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MICHELIN Guide's Point of View

Marcel’s may lure a who’s who crowd to its elegantly understated dining room, but there’s nothing uppity about the amiable and genuine staff, who exper...
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About
Since 1999, Chef Wiedmaier infuses his Belgian heritage into Marcel's elegant haute French flagship restaurant. Regularly topping the best-of-lists in the nation's capital, in 2011 and 2012, it was rated the top restaurant for food by Zagat as well as one of the top five restaurants for service.
PRICE RANGE
US$35 - US$50
Special Diets
Vegan Options, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options
Meals
Dinner, After-hours
CUISINES
French, European, International
FEATURES
Reservations, Private Dining, Seating, Valet Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts Credit Cards, Table Service
Reviews (698)
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Traveller rating
495
93
38
20
14
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All reviews tasting menu foie gras six courses amuse bouche bread fine dining our waiter michelin star perfect evening patrons
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Reviewed 21 May 2022 via mobile

We were a party of 4, going out to celebrate a graduation. We pre-paid the 400 dollars required for 7PM reservation for a party of 4. Let’s start with not being seated in the main dining room. Instead we were seated in the bar area...at the table nearest to the restrooms, even though the restaurant was empty and remained empty throughout our entire 3 hour meal ordeal. We were treated like second class citizens. Not prioritize throughout our meal. We had to be animated and vocal to get the attention of the wait staff. Our expectation for a Michelin starred restaurant, is to receive a superb meal with service to match. Given that we ordered the 6 course meal, we expected the delivery of the courses to be well orchestrated for a satisfying meal. Instead we waited 30 or more minutes for the early courses, only when closing time approached, did the wait between courses reduced to be a little less than 30 minutes. If you are going to stretch out each course, then there should be offerings to cleanse the palate, none was offered. Bread was not offered throughout the meal, even though some of the courses required bread to get the most out of the dish. Needless to say for a $200.00 per plate dinner, it was a very disappointing meal. My advice to anyone that will patron this establishment, be prepared to be underwhelmed. Would not recommend.More

Date of visit: May 2022
Helpful?4  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 2 May 2022

We were part of a group that dined in the separate group dining room. The food was fabulous, and the service was on point. I liked being able to have a conversation without having to strain to hear or shout to be heard. My Sound...Print dB check showed a quiet 65 to 70 dB range. The piano is in the bar area, so it was pleasant and unobtrusive background music.More

Date of visit: April 2022
Helpful?2  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 28 April 2022

OK, so its expensive but, fine dining seems to be thin on the ground over the pond. We booked a table for a Sunday night. We were surprised to share the restaurant with 5 more diners all evening. This didn't detract from a great foodie...experience. Its probably best summed up by saying the menu comprises of around 12 small sharing plates that are plated beautifully. All the dishes were freshly prepared and flavoursome. Generally a million miles from run of the mill American fried food. Service was very professional and friendly. All the staff wore smiles. The wine by the glass selection was very impressive. It would be very easy to run up a bill of 500 dollars for two people depending on how many courses you select. However, it was a welcome change and we would return.More

Date of visit: April 2022
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 21 November 2021 via mobile

This was a romantic 10th anniversary visit. We love to try new things and are hard to impress but this was a truly wonderful dining experience. It would feel more hospitable to open a few minutes prior to the first reservation on a chilly November...night but otherwise it was a perfect evening. The service is friendly, personable, and excellent. Each dish was a new experience, the rabbit dumplings, roasted squab, and artic char were particular standouts as well as the amuse bouche. Their bread is the perfect combination of lightness with just a little bit of buttery crunch on the crust. The cocktails were perfectly made. I can see why this restaurant is a dc staple and look forward to returning in the future. Thank you to the hard working staff and Chef Jenn for all you did to make our night special.More

Date of visit: November 2021
Helpful?3  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 12 October 2021

