Home » Bakeries, Coffee, Restaurants

Amelia Cafe

Posted by MEZ 15 Sep 2009 11 Comments

Amelia Cafe is an appealing spot for lunch or dessert if you are in the Brightleaf area.

The atmosphere is relaxed but sophisticated with smooth jazz playing and very comfy leather chairs at their tables.


They offer candy, sweet and savory crepes, gelato, and desserts all day but their sandwiches, soups, and salads are only available from 11-2. Espresso drinks, smoothies, shakes, beer, wine, and cocktails are all on the plentiful beverage menu.

Their setup is confusing at first: if you are eating in, you should grab a seat and you will be waited on; if you are taking out, then order at the counter, but you will still need to look at one of the menus at the tables if you are looking for something not in the expansive display cases. Be careful if you do look at the cases; I dare you not to try one of their beautiful desserts once you have.



Or the gelato, which looked amazingly creamy.


As I didn’t realize crepes were available all day due to my confusion about how and what I could order, I opted for the tomato-topped focaccia round from one of the cases.


It was really flavorful with lots of herbs, squishy roma tomato slices, and sauteed green bell peppers and red onions. I couldn’t quite tell what cheeses were on top but I’d guess it was a mix of mozzarella and parmesan.

I also, of course, had to have dessert and opted for a raspberry and dark chocolate tart.


It was my idea of heaven. Rich dark chocolate crust, with a rich dark chocolate mousse interior, rich dark chocolate swirls, and a sweet, plump raspberry in every bite.

If the crepes are half as good as the focaccia and tart, this will fast become one of my regular destinations. And it actually stays open reasonably late, until 9:30 pm M-Sat!

905 West Main Street
Brightleaf Square, Durham
Food: $3-11
Desserts: $2-6.50

Reviewed 9.8.09.

Amelia Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon


  • TSQ75 said:

    About 4 years ago, shortly after they opened, my husband special ordered a cake from Amelia for my birthday. It was a blueberry topped cheesecake like I have never had…and worth every penny!

    Also of note, the founder of Amelia is the same powerhouse woman responsible for Chamas Brazillian Steakhouse next door, as well as Piazza Italia, also in Brightleaf Square.


  • GinnySkal said:

    MyNC.com hosted an event at Amelia Cafe about 18 months ago. It was a day long conference of sorts for our staff and a few community members. The staff at Amelia was so helpful. The room they set aside for us was fantastic. The coffee was amazing. And the price to host it there (with lunch) was very reasonable. I don’t know how many people host events there, but I’m sure glad we stumbled in when we were on our quest to find a good Durham venue.


  • apathy said:

    Me and my girlfriend have been relatively happy snacking here the few times we’ve been to Brightleaf. I thought it might be fun because it had the only other record store (vinyl) in Durham besides Chaz’s, but the staff there glared at me and followed me around. Awesome. Anyway, the deserts at Amelia’s made up for it.


  • Al said:

    Gelato not so creamy & really is it even gelato? Just went yesterday was completely disappointed, maybe I should of had one of the desserts in the cases. Now I know for next time. :(


  • MEZ said:

    I must admit, the difference between gelato and ice cream generally eludes me. I know that gelato is supposed to be creamier, but it actually uses more whole milk than cream while ice cream uses more cream than whole milk. So gelato is somewhat less fattening while appearing creamier due to a slower churning speed and being kept at a lower temperature. So theirs could appear less creamy if they are keeping it frozen at too high of a temperature or churned it faster. I will have to try it in the future…but yes, if you go back, definitely head for the dessert case instead!


  • Chris said:

    After you’ve tried a few of their desserts, I would encourage you to give the gelatos another shot. Don’t be shy about requesting a few samples.

    As for the crepes… they have never disappointed. The ham and cheese crepes are topped with a yummy b├ęchamel sauce and make a filling lunch. They also offer one with banana and Nutella that makes a great dessert or breakfast.


  • Amy said:

    I can’t agree, though I wish I could, because I work nearby and was so excited when they opened. The few pastries I have sampled at Amelia’s have tasted strongly of shortening. I just don’t think they use top-notch ingredients. I may be spoiled from years of Guglhupf. That said, I will give their crepes a try sometime soon!


    MEZ replies on October 8th, 2009 at 4:23 pm:

    I’m not big on pastry, so luckily, that wouldn’t be a concern for me! I can tell you that I don’t think the raspberry tart tasted of shortening in the slightest, but that’s cheating since that sort of crust would likely never be made with shortening. I think this requires more research on my part…to try more desserts.


  • RobC said:

    The desserts are good but don’t compare to the best in the Triangle.

    The crepes, on the other hand, are brilliant and a great value.


  • Nick said:

    My wife ate a vanilla gelato tainted with peanuts and had to be rushed the to the ER. The owners wouldn’t return our phone calls, and their insurance companies told us that Amelia’s policy on food sanitation is to do the bare minimum required by law. We had to spend our Christmas fund on our out-of-pocket expenses, all because one of their employees didn’t rinse the ice cream scoop (and because their owners are heartless one-percenters).

    I don’t know what’s worse–the sloppy food handling or the owners’ “fuck you” attitude. Buyer beware!


    Rob replies on January 3rd, 2012 at 12:20 pm:

    I’m sorry, but if your wife is *that* allergic to peanuts maybe she should not eat in an establishment that serves any peanuts at all.


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