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Le Diplomate

PHOTOS: Christopher Prosser

I’ve only been to Paris once. I was 17 and battled my very first hangover during the flight across the pond. Surprisingly, landing in a foreign city with a pounding headache courtesy of Bud Light is not ideal. Live and learn, I guess. The first half of the trip was a jet-lagged fog and the second half was spent wondering why the hell these people don’t speak English (note: I was a terrible person as a teenager).

But you know what I say if people ask if I like France? I tell them that I love it, because I choose to believe that the France in the real-world is exactly like Le Diplomate. I imagine if I wasn’t such a jerk when I was younger, I would have noticed that the epitome of a French restaurant was a place a lot like Le Diplomate. A loud, bustling space with excellent food, service, and wine.

Stephen Starr’s restaurants, whether in his home base of Philly or elsewhere, are usually top-notch, and his first outpost in the nation’s capital is no exception. If you get all “teenage-girl seeing T-Swift” about anybody who’s been on “Meet the Press,” this is the place for you. It was the spot to be seen at when it opened and has maintained that luster. Come in on a weekend and you’ll be sure to see a handful of the city’s power brokers here. That is, if you’ve ever turned on CNN (I haven’t).

Everything we’ve had here has generally ranged from delicious to f*cking delicious, so order anything with confidence. Do know that while you won’t have to sell your first-born to come in, it will take some advance planning, as reservations are usually booked a couple weeks in advance, even for brunch. If there’s a second cousin of yours you aren’t too fond of, however, explore a barter deal to get in sooner.

Food Rundown


Great French restaurant makes great omelette. Yep, checks out.

Duck Sarladaises

Duck confit, eggs, potatoes. This thing sells itself. Don’t go to brunch without getting this.

Raw Stuff

You have to be careful where you order raw meat. This is the place to do it, though. Oysters, scallops, clams, and steak tartare are all excellent and won’t leave you eying potential “pit stops” later in the night.

Steak Frites

The classic French dish is done exceptionally well here.

Trout Amandine

Some of the best fish we’ve ever had. If you’re aren’t ordering meat, order this.


They have a very big, very not in English list. Pick a price you want to pay and let the sommelier handle the choosing duties - you’re in good hands.

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