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french food in san diego?

danabides Jul 24, 2009 10:26 PM

looking for french cuisine in san diego. doesnt necessarily need to be fancy, in fact, french country cooking that is affordable would be ideal.

anybody know a good place?

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  1. n
    naomiwise Jul 25, 2009 02:46 AM

    Three excellent places:

    Tapenade in La Jolla -- rather upscale bistro, really serious fine food

    Cavaillon in Rancho Santa Luz (wheerdat? been there, it's up there in the boonies) -- a protegee of the major chef at Tapenade, comfy country setting, also fab food.

    BerhardO's in Rancho Bernardo -- another superb chef from the Tapenade stable, very pretty bistro.

    Farmhouse - here in town in University Heights, charming little place, excellent food, more affordable than any of the above. Probably the one you're looking for.

    La Bonne Boeuf in Encinitas -- very old-fashioned menu of America's favorite French foods, but I hear they're done well.

    We also have a lot of places that do the sort of le-fake-French bistro menu you find sometimes in Paris in restaurants that put all the Americans into a separate room and give them their own menu of the French foods they think Americans like. You can tell which places I mean because when you look at their menus, you'll find a recipe for every single dish in Julia Child Volume I. And Julia's recipes are often better than these restaurants' if you're willing to DIY, since you have quality control over ingredients when you do the cooking.

    4 Replies
    1. re: naomiwise
      mcgrath Jul 25, 2009 07:49 AM

      Welcome Naomi. It's a pleasure having you here.

      1. re: naomiwise
        ibstatguy Jul 25, 2009 02:35 PM

        nice to "see" you on the CH Board

        1. re: naomiwise
          souschef Jul 26, 2009 06:24 AM

          It's actually "La Bonne Bouffe". The first time I went there I noticed a card on the table stating that cassoulet is always available. This was after we had ordered our meals and it was too late to change, so I asked if I could have a small sample (I love cassoulet). The waiter returned with a full portion, compliments of the chef. I enjoyed it.

          1. re: naomiwise
            josephnl Jul 31, 2009 10:18 PM

            Although I used to be a big fan of Tapenade, I am no longer overwhelmed with this place. The service seems overly pretentious, the prices are high, and the food although generally good, is not terrific.

            For my buck, Cavaillon is a better deal. The service is warm and friendly, the food is very good, and the overall feel is more comfortable and homey than Tapenade. It is also less expensive.

          2. Strawman Jul 25, 2009 06:08 AM

            Vincent's in Escondido.

            1. a
              araknd Jul 25, 2009 08:39 AM

              I second Cavaillon, always had a great meal there. Also try Bistro Le Bouchon in Escondido.

              1. Captain Jack Jul 25, 2009 09:42 AM

                Tapenade, and Cavaillon are my top two picks. Both have excellent food, in a medium upscale environment. I have photos and descriptions of many of the menu items from both restaurants on my blog if you are interested.


                1. d
                  duck833 Jul 25, 2009 09:53 AM

                  Cafe' Chloe, located just a couple of blocks South of Gaslamp area

                  1. d
                    daantaat Jul 25, 2009 09:15 PM

                    Cavaillon--good and affordable for the quality. worth the drive out to Santaluz. They also have a killer Sunday brunch.

                    Tapenade in La Jolla is very good. More formal than Cavaillon.

                    1. n
                      normalheightsfoodie Jul 27, 2009 11:44 AM

                      Blue Boheme on Adams Ave, just east of I-15. Great food, drinks and good prices. They do great things with muscles.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: normalheightsfoodie
                        honkman Jul 27, 2009 12:06 PM

                        Food is not bad but the prices at Blue Boheme are pretty high for what you get. Cafe Chloe, Cavaillon are much better options.

                        1. re: normalheightsfoodie
                          mcgrath Jul 28, 2009 09:00 AM

                          Blue Boheme not on same level as others mentioned in this thread. Didn't notice the servers as being particularly muscular.

                          1. re: mcgrath
                            Captain Jack Jul 28, 2009 09:06 AM

                            lol, there is a weight room out back of the kitchen ;)

                            1. re: mcgrath
                              ibstatguy Jul 28, 2009 10:00 AM

                              I agree that BB is "not on same level" but we still enjoy going there and I'm pretty sure that our dinner tab there is not the same as our tab at either Tapenade or Cavaillon...

                              1. re: ibstatguy
                                honkman Jul 28, 2009 11:18 AM

                                Actually the tab at Cavaillon will be the same or even cheaper than at Blue Boheme. Most entrees at both places are in the mid-20s and Cavaillon has one of the best (remaining) and cheapest tasting menus in SD.

                                1. re: honkman
                                  ibstatguy Jul 28, 2009 11:51 AM

                                  well I guess that proves I don't "pay" enough attention to the price of meals. one draw for us at BB is the moules which I don't recall, at least at the moment, ever seeing at Cavaillon. FWIW, I am and have been a big supporter on this board of both Tapenade and Cavaillon...

