Le DeSales

4.5
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431 reviews
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$31 to $50
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French

Top tags:

Casual
"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.

Special Offers

1,000-Point Tables

See availability for 1,000 point tables

Sat 5:30PM - 6:00PM 9:00PM - 10:00PM

What 431 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
4.4
food
4.5
service
4.4
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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M
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food is excellent and the service great. Get a reservation

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

The food was great. The service was terrific! We all had a great time.

SD
1 review
Dined on 9 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The portion sizes were on the lighter side, but everything was delicious - the kind of place that you leave feeling good!

c
Washington DC
47 reviews
Dined on 8 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our first time to Le DeSales and we LOVED IT! Fabulous food. Nice menu assortment; limited but with great options. Nice wine list though heavy on the high end bottles when that doesn't seem to be the clientele. Lovely interior. Small comfortable restaurant serving personalized meals. Only thing missing was some good modern or classic French music. The music didn't fit the restaurant. They also could use some soundproofing tiles or fabric on the ceiling to help combat the patron noise. Nice it was so busy, but made it hard to hear at our table. We really enjoyed it and will be back! Yay

G
Washington DC
26 reviews
Dined on 8 October 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

A favorite lunchtime spot that consistently delivers good, tasteful food with a unique French uptick. I had the meatballs and foccacia -- at $18 -- something that was very good but easily made at home or local Italian restaurant. The food is served in 'smaller' plates which gives the appearance that you are sampling food. As an appetizer understandable. The atmosphere is fun and upbeat. Twice now I've had lunch with a female business colleague and both times seated in the teeny 2-some seats whereas other male guests are given 4-tops. I'm always left feeling like I have to cram my belongings in a teeny half-booth and been sent to the 'child's table'. Just noticing the practice of the hostess Overall, it's a good option in the location and worth a happy hour visit.

JV
1 review
Dined on 4 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Le Desalles has become one of my wife and my favorite places to go. The food is all great, the atmosphere is lovely, and the service is excellent. If you go, ask for Julie, she is the best!

NM
1 review
Dined on 4 October 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The only bad thing was that my water glass had lipstick on it. I have no doubt it was an unusual over-site. My wife loves French food and French wine. I’m pretty uncultured. Yet, great food is great food. The food was excellent. The steak and fish were amazing...and so were the vegetables...and so were the deserts. We had a 7:30 appointment, had a great time, and were back in our car by 9:45. We had drinks and coffee, and the bill came to about $200 with a 22% tip. Not inexpensive, but great value considering how great the food was. We’re going to try some other restaurants, but look forward to going back!

JM
Raleigh
4 reviews
Dined on 30 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant was great! The scallops were the best ever and the service was impeccable. I highly recommend it to all.

LH
Washington DC
11 reviews
Dined on 24 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Interesting menu, very tasty, French (mostly). My husband had tagliatelle with rabbit, I pan-fried dorade with red onions and spinach. Only downside: across a low barrier, people mingle and shout during happy hour. We will return but come after 7pm when happy hour ends.

KH
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on 13 September 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Everything was outstanding except for one thing. My salad was over-dressed and soggy.

A
Denver
10 reviews
Dined on 10 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was amazing and our server did an excellent job helping pair wine with our meals. I wouldn’t consider much of the food traditional French quinine with delicious sauces, but it was excellent. Do yourself a favor and try the duck roast beef.

k
Washington DC
41 reviews
Dined on 7 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a very nice family get together at Le DeSale. They were able to accommodate a party of 9. The food was excellent. The Bronzino was excellent and I would also recommend the Lobster Bisque. The service was excellent! Thank you for a very nice evening.

v
Washington DC
50 reviews
Dined on 6 September 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

We had wonderful seafood dinner with a vegetable appetizer. The restaurant was quaint and lively and the waitress was very friendly and offered great recommendations. I wish they had a few more whole grain and vegetarian options on the menu and featured local ingredients, though.

OT
Washington DC
7 reviews
Dined on 6 September 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food. Amazing service. Slightly overpriced in my opinion though.

j
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on 4 September 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 4

Loud but reliably good

PB
Washington DC
12 reviews
Dined on 31 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent restaurant! Enjoyed it very much! Staff advice was great!

e
1 review
Dined on 29 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Very interesting menu and excellent service. Our food selections took advantage of the wide-ranging menu: hanger steak, crab cakes and a burger, all wonderful.

