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Best French Food in L.A. or the S.F. Valley

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It's our friend's special birthday and she wants to go to a really good french restaurant. It can be either in the city or the valley. Less than $100.00 per person. She like really good French food, and sort of old fashioned, but not TAIX. \

Consider Mistral's in the valley, but really don't know anything about it.. Please help. Her birthday is Tuesday.

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  1. Mistral is barely French, can be gotten out for $100 a person if you try, yet the wine list encourages byo which I would encourage if that might be of interest. If nouvelle French, ala Bistro LQ, might be of interest, it is on Beverly just east of Crescent Hts.
    while Melisse is French, it is fussy French, and $100 a person in fairly formal surroundings would be the drill, on Wilshire around 11th in SMonica.
    If you just want a brasserie, Comme Ca on Melrose just east of La Cienega would definitely fit the budget and feel.

    2 Replies
    1. re: carter

      Is Bistro LQ new? Thank you for you info.

      1. re: paprkutr

        Yes, it replaced Pastis in July:

        http://www.foodgps.com/sneak-peak-of-...

    2. For traditional French, Anisette, Saint Amour, or Comme Ca all do a good to very good job with classic bistro/brasserie fare. Chez Mimi in Santa Monica is also very nice and may be more charming than the others.

      Bistro LQ is excellent but serves much more modern, rather than old-fashioned, cooking and several of the dishes involve offal if that is a concern (the offal is wonderful).

      The new La Cachette Brasserie on Ocean in Santa Monica offers nouvelle cuisine takes on brasserie standards, some of which work better than others.

      For high end French, the best are Melisse and Ortolan (I prefer Ortolan), though getting out for less than $100 might be hard at either, particularly once you include alcohol, tax and tip.

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

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

      Chez Mimi Restaurant
      246 26th St, Santa Monica, CA 90402

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

      Le Saint Amour
      9725 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

      Bistro LQ
      8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

      Luckie Food Lounge
      375 Luckie Street, Atlanta, GA 30313

      1. Church & State, if you like a bustling bistro. My favorite restaurant in town, currently.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Jack Flash

          I agree, Church & State.

          Chez Mimi isn't awful, just not great. But very charming.

          1. re: foodiemahoodie

            Church & State is also my current fave. And I also like Chez Mimi...charming and good, but not great, food. I also really like Melisse. It's high priced, but I certainly wouldn't call it fussy, In fact, I've always though they did very nice French food without the attitude of some high end French places.

          2. re: Jack Flash

            I second Church & State. The menu offers a good selection for all appetites and the pricing is very reasonable. There is also a good wine selection and bar.

            Check out my Church & State review here: http://www.twohungrypandas.com/2009/0...

          3. If you are looking for "old style" French food in the Valley look no further than Le Sanglier in Tarzana. It's been there forever (40 years maybe?). Flying low and off the radar for the most part.

            http://www.lesanglierrestaurant.com/c...

            19 Replies
            1. re: Servorg

              There's a reason it's off the radar......and it is highly unlikely that you will get out of there for under $100/pp.

              1. re: Chow Bella

                Food costs tend to run right around $50 pp without tax or tip for an appetizer and and a main course. They even have a prix fixe deal for some of the entrees in which you add another $6 to the entree's basic cost and you get 3 courses (IIRC). Wine or cocktail costs are, or course, an unknown quantity here. But that can be said about any restaurant one goes to these days because it depends on each individual diners preferences. Whether one thinks the food is good or not is subjective, but our meals there have been quite good in a very traditional, old school type of way. YMMV

                1. re: Servorg

                  With one exception 15 years ago, our experiences there have uniformly been excellent . Our costs are about $75-95 pp++, which is on a par with Brandywine, but LS has a broader and more interesting menu to our tastes. And it is surely French as opposed to Continental.

                  1. re: TomSwift

                    Thanks for your post, Tom. We have never tried the prix fixe they offer. Have you guy's?

                    1. re: Servorg

                      We've never done the prix fixe. We get sidetracked by other things. AND, if you call in advance they will do pommes souffle!

                      1. re: TomSwift

                        wait pommes souffles??? oh, man, i'm so there, can i just drop by for an order of pommess souffles at the bar, and martini or three/

                        what is the name of the place again?

                        1. re: kevin

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6537...

