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French in LA

3star Jun 17, 2008 05:48 PM

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.

  1. martiniman Jun 17, 2008 06:08 PM

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

    1 Reply
    1. re: martiniman
      suicidemartini Jun 17, 2008 06:32 PM

      don't know how I forgot Melisse

    2. b
      Ben is eating Jun 17, 2008 06:15 PM

      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. suicidemartini Jun 17, 2008 06:19 PM

        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
          josephnl Jun 17, 2008 10:22 PM

          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
            suicidemartini Jun 18, 2008 10:08 AM

            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
              carter Jun 18, 2008 09:40 PM

              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
                josephnl Jun 18, 2008 10:21 PM

                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
                  carter Jun 19, 2008 10:03 AM

                  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
                    josephnl Jun 19, 2008 11:32 AM

                    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.

          2. y
            yogachik Jun 17, 2008 06:28 PM

            Definitely Melisse - it's Michelin starred


            4 Replies
            1. re: yogachik
              Maxmillion Jun 23, 2008 10:50 PM

              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
                vinosnob Aug 5, 2008 01:55 PM

                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
                  New Trial Aug 5, 2008 05:51 PM

                  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
                    vinosnob Aug 6, 2008 09:01 AM

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

            2. n
              New Trial Jun 17, 2008 07:26 PM

              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
                Emme Jun 17, 2008 07:49 PM

                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
                  TonyC Jun 19, 2008 09:52 AM

                  The Hall at Palihouse?

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

              2. d
                Diana Jun 19, 2008 10:19 AM

                what about French Fusion? What are the best spots?

                6 Replies
                1. re: Diana
                  whatsfordinner Jun 19, 2008 10:51 AM

                  Orris for Japanese/French fusion.

                  1. re: whatsfordinner
                    Diana Jun 19, 2008 11:04 AM

                    anyone been to Orris recently

                    1. re: Diana
                      whatsfordinner Jun 19, 2008 02:10 PM

                      I was there about 6 months ago. It was delicious.

                      1. re: Diana
                        mollyomormon Jun 20, 2008 10:03 AM

                        I go regularly. It's excellent.

                      2. re: whatsfordinner
                        hrhboo Jun 20, 2008 10:23 AM

                        Strongly second Orris. It's really wonderful. Celadon is very good too.

                        1. re: hrhboo
                          Maxmillion Jun 23, 2008 10:52 PM

                          I love Celadon, too. Was there recently - wonderful cold sake (the Daichishi); still wonderful small plates etc esp the tuna tartar 'lollipops'.

                    2. t
                      trvlcrzy Jun 19, 2008 11:30 PM

                      Melisse and Ortolan. Chef Emme of Ortolan reminded me of true rated French restaurants where the chef's presence is seen as he visits every table.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: trvlcrzy
                        Diana Jun 20, 2008 07:18 AM

                        are all the dishes at Ortolan those teeny new wave things? Is it a "tasting menu" kinda place?

                        1. re: Diana
                          Servorg Jun 20, 2008 07:31 AM

                          This may help: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/462897

                          1. re: Servorg
                            Diana Jun 20, 2008 07:48 AM


                      2. l
                        lawdog262 Jun 20, 2008 12:07 PM

                        If you trip is taking you to Orange County (for example, if you are going to Disneyland, South Coast Plaza or an Angels game), there are two very good places to consider: Marche Moderne and Traditions by Pascal. The latter has generally been considered the best French rest. in the OC for the past twenty years, and the former is the challenger and many would say the new champ. I've gone to MM many times, and apart from a lackluster dinner there a month ago, its trending way up. I don't think either are memorable in the world or national class sense of the word, but both are evenings well spent.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lawdog262
                          josephnl Jun 20, 2008 01:21 PM

                          Agree completely...especially for Marche Moderne, the new kid on the block.

                        2. d
                          ducdame Jun 20, 2008 12:30 PM

                          Ditto on Le Petit Cafe.
                          I also like Bistro de L'Hermitage
                          9727 Culver Blvd. (at Duquesne Ave.)
                          Culver City , CA 90232
                          (310) 815-8222
                          Service can be frustratingly slow, depending on the night, but is always friendly.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ducdame
                            carter Aug 6, 2008 12:08 PM

                            fyi - the former owners of Angelique in downtown LA will be opening Le Saint Amour next door to Bistro de l'hermitage at 9725 Culver Blvd. very soon, and it too will have a French focus as you might expect.

                          2. 3star Jun 23, 2008 06:29 PM

                            any restaurants that serve very excellent foie gras?

                            1. c
                              cincyn Jun 23, 2008 10:42 PM

                              The little door. One of l.a.'s jewels

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