The good people of Washington D.C. demand quality – and why wouldn't they? America's leaders deserve a decent croissant. Washington is a notably prosperous and young city, and where there's a thriving yuppie culture, you can guarantee there'll be bakeries aplenty. While the French patisseries are difficult to recreate and almost impossible to rival, cheap and often overpriced imitations are all too common. But the discerning foodies of Washington D.C. aren't the kind to accept a substandard Danish or a less-than-perfect donut. That's why the best bakeries in the Federal City – from the hip and trendy to traditional, family run institutions – never fail to impress. Of the many options for pastry connoisseurs, the following five are the very best in Washington D.C.
This Park Road bakery is reputed for its sticky buns, as well as for its huge menu with seasonal and limited-edition treats. The donuts and whoopie pies only appear on certain days, but are worth the wait. What makes this place so special, though, is that its enormous, varied menu which features every junk-food delight – cupcakes, muffins, pancakes – is entirely vegan and cholesterol free. Far from creating bad cover versions of the originals, Sticky Buns is known for its distinctive, indulgent pastries that don't compromise on flavor while still boasting healthier content than dairy-laden alternatives.
While it isn't chock full of multicolored cupcakes or wild chocolate-based creations, Le Caprice is not a dauntingly chic Parisian-style patisserie either. This is more a of a high quality, welcoming neighborhood bakery where you're guaranteed hearty muffins, tasty and fresh bread and some of the best croissants in town. The staff are gracious, and the lunch time options of savory stuffed croissants are particularly delectable and good value. Although the coffee leaves something to be desired, the baked goods here are consistently satisfying.
Baked and Wired is something of a hip alternative to Washington's well loved Georgetown cupcakes. With a smaller wait to be served, and enormous, unique cupcakes, it's worth the small diversion to Thomas Jefferson street. That's just the "baked" side of this quirky store. Caffeine addicts will enjoy the quality coffee accompanying with the acclaimed cakes and cookies. And then there's the "hippie crack". Intrigued? It's a popular Baked and Wired home grown granola that you can buy by the bag.
After being featured on the Food Network, this homemade pie shop has been garnering plenty of attention. Is it worthy of the hype? With four locations across the city and a food truck to boot, it's clear there's something special about this one. The rather unique idea of building a menu entirely around pies could be risky, but Dangerously Delicious have a formula that work. Crisp pastry, generous fillings and fantastic flavor combos have contributed to this restaurant's loyal Washington following. The chocolate explosion of the Baltimore Bomb pie is a popular favorite worth trying.
Pâtisserie Poupon is known for its incredibly authentic renderings of delicious and aesthetically beautiful French tartes. Not for the cupcake-and-frosting loving foodies out there, this bakery with 3 locations – 2 in Baltimore and one on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington D.C. – is popular among more sophisticated palates. In true French style the tarts boast colorful glazed fruits and flaky, melt-in-the-mouth pastry. The pretty pastel macarons, too, are worth trying here while the cakes are sinfully dense and packed with fresh cream.