Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Jul 12, 2009 10:10 PM

French near LACMA

A friend and I plan to see Julie and Julia at LACMA next week and would love to conclude the evening with a French meal. Does anyone have any suggestions? We will be driving down from Ventura so we want to make this an all around special evening!

Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Mr. Marcel's at the Farmers Market is low key, relatively inexpensive and decidedly French. It is also within walking distance of LACMA.--just walk up Fairfax to Third Street.

    4 Replies
      1. re: coffeebrownies

        Oh goodness, I simply must share how much I dislike Mr. Marcel's. Certainly it is in a great location and a pleasant walk from LACMA. But sheesh. My wife and I went there (we live a stone's throw from Farmer's Market) and the service was atrocious, the food horrid.

        A young French waitress, simply oozing Gallic nastiness, treated us like we were bumpkins, feeling that she had to explain what potatoes au gratin were. We explained that we were familiar with the concept. As she spoke she could not have possibly milked her accent any more than she did, ending every sentence with a "yes?" Answering every question with an irritated "But of course!" Oh she just thought she was a little bit of Audrey Tatout. She wasn't.

        They took forever to bring out the food, never apologized for the nearly hour wait. Getting more wine or water from the staff made up of nasty, sour-faced French UCLA students was like pulling teeth. Oh if it wasnt' for all of these feelthy Americain customers! (And it wasn't just us; they were pissing everyone off.)

        They finally brought the food and my dish was wrong. I had asked for steak au poivre and they brought some chicken thing. I had never even considered the chicken, so knew I had not even mentioned it out loud. I was very polite (having waited in many restaurants) and she was snotty, explaining I had "indeed" ordered that. I insisted that I had not, and wanted what I ordered.

        Nearly a half hour passed and she slapped some thin, beaten up, overcooked, dry, tasteless shoe leather with some peppercorns rolling around on the plate, set next to a lump of cold potatoes au gratin (Betty Crocker could do better) and was in mid-U turn before the plate was even fully on the table. A total witch.

        I complained to the manager, who didn't give a damn (especially since he'd been undressing our waitress with his eyes all evening), assuming that most of the patrons are out of towners anyway. He just shrugged his shoulders as if to say "What to do?" Well, how about apologizing and knocking something off the bill, Pierre? Nothing.

        It may be possible to enjoy something simple there, like wine and cheese, while people watching. That's about it. The only reason it can stay open is the location.

        1. re: EarlyBird

          Hi EarlyBird,
          Oh my...thank you so much for this information. While we did not to go Mr. Marcel,
          this type of experience shouldn't be tolerated anywhere. Many thanks for your time.


          1. re: muchamuncha

            You're welcome. Re-reading my post I realized just how unhappy I was there. I hope you found a good French place. There is supposed to be a terrific bistro on 3rd near Koreatown of all places.

      2. If you want high-end French, there is the excellent Ortolan on 3rd; if you would prefer a bistro, there is Comme Ca [mixed reviews on this Board] or, if it has opened by then, the new and much anticipated Bistro LQ from Laurent Quenioux.

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

        Comme CA
        8479 Melrose Ave West, Hollywood, CA

        Bistro LQ
        8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

        1 Reply
        1. re: New Trial

          thank you so much! These are great recommendations.

        2. Definitely Ortolan, if you're up for the price. LQ if it's open, though doesn't sound like it will be. Marcel's has its charm, but it's all about the homey setting in the Farmers Market, not the food, which is just serviceable (and it's a solid mile from LACMA, if you choose to walk).

          Since you're coming all the way from Ventura, and looking to make a real evening out of may or may not want to expand your radius farther out from LACMA. If so, in addition to Comme Ca, you might also consider the recently reopened Petrossian on Robertson, or heading downtown to the very excellent and popular new Church & State.

          321 N Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA

          Church & State
          1850 Industrial Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

          2 Replies
          1. re: wutzizname

            Wow! Looks like we'll have to make the trek a few more times to LA to try these wonderful places.
            Have you been to Church and State?

            1. re: muchamuncha

              I have, and really loved it. And I got in just before the latest spate of rave reviews that seem to have bumped up the already significant fan base. So definitely make sure you've got a reservation before going.

              There are lots of recent posts about it on the board here with recs on what to order. But based on everything I've read and heard, and my one own experience, it seems like it's hard to go wrong there.

          2. Since the movie is 2 hours and starts at 7:30 - I'd check places that are open relatively late (e.g., the last reservation at Church & State is 9:45). BTW - hope you have tickets (it's sold out).

            1. Well, you should try the newish Le Saint Amour in downtown Culver City, on Culver Blvd. across the street from the Culver City city hall, which is just a few blocks from the 10 Fwy, which will allow you to get on the freeway and get back to Ventura when the time calls..
     for more details.
              Am going there tomorrow night for Bastille Day celebration. The couple who own the place used to have Angelique Cafe in downtown LA. Really nice place, with good and affordable French food.
              Can't imagine you would not like the place, as Bruno and Florence are really nice hosts.

              3 Replies
              1. re: carter

                The restaurant closes at 9:30 - wouldn't work.

                I have a request (probably not the first time I've mentioned it here). OP's should state the day of the week they'll be dining - and any time contraints (like here - dinner will be after 9:30). People who respond should check that a restaurant they recommend is open then.

                FWIW - most Los Angeles restaurants seem to be pretty early places from what I've observed (except for some late night scenes - usually on weekends). So perhaps the OP might consider doing pre-theater instead of post (this movie is on a Tuesday night at 7:30). Maybe a small bites place like Bazaar (which opens at 3 pm). If they want to keep to the original plan of dining after the movie - maybe a place like Osteria Mozza (which is open until 11). Note that I know zero about Los Angeles restaurants (will be flying there tomorrow for the first time in almost 10 years). But I have noticed that many close pretty early. I may not know if the food is good - but I can pretty much figure out whether or not a restaurant will be open <wink>.

                1. re: pvgirl

                  Yes, thank you about reminding me about the times. I am visiting from New York and had forgotten about the "time difference" in Los Angeles.
                  Looks like we will eat before...

                2. re: carter

                  P.S. There really aren't many places where you can get a nice higher end French meal starting at almost 10 pm - even in Paris.