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“Solid French Cuisine”
Review of Bistro La Bonne

Bistro La Bonne
Ranked #2,118 of 3,215 Restaurants in Washington DC
Price range: US$30 - US$30
Cuisines: Belgian, French, European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Between 13th St. NW and 14th St. NW
Transit: U Street Metro Station (Green, Yellow)
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
77 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Solid French Cuisine”
Reviewed 13 October 2013

We discovered this place back when it was impossible to get into Marvin which is just around the corner on 14th Street.

What a gem!

I'm a creature of habit, and I tend to rate French restaurants based upon their steak frites. Bistro La Bonne does a fine job with this dish. The fries are particularly well executed.

Friends of mine usually order one version of the many moules frites. Personally, I don't touch them due to an allergy, but they smell really good.

One thing I love about this place is that you can usually get in, even if you procrastinate on a Friday night the way we do.

I am rating the outdoor seating as "poor" simply because the patio faces U Street and the human and car traffic is very loud on U Street on weekends. Week nights it is much better.

Go check it out. I am a fan.


  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Randall K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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36 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
36 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Nice bistro -- happy hour is a great value -- but ask to be seated upstairs”
Reviewed 4 August 2013

So let me start off by saying I have eaten at Inn at Little Washington, Marcels and La Chaumeriere in DC. All of which is to say if you are looking for high end French food this is not it. That said, this place had good food and attentive, pleasant service.

We enjoyed dinner here before a show and liked the menu. I had a large pot of mussels and a glass of wine for $15 -- what a deal. My husband had their roasted brozini (a type of fish) which was also great. Our server was very helpful. Only negative is that downstairs is loud -- ask for upstairs seating if you aren't trying to meet someone new! Otherwise, I recommend.

Visited August 2013
Thank Splitchanka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
“Worst Service Ever!!”
Reviewed 9 June 2013 via mobile

Although our food was very good, I have never had worse service in my entire life. Our waiter barely acknowledged us. After being sat for nearly 10 minutes the manager/hostess took our drink and food order. Our waiter, whose name I don't know because he never introduced himself, brought our wine and then a steak knife and that was the only time he was at our table. He filled waters at the tables next to us and our water glasses sat empty as he paased us by. The decor in this pkac was horrendous also. I have never seen an uglier mural as the one that was in the upstairs dining area. As I said the food was very good. We had the goat with mac and cheese and the beef tenderloin. Thank God for the good food because otherwise this place would have ruined our first night in DC.

Thank Sarah H
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveller and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Not terribly impressed”
Reviewed 6 June 2013

I was staying in a B&B on U Street, so I found this on my way to the Metro. Although it's French, there was a sign outside touting Belgian beer, which is my favorite, so I stopped in. Unfortunately, the Belgian selection was small, and the waitress did not know the difference between Chimay white cap (which they had on tap) and Chimay blue (which is what I asked for, but they did not have at all). When I pointed this out, she did take it back no questions asked, and I ordered something else which was forgettable.

I was told they did not have steak frites, and had to buy something slightly more expensive. This beef was stringy though certainly tasty.

Service was good, food not so much.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Kenny T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
88 reviews
51 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Great Value for Your Money”
Reviewed 2 June 2013

Been awhile since I was last at Bistro la Bonne. While the food was very good and a great value, the service was a tad off...not that they were bad--everyone is very nice...just not polished...and they always seemed to be hovering and overly anxious to clear empty plates and glasses. Our waiter, Clement, was very sweet but three days into the job and had never been a waiter before (actually an engineer on the job hunt). It didn't seem as though he was getting much mentoring or assistance from the rest of the staff.

The Thai mussels ($20.95) were very tasty and loved the chunks of hearts of palm...though the bits of eggplant were so overcooked, it was just basically pieces of skin left. Asked for some bread to soak up the broth and have to say it was the most disappointing "French" bread I've ever seen. I'd liken it to Pepperidge Farm out of the bag. Foie Gras ($14.95) was good and came with slices of duck confit. Chevre salade ($8.50) was probably a highlight. All the mains were excellent: Navarin D'Agneau--Lamb ($19.95), short ribs was a huge dish ($25.95), goat stew ($18.95), and the chicken curry special ($18.95).

Soon as you paused on a nearly finished dish...BAM..."Can I take that for you?" "No, still working on it." Soon as your wine glass is empty...BAM...they swoop in and take it. Maybe we would like another bottle...nah.

Overall, the food was very good and an exceptional value for the money. I'd say that the service needs to just relax some and take some time to calibrate. Well worth a visit.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank hynesdd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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