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May 27, 2008 04:51 PM

Good (& reasonably priced) French

We relocated to LA a few months ago from Atlanta and are enjoying our time exploring this great city. When it comes to food, our weakness is French but more often than not, it's VERY pricey and sometimes just not that great given the prices charged. (For anyone who knows Atlanta, our favorite was Babette's Cafe...yum!) If anyone has any suggestions on where to try, it would be greatly appreciated. We'd also love to hear your favorite menu items too if you have any!

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  1. What neighborhood are you in? As you know in L.A., drive times can be very long so that will help us guide you.

    3 Replies
      1. re: TwoGuys90068

        Oh, right, 90068, got it. I'm not sure of the price levels in Atlanta but it's true it tends to be pricey in L.A. There's Pastis on Beverly which is nice, and Comme Ca which is of course a bit more. I haven't been for a while but Le Petit Bistro on La Cienega is reasonable and very traditional.
        The Little Next Door on Third St. is very French, great for pastries, coffee, sandwiches, etc. -- they're not cheap but since it's more of a cafe, it's not that bad.

      2. re: Chowpatty

        I will second La Vie for very inexpensive traditional French food. I believe the entrees are around $15 including soup, salad and coffee. I really like their duck ala ronge (sic), and the orange souffle is a must.

        As for Bistro de la Gare, we had a few decent meals there, but our last meal about 4 mos. ago was unforgivably bad (I will never go back), and it is more expensive.


      3. Le Petit Cafe on Colorado in Santa Monica is a bit of a drive, but if you happen to be in the vicinity it's a nice stop for lunch or dinner. Somewhat Californiated Alsatian bistro food: the duck confit is served with a salad, and is my favorite lunch when I'm there midday. Not cheap, not expensive - lunch $20-ish without wine, dinner more.

        For truly old-fashioned French dirt cheap, you might consider ranging clear out into the predominantly Asian territory of the San Gabriel Valley, where a classically trained Vietnamese chef and his family run La Vie, on San Gabriel Boulevard. The cooking is reliably good, the offerings exactly what you'd expect - excellent escargots among the starters, the typical preparations of duck, rabbit, chicken and fish, plus a pretty good steak, and if you want a soufflé for dessert it's best to order it up front. Cost-cutting shows up in the form of the same vegetables on every plate, and the atmosphere is more friendly than elegant, but you can get a decent Beaujolais and escape for maybe $50 apiece. My in-laws are all either French or French-related, and Pops loves the French food he ate in pre-war France as much as he hates to spend money, so we go there a lot.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Will Owen

          $50? I haven't been there in several months but it seems you would be hard pressed to spend anywhere near that much per person unless you really splurged. I agree with you, La Vie is a good value, though.

          1. re: monkuboy

            I was assuming two people, one bottle of wine, two servings of the escargot to start, two $20-ish entrées, two soufflés and a proper tip. I think you could hit $100 with that. With our typical table of six and just two bottles (two non-drinkers), I think it's more like $35-$40 per head. Since the paterfamilias won't show anyone the check I can't be sure.

            1. re: Will Owen

              I guess that makes sense - you could have quite a feast for $100 that would cost you twice as much on the westside.

        2. I like Mimosa pretty well. It also has a sister restaurant that I don't like quite as much but is closer to where you live and has a very nice atmosphere. You can find out pretty much everything about either at:

          I also think Cafe Beujolais in Eagle Rock on Colorado Blvd. isn't bad. Not great, but pleasant and very reasonable.

          3 Replies
          1. re: estone888

            I like Mimosa a lot. A very nice French bistro, relaxed, unpretentious, good food, and the best bouillabaise--leaps and bounds above the ones at La Cachette and Comme Ca.

            Cafe Beaujolais is reasonably priced, with shockingly large portions. I didn't care for it.

            Anisette is opening soon, in Santa Monica, don't know about the pricing.

            1. re: slacker

              Third on Mimosa.. Have always been a fan..

              1. re: Foodandwine

                I've only been to Petit Cafe and I was pretty underwhelmed. It's like an average (or below) French restaurant you'd eat in a French tourist town.

                I do have a Parisian friend who knows food (we've eat at l'amis Louis a few times) and endores Mimosa.

          2. Not in your neighborhood, but La Vie in Rosemead is worth the drive. It's one of the most reasonably priced French restaurants in LA.


            La Vie
            2547 San Gabriel Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

            1. Another vote for La Vie in Rosemead.

              I've read good things about Bistro 39 in Alhambra (located at 39 W. Main St.), but haven't been there yet. Note to self: we should go there this weekend.

              There's also La Parisienne in Monrovia. In recent years, it has declined according to most reports. I haven't been there in about 5 years, but I've read that it may have new owners and/or management, who have reportedly pumped some life back into it. Perhaps others could chime in.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Jack Flash

                La Parisienne is no more. It is now something called Three C's - California Cuisine and Cocktails. Haven't tried it yet so I cannot tell ou how good it is.

                1. re: Jack Flash

                  I'll second Bistro 39, as everything I have ordered has tasted great, and majority of entrees are around the $17 and under range. I will say that the last time I was there they did take a while with our dinners, but it was still really good.

                  1. re: Jack Flash

                    we do love bistro 39 ,great food. wine and beer lover this is the right place
                    great price for the quality of the food try it