Bonjour Baltimore

Café Poupon delivers authentic French bistro fare.

By Jane Marion - September 2014

Downtown Cafe Recreates Paris's Left Bank

Café Poupon delivers authentic French bistro fare.

By Jane Marion - September 2014

-Photography by Scott Suchman

Pâtisserie Poupon has been known as one of Baltimore’s best bakeries since its opening in 1986 on the outskirts of Little Italy, so we found ourselves saying, “ooh, la, la” to the news that an offshoot bistro, Café Poupon, was springing up in the heart of the downtown district. Tucked in a storefront space, the cafe recreates the charming bistros of Paris’s Left Bank with its oversized French exhibition posters, baskets of baguettes, and rows of too-pretty-to-eat petit fours on display. The menu exudes a similar culinary vérité. Whether you want a light bite or something heartier, there’s something for everyone here, though it won’t be easy to select from among the items including smoked salmon salad with capers and hard-boiled eggs ($13.95) and shrimp salad tossed in lemon mayonnaise ($13.95).

We went for the most classic offerings on hand, including a salad niçoise ($12.50), a ham sandwich ($6.95), and a petit 5-inch spinach quiche ($7). My companion, who honeymooned in Paris last year, was impressed by the salad’s authenticity with its moist albacore tuna, niçoise olives, and steamed string beans on a bed of mesclun, while several untraditional elements—including crostini with olive tapenade and fresh artichoke hearts—added a nice touch, too.

The just-out-of-the-oven spinach quiche was certainly among the best we’ve sampled in the city, with its savory shell and creamy custard. The ham sandwich—stacked with several thin slices of comte cheese and served with a nose-clearing, Dijon French mustard on a crusty baguette, was for discerning Francophiles as well.

Though we’d had our fill, we couldn’t resist taking a few desserts to go, including a macaroon—an airy almond flour cookie pressed around a passion-fruit filling—and a caramel Napoleon, or milles-feuille (a thousand leaves) as the French call it. And speaking of sweets, parting filled us with sweet sorrow, but c’est la vie—we are counting the days until we can return.





You May Also Like


Food & Drink

Review: Primo Hoagies

There’s a bit of Philadelphia at Primo Hoagies in Bel Air.

Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: The History of Smith Island Cake

Plus, Limoncello sets grand opening date, a new German basement bar, and best bites this week.

Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: When Should You Send Food Back?

Plus, food adventures in New York City, the growth of Michele's Granola, and a visit to Magdalena.


In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Arba; Chopt; The Hot Dry

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

The Chatter

Mindgrub Opening Tech and Food Infusion Project in Riverside

Todd and Nikki Marks combine their interests for hybrid concept in former Rachel space.

On The Town

Chelsea Gregoire Talks Beverage Director of the Year Win

The former theology major discusses her 'Esquire' nod and the cocktail program at True Chesapeake.

-Photography by Scott Suchman

Connect With Us

Most Read


Maryland Native Maggie Rogers Receives First Grammy Nomination: The singer-songwriter was nominated for “Best New Artist” alongside big-name acts.

What to Know About the Maryland Cycling Classic Coming September 2020: For starters, Baltimore's pro cycling event will be more than 100 miles long.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Declares For Late Husband’s Seat: We break down the familiar faces in upcoming special Democratic primary.

Four Key Updates on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Here’s what the BSO has been up to since performances resumed in September.

Boys' Latin Honors Military History with In-School Museum: At the Roland Park private school, wartime memorabilia forges lasting personal connections.