Cafe Bonaparte

March 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

My love for sweet French foods is undeniable, especially considering my obsessive love for macarons and previously unmentioned affection for madeleines. My first entry was written with the three notable characteristics of the crème brûlée used as titles for my introduction. But even if I weren’t such a lover of French desserts, I would still love Cafe Bonaparte.

I adore Cafe Bonaparte. If I could eat there for Saturday morning brunch– I can’t wait the additional day for Sunday brunch–every Saturday, I would be in heaven. But, for Wayne’s sake, we don’t since, like most normal people, he likes variation in his meals. I, on the hand, can easily eat the same thing for lunch and dinner every day for a month and not be sick of eating it– I might get bored halfway through the second month, maybe. When I make brunch dates, I always suggest Cafe Bonaparte since usually the person has tried it yet, and it is my favorite place to introduce my brunch mate because I love the decor, the food, and the drinks. I thought it would be a perfect place to take Christina for brunch before she returned back to Baltimore.

The restaurant is very small with the feeling of it being previously an expanded hallway. The possibility of being accidentally bumped into is always present. The waitresses and busboys have to have grace as they navigate between all the chairs and tables in the small space without tripping and falling while still offering attentive and fast service (though, there have been one or two times when the service was slow and inattentive, which made me a little disappointed because I love this restaurant). The decor is French-inspired with bright yellow painted walls on the left side, deep red wallpaper with the letter “B” repeated covering the walls on the right side, and framed black and white photographs of Paris. I adore the ceiling which is covered decorative aluminium-colored tiles (I could be lying; I have no clue what is the metal) and features a pattern of fleur de lis in the matching aluminium-colored molding. And there is a large window next to the door, which is perfect for people watching if we are seated at a table by the window.

The menu is pretty extensive and offers more than just sweet and savory crepes. The drink menu offers excellent caffeinated drinks and creative cocktails. Wayne always orders a different savory crepe each time, while I usually order the same crepe called, “Josephine”, which is actually two tightly rolled banana and Nutella crepes with a dusting of powdered sugar. I’ve tried several other sweet crepes at Cafe Bonaparte– and I thought they were delicious as well– but the “Josephine” is my favorite because the bananas are cooked so they are able to caramelized in their own natural sugar. The crepes are soft and thin, which I love, especially after having too many crispy, thick crepes that taste more like pancakes than crepes. My sweet tooth pretty much dictates my life, but I’m okay with that because how can a life full of macarons, chocolate, and sweet crepes be a bad thing?

Reservations aren’t offered during brunch so the only thing I don’t like about Cafe Bonaparte is the wait if we have more than two people; sometimes we do get lucky and are able to be seated without waiting even with three people. If we go as a group of four people and are unlucky with our arrival time, the wait is easily “45 minutes”, which translates into one hour to one and half hours. Cafe Bonaparte opens at 10 AM on Saturday and 9 AM on Sundays. The ideal times to arrive at the restaurant are within the first two hours of its opening or at 4 PM in the afternoon so that there is virtually no wait; there might be the possibility of a ten minute wait as the check is paid and the table is set. Though on the days when we were unlucky and had at least an hour long wait, I like that Patisserie Poupon is just up the street for us to visit and pass some time. The French bakery offers delicious pastries (and sandwiches, but we haven’t tried those because usually we’re saving some room for Cafe Bonaparte) and well-made drinks.

The funny thing is that when Wayne and I first visited Cafe Bonaparte, we went in a group of seven people at 4PM in the afternoon. The restaurant was completely empty, and we were seated very quickly. We wondered why the place was so empty and if something were wrong. We were just very, very lucky with our timing, because the idea of trying to get seating with a group of seven people during brunch sounds painful and near impossible. I think if we were to have a large group and all were craving crepes, I would redirect everyone to Wayne and my apartment for a crepes party instead. The decor will be lacking and the options won’t be as plentiful, but there will be places to sit without bumping a fellow crepe-lover, and I don’t think Alton Brown can do any wrong when it comes to recipes, especially his crepe recipes.



Cafe Bonaparte
1522 Wisconsin Ave NW
(between N P St & N Volta Pl)
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 333-8830


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