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French in San Diego

I just moved to San Diego, and I'm dying for decent French food.


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  1. In Central SD and La Jolla, you could try Tapenade, Cavaillon, La Bastide Bistro, Cafe Chloe, or Cafe Lavande. There may be more in N. County, but I'm not familiar.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alice Q

      Vincent's in escondido is hard to beat for food, price, service, and portions. He normally has aged confit if you ask for it. Also ask for the seared foie gras, it's not on the menu but he will usually make it. His wine list is okay, bring your own if you want something awesome and pay corkage.

    2. 2nd Tapenade, Cavaillon and Cafe Chloe. I think Cavaillon is the best out of the three if you want semi-formal-ish dining. Cafe Chloe is more French bistro style food, although what they do there is very good.

      1. If you are in the Rancho Bernardo area, you could do a lot worse than Bernardo's, the French Market Grille, or El Bizcocho (in increasing order of $$$, I believe).

        1. What's the what on La Bonne Bouffe in Encinitas?

          Any chow reports?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Enorah

            It's been several years, but my impression of it was that of a very old-school country french bistro, a good place to order something like Beef Bourgignon or Coq a Vin. Very solid cooking, but nothing exciting.

          2. The French Gourmet in PB used to serve up some excellent French. I haven't been in a couple of years so things may have changed, but I used to really enjoy their food.

            Anybody know if the French Pastry Shop is still open in Bird Rock?

            6 Replies
            1. re: deckape

              I have not tried it yet, but Bleu Boheme is on my radar for a long lazy lunch this weekend.

              1. re: Ewilensky

                I would love to hear your take on Bleu Boheme, as it's somewhere the Mr. and I are both curious about. So please report when you make it there :)

                1. re: soulshine

                  I hope you're not disappointed - I've been there twice and thought the food was very underwhelming, though the atmosphere is nice. I hear they have good cocktails at the bar. Naomi Wise did a review a few months ago that I agreed with wholeheartedly.

                  I forgot to mention Vagabond in my earlier post - they can be good, but a little hit or miss. I had a great long lunch there a while back, with their mussels in creme fraiche - not sure if they still offer those but I have had similar preparations recently at Cafe Chloe and Starlite.

                  1. re: Alice Q

                    I'll let you know.

                    RE: Vagabond -- they have a new preparation of the mussels on the menu but you can ask for the "old" way and they will happily oblige.

                    1. re: Ewilensky

                      That's actually what I did when I had that lunch, but someone told me they wouldn't do it anymore - hopefully that's not true! Curious to see what you think about Bleu Boheme.

              2. re: deckape

                French Pastry Shop has a different name, and I haven't been in but it looks very much the same.

              3. Tapenade in La Jolla
                Cavaillon in Santa Luz/Fairbanks Ranch
                French Market Grille in Rancho Bernardo
                Bernardo's in Rancho Bernardo
                Cafe Chloe Downtown SD

                1. I'd also add Farm House Cafe on Adams near Park as a newly opened up-and-comer possibility in the bistro category (similar to La Bastide and Cafe Chloe).

                  1. Thanks for all the suggestions. Has anyone tried La Vache in Hillcrest?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: EastBayMike

                      La Vache used to have a prix fixe early bird menu that was pretty decent and a good value, but it's been a long time since I have been.

                      1. re: EastBayMike

                        I haven't been in a long time, but I wouldn't recommend it. Based on my recollection it's not nearly as good as the other places listed here.

                        1. re: EastBayMike

                          I wouldn't send anyone to La Vache, at least not when compared to the other suggestions

                        2. Another restaurant that was not mentioned is the Winesellar & Brasserie off Mira Mesa. They have a great wine selection and very fun blind tastings. It is worth checking out.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: JonDough

                            I don't think the Brasserie is necessarily "French"

                            1. re: ibstatguy

                              Its listed as being "contemporary french"

                              1. re: JonDough

                                Sorry for double posting, but after some thought you are right. If I was in the mood for French food I probably wouldn’t go there. However, I still believe its worth knowing about and having as an option.