Each day at Fenton Cafe, Meaza Gabru swirls thin layers of batter on crepe makers in her open kitchen, creating delicate shells for sweet and savory fillings. She stuffs more than 40 different crepes with ingredients ranging from chocolaty nutella and fresh fruit to smoked turkey, cheese, and egg. In fact, her selection of crepes is so overwhelming that the The Voice recommended that locals visit weekly "until the entire menu has been devoured." Bold coffees and espresso drinks accompany Meaza's signature treats, which diners can savor on the outdoor patio or while sending a breakup text to their pancakes.
Proprietor Carole Robert named Annie's Bistro Francais after her French mother, celebrating her memory with feasts of fresh classically prepared escargot with homemade persillade, composee salads, and oven-baked salmon. Guests sip glasses of wine with plates of seared duck breast or colorful ratatouille, or share small plates of charcuterie and cheese.
Inspired by the chef's childhood visits to a family farm outside Paris, Annie's Bistro Francais hearkens back to the days before industrialized agricorporations and meals delivered via text message. Passionate chefs carefully craft each dish of roasted chicken and chevre-stuffed mushroom with locally-grown produce, free from prepackaged and processed ingredients.
When Sonny Abraham took a job at his father's restaurant, he assumed it would be a temporary arrangement until he received his pilot's license. But it was amid the hot suds of soapy dishes and the clatter of pots and pans that he fell in love with the restaurant industry and began dreaming of starting a fine-dining establishment of his own. In pursuit of his new dream, Sonny secured culinary positions at upscale hotels throughout Washington, DC, even traveling to Switzerland to work in a high-end kitchen. Ten years later, Sonny captains the kitchen of his own restaurant, Brasserie Monte Carlo.
Inside the restaurant, which was very recently REAL certified by the United States Healthful Food Council, Sonny whips up French Mediterranean dishes with housemade sauces and herbs from his own garden. The chef often delivers the still-sizzling dishes to the dining room himself, where diners await their meals over glasses of fine wine. A vivid mural sweeps across one wall, depicting typical scenes from Monte Carlo, from French sunbathers tanning on a beach to an ex-car-insurance salesman working on his first attempt at a romance novel, Even Car-Insurance Salesmen Fall in Love.
Le Vieux Logis mimics the Old-World charm of its namesake—a famously hospitable lodge in the Dordogne region of France—with rustic decorative touches such as copper pots hanging from timber walls. Cozy tables hold dishes of sautéed sea scallops, baked oysters, and roasted duckling as patrons clink glasses of wine and cocktails from the full bar. Outside, Le Vieux Logis's white façade sports rustic wooden shutters and murals of prosperous country folk overlooking al fresco diners. The heaps of live flowers that broadcast their colors in front of the restaurant helped earn it Bethesda Ever Green's Beauty Spot Award, and complimentary valet parking greets arriving diners.
Today's Groupon gets you $35 worth of French café fare and Belgian beer for $15 at L'Enfant Café & Bar. This Parisian-themed eatery is best known for their perfect crepes: "cooked enough to lose the doughy flavor and just thick enough to keep from tearing," according to The Washington Post. Get them with fresh strawberries, Nutella, amaretto liquor, lemon and sugar, stuffed with mushrooms and gruyère in béchamel sauce, or with roasted red pepper and goat cheese. With seven savory dinner crepes and more than 12 sweet options, L'Enfant can cook a staggering stack of crepe combinations (click here to see the sweet crepe menu).