Bon Appétit: Honoring Bastille Day Over a Spread of French Cuisine

Bistro Lepic

As Americans celebrate the Stars and Stripes on July 4, the French will be preparing their own celebrations for Bastille Day on July 14. In a perfect world, we’d like to imagine ourselves sitting in a soft, woven chair as we dine at a Parisian bistro, indulging in salade verte, cuisse de canard and assiette de fromage, while parade-goers cheer and chant along the Champs-Élysées. But, alas, Paris will have to wait. Luckily, the magnifique montage of French restaurants in Georgetown is the next best thing.

Bistro Lepic and Wine Bar, which celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year, will host a weeklong independence celebration Sunday, July 5, through Tuesday, July 14, with live jazz performances on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Chef George Vetsch’s renowned menu includes French specialties such as escargots au beurre d’ail (Burgundy snails baked in garlic butter); rognons de veau, sauce Dijon (veal kidneys with Yukon gold potatoes and Dijon mustard sauce); and an ile flottante (floating island of soft baked white eggs atop crème anglaise).

At the newly opened Maxime Steak Frites and Bar (formerly Rialto), Francophiles will find a fine array of French fare, from cheese and charcuterie plates to warm quiches and savory mussels with hand-cut fries. The restaurant’s “La Formule” menu option is a $19.95 prix-fixe favorite that includes a fresh-baked baguette with salted butter, a mixed-green salad and a top-sirloin steak glazed in the restaurant’s signature béarnaise sauce, with a side of fries (seafood and vegetarian alternatives are also available).

This M Street newcomer exudes a rustic bistro vibe with art and exposed brick walls. Furthermore, the affordable price-point makes it accessible and inviting to a younger crowd. The restaurant is open every day for dinner and has a weekend brunch with sweet crepes, French toast, Belgian waffles and an assortment of egg dishes.

Across the street at Bistro Francais, chef Gerard Cabrol will have both his a la carte menu and a special $35 three-course menu in honor of Bastille Day. Indulge in a number of French fancies like clams Provençal, homemade onion tart, bouillabaisse with seafood and roasted duck breast. We’d also like to try the napoleon for dessert, s’il vous plait.

At the nearby Chez Billy Sud, chef Brendan L’Etoile will be serving his classic cuisine from the south of France alongside a handful of Bastille Day specials. Stop by for a memorable meal over a glass of rosé on the charming outdoor patio, or sit inside and relish the space’s très chic interiors, colored mint green and gold.

Finally, for a special night out, make a dinner reservation at Marcel’s, Georgetown’s preeminent destination for haute French cuisine for more than 16 years. The beloved restaurant was awarded the top honors for Service Program of the Year at June’s 33rd annual Rammy Awards Gala. This well-deserved accolade exemplifies chef Robert Wiedmaier’s continued stature as a leader in the D.C. dining community.

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