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Aug 24, 2008 12:46 PM

Santa Cruz eaters, keep Au Midi alive

One of the best, if not the best, Santa Cruz-area restaurants is Au Midi in Aptos. The food is French provençal with extraordinarily deep flavors, fresh exuberance, and beautiful presentation. The menu descriptions understate the quality of ingredients and the vibrancy of the cuisine. This is not heavy, plodding French food; it zings.

We loved the Chicken Provençale and the Crispy Goat Cheese salad. The goat cheese is wrapped in "brick," a slighty thicker-than-phyllo dough that looks like crisp thin potato slices. The savory chicken is accompanied by a lively, intense ratatouille that made me forget all those watery, unbalanced renditions of this vegetable stew.

The prices for lunch are moderate, more spendy for dinner. Au Midi is hidden away in a corner of a strip mall behind the Aptos Twin Theaters. I'm afraid that its off-the-path location and a name that non-francophiles can't pronounce have made it a hidden gem.

Try Au Midi soon (it will be closed for vacation the first week of September). I want to keep Au Midi alive so that I can continue to enjoy it!

Au Midi Restaurant & Bistrot
Aptos Village Square
7960 Soquel Drive, Suite E
Aptos, CA 95003

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  1. Thanks for the reminder about Au Midi. Husband and I had a delightful dinner there about two months ago. We shared the steamed mussels w/ kirsch broth to start. Black mussels were plump and sweet and cooked to just the right point. Husband had the lamb loin entree, and I had the duck breast w/ honey-rosemary sauce. Both were expertly cooked w/ layered flavors accompanied by sides that complemented well. The moderate portions (which I prefer) left room for us to try the signature "bergamot" for dessert, and it was stunning to look at and delicious to devour.

    Chef Muriel's style really comes through in her cooking and presentation, and her food is thoughtful and executed w/ care and precision. The wine list is quite small, but we enjoyed our by-the-glass selections and appreciated that the server provided samples to assist in our decision-making. The service was very smooth, and the pacing of courses was just right.

    I would like to return and support this place, but the cost for dinner (our tab was around $125 w/ tax and tip) makes it more of a "special occasion" place for me. It's possible to eat more cheaply if I just had an entree or stuck w/ an appetizer for my meal, but I know I'd be tempted to order more.

    What are your picks from the lunch menu?

    Au Midi
    7960 Soquel Dr Ste E, Aptos, CA 95003