We dined there on a beautiful late summer evening so took an outside table. (This also allowed us to avoid the pretty noisy interior.) Since the restaurant is located on a quiet side street this made the experience even better. Eclectic wine list organized in a way that may need explanation, which was readily provided to a good result.

D
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on 28 August 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Le DeSales was a wonderful find, in the midst of bustling D.C. It reminded me of some of the lovely bistros I dined when I lived in Europe. The food was delicious, with the typical bistro offerings prepared with that little extra something. The service was excellent, my server was always nearby to attend to me needs and he was very pleasant. The noise level was a bit much for me, but then it was in the midst of a bust lunch service. I can't wait to go back for dinner! I highly recommend Le DeSales to anyone who loves good French food and is a fan of a bistro atmosphere!

JC
Washington DC
15 reviews
Dined on 28 August 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

Tasty, but small portions

d
Philadelphia
10 reviews
Dined on 24 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Quaint and lovely. Perfect dining experience.

d
Richmond
51 reviews
Dined on 24 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Short staffed but what a great team. Great food, attentive service. A favorite

G
Washington DC
53 reviews
Dined on 23 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the charcuterie and the ny strip!

L
Washington DC
18 reviews
Dined on 23 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Nice place, food was ‘meh’ - not great but not bad.
Service was good but got appetizer after the meal (tho’ server nicely comped).

d
Richmond
52 reviews
Dined on 22 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic food, wine and service. A bit too loud for us this visit

A
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on 20 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I love this place. The food, the wine, all terrific. I love this place, and refer to it as my “.cafeteria”

OT
1 review
Dined on 16 August 2019
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

The Restaurant Week menu was amazing! We sat outside and it was quiet. It was almost like we had a private dinner presentation. The wine pairing was also really nice.

OT
Pittsburgh
1 review
Dined on 16 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome every time!

MH
1 review
Dined on 15 August 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

I had an absolutely wonderful experience here....the service was stellar. The people who work at DeSales are professional, and yet so warm and personable...that is a hard balance to strike. The food was wonderful. The room is nice, but noisy...of course that's something that can be fixed.
The wine list and cocktail list are thoughtful, good, and we'll presented.
Overall, the experience was great

RK
New York Area
1 review
Dined on 13 August 2019
Overall 2food 3service 3ambience 2

Much too noisy. Could not hear my dinner partner. The food was just ok. The menu was a bistro menu.
There was one corporate table that simply dominated the entire restaurant. The staff was pleasant and competent.

MH
Washington DC
5 reviews
Dined on 12 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place but the noise level was excruciating. On balance I would recommend it but be prepared to scream at your companions all night.

DE
Washington DC
101 reviews
Dined on 10 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

We had a very nice meal at LE DESALES last Saturday. The food (gazpacho, bavette, foie gras, and pasta) were delicious and flavorful. It's a shame that the restaurant was almost empty; I don't understand why an establishment with this caliber of food is not full on a Saturday night. We did find our server to be a little gruff and unrefined.

h
Washington DC
31 reviews
Dined on 9 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We celebrated a birthday and were treated royally. The food and service were impeccable.

OT
Sacramento
8 reviews
Dined on 8 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Really love how these items were prepared. Tasty!

CA
1 review
Dined on 7 August 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really loved everything. It was a wonderfully delicious meal and a beautiful restaurant. Definitely a hidden jewel in DC.

T
1 review
Dined on 6 August 2019
Overall 2food 1service 2ambience 2

They serve champagne in wine glass!
The tartare has nothing to do with a tartare, it had cole slaw on it!
Even the crème brûlée doesn’t taste like a real one!
The traditional bavette was served with oignons instead of French fries!

E
Washington DC
37 reviews
Dined on 3 August 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Terrific wine selection. Wish I were part of a group, so I could have sampled more of the tempting menu items. The duck pate was excellent.

TB
1 review
Dined on 29 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food and service was incredible. Very attentive staff and they have a great lunch special

WD
Washington DC
42 reviews
Dined on 25 July 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 1

Too loud, tiny salty salmon dish was not good.

OT
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on 25 July 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous experience! Everything was perfect. Especially accommodating a 4 year old for lunch on a busy day as well.

B
Washington DC
206 reviews
Dined on 22 July 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Nice place. A little too noisy. Mushroom ravioli with shrimp was delicious.

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