I was really looking forward to a 5-star experience and so very much regret to say this was not that. For anyone who knows A Chorus Line, you'll know the famous number Dance: Ten; Looks, Three.  The setting and the food were 10. To be fair, the service...wasn't quite 3, but it was a lot closer to 5 than you'd reasonably hope/expect? for a restaurant whose entry-level tasting menu is $110 before drinks, service or anything else. Some notes: --Upon sitting at our table for 10 people, a few of the otherwise lovely place settings were missing napkins. Attention to detail alert? --Our waiter was very high-spirited, which would have been great except that it became clear that he wasn't up to his A game, maybe resulting from the night before when he shared a few times that the restaurant had hosted a 7-course tasting menu with wine pairings that had kept the staff there til the wee hours --After we ordered a couple of bottles of bubbly to get started, it took quite a long time before our orders for food were taken --During that interval, I didn't see our waiter again to be able to order wine for when our food arrived --Our first course was then served without any wine having been ordered, let alone served. When I asked our waiter about this, he brought the wine list and I quickly chose a bottle of white and said that I needed another moment to pick the red --The white wine did come soon enough for our guests who were drinking white to enjoy that with their first course --It took quite a while for our waiter to take my order for the red wine, though not as long as it took for the red wine to finally arrive --Everyone at the table had long finished their first courses, but I hadn't eaten mine, as I'd wanted to enjoy that tasty bison tartare with--spoiler alert--red wine --The staff tried to clear the first course plates a few times and asked if everything was ok with my uneaten bison tartare. I said that I'm sure it was though I was waiting for the red wine I'd ordered to enjoy it with --When the red wine finally came, there wasn't any acknowledgement of the delay other than maybe a mumbled "had to get it from the cellar"--unlike any other wine there? --The second and third courses were served mostly without incident although not always to the guests who'd ordered them --Remember that red wine? Apparently our service team didn't, as I had to ask to have it poured when our guests' glasses were empty --Onto the last course. One of our guests at the outset had been very clear about his nut allergy. When he was served a dessert he hadn't ordered that had nuts and we flagged it to our waiter, he literally laughed it off by joking to a fellow server about whether they were trying to kill one of the guests that wouldn't be great for business. I'm sorry, did I miss the part about when anaphylactic shock had become a joke?  --As for the check, I'm still sorting out with the friend in our party who'd made the reservation with the $100 per person deposit why she'd been told both before the dinner and during the dinner that her deposit would be refunded as I was paying for the whole check, when that's not what ended up happening.  Again, in sum, the food and setting were lovely and enjoyed by all of us. But the thing I've heard from other restaurants lately about "Please forgive us for any lapses in service, staffing is tough these days" didn't seem to fit for a place like this, especially when we heard that one of the team serving our table has been there since the restaurant opened.More

Date of visit: October 2021
Helpful?2  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 2 October 2021

Really gone downhill. The tasting menu is great if you are on a paleo diet and eat pork and shellfish. If not, very few options. Amuse-bouche cratered tastebuds with too much spice. Rest of meal too spicy and no vegetables. Had we not been forced...to make a deposit of $200 for the reservation, we would not have stayed for a meal.More

Date of visit: October 2021
Helpful?3  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 13 June 2021

