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Best for Dessert Only?

What's the best place in DC or NOVA for dessert only?

My favorite such place in the world is the basement cafe at Fouchon in Paris (near the Place de la Madeleine), where you can eat fabulous desserts without having to also pay for a full Michelin-star meal. I haven't found, and don't expect to find, anything that good here.

For 30 years, I've often gone to Cafe La Ruche in Georgetown for a flan and an espresso. But I now wonder whether there's a better choice.

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  1. If you are willing to do take out the Randolph Bakery in Arlington has some amazing cakes. We had two at the last party at someone's house I went to and though I had been there before I had never gotten cakes (this is my spot for croissants) and begged her to tell me where they were from. They were incredible.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ktmoomau

      No, I'm talking about a sit-down restaurant, not a take-out bakery. I agree, however, that Randolph's Bakery sells great pastry.

    2. Well I don't think this is the best dessert city, but the cakes at Majestic are wonderful, and Vidallia has a great Lemon Chess Pie, and Pecan tart (although pecan pie is so easy to make it isn't really a big deal to get out).

      I have heard wonderful things about the coconut cake at Creme, I would think it would do good dessert since it is Southern. I am sure it has at least one stick of butter in it.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ktmoomau

        At those restaurants, can you order only a dessert, and skip everthing else? Many restaurants frown on this. Some will let you do this only if you sit at the bar. I'm looking for a restaurant or cafe that not only offers great desserts, but also welcomes patrons who come to eat dessert only. Cafe La Ruche falls in this category, and I was wondering whether there were other choices.

        1. re: ballston01

          I don't know if you would have to sit at the bar at Vidalia, maybe if they were really busy, but they do have a nice bar area. Creme is a cafe and I would think they wouldn't have a problem with this at all, although I have never done it.

          And I have no clue about Majestic, it isn't a huge place so if they are busy they would be the only place I suspect that could get fussy, but since they pride themselves on their cake, I kind of think that would be odd.

          1. re: ktmoomau

            At Creme you can sit at the bar. If they are offering their Coconut Cake get it. It's divine.

            I really like the cake/cheese cake/pie offerings at Kramerbooks and Afterwords. You can always go there for just dessert and drinks/coffee.

            There is a multi-layer chocolate cake at Busboys and Poets which is really tasty and huge!

            Finally the dessert menu at Hudson looks very good (and fun! There's a rootbeer float!!). I had the cheese cake with seasonal mixed berries (very fresh) when I went there. They are set up to serve all types of diners for all different meals, so they should be fine with someone only going for dessert. There is also a lounge/bar area to eat in.

            My boyfriend and I have gone to Cashion's and had dessert at the bar.

            1. re: Elyssa

              Yeah Elyssa! I agree - I love going to Afterwords Cafe, especially late at night with a romantic superfriend - it is a great ambiance and it is open all night.

              1. re: Zucumber84

                I am the advertising manager for Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe. Glad you enjoy our place! I am posting to clarify our hours. We are open from early until late 7 days a week, but only on Fri. & Sat . are we open 24 hours. Thanks.

              2. re: Elyssa

                I've had desserts at both Hudson't and Kramer's--not very good. Leopold's in Georgetown has some great desserts. You can basically go anywhere to just order dessert. Mercury Flordiana is a cute place to grab some sweets and coffee, as well as Circa.

        2. Go to the Citronelle lounge. You can order just dessert made in the best kitchen in DC.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dakota Guy

            I agree, the Citronelle desserts are fantastic!

            Also, I've been to the bar at CityZen (Mandarin Oriental) for just drinks and dessert, and both the dessert and atmosphere were great!

          2. If you are willing to go to Bethesda there is "Praline" a french bistro & bakery. Here is a link to a Washingtonian write up

            1. The desserts at Bebo are fantastic. I would imagine that you could order dessert and espresso at the bar.

              I have seen mixed reports about the service there, but my experience has been fine.

              1. Cornucopia in Bethesda is a small deli/Italian market with four tables where you can sit down at one of four small tables and partake of coffee, wonderful cannolis, small raspberry and lemon moussy things (don't know what they're called, but they're basically heaven). Personally, though, I'd recommend their cookies. They are sold by the pound and they are the best I've ever tasted. They have a big selection of them, including four or five types of biscotti.

                Last time I was there the owner hit on me, though, so I've been putting off the next trip.

                1 Reply
                1. re: maralenenok

                  The owner might have just been showing you some Italian-style hospitality. I think I might have gotten a little of that the first/second time I came in - like - "how can I help you, beautiful lady?" but I go there sort of regularly now, and he greets me more normally, and we'll occasionally engage in some foodie chat. Anyway, you shouldn't let the friendliness keep you away... =)

                  I think the french macaroons are my favorite cookie here, which I'd never heard of until the owner gave me a free sample of once.

                2. The fireplace lounge at the Tabard Inn in Dupont. They've got some very good desserts right now--a rum soaked pumpkin pudding cake and a dark chocolate flourless torte with housemade hazelnut ice cream.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Hungry Panda

                    Ooooo that pudding cake sounds delicious! What's the price on that?

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      I believe it was $7 or $8. It's not an enormous portion but satisfying.

                  2. We've gone to several restaurants just for dessert later at night after the dinner rush and had no problem.
                    Bistro Bis, maybe because they're attached to a hotel, is very accommodating and has some wonderful things, often very seasonal. Lots of inventive, non-chocolate stuff.
                    Montmartre has great tarts, Ile flotante, classic French stuff.
                    Bistro Lepic. Classic French comfort. Probably some of the other bistros have similar so you might try a few others. The desserts at Beck looked good but I was too full to try anything.
                    Pesce is easy to forget since it makes its reputation on fish but whoever does desserts there is great.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: dominationinc

                        i've heard very mixed reviews on CoCoSala. What did you have that you enjoyed?