Editors' pick

Patisserie Poupon

Bakery, French
$$$$ ($14 and under)
Patisserie Poupon photo
(washingtonpost.com)
'

Editorial Review

Nestled among the boutiques and salons on Wisconsin Ave., Patisserie Poupon offers treats for anyone nostalgic for the cafes of Paris's Left Bank or just looking to satisfy a sweet craving. The clientele includes young families, local shop owners and students, a diverse group that attests to the fact that Patisserie Poupon has something for every type of craving any time of day.

Upon entering the bakery, a mixture of sugar, butter and freshly ground coffee floods the senses, evidence of the delightful concoctions whipped up by owners Ruth and Joseph Poupon. While all are worth a try, the croissant aux amandes, a croissant filled with a light almond paste and crusted with almonds, is particularly scrumptious. Other popular treats are the macaroons, which come in flavors like lemon, raspberry, chocolate and almond. Some of the more decadent creations include truffles, marzipan candies and the petits fours, which include mini eclairs and lemon, apricot or berry tarts. The exquisite tarts and cakes look nearly too perfect to eat.

For those looking for something more substantial, Patisserie Poupon offers a lunch selection of quiches and paninis; pick from one of their suggestions or create one with extras like grilled vegetables, olive tapenade, chevre and compte cheeses. They also have an assortment of salads and a soup du jour. For a light afternoon snack, try one of the typically French ice cream flavors like cassis or fig. Top off a snack or meal with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, a chocolat chaud or something stronger from the espresso bar.

Eat-in or take-out, but expect the possibility of crowds and lines on weekends, especially when the weather is nice. There is somewhat limited seating - scattered tables and a handful of seats at the espresso bar - but in the warmer months an outdoor patio in the back offers a refreshing haven from the shopper-filled streets of Georgetown. The Poupons also cater bite-sized versions of their treats, and craft delectable wedding cakes.

--Shauna Maher (April 26, 2006)