100 Best Restaurants 2009: Leopold’s Kafe & Konditorei

No. 63: Leopold's Kafe & Konditorei

Cuisine: The full bar and elaborate pastry display draw the eye, but wait for the menu. The kitchen, which understands the power of simplicity, is the draw—a genuine vindication of often heavy-handed Austrian fare. Ingredients are allowed to speak for themselves. The mixed salads remind you why they’re clichés—they’re classics. The wine list, though not large, has Austrian and German options noteworthy for their clarity.

Mood: With its gleaming white walls and DayGlo retro-modernist furniture, Leopold’s looks like a showroom for one of its Cady’s Alley home-design neighbors. In warm weather, the courtyard seating, protected by high walls and buffered from noise by a fountain, might be Georgetown’s nicest.

Best for: Romantic twosomes (seating for more is limited); cocktail-hour dining; dessert and coffee; breakfast or brunch.

Best dishes: Classic wiener schnitzel; grilled branzino filet with wilted baby spinach; watercress-endive-pear-and-Gorgonzola salad; sliced cucumbers, radishes, dill, and walnuts with honeyed yogurt; bratwurst with sauerkraut; grilled salmon with fennel, dates, walnuts, and crushed cucumber; skirt steak, as steak frites; roasted-tomato soup with lime crème fraîche and sliced almonds; smoked salmon pizzette.

Insider tips: Salads can be substantial—pair them with one of the plates to share (smoked fish or charcuterie platters or croque monsieur) for a bargain meal.

Service: ••

Open Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for breakfast, brunch, and dinner. Moderate.

See all of 2009's 100 Best Restaurant 

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.