good french restaurant
I moved to California about a year ago from NYC so I don't know where all the good restaurants are. My first year wedding anniversary is coming up and I need a recommendation for a good restaurant in the LA area. I'm more interested in the food than the scene so no trendy or loud places. To get an idea of what I'm looking for, here are some of my NY favorites: Blue Hill, Bouley, Payard and Le Tableau (I know they're all very different but that just means that I'm open to all suggestions)! We are partial to French though. Thanks!
Maximilian's is closed - either temporarily or permanently. The outgoing voice mail message sounds quite ominous and suspicious -- indicating that the place is closed for a "much needed vacation". However it fails to state when (or if) they will reopen. Not having ever understood what the big deal was with this place, can't say that I care one way or the other.
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My experience is almost entirely fairly close to Pasadena, though we did drop in at Le Petit Café in Santa Monica one night and had a delightful meal. Café Beaujolais in Eagle Rock and Bistro de la Gare in South Pas (run by the former owner of CB) have given us some good bistro food in jolly surroundings; most stunning so far, however, are the very slightly Japanese-tinged food and thoroughly pleasant atmosphere at Maison Akira in Pasadena. While two of Akira's prix-fixe menus are Japanese, as are a few of the á la carte menu items, most of the food is very classic French, with only an occasional Asian twist to a sauce or garnish. Not cheap, but well under l'Orangerie prices - if I'm feeling somewhat flush next time we have a Special Occasion, that is definitely where we're going.
I'm not familiar with any of your NY faves, but would second the recommendation for Le Petit Cafe in Santa Monica. Other excellent choices (though they are more "L.A." in tone and scene, though not overly so) would be Cafe Mimi in Brentwood, Mimosa (my favorite) and Pastis in West Hollywood-ish and Lilly's in Venice.
I'll give you a third recommendation for Le Petit Cafe in Santa Monica. It's on Colorado, two blocks east of Cloverfield. It's very quaint. We've been frequenting the place for over 8 years and can say that it's charming ambiance, while simple and nothing fancy, simply gives a nice backdrop for some fabulous french classic cuisine. It's owned by a husband and wife who are happy to make you happy.
Lilly's in Venice is also a good choice. More trendy, modern in decor, but all the great classics are there and done well.
Lilly's offers more ambiance in the way of neighborhood as you can stroll Abbott Kinney and window shop before or after dinner. Perhaps Hal's will have live music on the night your are there adding a great place for an after dinner drink or dessert.