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Jun 17, 2008 05:48 PM

French in LA

Hey Chowhounds,
I am planning a trip to LA and am wondering what great, memorable French restaurants are in the area? I know LA is huge and I am not sure where I will be staying yet, so any recommendations for the moment are helpful. Price is not a factor, am willing to pay for a great meal. Thanks in advance.

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  1. You can try Melisse and La Cachette. If you do go to Melisse, you should have the Carte Blanche menu.

    1 Reply
    1. Anisette Brasserie just opened and is getting high praises. I have not been yet, but other foodies who's opinions I respect have raved about the place. I'm sure you will want to check out Santa Monica anyway so this should be an easy addition to your trip.
      Have fun .
      225 Santa Monica Boulevard
      Santa Monica, CA 90401
      Tel: (310) 395-3200

      1. First, I'm not a HUGE fan of french food, but here are my personal favorites.

        Comme Ca is certainly the place du jour. Brasserie food. Food is solid. Loud as fuck in there tho.

        The Hall at The Palihouse is sorta Comme Ca-lite; cheaper, quieter, not quite as good but still very enjoyable

        I'm a big fan of Le Petit Bistro, very authentic feeling, lots of character and the food was really good.

        All of these are within a square mile in West Hollywood near La Cienega Blvd.

        6 Replies
        1. re: suicidemartini

          I really am not a big fan of Comme Ca, which I agree it hot at this time. I have found the food very variable, and the noise level often intolerable. On the other hand, I have nothing but praise for its big brother/sister, Sona. Sona under the same ownership is surely one of L.A.'s best, although admittedly is is not quite as "French".

          A traditional French bistro that I always find satisfying, and which I personally prefer to Comme Ca, is Mimosa. Yes, I know that the food may not always be spectacular here, but it is very traditionally French, has good service, pleasant ambiance, and a very traditional bistro menu. It's been around for years and is quite consistent.

          Certainly Melisse and La Cachette are in a different league than the others, and are both highly recommended.

          1. re: josephnl

            yeah, I'm a huge fan of Sona and have similar complaints about Comme Ca, if it was less popular/more laidback feeling, I'd enjoy it much more. The noise really is just too much if you have a group, you're stuck talking to only the person directly across from you or next to you.

            1. re: josephnl

              Forget about Mimosa - some of the more overrated food in a pleasant place. Just a few blocks west across the street is Pastis, which is where you will hear French spoken by staff and patrons, and the food is very solid, the look is current-day Paris bistro, and the value is very good.

              1. re: carter

                Pastis is fine, and quite similar in concept to Mimosa. Nevertheless, after multiple visits to both, I must say that I disagree and definitly prefer Mimosa for both food and service. Not that either are the ultimate authority but, Gayot agrees with me and gives Mimosa a higher rating, and Zagat gives them identical food ratings. So...please do not 'forget about Mimosa".

                However, neither will fulfill the request for memorable French dining. For this, I guess my pick would be Melisse, La Cachette, Sona, or perhaps Ortolan.

                1. re: josephnl

                  Ah, yes, Gayot, the ultimate authority, a la Zagat, for nothing.
                  Last visit to Mimosa was so bad, Bastille Day, btw, that no one should have had to have food there that day.

                  1. re: carter

                    Bastille Day is probably the worst possible day to evaluate the food at any French restaurant...either in Paris or in L.A. It's akin trying to get a good home-made turkey dinner at a buffet in a Hilton Hotel on Thanksgiving!

                    Nevertheless, I hope we agree that neither Mimosa or Pastis would answer the op's request for a memorable French restaurant in L.A. when there are certainly many better choices.

            1. re: yogachik

              Ortolan also achieved a M star -- it gets my vote for haute cuisine and a wonderful dining experience -- ask to be seated in one of the leather booths (under the chandeliers).

              1. re: Maxmillion

                Are the booths partially enclosed and private or are they open and spaced closely together in a row?

                What's the best seat in the house for a sit down dinner?

                1. re: vinosnob

                  The booths are high-walled, semi-wrap-around so there is some measure of privacy but they are open at the front. The best seat in the house depends on who and how many you are with. Dining alone, I would take one of the two-top at the end closest to the kitchen; for a romantic evening, one of the booths; for a group, one of the tables on the raised area to the left when you enter.

                  1. re: New Trial

                    Thanks for the 411! Two of us will be dining so I've requested a booth.

            2. Anisette (the new and wonderful brasserie in Santa Monica) and Ortolan (modern French--with a Michelin star, if that matters to you--near the Beverly Center) are my two favorite French restaurants in LA--I would also add Fraiche (a mix of Medit. French and Italian in Culver City) as well worth your visit.

              Comme Ca (a WeHo bistro), La Cachette (nouvelle in Century City) and Melisse (more classic, with, as noted by yogachik, two of its own Michelin stars, in Santa Monica) are also quite good.

              9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

              Melisse Restaurant
              1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

              La Cachette Bistro
              1733 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401

              8338 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

              Comme Ça
              8479 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069

              Anisette Brasserie
              225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

              2 Replies
              1. re: New Trial

                Def agree w/ Melisse and La Cachette for high end, and Anisette for brunch.

                For less pricey, there's Chez Mimi in Brentwood with a great patio to boot.

                Also, Mimosa in the city.

                1. re: Emme

                  The Hall at Palihouse?

                  I've never been but.. the setting's mighty interesting at least...