We hadn’t been to Marcel’s restaurant since December 2019, shortly before we all had to bunker for COVID-19. When we returned, little had changed (except the masks) and that is a good thing! Marcel’s is an institution of consistent, polished quality that you can rely...on through thick and thin, which keeps drawing us to their dining room. Granted, Marcel’s is not for everyone. It is one of the few jacket-required places left in Washington, and it doesn’t play to over-hyped trendiness in the food world. I consider Marcel’s restaurant to be one of those places of understated elegance (I think of the Chicago Peninsula hotel in much the same way). It’s not uptight and fussy for the sake of being uptight, but it is to give order and calm, so you can focus on the high-quality food and service while not being distracted by a lot of trendy "noise." My other general shout out to Marcel’s restaurant is that they truly know how to be flexible with dietary restrictions. This clearly shows a culinary competence (and effort to please its customers) often lacking in so many other restaurants. Before we looked at the menu, our server said that he remembered our lactose allergy from our last visit, and the kitchen is more than happy to make whatever dish we wanted on the menu without dairy. The ability to adjust, and not eliminate, means a lot!! (For example, the last time we went to Tail Up Goat, they eliminated most of the menu because it had dairy with no ability to modulate to the needs of the customer!!?? This is not a good look for a Michelin-star restaurant.) Now, on to the food! Just like our last visit, we ordered five courses. However, you can select 4-6 courses. We are big eaters, but I think six courses would ruin the experience with too much food. The other thing we really like about Marcel’s restaurant is that our server constructed our menus (but you can pick whatever you want). Our server did a great job of balancing fish and meat and giving each of us different courses. He did select foie gras for both of us because he remembered we both really liked that from our last visit! It’s that kind of attention to detail that makes you want to return! The standouts for us this time among the fish were the crispy snapper and the scallops. For the meat, the duck was once again the winner. Marcel’s can really prepare a succulent duck! And of course, the fois gras! If you like it, it is very decadent and prepared with that great balance of sweet and savory. For dessert, I was going to scale down to some sorbet because I was getting full, but our server talked me into the dark chocolate and blackberry mousse bombe. I’m really glad that I followed his advice! I couldn’t finish it, but I was glad to eat what I could. It is packed full of flavors and has just the right amount of sweet, but not over the top. It was a great way to finish a great meal. The wine was also well selected. I believe that I wrote in my last review in 2019 that I thought the wine prices were reasonable for this price point and that the wines were competently paired and enhanced the food. I believe both remain true for this visit. For the price, we had the four-course tasting menu for two people, four glasses of wine, and two foie gras supplements. The total price including tax and tip was about $490. Because of the extra attention to detail, we tipped 25+ percent. Considering all of the attention to detail, the well-orchestrated service, high quality and adaptable cooking, we believe this warrants the price and continues to represent a good value. We continue to wonder, since the DMV started giving Michelin ratings, where is Marcel’s star??? We believe Marcel’s restaurant is more deserving than many other recipients. However, Marcel’s restaurant will continue to be part of our rotation for the foreseeable future, regardless of the Michelin guide!More

Date of visit: June 2021
Helpful?5  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 16 May 2021

Outstanding French food served in a most classy manner. Atmosphere superb. Wine incredible. All personele very friendly.

Date of visit: May 2021
Helpful?
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Reviewed 18 December 2020

Absolutely wonderful, from the staff to the food to the service. Impeccable and worth every penny. We will be back.

Date of visit: December 2020
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Reviewed 17 November 2020 via mobile

Marcel’s was a wonderful, fine dining experience. The RW group has done a fabulous job not letting the pandemic impact them too much or ruin the classic French-Belgian experience. Except for the masks, the tables left empty for distancing and the boarded windows (DC riots)...it was everything you would expect. The menu and course plan leaves many options for all tastes and appetites. If two people did 6-courses each, you would be able to sample most of the menu. We did two of the seafood dishes as appetizers and chose venison and duck for our entrees- everything was cooked perfectly and tasted fabulous. We shared both cheese and dessert- again, perfect portions and outstanding tastes. The evening was topped with homemade truffles on the house. Well curated wine and liquor list including many options that won’t break the bank. Service was excellent and our waiter had many good recommendations in the food and wine departments. Price and value were reasonable, but make no mistake about it, you need to be prepared for special occasion pricing- you won’t be disappointed!More

Date of visit: November 2020
Helpful?2  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed 15 November 2020 via mobile

