Café Saint-Ex

Café Saint-Ex by dminkovsky

Music photographer Mike Benson opened Café Saint-Ex in 2003 and it was an immediate hit. Over the past four years, its popularity hasn’t waned although its weekend scene has definitely transitioned a bit. During the evening, Café Saint-Ex is a restaurant that offers contemporary American cuisine and at night, turns into one of the hot-spots in the U Street / Cardozo area with a downstairs club and upstairs bar.

Cost – $$

Service – A-
I may be getting old but I just don’t have the energy to deal with door politics these days and that is one thing you never have to worry about with Café Saint-Ex. They hire good people who are there to help you have a good time. The wait-staff is laid back and will engage you in friendly banter, and the the bar staff does a great job as well.

Food – B
Café Saint-Ex self-describes their menu as “American Bistro style cuisine, enhanced by international and seasonal influences.” The menu is pretty solid and does a good job accommodating a range of taste buds while placing a premium on fresh, healthy ingredients.

Decor – B+
I like the aviation-influenced decor throughout Saint-Ex. The upstairs bar area is comfortable arranged. The downstairs club – Gate 54 – can get a little cavernous and claustrophobic but if there isn’t a mob present, is a decent little place.

Feel – A-
Like other popular venues in the U Street area, Café Saint-Ex doesn’t make any attempts at pretense and offers a fun, laid back place to enjoy yourself on a weekday or a weekend. It was initially known as a hipster favorite but over the past couple years, as U Street has continued to grow as a DC-nightlife hot spot, has transitioned to include a more mainstream, yuppie crowd. Ultimately however, Café Saint-Ex is still one of my favorite destinations in the DC area.

Café Saint-Ex is located at 1847 14th St. NW. (202) 265-7839

What’s the Buzz:

November 27, 2007 – Cafe Saint-Ex (Washingtonian) – Though the restaurant/bar looks like a weathered European bistro, the food is eclectic American. The small kitchen puts out plenty of roasted and wood-grilled meats and fish, all simply presented. Full Article…

November 1, 2006 – Cafe Saint-Ex (DC Foodies) – You don’t usually expect to find good food at a bar. A bar is where you typically find great munchies like nachos, cheese sticks, mini-burgers, and maybe…maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll find some Asian-inspired potstickers. Full Article…

Cafe Saint-Ex on Urbanspoon

6 Responses to “Café Saint-Ex”

  1. Laryssa October 27, 2008 at 3:00 pm #

    I really enjoyed your review. Too Shy to Stop actually visited Cafe Saint-Ex on Saturday and posted a review today. You can check it out here.

  2. Still In DC June 19, 2009 at 1:31 pm #


    I had the worst culinary experience of my life there (twice). The ambiance matches the food perfectly. Overcooked and flavorless food, spilled beer and slow service, overpriced for what it is; rowdy and drunk kids on the best nights…the most overrated place in town. Nice decor, patio, and great location are the only +s.

    My thought is that this is probably one of the relics of the dot com era…my guess is that kids with a few bucks and no knowledge of the restaurant business must own this restaurant.

    Don’t go…waste of money and time!

  3. really bad night December 7, 2009 at 3:02 am #

    Last night was my first and the last night in this establishment. My coat, phone and credit card were stolen and when i tried to contact the police so that i could report it the bouncer assaulted me and the bar manager just stood there… When i called the GM today he told me that he does not care about what had happenned and if i have a problem i need to take it out with the police department.


  1. The Best Bars in DC - February 27, 2008

    […] DC City Blog is happy to introduce our picks for the best bars in DC.  In addition to venues that were simply bars, clubs and lounges with substantial bars were also up for consideration.  Selections were made based on quality of service; design and décor; and general ambiance of the venue. In addition, the DC City Blog staff has made sure to present a range of bars that appeal to a diversity of tastes and locations.  Without further ado, here are the best bars in DC: #10 – Café Saint-Ex […]

  2. benson photographer - May 30, 2008

    […] s brainchild, Cafe Saint-Ex, has slowly evolved into one of the bright spots in the DC nightlife. Benson Fashion Photographer diego photographersan diego […]

  3. ChurchKey in Washington, DC - January 23, 2010

    […] – B+ If you like Café Saint-Ex and Marvin there is really no reason you won’t like ChurchKey.  It was completely slammed when […]

Leave a Reply