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Inexpensive French fare?

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We're still blue about the demise of Cafe du Village on Larchmont where you could bring in your own wine. Can anyone recommend a low key French place? I never ate at fancy places when I lived there and miss the simple cafe fare. Any direction appreciated!

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  1. Some folks on this board may disagree. I have always enjoyed Taix at 1911 Sunset. Extremely reasonable prices, very decent food and excellent service all in an LA landmark. They have a huge separate bar and a complete wine program. The dining room is old school french, quite formal with comfortable booths. Last time I was there for lunch I had the best trout and clam chowder that I had in a long time. I wish it were closer - its one of my favorites. I will stop in next time I'm in their neighborhood. Here is their website.
    http://www.taixfrench.com

    4 Replies
    1. re: Baron

      I join in Baron's observations. I was going to Taix which the menu used to say is to be pronounced "Tex". Guess they got tired of teaching French to the Los Angelenos, since in was no more than 5 years old or 62 years ago when they were on Commercial Street in Downtown. I have their website on my favorites list and check in now and then for specials. I was there about a year ago and based on that visit can still give it a high recommendation.

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      Taix French Restaurant
      1911 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026

      1. re: Hughlipton

        I eat at Taix fairly regularly for pre-Disney Hall dinner, and the food is very good, very fairly priced, and their special wine list the best in town. Nightly specials at around $18.95 including soup or salad, with veggies accompanying entrees.
        Sit in the bar area for a bit more warmth, unless the Lakers are in action nearby, as the TVs will be going and their fans will be yelling!

      2. re: Baron

        Another vote for Taix. I've been a regular there for 30 years, Enjoy going there on a Friday afternoon to decompress from a week at work. Always enjoy their onion soup, especially on a cold winter day!

        1. re: Baron

          Today, Groupon is offering a $40 certificate for Taix for $20.

        2. It would probably be worth your time (given your desire as stated) to comb through this recent prior thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/764626 for some good ideas. While some of these will be too frou frou for you, others should be spot on. Bon Voyage!

          1. Have you tried Le Peiti Cafe in Santa Monica?

            Le Petit Cafe
            2842 Colorado Ave
            Santa Monica
            310 829-6792
            http://www.lepetitcafebonjour.com/

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            Le Petit Cafe
            2842 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404

            2 Replies
            1. re: Norm Man

              Le Petit Cafe sounds wonderful. Thanks. I'm going to try it this coming week.

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              Le Petit Cafe
              2842 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404

              1. re: maudies5

                Thank you for the ideas. Went to Taix MANY years ago so the memory is fuzzy but i don't remember feeling like returning. But perhaps it's worth a repeat. Le Petit Cafe looks charming as well if I happen to be on the westside. I remember fondly Cafe Maurice as well that bit the dust years ago.

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                Le Petit Cafe
                2842 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404

            2. Brasserie Pascal (Newport Beach) has good inexpensive deals

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              Brasserie Pascal
              327 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660

              1. I love Le Petit Cafe; it's one of the reasons that whenever I have to be in Santa Monica I try really hard to make it around lunchtime! Nighttime is good, too. I believe the owner is Alsatian; there's quite a bit of Alsatian stuff on the dinner menu. Lunch has more "California" fare mixed in.

                If you somehow find yourself wanting something French out in the eastern territories, La Vie on San Gabriel Blvd. in Rosemead is very classic French, by a properly-trained Vietnamese chef, at remarkably low prices. When my pa-in-law was alive this was the family's default special-occasion restaurant. There have been several reports about it on this board.

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                La Vie
                2547 San Gabriel Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                13 Replies
                1. re: Will Owen

                  I don't recall seeing any recent report on Angelique Cafe? Will, seeing as how it isn't so far from the Pasadena area maybe you could take one for the team? ;-D>

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                  Angelique Cafe
                  840 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

                  1. re: Servorg

                    I haven't been since M. Commereuc and his wife sold it to the Café Beajolais owner. I'm told it's just not the same (and neither, I can tell you, is Café Beaujolais). As for the ex-Angeliquer, he now has Le Saint-Amour in Culver City, where I have enjoyed two lunches so far, though it's gotten mixed reviews here. I can tell you that his duck confit, which was quite adequate downtown, is now stunningly good. You get TWO whole legs on a bed of extremely skinny, crisp frites, and though I'm told it's a bit pricier now than it was two years ago it has to be worth it.

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Will, I have eaten at Saint Amour probably 5 times, and it is wonderful for dinner. Never in that area for lunch, but I will drive from Sherman Oaks to eat there for dinner. As you state, the duck is sensational.
                      Highly recommended for French bistro food, not meant to be compared to Melisse for fussy French food.
                      Moules Frites is also a very good option. Wish the dessert menu varied more often. I generally bring my own wine, as corkage is fair.

