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Mar 15, 2007 09:29 AM

MSP - Authentic French Bistro

My friend wants to try out an authentic French Bistro type place. I did a little research and came up with Pierre's and Cave Vin. I've been to Cave Vin and I liked it but it didn't necessarily feel very authentic to me. Would Pierre's fit the bill or is there somewhere else that is more Frenchy?

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  1. Not really a bistro atmosphere, but maybe Vincent's for happy hour? You'll get the authentic french food for sure.

    1. Pierre's is probably accurate. I have never been inside, though.

      Cafe Barbette is another option.

        1. I find Salut is much like the places that line the Champs Elysees (sorry fno rench accent keys on this machine) and the food is very good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MN Hick Chowhound

            I think of Salut more as a brasserie, but regardless, Salut purposely mocks itself and the French brasseries that it imitates. That is not to say that the food is bad; I've never had anything bad here, actually -- but anyplace that mocks the concept of a French eatery could not really be considered authentic, right?

            I would say that Barbette "feels" the most like a French cafe of anywhere in the cities. The distinction between cafe and bistro can come down to semantics, so it depends on what your friend is thinking. Some of the dishes at Barbette are relatively authentic. The buckwheat crepes are a decent approximation of Brittany. The frites are pretty close. Not everything on the menu is authentic French, though.

            I would also second the recommendation of Vincent's happy hour. Go to Vincent and eat from the bar menu. Starburst is right that it won't exactly "feel" like a bistro, but the food will probably be very close.

            1. re: Chris Mitra

              The best way to describe Salut is the way that the owners themselves have: It is to French food what P.F. Chang is to Chinese food.

              Their goal is to establish a national chain of "French" restaurants. The one in Edina is a prototype, they're adding another on Grand Ave in St. Paul. We'll see where they take it from there.

          2. I suggest Vincent (wonderful food; sit in the bar), Margaux (haven't tried it yet), or Patrick's new place in Wayzata (also untried 'cause I'm not thrilled with the Richfield location's food these days). Based on the reviews I've read, Margaux is the closest to a real French bistro in terms of both the food and the atmosphere.




            I found Salut to be excessively "touristy" and not very good. It feels like a chain to me. (But maybe that makes it like the places on the Champs Elysees :-).

            Pierre's has gotten some bad reviews on this board. Here's a thread from last year discussion our lack of French bistros:


            And another thread mentioned the great sandwiches and crepes at this out-of-the-way French cafe:


            I'd love to hear which place you choose and how you liked the food!


            1 Reply
            1. re: AnneInMpls

              I'll probably try Pierre's since it's near my house and I'm curious. Barbette and that place in Signal Hills are on the top of my list now! Thank you!

              There is something I don't like about Patrick's I can't put my finger quite on it but it bugs me. I've had nice pastries and quiche there. I guess it feels like just a copy of Turtle Bread, but in a spot that is easier to get to for the Edina ladies.

              By the way, the Red Pepper Chinese in that same strip mall isn't a bad choice. It is basic Chinese-American but it's reliable and sometimes it's hard to find a place that isn't a buffet. They kind of annoyed me since they charged my family of five 1.75 per cup of tea, but it's not bad. Also open on Sundays unlike a lot of other family run Asian places.