A sugary sweet mood is never quite complete without a trip to an adorable corner café. Those who have traveled to Europe know nothing compares to relaxing at a quaint corner café with a tiny cup of espresso and a chocolate crepe.
Fortunately for San Diegans, there is no need to spend thousands of dollars on a plane ticket and hours traveling to a European city to capture the true essence of a European coffeehouse. An adorable, local French café resides right on the corner of 30th and Jupiter Streets in South Park. Café Madeleine is San Diego’s very own piece of French culture and cuisine that can satisfy the need for all things sweet.
With painted portraits of old-fashioned French men and women on the exterior, Café Madeleine is just as lovely on the outside as it is on the inside. Marble tables and crimson umbrellas line the sidewalk outside of the café, completing an ambiance fit for Paris and evoking the same romantic touch found in the city of love.
It comes as no surprise to learn owner Christine Perez’s husband is originally from France and is responsible for the café’s impressive Parisian influence.
“I wanted the front of the café to replicate the cafes and shops similar to the ones I grew up with in Paris,” co-owner Jerome Gombert said. “My wife is in charge of the rest, but I wanted to ensure the authentic French appeal.”
Café Madeleine’s sweetness doesn’t stop at décor. Its petite food menu is light in options, but rich in taste and ingredients. The menu is sectioned off into four categories: Crepe Salées, Crepes Sucrées, Paninis and Salades Composees. The crepes range from salty and savory to sweet and sugary. The Chicken Crepe is filled with béchamel, blue cheese, pear and walnuts and is priced at $7. The sugary and sweet crepes are topped with options such as fresh berries, raspberry jam, grapefruit, nutella and whipped crŹme and can be enjoyed for the same price.
Paninis are pressed to golden perfection with delicious ingredients such as mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions, pesto, chicken, beef or ham. All panini options are priced for less than $10.
The café front counter is overflowing with pastries such as chocolate-filled croissants, fruit tarts and quiches. The quiches in particular are slices of homemade heaven, filled with cheese and a variety of vegetables and meats.
“We wanted to educate the public about something they may not be too familiar with,” Perez said. “Our menu is honest and real French cuisine. The ingredients are straightforward and work very well together.”
Of course, a French café wouldn’t be complete without a coffee and beverage menu. Perez suggests the Miele Latte, a combination of honey, espresso and warm foamed milk. Classics such as cappuccinos and French lemonades are offered as well.
Café Madeleine is the ideal corner café. However, one mystery still remains. Who or what is “Madeleine”?
“A Madeleine is a French cookie,” Perez said. “That is what we named our restaurant after. Our Madeleine cookies are made in-house and are quite delicious.”
There is nothing sweeter than a café named after a cookie. Bon appétit!