                          1. re: Servorg

                            thanks, yes, i was being dummy, and not reading thru the posts above.

                            have you tried the pommes souffles here though?

                            1. re: kevin

                              I haven't tried it, but next trip I intend on doing so. Post if you get there first.

                          2. re: kevin

                            Le Sanglier? Pretty average. Nowhere near the league of Church & State. And Melisse is light years beyond. Melisse is world class cuisine, Sanglier is okay-at-best local "French" restaurant.

                            I wouldn't take a trip out there. But I'd willingly driving downtown to Church & State. Or Melisse.

                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                              Could you give a few details about your negative reaction to Le Sanglier, foodiemahoodie? Everything sounds very inviting, especially if the pommes soufflées are anything like the classic Creole versions in New Orleans.

                              1. re: Harry Nile

                                More details? Hm...it's been about three or four years since I last had a meal there. So I have no details I can remember, just that it was, at best -kinda so-so. I remember telling myself "Nope, not again." I'm used to a much better class of food. I can cook better than this, so if there's a restaurant where I can cook better? I don't go.

                2. re: Servorg

                  I agree Servorg. Le Sanglier was a place my family has gone to for years. Good food and service. I am sorry to see that their wild boar pate' is no longer on the menu. It harkins back when there were a number of French restaurants on Ventura Blvd. Who remembers Chef Gregorie's or Jean's Blue Room or the much miss by me Mon Grenier?

                  1. re: SeaCook

                    For a bit of Chef Gregorie's DNA (and still the best roast duck I've had ever here in LA at CG's) go to Josie's in Santa Monica where his daughter owns the joint, and holds forth in the kitchen on a nightly basis.

                    -----
                    Josie
                    2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                    1. re: SeaCook

                      Mon Grenier. . . . sigh. I have not had anything close to its bouillabaisse since it closed.

                      1. re: Jwsel

                        Andre Lion was a pretty darn good chef and his bouillabaisse was only one of many delicious menu items. His daughter, Chrissy, is an excellent pastry chef and made many of the desserts. I wonder what happened to those manequeins?

                        1. re: TomSwift

                          OMG Chrissy's apple tart tatin!!!!! It's too bad when Andre decided to retire Chrissy didn't take over. :-(

                          1. re: SeaCook

                            She had no time as she was working at a law office in Calabasas. But one year she did find time to make me a birthday cake - really swell!

                      2. re: SeaCook

                        I do remember Gregoire's. It was probably my initial introduction to fairly serious food. I remember they'd give you a small, but great slice of quiche to start. And you get that at Josie's - one bite and you're shot back in time to his restaurant In Sherman Oaks. Also, she sometimes does that duck in pepper sauce. (that must be the roast duck Servorg mentions).

                    2. Old fashioned French ?
                      I have never been so maybe someone else can chime in but the first two that came to mind.
                      http://www.lepetitchateau.org/

                      http://www.lacachettebistro.com

                      1. Didn't see too many SF recommendations yet. Here are a few:

                        Rive Gauche
                        Cafe Bizou
                        Pinot Bistro

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: LMelba

                          None of those three warrant the time or expenditures involved.
                          Ate recently at Pinot Bistro, and it was truly underwhelming in every respect, and most importantly when it came time to pay the bill - $175 for two, to eat that food - never again.
                          Where is the old La Serre when you want it.
                          May Jerry rest in peace!
                          Like the room at Rive Gauche, wish the food was better.

                          1. re: carter

                            I agree with everything you say. It's such a shame that Pinot Bistro has gone so far downhill. 10-15 years ago, it was phenomenal rustic French and would have been my top recommendation on this thread.

                            Rive Gauche and Cafe Bizou are not French at all. I don't mind Bizou that much for what it is, but it is a decent California cuisine restaurant, great for brunches and family celebrations with mom.

                            1. re: Jwsel

                              Wow, snarky much? The OP asked about SF Valley - for the Valley, these are French restaurants. You might not find them up to your refined tastes, but they've all been is business long enough that plenty of others do.

                              1. re: LMelba

                                Sorry LMelba, but I agree with fellow snobs.

                                And Pinot used to be very good at one time. I stopped going around five years ago when I ordered Osso Bucco and it came out tough. Tough! It was like someone boiled it, brought it up to temperature and served it. Shame.