                          2. s
                            stevewag23 Jul 27, 2009 12:48 PM

                            San diego could you some more well executed traditional french restaurants.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: stevewag23
                              souschef Jul 27, 2009 01:06 PM

                              Sorry to highjack this (San Diego) thread, but Steve you should drive North to Basilic on Balboa Island. My wife and I go there at least once every time we are in the area, and have never been disappointed. On one occasion I was looking forward to the seafood risotto, but they had taken it off the menu. When I commented on that to the waiter, he excused himself and returned a minute later, saying the chef would do it for me, The last time I was there it was back on the menu.

                              It is a tiny place - a dozen tables at most.

                              1. re: souschef
                                honkman Jul 27, 2009 03:04 PM

                                Interesting that you mention Basilic in Newport Beach. We went there a couple of months ago and overall weren't very impressed. The food was OK but nothing special sometimes even disappointing.

                            2. p
                              P Macias Jul 30, 2009 07:43 PM

                              Why has no one mentioned Hexagone at 5th and Laurel? Or even the French Market Grille in the outskirts.
                              Both are quite fine. I don't think they belong in the last paragraph of naomi's post.
                              Prices are fair, selection is good, wines are affordable as are the menu prices. Service may be a bit inconsistent but the heart is good.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: P Macias
                                keena Jul 30, 2009 10:27 PM

                                what's the scoop with "french 101 " in LJ (old hard rock locale)? its supposed to open in a week or so.
                                I would love a bistro but i am guessing this may not be that!

                                1. re: keena
                                  foodiechick Jul 30, 2009 10:40 PM

                                  Talked to the owner 2 weeks ago, he is calling it bistro/brasserie. We have high hopes as it is in our neighborhood, but afraid he's not really clued in to french cuisine terms. He is spending a ton of money in TI's and decor and it shows. Gorgeous use of copper and brass in railings and giant pastry shelves. From what he told us, his past restaurant experience in SD is running a location of a small, french, mini chain in North County Coastal. Fingers crossed.

                              2. s
                                stevewag23 Jul 31, 2009 09:55 AM

                                the real question is can you get steak tartare at any of these places?

                                16 Replies
                                1. re: stevewag23
                                  honkman Jul 31, 2009 10:57 AM

                                  Cafe Chloe has it sometimes

                                  1. re: honkman
                                    stevewag23 Jul 31, 2009 11:03 AM

                                    Yeah, I always seem to miss it by a day.

                                    I think it is amazing you cannot get steak tartare in this town.

                                    1. re: stevewag23
                                      foodiechick Jul 31, 2009 11:11 AM

                                      La V has great steak tartare - daily.

                                      1. re: foodiechick
                                        stevewag23 Jul 31, 2009 11:18 AM

                                        sky room?

                                        1. re: stevewag23
                                          JRSD Jul 31, 2009 11:32 AM

                                          They have steak tartare at Neighborhood, have you tried it?

                                          1. re: JRSD
                                            stevewag23 Jul 31, 2009 11:51 AM

                                            how is it?

                                            1. re: stevewag23
                                              JRSD Jul 31, 2009 12:40 PM

                                              I haven't tried it

                                              1. re: stevewag23
                                                Josh Jul 31, 2009 09:44 PM

                                                I used to eat the tartare at Neighborhood a lot. It was delicious.

                                                1. re: Josh
                                                  stevewag23 Aug 1, 2009 12:43 AM

                                                  I will give it a shot.

                                                  I like how they spell it "STEAK TARTAR" on their menu.

                                                  1. re: stevewag23
                                                    Josh Aug 1, 2009 12:58 AM

                                                    Haven't had it in several months, so who knows, it may suck by now. Good luck.

                                            2. re: stevewag23
                                              foodiechick Jul 31, 2009 11:40 AM

                                              Whaling Bar. Tableside prep.

                                              1. re: foodiechick
                                                stevewag23 Jul 31, 2009 11:52 AM

                                                great tip, I have been there tons and never noticed.

                                                I didn't see it on the online menu either.

                                                Is it off menu?

                                          2. re: stevewag23
                                            honkman Jul 31, 2009 01:43 PM

                                            You can have mine. Steak tartare is OK but nothing which I am really looking for.

                                            1. re: stevewag23
                                              DougOLis Jul 31, 2009 03:37 PM

                                              Kitchen 1540 has buffalo tartare and it's very good
                                              JRDN has steak tartare (have not tried it, just saying they do)

                                          3. re: stevewag23
                                            ibstatguy Jul 31, 2009 01:24 PM


                                            1. re: ibstatguy
                                              stevewag23 Jul 31, 2009 04:23 PM

                                              app or entree?

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