Hidden Gem: Cafe Bonaparte

I always have a chip on my shoulder when I go to Georgetown these days.

Maybe it’s all the runners who insist on jockeying with the tourists for space on M Street.  Maybe it’s the chain stores.  Maybe it’s Clyde’s.  Hey, what do you have against Clyde’s?  Ugh! I exclaim, and flounce away.

Then one rainy evening I was in need of a warm place to enjoy a glass of wine and a cup of warm soup.  And Georgetown met my need!  Well, not Georgetown, it was Cafe Bonaparte.

Oh, Cafe Bonaparte, you have brought me back from the brink of affected snobbery against Georgetown.  You have saved this entire swath of DC for one individual.  And for that, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

But for absolute purposes, Cafe Bonaparte delivers.  A French bistro, it doesn’t take itself too seriously but offers very authentic dishes at (for Georgetown) reasonable prices.  There is Escargot Provencale, sandwiches named for regions of France (which I assume makes them authentic), Poisson du Jour, Steak Frites and, of course, Duck Confit.

The interior is warm and cozy: small tables set close together create a feeling of camaraderie in a city that makes this quite an accomplishment.  The long wooden bar faces photographs of Paris and Parisians, the lovers in the rain look down over happy American diners.

For a French experience, I recommend Bistro d’Oc downtown.  But if you’re in the neighborhood and need to get away from the herds on M Street, take Wisconsin up to where the letters end (Wisconsin and Volta) for a mini-European vacation.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. jkc says:

    seriously, what do you have against Clyde’s? are you against great food and above-average wait staffs?

  2. RDel says:

    Cafe Bonaparte in Georgetown is not a child-friendly place. DC moms beware.
    I think the food here is a good version of Americanized-French food, but if you have children, Bonaparte is not the place for you. I was there last Thursday with a couple of friends and our five-year-olds. My son hit his head, started crying in the manager asked me to leave because he was too loud. When I told him I was offended that he was asking me to leave, he dare to say my son was being obnoxious. The manager was very rude and loud and seemed quite upset about the whole thing. This had never happened to me before, and I still can’t believe it did. If you are a DC mom, I’m sure you can relate. Needless to say, I’m never going there again, and won’t be going to Napoleon either. It’s always a shame when bad managers happen to good restaurants.

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