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Best Dessert in DC?

Any thoughts? I'm a big fan of gelato here (both Pitango and Dolcezza, I think, beat anything I've had in NYC) and Georgetown Cupcake. But defining desert beyond desert only places - what's the most memorable experience you've had recently?

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  1. Ungentrified SE. Thick with residences, plenty of nice people, but absolutely starved for commerce.

    2 Replies
    1. re: drsnacks

      Thanks for catching the typo :)

      1. re: drsnacks

        Butterscotch Pot de Creme at Blacksalt. I

      2. But seriously I love the sticky toffee pudding at Commonwealth Gastropub

        1. Recently I have been wowed by: the chocolate mousse cake at Pastries by Randolph (whole cake, but they may have individual sized ones), cheesecake with raspberry at Central (I really like the banana split too), the chocolate cake at Brasserie Beck, the trio of creme brulees at Blacksalt (done very well for creme brulee wasn't boring and flavors were great). But the brown butter cake at Eventide has been hands down my favorite recently.

          1. the deserts at Hook are really good. I wasnt super blown away by my meal but I would definitely go back for sweet stuff.

            1. It wasn't really recently but a few years ago around this time Bardeo had a goat cheese cheesecake with cherries and balsamic vinegar that was out of this world. The cake was creamy and light with a little goat cheese tang.

              I couldn't tell you one other thing I ate that night, but that stupid little cheesecake stuck in my head.

              1. TIN ROOF SUNDAE at cityzen - hands down best dessert in DC

                1. I had a to die for chocolate and vanilla bread pudding at 1789 a couple of years ago that still stands out in my mind. The kit kat bar at Central is a classic DC dessert, but the cheese cake is probably my favorite cheese cake. I think the crust has hazelnuts or something it but it's FANTASTIC!

                  I love Baked and Wired cupcakes, especially their red velvet. Key lime pie at Rays the Classics.

                  1. One of my favorites is the ricotta mousse drizzled with balsamic vinegar at Dino in Cleveland Park.

                    1. We will go anywhere for really good Sticky Toffee Pudding!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nosey

                        The version at Rasika is excellent.


                        Rasika Restaurant
                        633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

                      2. Dolcezza is one of my favorites. Plus, added benefit is that it's actually not that many calories. They post the nutritional info in the store, and you'd be surprised how low calorie it is compared to traditional ice cream.

                        Now, on the high calorie and delicious end:
                        Fried candy bar at Eammon's. I had never sampled this treat before, and I found it absolutely delicious. I think we had the Mars bar, but they also have Snickers and others.

                        It will not be served now since it was only over the holidays, but I really enjoyed the Buche de Noel at Pain Quotidien. Look out for it next Christmas. They had a praline and a chocolate version.

                        Chocolate rugelach at Marvelous Market. This is an awesome treat.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: hamster

                          I had the rugelach at Marvelous Market and was completely blown away by it. A few weeks later I had it and it tasted stale - not nearly as good. The next time I asked when they had gotten it in - the guy said "yesterday", so I left. When it's fresh it's to die for.

                          1. re: woodleyparkhound

                            That's a bummer. Thanks for the warning. I've had consistently good luck at the Marvelous Market in Dupont Circle, though my last effort was quite a while ago.

                          2. re: hamster

                            Hamster, don't get too excited about the calories in Dolcezza gelato. I inquired about this once, and was told I was the first person to do it, which I thought was odd. The employee told me that they are the "supposed" calories for the generic recipe they use, but the second you add in nuts, chocolate, fruit, carmel, etc, the calories go way, way up. Coming from a background in nutrition, I knew it was too good to be true. The sorbets are probably a little more accurate because fruit shouldn't add that many more calories in relation to the basic recipe. Also, be aware it's for the kiddie size, which is 3 ounces. The usually small option is 5-6 ounces.

                          3. I recently had an amazing desert at brunch at Bastille in Alexandria. It was a gingerbread cake with bananas and raisins. I could have eaten three of them.

                            1. sticky toffee pudding cake at proof. butterscotch pudding and german chocolate mousse cake at ris. i've heard the desserts at birch & barley are amazing.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: littlew1ng

                                That is excellent; I'm headed to Birch and Barley tonight. Do you know of any specific recommendations?

                              2. After eating at all the best bakeries in town and a ton of the best restaurant, I'd say there are two must try desserts in the whole city: Vidalia's Lemon Chess Pie and Hook's Lingonberry Torte.

                                Here are some of my initial impressions of the Lemon Chess Pie, which I gave a 9.8, from my notes:
                                "Lemon Cheese Pie (Lemon Custard, Blueberry Compote, Chantilly Cream): A masterpiece, plain and simple. As soon as I bit into this, I was transported to citrus ecstasy. The pie crust on the bottom was extremely thin, even microscopic, so that it didn’t interfere with the extremely tender, rich, flavorful custard at all. That bottom layer was just a bit too hard, though. As for the lemon custard, the top was almost burnt, glistening with an oily sweetness. And the actual custard itself was intensely smooth, practically flowing down your mouth. The intense tartness of the lemon combined with the creamy sweetness of the custard to form a very nice balance. Even better, the lemon really lasted on the palate"

                                And my impressions of the Lingonberry Torte, from my blog:
                                "Everything was perfectly balanced. The berry flavor came through very strongly, as the torte itself was filled with what seemed like a layer of lingonberry jelly. It wasn’t too sour, though, because the small pastry shell had a delicious crumbly doughiness to it, with a nice crisp, buttery crunch and an excellent nuttiness, even though I don’t think there were actually any nuts in it. There was also some sugar powdered on top, but it was just enough so that the sourness of the berries was controlled without the sugar becoming a very noticeable flavor at all. Rather, it seemed as if the nuttiness itself was the main counterbalancing flavor"

                                Finally, if you're an Apple Pie fan, you really can't go wrong with Blue Duck Tavern's homemade apple pie, but I really prefer desserts that are a bit less traditional.

