Nailing dessert can be tricky, but restaurants that do it leave diners with lasting impressions. D.C. diners with a sweet tooth can look to these 14 restaurants for reliable finishers that complete a perfect night out with everything from colorful ube bread pudding to classic Paris Brest, tres leches cake, and mango habanero “peppers.”Read More
16 D.C. Restaurants That Crush Dessert
Find the best sweet treats to end your meal
This all-day cafe in the old Heller’s Bakery building attracts folks from all over D.C. to Mount Pleasant. A display case up front is filled with desserts from co-owner Lizzy Evelyn that can be ordered all day, like goat cheese cheesecake or a white chocolate passion fruit mousse. At night, Ellē is experimenting with composed desserts, too, — Gabe Hiatt
2. Purple Patch
Purple Patch, a neighborhood Filipino restaurant in Mount Pleasant, offers colorful desserts like ube (purple yam) bread pudding or cupcakes served with ube ice cream, a yuca and coconut milk cake, and frozen mango floats.
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3. Brothers And Sisters
The cakes from Pichet Ong justify a visit to this Asian-American restaurant all on their own. The Earl Gray crepe cake is a popular pick, as is the coconut coffee banana Brooklyn. There’s usually something seasonal rotating in, too.
Pastry chef Alex Levin oversees desserts at all of Michael Schlow’s restaurants — that also includes Alta Strada, Casolare, the Riggsby, and Nama sushi. At this Latin kitchen, his tres leches cake is a must-try.
5. Brasserie Liberté
This recently opened French brasserie does standards well. The Paris Brest is spectacular: a pillowy choux pastry sandwiches sweet hazelnut cream and is topped with a light sprinkling of sea salt. The seasonal profiteroles come in a couple of flavor varieties as well and are a nice portion that you could share but probably won’t want to.
6. Unconventional Diner
Washington, DC 20001
Ana Deshaies, the local restaurant association’s Pastry Chef of the Year for 2019, complements David Deshaies’s fancy diner fare with deceptive sweets like a plate of “bacon and eggs,” with coconut and mango making up the white and the yolk, or a giant chocolate, hazelnut, and cherry truffle. —G.H.
7. Blue Duck Tavern
The OG farm-to-table establishment in the West Endis famous for its apple pie, but there are plenty of other desserts worthy of attention, such as sweet potato flan. Don’t miss specialty ice creams accompanied by gooey butterscotch sauce or molten chocolate syrup.
This Michelin-starred duo, an a la carte restaurant adjoined to a pricey tasting menu place, from chef Eric Ziebold impresses from start to finish. A St. Honore dessert at Metier, for example, arrives on a metal Parisian street sign placed atop a rolled out map of Paris that acts as a tablecloth.
9. Poca Madre
Victor Albisu’s high-end Mexican restaurant brings flavors like cajeta, oaxacan chocolate, corn, and passion fruit into sweets. The tres leches cake with cajeta ice cream and brown butter is one of the stars of the dessert menu.
Executive pastry chef Caitlin Dysart oversees a memorable Italian dessert menu that includes semolina pudding cake, dark chocolate semifreddo, biscotti, and various flavors of gelati and sorbetti.
11. Dbgb Kitchen and Bar
The Baked Alaska (for two) is a classic spectacle that should never go out of style. DBGB’s is a multi-day labor of love, filled with raspberry sorbet, pistachio and vanilla ice cream, almond dacquoise, and swiss meringue. Vanilla vodka is used as a tableside accelerant.
12. The Ella Grace
This new all-day cafe and cocktail bar has a short but sweet menu from chef Jacob Heyn, who most recently made pastries at Del Mar. A black sesame chiffon cake is built with cherry compote and black sesame praline ($12). — Tierney Plumb
The dessert menu at Modena (nee Bibiana) is inventive, uncomplicated, and exceptional. Lemon and pear tarts are both recommended. Bombolini and Gianduja mousse are worth saving room for, too.
14. Punjab Grill
The luxurious feeling of dining at opulently appointed Punjab Grill extends to dessert. A decadent shahi tukra — the Indian version of bread pudding — comes with fig kulfi. Chocolate lovers will be happy with the chocolate chaat, a medley of chocolate with other flavors like pistachio and raspberry.
15. China Chilcano
The suspiro limena, an iconic Peruvian dessert with meringue and passion fruit, is a must-order. Visitors should also indulge in the Ponderaciones de Kiwicha, a crispy fried spiral cookie with chocolate cream, banana, and ice cream flavored like algarrobina, an eggy pisco cocktail .
At Kith and Kin, executive pastry chef Paola Velez brings Caribbean flavors to the dessert selection. Look for spiced plantain buns with frosting and Amarula liqueur salted caramel. A fun twist on “habanero peppers” is a deceptive dessert that combines mango habanero mousse with white chocolate, tres leches cake, and elderflower “snow.”