it was excellent. On our second night there, we both had the special which was Halibut; it was amazing. The fish was cooked perfectly and served with rice and a mango, tomato and avocado salsa. Dessert was a Lemon tart with an almond tart shell and it was delicious. It was one of the best Lemon tart creations we have enjoyed. Another plus we discovered was that from Mon-Fri 4 pm to 7 pm they have a Happy Hour. Their wine selection by the glass was extensive. Besides the food being wonderful so is the staff. We especially enjoyed the dishes that were prepared by Chef Thomas and Chef Pauley. We also appreciated the excellent service we received from Valarie and Marissa on our first night and from Julie on our second visit. Their servers and staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. This is an excellent French restaurant that does not disappoint.
Great time at Le Desales with friends. The food and drinks were all great, and our waiter was wonderful - so helpful, friendly, and fun but not overbearing. Very comfortable space, and we could actually hear one another in conversation - a rarity in DC. Will definitely be back.
The food was very good. The service from the second we entered the restaurant until the second we left was not good. We were treated like a burden from the second we were greeted by a greeter who was sitting at an empty table talking to a waitress, we weren't even aware they were the greeter until he finally got up and got menus after a long pause. My wife is pregnant and drinks a lot of water, but our waitress never seemed interested in filling our water even when coming by the table and seeing the glasses empty. After we told her we weren't getting alcohol we were essentially ignored. My wife ordered the Simplissime, which is like a thick soup and wasn't given a spoon and since the waitress was MIA she ate most of it with her fork, not until she was almost done was a spoon brought to her. The food was really good, which makes the terrible service even more disappointing.
Great restaurant. Excellent food, well prepared. Tiny portion of salmon with some nice lettuces and a chimichurri-like herb sauce . Salmon was crispy-seared on the outside and meltingly med-rare in the inside. Beautifully prepared, yet way too small a portion for the price, and it wasn’t even a wild-caught salmon.
Very creative cocktails! Excellent food in portions that don't overwhelm, professional service and good management.
Wonderful, fresh and absolutely delicious variations on traditional dishes -- from the appetizers to our entrees, and definitely the bread and butter (with its light touch of honey and pepper), my wife and I were impressed. La Desales is a hidden gem in south Dupont.
Great place! Our waitress was super friendly and attentive and the duck pate and creme brulee were amazing! There were six of us and we had a huge table. It was a great time.
Delicious food and a very good $27 lunch "deal." Service was a bit frazzled but overall, a really nice option for a sit down lunch downtown.
When the restaurant opened, I believe my wife and I were one of the first customers to eat there. We had an enjoyable experience and probably visited the restaurant at least six more times for dinner. Then, for some unexplainable reason, we stopped going until this past week when I took my work colleagues to a lunch at the restaurant. The expansive moderate priced menu with an informal but pleasant atmosphere remained the same. The same with the moderate + noise level and the service was very responsive. But what was different, and disappointing, was the food! I am not certain whether there was a different chef this time or what but alas I have to temper my rating for the restaurant which is disappointing.
Good food, served by a very friendly and helpful staff. Definitely one of my favorites in town.
Server was lovely! She was fun and had an amazing grasp on the menu. We were in town for a family weekend getaway and this place was the perfect spot for good food and great conversation. Would certainly go back!
We shared the Lamb Gigot which came with gorgeous greens in the best vinaigrette, ever!
We were with our 10 and 11 yr old granddaughters and all enjoyed the evening so much we went back the next evening. The hostess warmly greeted us and asked us if we wanted Julie as our waitress again (of course we did - she made it magical for our grandkids!)
All the staff - everyone and everything was wonderful.
Amazing. Would recommend to everyone. Food, service, ambiance all perfect. Will be back as often as possible!
Terrific bistro just across DeSales street from the Mayflower. I work in the neighborhood, and it's by far the best lunch spot if you're looking to upgrade from the usual salad or sandwich. Do yourself a favor if you're staying at the Mayflower and eat here instead.
Not only was the food fantastic, but the service was exceptional. Felipe was our server and he went above and beyond to ensure we had a wonderful experience. Their wine selection was very french forward but as an Italian I still enjoyed the great wineries and grape varietals their list had to offer. We started out with the squash blossoms filled with ricotta and deep fried. They were tremendous. We had the gigot of lamb to share and it was so flavorful. The onions on top of the lamb were almost if not better than the perfectly cooked meat below it. We also got the thick cut potatoes with mornay sauce and parmigiano which were the perfect size and very good. As well as the pea leaves and broccolini. Both with the perfect amount of golden brown garlic. This place was so great, I would come back twice a week if I had the time too. I would recommend this amazing restaurant to solo diners, date nighters, a gathering of six or more friends, and even a family visiter or two.
Their service is the best!!! Food was also good! Will go back again.
Fantastic experience , wonderful menu from wine to appetizer, entree and dessert.
Excellent price fix Mother’s Day brunch! Really enjoyed the first two courses and wine pairing was excellent! Only let down was the desert. Not very imaginative or tasty. Had a box mix feel.
Great restaurant. Service is always fantastic and love the food. One of our favorite neighborhood spots.
Beautiful presentation, delicious dinner. We had the bronzino and loved it. It was done to perfection and wonderfully seasoned.
Terrible steak. Overpriced junk.
Had a delicious dinner. Waiter was most helpful. Nice wine list. Will return next time in DC.
this place appears to be a hidden gem, despite Mr. Sietsma's "good" review. Everything we ordered came out delicious (and hot, if appropriate). The server was gentle, present, but not hovering. The food was perfectly seasoned and I enjoyed every bit of my deviled egg salad and cavatelli with duxelles. My friend loved her potato soup and salmon entree. I cannot wait to get back there. For my time/money, I'd rather be at DeSales than Chez Billy Sud and they seem to have the same vibe. The menu was just better at DeSales.
My favorite French restaurant ❤, the staff is so lovely. Always smiling and upbeat. So happy I discovered this restau.
Third time at this restaurant and it still was an outstanding experience. I decided to try the bass. Simply amazing. Great staff great food great ambiance. Will definitely be back when I return to DC. Julie is an outstanding asset to this establishment. She is genuine and makes great suggestions. Kudos to the whole team!🍷👍