Looking for a new neighborhood bakery? We visited a sampling of spots that arrived on the local scene in the past year, give or take.
501 Seventh St. NW.
Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The vibe : A little European — the place is inspired by Viennese bakery-coffeehouses — with a bright orange modern interior.
The selection : Cookies (Viennese fingers, orange marzipan); croissants (plain, vegetable, ham and Gruyere, chocolate); chocolate frangipane and raspberry kringle; Danishes (blueberry envelope, apple spandauer, strawberry cream cheese pinwheel); passion fruit macarons; vanilla custard apricot turnover; brioche (citrus streusel bun with orange blossom cream, sugar bun); fruit custard tart.
The highlight : The fluffy citrus streusel bun, with a tender crumb, delicately shardlike topping and aromatic filling.
4434 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The vibe: Retro-rustic meets French boulangerie. White subway tiles, jars of pickled vegetables, a place for the neighbors to hang out.
The selection: Pies (peanut butter banana cream, oatmeal cookie); cakes (carrot, coconut cream, devil’s food); cookies (chocolate chip, double chocolate chip); English muffins; bagels; breads (brioche, Palladin, olive levain, baguette); gingerbread bundt cake; crullers; Florentine bars; marshmallows; canelés; muffins (orange poppy, bran); caramels.
The highlight : Dream of Paris with a canelé, a small fluted pastry with a custardy center and darkly caramelized exterior.
2006 18th St. NW.
Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The vibe : Definitely on the dainty side — a little pink but not too much. Like a really classy grandma’s house.
The selection : Cheesecake (blueberry, raspberry chocolate); cakes (carrot, coconut, red velvet, chocolate cherry); cupcakes (red velvet, carrot, pumpkin spice, Nutella, strawberries and cream, white chocolate peppermint, lemon lavender, Oreo, peanut butter chocolate, date, double chocolate, vanilla on vanilla, chocolate on vanilla, vanilla on chocolate, banoffee); flourless chocolate torte; pies (pecan, apple); bars (brownies, lemon squares, apricot cream cheese, apple with brown butter icing); cookies (Nutella, chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip; oatmeal cranberry, cappuccino, gingersnap); banoffee pudding.
The highlight : We’ve got to say cupcakes at some point, right? The date cupcake feels very grown-up, not too sugary and nicely spiced.
3206 Grace St. NW.
Wednesday-Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.;
Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The vibe: Colonial revival with white finishes. Red, white and blue accents. (The bakery partners with Georgetown University to train veterans in business.)
The selection: Cinnamon buns; croissants; sesame bagels; mini loaves (banana, cranberry, pumpkin spice); financiers (chocolate, lemon); chocolate coffee truffle pops; teaclairs (eclairs filled with tea-infused custard — matcha, chai, creme caramel rooibos); dessert coupes (chocolate, raspberry, caramel); cookies (gingersnap, sugar, double chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip); brownies; coconut macaroons; nut and seed bars; breads (baguette, ciabatta); biscotti; dog biscuits; soups; sandwiches; chocolate coffee truffle pops.
The highlight: The delicate chocolate financier with a dark fudgy center.
4919 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda. 301-656-0000. www.freshbaguette.net.
Daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The vibe: Parisian patisserie,
right down to the French-speaking staff.
The selection: Breads (walnut raisin, hazelnut apricot fig, rolls, marguerite, brioche); baguettes (four-seed country, plain, sesame, poppy); flan; tarts (royal chocolate, lemon meringue, pear, royal fruit, hazelnut chocolate, raspberry, almond, strawberry, pecan chocolate, Nutella almond, lemon, pine nut almond, cherry, raspberry); canelés; gougeres; macarons; chouquettes; large meringues; croissants (chocolate, almond, chocolate-almond, raisin); brioche suisse; quiche; sandwiches; eclairs.
The highlight: The plain baguette. Could it be anything else? Crusty, chewy, gorgeously burnished and good enough to eat on its own.
963 Palmer Alley, entrance along 10th Street between H and I streets NW. 202-499-0077. www.raresweets.com.
Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The vibe: Vintage meets contemporary. Blonde wood with etchings modeled on old cookbook patterns, cake dome lights, marble display counter.
The selection: Biscuits (buttermilk, cheddar); English muffins; egg in a basket; maple-glazed brioche doughnut; cakes by the slice (double chocolate, yellow and black, black and white, ginger and lemon, spiced eggnog, chocolate and mint, coconut); cookies (chocolate chunk, sugar, oatmeal raisin, cocoa crinkle, gingersnap); bars (brown butter blondies, brownies); ice creams and sorbets (winter spice, vanilla bean, mint cacao nib); mini cakes (red velvet, coconut, chocolate peppermint).
The highlight: The mini red velvet cake. No dyes, though, so don’t expect anything bright red.
2409 18th St. NW. 202-525-5204. www.riseglutenfree.com.
Tuesday-Saturday 8:30 a.m. to
The vibe: Sunny and urban in a townhouse-style setting with bright yellow walls.
The selection: All gluten-free, some vegan. Croissants (almond, chocolate, ham and cheese); morning buns; muffins (vegan raspberry chocolate chip, pumpkin cream cheese, banana nut, blueberry, strawberry coconut); cookies (vegan chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar, brownie); bagels (plain, cinnamon raisin, everything); cupcakes (carrot, red velvet, vegan chocolate with banana buttercream, vegan raspberry lemon, chocolate salted caramel); raspberry hand pies; chocolate blackout cake; napoleons; brownies (dark chocolate walnut, white chocolate cream cheese); cinnamon rolls; raspberry Danish; various breads and rolls.
The highlight: The dark chocolate walnut brownie, rich and fudgy like a flourless chocolate cake.
Three Fifty Bakery
and Coffee Bar
1926 17th St. NW. 202-629-1022. www.threefifty.com.
Monday-Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The vibe: Cozy neighborhood hangout, with low ceilings and rustic meets industrial decor. Baked goods artfully displayed on cake stands and plates behind a glass panel.
The selection: Sweet and salty caramel brownie; quick breads (banana, zucchini); blueberry lemon pound cake; scones (maple, ginger); croissants (plain, chocolate); quiches (tomato mozzarella, broccoli and caramelized onion); biscotti (almond, chocolate cherry); gluten-free oatmeal peanut butter cooke; chocolate chip cookie; cookie sandwiches (peanut butter and Nutella, German chocolate).
The highlight: The darling cookie sandwich with two soft peanut butter cookies nestled around fluffy Nutella frosting.