Marcel’s, how we’ve missed you! This has been a grueling 8 months for lovers of fine dining. Take out is fine but can’t replace that luxurious feeling that a very professional staff (both front- and back-of-house) will see to it as a duty that you...have a lovely and memorable evening. Our party arrived for the early dining option and was seated at a table laid just for us. We chose the outdoor seating and the space was charming and comfortable. The jaunty Veuve Cliquot umbrellas were cheery and helped give the space an intimate feel. Attractive fire pits and large propane heaters kept us warm and cozy. Vinnie and staff took excellent care of us throughout the meal. After months of take out cartons, we nearly swooned over the truffle-topped amuse bouche. Thank you, Chef! Every dish and every course was delightful and spot-on. My advice: if you are feeling down and tiring of this slog to the other side of the pandemic, treat yourself and your loved-ones to a wonderful evening of being cosseted and fed a succession of delights.More

Date of visit: November 2020
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Reviewed 13 November 2020 via mobile

Imagine the lovely dining room with half the tables gone so the nearest other party is on the other side of the room. Imagine being served by the host, with the only other interaction being with the silent but attentive young lady refilling your water...glasses and bread dish. In the same category but less playful and theatrical than Inn at Little Washington, and with smaller portions than Auberge Chez Francois, but in our case only four blocks from home. And although on our first visit we found the menu more confusing than Auberge, the very polite host explained that, yes, you can have lobster, duck and venison all on the same dinner along with a dessert on the $110. tasting menu. Did I mention the plates are small and this this an expensive pleasure. But unlike Auberge, you don't stagger home stuffed to the gills. That's a good this, right? And the wine list has some excellent moderately priced choices well under $100. Did I mention this is an expensive restaurant. If I had to ask for a thing, it would gave been more dessert choices. Only two choices or a cheese plate. A souffle or fruit tarte would have been nice, although the praline was delicious (and no, not a New Orleans praline cookie) $600 for three with a moderate Oregon red, but a really special occasion. We all felt very safe, as we also did recently at la Chaumiere on M in Georgetown a few blocks away. It's pretty nice to have neighborhood choices like these two.More

Date of visit: November 2020
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed 2 March 2020

We had a fabulous evening at Marcel's. The service from the front of the house was perfectly balanced between attentiveness and discretion. The food was beautifully prepared and presented and delicious in every way. Marcel's is elegant and we enjoyed the evening very much. What...is Musak everywhere else is a the gentle jazz piano in the bar at Marcel's. The perfect atmosphere for a special evening. Recommended. Two items that detracted somewhat, but never interfered. There appeared to be some tension between the wait staff and the support staff - maybe just the usual search for perfection but we overheard more than one impatient comment. Second, for a prix fixe menu offering we were surprised there was no option for wine pairings and when we asked if one could be provided received a frustrated response that sure, we could do that if you wanted. That said, the pairing were from the wine-by-the-glass menu and were splendid!More

Date of visit: February 2020
Helpful?2  
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Reviewed 22 February 2020

This review is for a reservation i made over a month ago for dinner on Saturday February 22nd. I have to say that I am supremely disappointed in not being able to eat at Marcel's. I've eaten at Brasserie Beck quite a few times and...was looking forward to eating at Robert Wiedmaier's fine dining restaurant. I had booked a table for 6:30pm for their advertised pre theater menu which says it goes until 6:30pm on both their website and also the tripadvisor site. I have ticket for a Kennedy Center show which starts at 9:30pm today. I received a confirmation email today that had a different time of ending at 6pm so I called up and asked about the inconsistency. I was told that 6pm was the ending time for the pre theater menu. The only other menu listed shows 4 courses and my wife and I just can't eat that much food. The pre theater menu is only 3 courses which would be a stretch for us anyway. I asked about an ala carte menu and was told we could order ala carte but the server would have to give us the price after we ordered which would be sort of a pain to work through. Please Robert Wiedmaier update your website with the correct information so this doesn't happen to someone else.More

Date of visit: February 2020
Helpful?1  
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Reviewed 21 February 2020

