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“Favorite spot on Lake Anne” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cafe Montmartre

Cafe Montmartre
1625 Washington Plz, Lake Anne Plaza, Reston, VA 20190-4305
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Ranked #43 of 133 Restaurants in Reston
Price range: $0 - $20
Cuisines: French, Vietnamese
Good for: Families with children, Scenic view
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Scenic view
Top Contributor
134 reviews 134 reviews
106 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Favorite spot on Lake Anne”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013

Excellent food and even better martinis. Family owned and operated, they have plenty of tables and umbrellas for enjoyable outdoor dining. They do a vietnamese menu on some nights as well. Their quiche, calamari and pho soup are some of my favorites.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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15 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Washington, DC
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
“A Favorite Any Time of Year”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

We eat here at least three times a month, more in the summer. It's not five-star gourmet, but the food is good and we've always had good service. The Salad Niçoise is delicious with a very generous portion of tuna. Their egg dishes (omelets and quiche) are delicious. Deserts are a incredible. Love their vietnamese summer rolls and hot/sour soup. Outside seating in the summer months is a delightful experience. It's the best restaurant (for us) on Lake Ann.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hertford, North Carolina, United States
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Great location, Delicious food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2012

This is one of our favorite restaurants in Reston, especially in summer because of the outdoor seating available. The service is always good, they have a very adequate wine list and the regular menu selections are always augmented by a variety of special dishes. I had the salmon with mango salsa, and my husband had the scallops. Both were very good.

The outdoor seating is on Lake Anne, so there is no street noise or gasoline fumes like at some other restaurants in Reston. Great place for a nice, casual dinner.

Visited July 2012
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Oakton, Va
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“Too Ambitious for Their Limited Skill Level”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2012

We came accross this restaurant on Trip Advisor. Although the reviews were mixed, there seemed to be enough good ones to justify giving it a try. As I reflect back, I have to assume that the positive reviewers stuck to the simpler fare like sandwiches as the basis for giving positive feedback. We were looking for a full dinner experience, so we can't comment on these more basic menu items.

As some of the reviewers said, the first hurdle to a good experience here is that the place is not easy to find. Most GPS systems seem to direct you to a residential parking lot plastered with "No Unauthorized Parking -- Tow Away Zone" signs. We called the restauarnt from this parking lot and were directed to the Lake Anne Center parking lot around the corner. Once we found it, there was no issue.

The restaurant is located in a commercial space in a residential cluster of low and high rise apartment buildings built in the '70s and surrounding one of Reston's several man-made lakes. The whole setting is nice, but very tired and dated. The restaurant has a very simple decor -- concrete floors, matte finished aluminum chairs and simple blonde wood tables. It is not unattractive, but not terribly warm or inviting either. The large windows at the front of the dining room bring in a lot of light and offer a view to the plaza and fountain outside.

We were seated at a table that was right underneath a large speaker on a stand that was part of the equipment for what we gathered was entertainment on some nights. Probably fortunately, this was not one of the performance nights so the speaker served only to block my chair slightly and detract from what was already not a winning decor.

The theme of the restaurant is that it is Vietnamese and French. This may conjur up images of creative fusion dishes -- but that is not what this place is about. The main menu offers French bistro basics and a separate (more limited) menu offers a few Vietnamese staples (Spring Rolls, Summer Rolls, Shrimp Dumpling Soup, Saigon Beef Noodle Soup, etc).

We were hungry, and the prices seemed reasonable, so we decided to overorder and try a number of dishes. I will take them one-by-one:

The Escragots were, as one would expect, the standard canned variety (I'm not sure there is a U.S. restaurant that serves fresh snails). Unfortunately, rather than the firm, chewy texture one expects, these snails were mushy and bland. They were swimming in a mushroom-laden garlic butter. Again, unfortunately, the kitchen staff is too lazy to peel fresh garlic and chooses, instead, to use the commercially prepared variety out of a jar. Garlic from a jar is treated with a chemical preservative that makes it taste oddly sweet. This flavor is the telltale sign of garlic from a jar. So, between the mushy canned snails and the off-tasting packaged garlic, this dish was not a winner.

The Crab Stuffed Mushrooms were OK. Six basic white mushrooms stuffed with a stringy canned crabmeat and bread mixture. No flavor. Nothing special. Slightly fishy smelling (but not tasting).

