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Look Inside Downtown’s Elegant New Brasserie

Hotel restaurant Opaline is gearing up for full service next month

Opaline is the Sofitel’s take on a modern brasserie.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

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Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The Sofitel hotel’s newly opened French restaurant and bar is now serving foie gras, cocktails, and steak frites in a sleek and regal setting.

Opaline, which translates to different types of glass in French, partially joined downtown’s expense account-friendly dining scene (806 15th Street NW ) this month. The bar is currently offering an all-day menu, but it’s breakfast-only in the main dining room for now. Full dining service is projected to debut on Thursday, May 3. This week, a sea of discerning critics were spotted inside the venue; French President Emmanuel Macron is currently visiting D.C., and his entourage is pretty extensive.

The two-part destination includes an 80-seat bar and 64-seat brasserie, with both spaces boasting a cohesive mix of curved brass lighting fixtures, black-and-white tiled flooring, sexy retro prints, and blue and gold furnishings throughout. Designed by Perkins + Will, Opaline replaces the hotel’s now-defunct Ici Urban Bistro, an Asian-French eatery.

“There’s enough light and energy that’s good for work, enjoying yourself, and meeting others and making connections — which is so typical of a brasserie,” says Sofitel general manager Christian Klaus.

Opaline chef Doug Isleib, an alum of Barcelona Wine Bar, is creating a lineup of approachable French fare such as tuna tartare, a burger with gruyere, and mussels. The eight-page wine list is pretty solid and diverse, ranging from a glass of bubbly for $11 to $990 for a tempranillo-cabernet sauvignon blend from Ribera del Duero, Spain. Both the shortened bar menu and longer brasserie menu are available throughout the restaurant.

View Opaline’s opening menu here:

Come summer, Opaline’s outdoor patio will get a refresh that’ll deliver “Parisian flair” to the busy corner of 15th and H streets NW, says Klaus.

The downtown dining scene has seen a spike in French eateries as of late: Critically acclaimed Mirabelle arrived last spring. And the Willard’s French-themed hotel restaurant Café du Parc just celebrated its 10-year anniversary by reopening with a new art deco look and updated dishes.

Scroll down to view the different sections of Opaline:

One of the dining rooms at Opaline.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Opaline’s larger brasserie section is expected to feature grilled whole branzino to share, as well as ratatouille, escargots, duck à l’orange, charcuterie, and salads.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

A giant banquette runs along one wall at Opaline.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Elaborate tile work is part of the design at Opaline.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Opaline’s bar area is currently open for all-day service. “The design transports you with its airy bar and clean colors,” says Sofitel general manager Christian Klaus.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Opaline bartender Marcus Cook making a seasonal gin and tonic with Hendrick’s Gin, blood orange, rosemary, Muscadet, and Q Spectacular tonic.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The “DC Old Fashioned” at Opaline is made with Gentleman Jack Daniels whiskey, barrel-aged bitters, and citrus.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The Bulles & Baies cocktail at Opaline combines Absolut ELYX vodka, raspberries, cassis, lemon, and sparkling wine in a copper glass.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC


806 15th St NW, Washington, DC , 20005
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