For most of us, the word “bistro” conjures up images of small, charming European restaurants that offer delicious food and wine to local patrons. The good news is that you don’t have to go all the way across the ocean to dine in a charming European-inspired bistro. We have plenty of those in Washington, D.C., several of which are as delightful as the bistros that line the streets of Paris, Brussels and all your other favorite European cities.

Westend Bistro
1190 22nd St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 974-4900

This upscale dining venue has all of the makings of a great bistro, including delicious food, impeccable service and a fabulous wine list. The atmosphere is modern, but the fare is classic bistro highlighted by local and seasonal ingredients. Notable menu items include spinach marbled gnocchi, creamy seasonal vegetable soup, Brussels sprouts drizzled with a mustard aioli and perfect, luscious risotto. Bistros are known for their decadent desserts, and Westend Bistro is no exception. The Americano coffee dessert is a whimsical take on coffee and donuts, with coffee parfait and the best dulce de leche donut holes you will ever have.

Le Chat Noir
4907 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 244-2044

Le Chat Noir is one of DC’s oldest and most charming bistros, with a small dining room and upstairs wine bar. The food, wine and atmosphere are quintessential French. The menu features bright salads, freshly made savory and sweet crepes and the best frites in town. Rustic and cozy, this is the perfect venue for dinner or brunch, or just a glass of wine. Be sure to sample the French bread, which comes warm right out of the oven. Like the frites, the bread and butter are famous amongst locals.

Related: Best Fall Salads in Washington, D.C.

Et Voila
5120 Macarthur Blvd. N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 237-2300

For delicious Belgian bistro fare, served in a warm and attractive venue, Et Voila is your spot. Favorite dishes include the croustillant de chevre chaud, which is a decadent tomato and olive brioche with warm goat cheese, melt-in-your-mouth cheese puffs called gougeres, house-made quiche and hearty Belgian waffles. An extensive wine and Belgian beer list is also available.

Related: Best Waffles in Washington, D.C.

Bistro Bohem
600 Florida Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 735-5895

Bistro Bohem offers the wonderful vibe of a neighborhood bistro, where residents drop by with friends for good food and good conversation. Guests enjoy authentic Eastern European cuisine at this bistro, which includes dishes such as pierogies, schnitzel and apple strudel. There is also a series of signature cocktails and a great brunch menu for you to explore. Be sure to take advantage of the adjoining cafe, which serves coffee and pastries.

Praline Bakery & Bistro
4611 Sangamore Road
Bethesda, MD 20816
(301) 229-8180

What is great and unique about Praline Bakery & Bistro is the gorgeous array of French desserts that are available. Crème brulee, macaroons, walnut dacquoise, palmiers, éclairs and much more are available. Of course, there are a variety of savory dishes available as well. Choose from comforting dishes like leek, sun-dried tomato and goat cheese quiche, ravioli served in a mushroom veloute, salad with poached pears and blue cheese, and pomme lyonnaise. If you don’t have room for dessert, you can always take it to go!

Priya Konings is a freelance writer and restaurant critic in Washington D.C. Her work can be found at