                                Hope that helps!

                                Take care,
                                The Food Buster

                                1990 M St NW # 2, Washington, DC

                                Blue Duck Tavern
                                1201 24th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037

                                1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

                                Blue Duck Tavern
                                1201 24th Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

                                1. The gelato in DC is absolutley NOT on the level of Otto in NYC. Everywhere here has pistachio, hazelnut, etc which are too sweet, and not natural tasting.

                                  The Chocolate Hazelnut at Pitango is excellent, but other flavors are still relying on too much sugar it seems. At Dolcezza, their cucumber mint would have been wonderful, but the addition of vodka killed the fresh and delicate taste of the gelato. I hope they will learn when to leave well enough alone and not cover up the natural flavors of the ingredients.

                                  My favorite dessert in the DC area can be had at almost every Indian restaurant: rasmallai. It is a ball of farmer's cheese in a milky sauce with pistachio and a hint of rosewater. As long as they don't make it too sweet, it is hard to beat. Even places that do not list this on the menu will have it regularly, you just have to ask.

                                  I just had a pudding over baklava dish (assidah) at Chez Manelle in Arlington that had beautiful flavors throughout.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Steve

                                    Steve, Dolcezza and Otto have different types of gelato, Dolcezza is Argentinian and Otto is the Italian version. Argentinian version is supposed to be sweeter than Italian. Having lived in both countries, I have to say Dolcezza replicates better. I think Pitango is highly overrated.

                                    1. re: Steve

                                      Gotta disagree with Steve on one point; while it may be too sweet for his tastes, I found the pistachio gelato at Pitango to be exceedingly natural-tasting. I was a touch skeptical the first time I purchased it, but sure enough, it tasted like actual pistachios, and not some weird syrupy, cherry-ish flavor most pistachio-flavored things have.

                                      1. re: SandyCat

                                        I guess I am ruined by my experience at Otto in NYC.

                                        1. re: Steve

                                          Had Otto last weekend for about my 10th or 11th time (best friend lives next door). It's good but still think Dolcezza is better. My best friend has been to both as well, and even has Otto gelato stocked in her fridge often (he bf is a silent partner), and she still thinks Dolcezza hits the spot more.

                                          1. re: spinachandchocolate

                                            Wow, that's a powerful recommendation. I have been to Dolcezza five times, and I'm sure I'll go back.

                                            1. re: Steve

                                              If you haven't tried the lemon ricotta cardamom at Dolcezza, please do. I avoided it for a long time because I don't like cardamom, but after hearing a few raves about it, I bravely tried a taste. Then ordered it. I really don't taste the cardamom in it at all. It's a wonderful gentle lemon concoction that I think is fabulous.

                                    2. My favorite desserts come from Central. Most the desserts are fabulous. I think by now the chocolate bar is overrated, as the bread and butter and banna split are AMMMMAZING!

                                      1. Recently I have been extremely impressed with Liberty Tavern and Eventide's desserts.

                                        The Liberty Tavern
                                        3195 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201

                                        1. High end: Chocolate degustation at Citronelle.
                                          Low end: Apricot parfait at Zaytinya.

                                          And my own carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting, of course. (Recipe from Smitten Kitchen. File under "Incredible.")

                                          3000 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20007

                                          701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                          1. Turkish Delight at Zaytinya, Pecan Pie at Vidalia, Banana Split at Central, Sticky Toffee Pudding at Rasika, Tortino al cioccolato caldo con granita alle mirtilli, mirtilli canditi e panna at Tosca......all are quite superb.


                                            Rasika Restaurant
                                            633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

                                            701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

                                            1990 M Street, Washington, DC 20036

                                            1. Well, not in DC proper, but...

                                              Coconut Cake at the Majestic Cafe in Old Town Alexandria
                                              Gelato at Eventide (any flavor, really!)

                                              I did love the carrot cake at Cedar, as well.

                                              Cardamom ice cream at Rasika was incredible, but it came with something less memorable...

                                              Rasika Restaurant
                                              633 D Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: yfunk3

                                                Creme- coconut cake
                                                Blacksalt- peanut butter dessert

                                              2. I like the bread pudding at Beck. Can't remember why I tried it, since bread pudding sounds like a waste of calories to me, but glad I did. If I remember correctly, it was studded with booze-soaked berries and tiny chunks of chocolate, served warm & topped with creme. It was very sneaky - completely under the radar.

                                                1. White Chocolate Bread Pudding at Carlyle Grand.

                                                  1. Outside of DC proper, but: The banana split (with waffle) at EatBar in Arlington.

                                                    1. Try the chocolate desserts at Co Co Sala- neat atmosphere and wonderful "adult" sweets...

                                                      Co Co Sala
                                                      929 F street NW, Washington, DC 20004