Fancy pastries pop out of the oven all the day at Belle Epicurean, the French bakery café helmed by Carolyn Ferguson, who earned a Grand Diplome from Le Cordon Bleu Paris. In the Downtown Fairmont Olympic Hotel, it’s a posh paradise with shiny glass cases stuffed with fresh, buttery croissants, brioche, quiches, cookies, and the popular, sweet Belle’s Buns. A plus for early-risers, the café opens at 6 a.m. on weekday mornings, and brunch is served daily. Lunchers can take away baguette sandwiches and hearty soups, and in the afternoon there’s tea service with petit fours and macarons. The interior welcomes eaters with marble checkered floors and ornate mirrors, giving the space an upscale cozy feel reminiscent of a classic French patisserie.
Belgian Liège waffles, which are richer and sweeter than their more Americanized breakfast counterparts, are the draw at this Downtown 3rd Avenue nook. Step inside the sleek, modern Euro-cool room for both sweet and savory versions of the griddled treat, made with all-natural local ingredients stirred into brioche-like dough and studded with sugar pearls. Those balls of sweetness promptly caramelize in the sizzling waffle iron. Waffles can be served warm with Nutella, brûléed bananas, berries and whipped cream, or ice cream. Savory waffles, such as the proscuitto, crème fraîche & green onion, double as a breakfast bite or easy lunch. To drink, look for fresh-pressed juices, Stumptown coffee from Portland, or smooth Rishi organic tea.
When to Go
What to Wear: Although Frommer’s calls The Georgian “the most traditional and formal restaurant in the city,” the dress code is “smart casual,” meaning no jackets are required.
Inside Tip: Splurge on the five-course prix-fixe meal with handpicked wine pairings; it usually features fresh seafood and seasonal specialties.
Celeriac: a root vegetable that tastes similar to celery. It’s also known as turnip-rooted celery or knob celery.
Foie gras: the fatty liver from a goose or duck that's been force-fed. The liver is then marinated in a mixture of alcohols and seasonings, and is typically baked.