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“Fun but "trying"”
Review of Le Diplomate

Le Diplomate
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Ranked #9 of 3,367 Restaurants in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: French
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed November 6, 2013

The place is a lot of fun and the food is good French bistro but it is annoying that they are always "booked solid", meaning that it is almost impossible to get reservation unless you plan months ahead.
Last Sunday, I was coming back from the football game and on the way home at about 5:30 PM we stopped at Le Diplomate and asked if they had a table for two, the black-clad ladies at the front desk gave us the same response "we can seat you outside right away (mind you it is 45 degrees F outside) or there is a 45 minute wait inside", we thank them and proceeded to see if there was space at the bar, which was packed at this time. As we were leaving, one of the black-clad ladies approached us and said we have this table in the bar area if you do not mind the people standing around, we gratefully accepted the table since people has never bother us. We ordered drinks and there was a challenge communicating with the server, my "straight up dry martini" with olives turned out when served, as a very dirty martini with little olives. Fortunately Le Diplolmate had enough "overseers" that one of them noticed that I was upset with my drink and right away apologized and replaced the drink. Please keep in mind throughout my narrative the place is jumping with activity and most of the tables are occupied and this is only 6:00 PM on a Sunday. The place reminds us of Balthazar in New York City. We placed our order. I ordered fresh oysters which on the menu were offered as assorted, and I have to give credit to the server when I asked if they had blue point oyster she said that she could do it for the same price. I do not like red tomato sauce for the oysters and specifically asked for only mignonette sauce. When the oysters were served on a beautiful platter with crushed ice, seaweed leaves on top of the ice and lemon wedges there were two tumblers of red sauce. When I asked the buss person serving them to replace them his English was non-existent and he had to get someone else to interpret, finally I got my mignonette sauce, and I must say that the oyster were ice-cold and wonderfully fresh. My companion had the mac and cheese appetizer and it was heaven. I ordered the steak frites and it was terrific. My friend had the coq au van which was the special for the day and it was terrific too. For dessert we share the profiteroles which we have had before and one order is plenty for two, they again were wonderful.
This place is terrific and lots of fun but unfortunately if one wants to get a reservation one needs to plan ahead no spare of the moment possibility unless you get lucky like we did. We left close to 7:00 PM and still it was packed and people waiting to be seated.

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Thank IDC637
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 5, 2013

In the UK there's this chain of try-hard-but-not-really-pulling-it-off called Cafe Rouge. Le Diplomate is scarily similar in look and both my friend and I were spooked out by this. It is trying so hard to look and feel French but it doesn't really pull it off as it looks and feels so, well, American. The menu is extensive & baffling, not at all like a Parisien prix fixe menu. The wine list is crazy. Nonetheless, the food was tasty. I had the veal and my friend had some fish. I wouldn't say either was delicate or sophisticated in a French style but rather huge and overwhelming! Not that this is a problem and, of course, the restaurant is in the middle of Washington so it could be forgiven for this if it wasn't pretending so hard to be so painstakingly French! Service was over-the-top nice. Atmosphere was buzzing, even though we sat outside. Prices were relatively expensive

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Thank nesbitevans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2013

Great experience with two friends the other night at Le Diplomate. The service was outstanding. Kudos to our extremely knowledgeable waiter, Jonathan. He was eager to make suggestions and able to describe in detail every dish on the menu. The steak au poivre was delicious and exactly as described by Jonathan. Don't miss the bread! Also delicious.

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Thank klmaestra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

I enjoyed the most divine trout almondine w/haricot verts here! Better than Thomas Keller's offering at Bouchon in Vegas! (the attentive service and perfect seasoning gave it the edge over Keller's trout)

The food was fresh and served fast, despite a crowded dining room. When I asked about buying an apple tart to go for a dinner party the next evening, both my waiter and the manager asked good questions about what I was looking for...

The setting is authentic French bistro and the wait staff never miss a beat.

I'll be back soon with my beau for a special occasion meal.

Au bientôt!

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Thank Virginian22314
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2013

"...You couldn't hear, but we heard you. Soundproofing is complete at Le Diplomate. Now you can enjoy some good conversation with your baguette..."
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This is the 'announcement' presumably by Le Diplomate's owners, that appears at the top of one online review page, in apparent response to the elephant in the room: the punishingly loud noise level in this otherwise excellent French bistro.
Sorry, garcon, but my wife and I and two friends dined there tonight and, while the food was fine, IT WAS THE LOUDEST DAMN RESTAURANT I EVER HAD THE MISFORTUNE TO DINE IN--and we have dined in fine restaurants all over the world.
The noise was so bad that we will never go back--and we will make it our business to tell others what they are in for should they ever decide to go there.
I have had wonderful onion soup near Les Halles (years ago). I have dined on superb escargot in Provence. I have relished choucroute in Paris, and bouillabaisse on the French Riviera. In every case, however, I was able to hear what the hell my tablemate was saying.
Not so at Le Diplomate. The awful decibel level of the dining room negates any wonders produced by the kitchen. The owners should realize this. Otherwise, sooner or later they will find their number of diners diminishing as the novelty wears off.
This is a solvable problem. Clearly, from the announcement above, they are aware of it. Too bad, they have done--I am sorry--%$!!-all, to solve it.
--Frank Van Riper, Photographer, columnist, author, Serenissima: Venice in Winter

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1  Thank fvanriper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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