In March, we dined at Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier, and had a lovely dinner. We had just flown into DC from New Orleans, where we had been dining wonderfully, so Marcel’s was a great extension of what was shaping up as a “food tour,” though...it was about my wife’s business meetings. Marcel’s is in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, so we took a cab from The Jefferson, and arrived a bit early for our reservation. However, as we had a table for an early dining spot, were promptly seated at a very comfortable 4-top, just as one enters the lovely dining room. Service began quickly (but at no time, during the entire evening, was anything rushed), with the wine list, and the menus. While we contemplated our choices, we had a glass each of the Ruinart Blanc de Blanc and the Veuve Clicquot Rosé, both NV. We decided on the Seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, plus the Sommelier’s Wine Pairing, and the Chef’s Reserve Pairing, which started with the Dom Pérignon 2006 - a great way to start! The menu consisted of: Scallop Carpaccio w/ blood orange, uni and citrus emulsion (Sea Bass substituted for my wife) - an excellent starter course, and the uni tasted very fresh, with a nice hint of brine Butter-poached Lobster w/ fennel purée, and lobster Cognac sauce - this dish was a hit for both of us, with succulent lobster, and just a hint of fennel, and a taste of Cognac Arctic Char w/ garlic, onions Niçoise olives and extra-virgin olive oil - beautifully done Char, and my wife did not complain about having had Sea Bass, two courses before Foie Gras Terrine w/ plum marmalade and Port gelée - while not our favorite prep for Foie Gras, this dish was excellent Braised Veal Cheeks w/ mirepoix and veal jus - this was a stellar dish, and received a round of applause from both of us New Zealand Venison Chop w/ baby leeks, Maitake mushrooms, parsnip purée and blackberry venison gastric - another winner Cake & Ice Cream: chocolate coconut Battenburg w/ praline ice cream and lime toffee - though I am not a dessert person, this was very good, and not overly sweet. My wife appreciated it a bit more than I did, as I would have likely gone with a Cheese Course The wines were all interesting, and remember, we did one each of the two wine pairing options: The Dom Pérignon 2006 Domaine de La Galopière Les Chavalières Meursault ‘17 Bertrand Ambroise Lettre d’Eloïse Prémeaux-Prissey Chardonnay ‘17 Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir ‘17 Domaine d’Alzipratu Pumonte by Pierre Acquaviva, Corse Calvi ‘17 Orenga de Gaffory Rappo Vin de Liqueur ‘15 Orenga de Gaffory Impassitu Muscat du Cap Corse Blanc ‘13 Armelle et Bernard Rion La Croix Vosne Romanée Blanche ‘15 Joseph Wagner Elouan Oregon Pinot Noir ‘17 Bodega Numanthia Termes Tinta de Toro España ‘15 Barboursville Vineyard Virginia Cabernet Franc Reserve ‘16 C. da Silva Presidential Port - their Ruby and their 40 Year Tawny Service was excellent throughout the meal, and the pacing was perfect. We waited for nothing, but then nothing was rushed in any way. The room is understated in décor, but elegant. Our table was comfortably large, and well-spaced. The lighting in the room is adequate, but I would have loved to have a pin-spot on each dish, to appreciate the visual artistry even better. Though this front dining room filled up, the noise level was quite low - just the way that I like it. Conversation was easy. In all, this was a perfect meal, in a perfect venue, and we will return, as we now have 5 times.More

Date of visit: March 2019
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Questions & Answers
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evamichel
28 September 2019|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from Flip1228 | Reviewed this property |
No patio
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megyard
30 March 2019|
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Response from mlippman | Reviewed this property |
yes
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brynnw2018
10 February 2019|
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Response from DRDC621 | Reviewed this property |
Sorry for the delay in responding. I'd go with elegantly casual to dressy. It is definitely a special occasion place but a tie is not necessary.
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MARCEL'S BY ROBERT WIEDMAIER, Washington DC - Upper Northwest - Restaurant Reviews, Photos & Phone Number - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Marcel's by Robert Wiedmaier

Marcel's by Robert Wiedmaier is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travellers:
  • Food: 4.5
  • Service: 4.5
  • Value: 4
  • Atmosphere: 4.5