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“Delicious French Food”

Praline Bakery & Bistro
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Ranked #3 of 14 Dessert in Bethesda
Price range: $30 - $30
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: MacArthur Blvd
Transit: Metro Red Line to Friendship Heights, then Ride On Bus 23 to Sangamore Rd.
Description: Praline Bakery & Bistro opened its doors on Sangamore Road in Bethesda, Maryland, in April 2006, the culmination of years of partnership and planning by co-owners Susan Limb and Patrick Musel, whose love of fine cuisine and talent for creating delectable pastries led them here. Together, they wanted to build a welcoming neighborhood place where people of all ages could gather for a good meal, a quality pastry, or coffee. Every day, we try our best to provide just that.Praline Bakery prepares pastries fresh daily, using the finest ingredients and no preservatives. Come in and taste some of our delectable breakfast pastries and cakes which include traditionally made croissants, which include butter, chocolate, and almond, and danishes, such as apple walnut, pecan raisin, and raspberry almond twists. We offer a variety of cakes that is sure to please almost any palate – from French chocolate mousse to an American carrot cake.Praline Bistro is open for lunch Monday through Saturday, dinner Monday through Sunday and Brunch on Sunday. All meals our prepared by our culinary team led by Executive Chef Christian Gautrois.
Bethesda, MD
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Delicious French Food”
Reviewed December 11, 2012

Praline, despite being in a strip mall, has a limited menu so the chef can excel in a few outstanding dishes, depending on what is fresh in the market. Unusual appetizers include tuna tartare and excellent soups; entrees that we love include grilled scallops with risotto, shrimp with pasta, grilled tuna - always with unusual sides. Desserts from the downstairs bakery are worth the added calories. The upstairs bistro is quiet, with friendly service.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank dickei
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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91 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Bethesda, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
80 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Incredible Special Dinner with Beer Pairing”
Reviewed November 24, 2012

It seemed like an unlikely prospect -- a beer dinner at a French restaurant. But, liking Belgian beer, I joined a friend for a special beer dinner featuring beers from the Flying Dog Brewery. We were not disappointed. The beers were delicious, accompanied by a short presentation by representatives of the brewery, and paired to the courses. The first course was crabmeat in a pastry shell (it was so delicious we had a second one) paired with a blonde beer. Next was a very lovely salad with peaches and an equally suitable beer. Then, a shrimp dish followed by the main course of a small filet and a small lamb chop. The food was beautifully prepared and presented, and just delicious. The grand finale was a small Belgian waffle cut in half with chocolate sauce on one half and fresh strawberries on the other. And that was served with a special ale that had a sweetness that complemented the dessert. Can't wait for the next special dinner at Praline.

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank chipsbird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“A Gallic Delight!”
Reviewed November 23, 2012 via mobile

We dine at Praline roughly every 10 days, so we're exceptionally well-qualified to review it. This restaurant delivers excellent value for fine French bistro fare, provided that you know where to concentrate. We recommend it heartily for consistent and imaginative French cooking at a good price. While Praline is not inexpensive, it delivers great value for the quality and satisfaction that it provides.

If you're planning a visit, be aware that the restaurant menu combines French and American-accented casual fare (generally on the right side of menu) and more authentic French specialties, which change frequently, on the left-hand side of the menu. To fully enjoy the talent of Chef Christian Gautrois, focus on the left side of the menu.

Chef Gautrois, a native of Lyon, is passionate about food. Produce is typically sourced from Virginia's Northern Neck, and Chef Gautrois periodically adds such Gallic delights as veal tongue and tete de frommage (head cheese) to the menu. The moules frites (mussels and French fried potatoes) are excellent, as are such French bistro standards as onion soup, cassoulet and boeuf borguignon. The chef also does a fine job with duck, game, fish and shrimp. Salads and soups are nicely done. Some of the best items on the menu are the appetizer specials (left side of the menu)-- 2 will make a lunch and 2-3 a dinner. Be aware that the menu here changes daily, depending on what is seasonal and on the decision of the chef. Note also that this is a smaller place that tends to close early-- from Monday to Thursday, you are well-advised to be seated by 7.30 or 8 pm, at the latest.

Desserts are baked on the premises, courtesy of Praline's bakery, housed on the restaurant's first floor. They are typically excellent. You can't go wrong with the walnut dacquoise, a house specialty. The lemon cake and tiramisu are also delicious. Oddly, we can't recommend the coffee here-- the teas are generally preferable.

Service here can be bumpy or delightful, so be flexible. Praline is especially crowded at lunch, and service can suffer. We've also encountered bumps on slow nights from Monday-Thursday. That said, the maitre d's, Phillipe and Agnes, are knowledgeable about the menu and very helpful about the day's choices. It is a good strategy to ask to speak to the maitre d' for an overview of what is on offer, and for advice on wine options. Praline's wine list offers a thoughtfully chosen selection of French vintages, including many moderately-priced options.

The best place to sit here is on the umbrella'd outdoor terrace, which offers charm during good weather. The interior seating is most attractive at lunch, when the high-ceilinged atrium provides natural light.

Washington insider story: Praline was founded by a former White House pastry chef and a colleague who cooked at the White House on special occasions. The spouse of the latter is still a sous chef at the White House. The staff of the French Embassy reportedly frequent Praline's bakery for good macarons and pastries.

    • Value
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    • Food
Thank ANetliner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frederick, Maryland
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A lovely French brunch!”
Reviewed November 19, 2012

Yesterday I treated a good friend to brunch at the Praline Bistro. The decor was cheerful (although a little worn). The eggs Benedict with salmon were delicious. The trout was tasty--but the presentation a little off. The service is excellent. I took home a very good individual goat cheese and sun dried tomato quiche. Plenty of free parking is a bonus. I will definitely go back to try the other specialities!

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank marytwilson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bethesda, Maryland
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“The Bakery has cookies and pastries to die for”
Reviewed October 14, 2012

The ginger cookie with some kind of light lemon, barely there, glaze will make you swoon. Actually everything in the bakery will. I am not a huge french food lover so for me the resturant is just ok, but that has more to do with my tastes than therr food.

Visited October 2012
Thank Ann D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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