Ellē is an all-day café, bakery, bar, and restaurant located in Mount Pleasant, which has always been charming, but lately is rather buzzing, thanks to a Bon Appetit nod to the restaurant and some seriously delicious pastries.
Ellē gets its name from a previous tenant of the space Heller Bakery, whose sign still decorates the facade. And if you’re going to open a restaurant and cafe inside a former bakeshop space, you best believe that the pastries are going to be good.
The narrow space has a coffee bar toward the front, with charming black-and-white tile flooring, eye-catching pastry cases and an open kitchen where breakfast is made in front of you. Toward the back, there’s a vintage-style bar that by day is populated with laptop workers who switch to cocktails come nightfall. For dinner service, Ellē offers an exceptional, seated dining options, so we were slightly surprised to discover an order-at-the-bar brunch service.
On any given Saturday, Ellē is likely to be packed, with a line of breakfast-goers queuing around the bar through the long, narrow restaurant. Our recommendation: go early, or go on a weekday, so you get your first pick of the best pastries the in-house bakery, Paisley Fig, has to offer.
The breakfast menu is the same every day of the week: a coffee program, baked goods and pastries, a seasonal quiche, and the now-famous breakfast sandwich.
The coffee program is well-executed and robust, with coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, and teas to go or to stay, plus dairy milk alternatives. We were satisfied with our cozy cappuccinos served in large cups and saucers.
The classic chocolate-covered doughnuts were divine—fresh, fluffy, moist, and dense, these doughnuts were exactly what you’d want in a doughnut. The taste matched our expectations: the doughnuts looked mouth-wateringly delicious, and tasted just as good.
The pastries, sandwiches, and quiches are served on bright, floral china which adds some personality and charm. On this particular day, the quiche was a goat cheese and olive, served with a small side salad of mixed greens. The dish was exceptionally thin and moist, but did not fall apart the way you might expect. The eggy parts were moist and flavorful—these are some chefs who know exactly what they’re doing.
We also tried the guava turnover. Guava isn’t a fruit you see on many menus in D.C., so we appreciated the chance to switch things up. The turnover is perfectly flaky and they certainly do not skimp on the guava filling. Order this if you’re looking for a light, sweet start to your day.
The breakfast sandwich is a must-order, so naturally we got three. This smoked brisket is an inventive departure from your usual breakfast meat, and holy wow, does it deliver. With fluffy-as-can-be eggs, cheese and a fresh-baked sesame potato bun, we wolfed these down.
The Bitches say: five Champagne flutes. You can’t beat an in-house bakery, and the chefs at Ellē have perfected their tight breakfast menu.
Ellē serves breakfast starting at 7 a.m. during the week and starting at 8 a.m. on the weekends. The Bitches recommend you get there early before the best baked goods are gone!