Review: La Madeleine (Georgetown)
Alright, so when I’m on the road, especially now that I run, I feel now I am doing quite a better job watching portions as well as what I eat. This doesn’t mean I don’t treat myself every once in awhile especially right after I’ve worked out. As today is a Wednesday, right after work, I hit the gym for a 4-5 mile dreadmill run (way too cold and I didn’t pack accordingly to run outside, plus I was coming down with a cold) plus weightlifting afterwards. Needless to say, I could pack a relatively heavier meal tonight without too much issue.
One thing I wish I could set aside the time to make is a crepe of some kind. It’s been ages since I’ve had one for sure, the last time I recall was some years ago in Philadelphia’s Beau Monde (link) on 6th and Bainbridge. Unfortunately, the real nice French restaurants are quite expensive, and I didn’t feel like taking the red line back downtown either to get there. So instead, I took the roughly 7 minute bus ride westbound to Georgetown to take it in at one of my more favourite cafes in the District, La Madeleine.
Now it’s basically one of the French versions of Panera Bread, Cosi, etc. although not quite as common nor as expensive as Le Pain Quotidien (which just landed on Philly’s Walnut Street in Rittenhouse, yay!). I think it may have started as a much smaller chain before expanding, but unlike most chains, this is one that I find myself a repeat customer for a reason.
Mind you, I take up shop at the Georgetown location. The ambience is VERY good, you can very easily get lost studying here, and it easily reminds me of Houston Hall back on UPenn’s campus. There’s a buzz from the evening crowd, but not over the top like most bars. The staff are very friendly, both in the main section of the café and the bakery.
And the food is good, very good for a smaller chain. You have your options of your salads, sandwiches, and various French specialties. You also have the option of ordering regular or slim portions and at least in DC, you can see how much calories you are consuming, needless to say, even with only a dollar difference in a lot of the selections I still find myself going with the slim portions as many of them have 40% less calories than their regular counterparts! This proved true for what I ordered tonight: a savoury shrimp crepe with tomatoes and spinach in a creamy pesto sauce (10.59 slim, 11.59 regular). The slim portion was 430 calories and the regular was over 700. Yeah that’s a bit of a difference there. Of course, having burnt over that amount, decided to treat myself with a couple of mini crème brulee pastries (1.79 each), one fruit and cream, one gingerbread. Heck that’s another thing I wish I knew how to do: make crème brulee or a similar pastry. It should also be noted that whilst I got something a little more expensive, there are definitely plenty of solid salad, soup and sandwich options for well under $10. Their lunch options are also extremely affordable.
Again, it sure does not stack up anything like the real expensive French restaurants, but if you came here looking for that, you’re in the wrong place. If you’re here for something quick, no hassle, affordable, yet something not as Plain Jane as a hamburger or veggie burger (because I don’t care how cheap they are, those can get boring quick) and somewhat healthier, this is definitely your place.
La Madeleine (Georgetown) | 3000 M Street NW | Washington DC 20007 | 202.337.6975
Again, the above was my experience at the Georgetown location, yours may vary (food/prices/etc) depending on your location.