When we need a break from the city, we are so fortunate that it’s just a couple hours drive to New York, the New Jersey shore or Maryland. We love going to the eastern shore of Maryland, but once in a while, we take a different route and head to Annapolis. If you have never been there, make it a point to go! The capital of Maryland, is such a beautiful, clean and walkable city. Home to the United States Naval Academy, there are so many options for food, drinks and shops in downtown Annapolis. One place we always go to for dinner when visiting is Cafe Normandie. Trust me when I say, you have to go here for brunch, lunch, dinner, whatever! This restaurant is one of my favorite French restaurants. Award winning chef and owner, Jean Louis Evennou, puts his heart and soul into every dish. We’ve never, ever had a bad meal here. The worst part is when you have to leave!
We first discovered this French gem on our first visit to Annapolis. We were out walking around the quaint town shopping and we asked a shop owner for some restaurant recommendations. She had several and Cafe Normandie was one of them. We were in the mood for French cuisine that night and gave them a try. Ever since then, we always make a point to go there whenever we are in Annapolis.
On this particular visit, we stopped in for dinner and it was nothing short of amazing. As usual, chef and owner Jean Louis Evennou was back in the kitchen not only cooking but making sure that everything that went out was perfect. We started out with a 2016 bottle of Grand Vin De Bourgogne Pinot Noir. It was delicious. It had such a smooth and silky texture with notes of raspberry, black currant and spice that pairs beautifully with meats.
For our appetizer, we chose the baked mussels on half shell with garlic butter provencale. If we could have licked the plate, we would have. It was absolutely delicious! Baked to perfection, the garlic butter balance the saltiness of the mussel perfectly. For our entrees, I ordered the steak au poivre which was a 12 oz. New York strip pressed and seared with cracked pepper, topped with a brandy cream bordelaise sauce. There is only one other place that I’ve had a steak this delicious, which is Parc in Philadelphia. This steak was amazing! Cooked a perfect medium rare, it kept it’s temperate from first bite to last. My fiancé ordered the roast duck with raspberry sauce. Duck is very tricky to cook but they nailed this one. The skin was crispy and the meat was so tender it just melted in your mouth. The raspberry sauce was the perfect accompaniment. It wasn’t overly sweet or tart. It was perfect.
For desert we ordered a chocolate filled crepe that was amazing but we also had to try their Grand Marnier flight, which included a glass of 100 year old Grand Marnier. Yes, 100 years’ old. It was so smooth and delicious that both of us had to order a full glass. The 100th Anniversary has a deep amber color with notes of orange zest and dates. It was absolutely amazing. The perfect ending to a perfect dinner. It was so perfect that we made a reservation for brunch the next morning before heading back to Philadelphia.
Brunch at Cafe Normandie was just as delicious as dinner the night before. We started out with a wonderful cappuccino and a mimosa that had elderflower and blueberries. Not a bad way to start the day. For brunch, I ordered the steak and eggs and Eric ordered the eggs florentine which is spinach, mushrooms and two poached eggs baked with a béchamel sauce. The steak and eggs was so delicious. Cooked again a perfect medium rare and the eggs were so light and fluffy, they looked like whipped cream! The eggs florentine was delicious beyond description. Beautifully plated and as Eric proclaimed, probably the best eggs florentine he’d every tasted.
Cafe Normandie and Chef Jean Louis Evennou make you feel like you are in France. The attention to detail in the food and service are exceptional. The staff are so friendly and accommodating. Everyone goes out of their way to make sure you dining experience is nothing short of perfection. Please, please, please, if you are ever in Annapolis, go to Cafe Normandie! You will love it!