The Vietnamese Shrimp Dumpling Soup was a joke. The broth was swimming with cilantro (which the menu does not mention). However, aside from the soapy taste of the cilantro, the broth was basically hot water laced with onion powder (they do seem to love their cans, jars and other prepackaged items in this kitchen -- which is funny because with the crowd as sparse as it was on our night there, they have a lot of time on their hands and shouldn't need to resort to so much convenience food). The "dumplings" had fallen apart completely so that what was left was a few stray pieces of dumpling pasta and lumps of a mixture of meat and shrimp. To call these "shrimp" dumplings is misleading -- really pork dumpings with a touch of shrimp -- and they way we got them -- not even dumplings -- dumpling parts. All of a sudden, the $6.95 price for the soup didn't seem all that reasonable.

The Merguez (lamb sausage) was overcooked and dry. I suspect it is cooked in advance and then microwaved to order. A skilled kitchen can get away with this most of the time -- but these clowns overcooked the sausage to begin with and then dried it out even more in the microwave. The sausage pieces were topped with a basic tomoato sauce -- here the "chef" goes again with his fondness for all things canned -- the main flavor in the sauce was the canned sweet tomato paste that was clearly its primary ingredient -- clearly no real tomatoes were harmed anytime recently in the making of this sauce.

For entrees, we asked our waiter for his recommendations from the dinner menu, mentioning that we had never been here before. He said that the NY Strip Steak Au Poivre and Tournedos of Beef were the best meat choices and that the Crab Stuffed Shrimp Imperiele was the hands-down choice for seafood lovers.

We opted for the two beef dishes as we had already experienced the kitchen's "prowess" with crab stuffing (we waited to order dinner until after we finsihed our appetizers).

The N.Y. Strip Steak Au Poivre was laughable. It was a thin, supermarket-quality steak floating in a sauce that could well have been built around a jar of gravy. There was far too little pepper going on here. The dish, honestly, compared to something one might find at a late-night truck stop -- steak and gravy. The one saving grace was that it was cooked exactly to order (apparently the kitchen DOES know how to do something other than open cans!!). The other thing that was close to a saving grace was that the price was $21.95 and the vegentables and potatoes weren't bad. Even the truck stop probably gets $16 or $18 for their version.

The Tournedos of Beef were almost as embarassing as the Steak au Poivre. Tournedos suggests at least two thin slices of filet mignon. Not here. What arrived on my plate was a small (6-7 oz) single filet mignon, a few home fries, some carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. They offered a choice of Bearnaise Sauce or Bordelaise Sauce. I asked if I could have a bit of each. The sauces came in small stainless steel gravy boats. The filet was cooked as I ordered it -- thank God for small favors!! It didn't have any major pieces of connective tissue. But it DID have a bit of a refrigerator flavor and had been cooked without any seasoning and without any char at all on the outside. Basically, the same thing as buying a filet mignon at the supermarket and cooking it under your home broiler -- and that route wouldn't cost the $31.95 that they charge here. Now the sauces. I wish Sysco sold a canned Bordelaise or Bernaise sauce -- because that would have been better than these sauces and we know how well these guys open cans. The Bordelaise sauce was a brandied brown gravy that clearly had been made from a jar of Beef Base and not housemade stock. That works at the truck stop when it is called gravy and is slathered on mashed potatoes -- but it is an insult to customers' intelligence and sophistication to try to get away with it in a $31.95 dish -- remember, the 14 oz Prime Filet Mignon at Smith & Wollensky doesn't cost a whole lot more than this 6 oz joke with gravy. If the Bordelaise Sauce was worthy of a chuckle, the Bearnaise sauce should have had us rolling on the floor in uncontrollable laughter. Bearnaise sauce, as almost anyone over the age of 8 who has ever watched the Food Channel knows, is Hollandaise Sauce modified with a red wine/tarragon reduction. What they called Bearnaise Sauce here was more like a floury white sauce with some tarragon added. Since it had a yellow tinge (despite not tasting at all like egg), I have to assume that this was a commercial powdered mix of some sort -- and not even a good one of its kind -- pasty and flavorless. Remember, this dish was $31.95!! Enough said.

We opted out of dessert for obvious reasons (and no, not because we were full from the overindulgence on appetizers).

The bottom line is that some people have no business opening a restaurant -- and this is a fine example of just who these people are. The French food is neither French nor good -- and the Vietnamese food (from what we sampled) is on an equally poor plane. Unless another reviewer says that the sandwiches and salads are somehow first rate, this is a good place to avoid.

  • Visited June 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hertford, North Carolina, United States
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Delightful Outdoor Dining”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2012

This restaurant is located at Lake Anne Plaza, so the outdoor dining is away from the street noise and fumes. I had the mussels, and they were excellent! My husband ordered the scallops, which were done to perfection. Always good service and food here -- we have been many times.

Visited June 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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