L’Auberge Chez François
Great Falls / French / $$$$*
Don’t let sticker shock get you down. Though entrées at L’Auberge Chez François are labeled as costing between $94 and $99 (or up to $198 for the Châteaubriand de L’Auberge, sized for two), that actually gains diners entry to an exclusive club. For that price, guests of the Haeringer family are treated to course after course of culinary history.
Current chef-proprietor Jacques Haeringer inherited the mantle from his father, François. He opened his restaurant in DC in 1954 and moved it to Great Falls in 1976. Since then, it’s been one of the region’s great treasures, an experience noted as much for its ambience of gardens and fountains outside as it is for its Alsatian cuisine.
This is the kind of place with an amuse-bouche that comes straight from the garden, perhaps a shot of gazpacho in tomato season. The salad course and your entrée are divided by a housemade sorbet that will ready the palate for fireworks to come. And after you inhale a raspberry soufflé, there are still chocolate truffles waiting to complete your meal. Long-lasting memories are guaranteed—and that is priceless.
See this: As soon as you turn into the driveway, you enter the Alsatian countryside, complete with kitchen gardens on 6 acres of land.
Eat this: Crêpe à la ciboulette, Les Deux Tournedos, raspberry soufflé
Service: A team of expert servers attends to your every whim.
When to dine: City-style French fare won’t do for your group.