                      1. re: carter

                        What is their corkage? I think it'd be wonderful to bring a bottle of the namesake wine along, though I'm assuming they keep some in the cellar! I should probably wait until the rail connection is finished, though; that stuff is probably the most alcoholic of all the Beaujolais. Had a small glass at a tasting room in Saint-Amour, and the proprietor insisted on pouring me another; I was SO glad someone else was driving!

                      2. re: Will Owen

                        Another thumbs up for Saint Amour. We've only been there for dinner, never lunch. We used to love Angelique Cafe.

                        I just checked the website and the duck confit is now up to $23. It used to be under $20. Although the description on the site now says ala orange and says duck leg, singular. I don't see the regular confit description at all.

                        1. re: Jase

                          Yes, it was $18-something, a figure I remember almost as well as the meal. For me at the time that was right on the line between Buy it and Don't … as $20 is about my self-imposed limit for lunch. I may have to adjust that, except that now it's the $4+ gas and the trek from Pasadena that are the real barriers. Just dying for them to get that damn train running!

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            If it's one duck leg for $23, that certainly drastically skews the value ratio. La Petite Creperie in Mar Vista, just down the street on Venice/Grandview, serves one confit duck leg for $14. The skin needed to be crispier the one time I had it. I've been meaning to go back and try them again. The food was good and we liked the overall mood and service. But they're only open for dinner Thursday and Fridays.

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                            La Petite Creperie
                            3809 Grand View Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                            1. re: Jase

                              Well, I just looked at the currently-posted menu and the confit is gone! Probably killed off by its own popularity. The lunchtime steak-frites would appear to be an excellent deal at $16, about what Bistro de la Gare in SoPas charges for their midday version (which sounds to me like a good idea for another fine shootout!).

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                              Bistro de la Gare
                              921 Meridian Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

                              1. re: Will Owen

                                Duck confit still on the menu at La Creperie. Having gone to the La Petite Creperie in Mar Vista last night I will gladly throw their hat into the ring on this thread (along with Jase). My wife had the roast chicken breast crepe ( Poulet a La Crème - Pan Roasted Chicken Breast with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Parsley) and I had the duck confit with Cherry Glaze and haricort vert as the vegetable. Very Frenchified menu with a charming French owner/host. And cute tables, comfortable chairs. The skin on the duck leg was nice and crispy. The price on the duck confit had gone up to $18. The special soup of the day "leek and potato" was also delicious.

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                                La Petite Creperie
                                3809 Grand View Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  Servorg, thanks for the update. Glad to hear about the duck. We like the overall feel of La Petite. People are super nice. Did you get a chance to try the coffee or the dessert? We liked the coffee a lot. I'm not a crepe expert but I liked the crepes dessert. Although it was prepared beforehand and not fresh for dinner service.

                                  We'll have to go back there soon. It's a nice small neighborhood place.

                                  1. re: Jase

                                    We were debating about dessert, but after the soup and the mains we really didn't have room. Also, the pace is leisurely (without being slow) and the room was completely full by the time we had finished the savory part of the meal, so we decided to get home as my wife needed to go back to her store to finish a couple of orders for the next day.

                              2. re: Jase

                                I went to LSA a few weeks ago for the Fried Chicken dinner on Sunday(very good btw) and also tried the duck confit w/ orange sauce. It is still 2 legs and while tasty, there was no crisp skin to speak of. Don't know if the duck confit is still great at RH at Andaz, now that the chef left, but that was the best confit I've had in LA.

                                1. re: baloney

                                  If crisp skin is what you're after, then no, this won't do it for you. All I care about is the succulence of the flesh; in fact, the recipe I use to make it calls for removing the skin and rendering the fat first. That way the COOK gets crisp skin … ;-)

                    2. One other place I keep meaning to try, but somehow haven't gotten the job done yet; Le Petit Jardin on Robertson. Anyone been (other than Team exilekiss for the roast chicken marathon that is)?

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                      Le Petit Jardin
                      1456 S Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035, USA

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Servorg

                        We've gone a couple times -- it's good, not great, a bit overpriced (you can get the same quality at La Dijonaise for quite a bit less). What's intriguing and may be worth the experience is the bistro slash flower shop interior and ambiance.

                        We still like La Dijonaise (in the Helms bakery building complex) for totally decent, reasonably priced French food -- coq au vin, entrocote, crepes, beef burgendy (I won't try to spell it in french but they do) and the waiters are usually French as well.

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                        La Dijonaise Cafe
                        8703 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                        1. re: NAspy

                          Thanks for the reply and mini review, NAspy. It probably just fell a couple of notches on my "have to do it soon" meter as it's not quite as geographically friendly to us as some of the other places mentioned in this thread.

                      2. A bit far for you, but Favori in Santa Ana, of all places, does French bistro very well and very reasonably. Their Vietnamese food, notably their catfish, is good as well. My favorite stop in the OC whenever I go down there for any reason.

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                        Favori Restaurant
                        3502 W 1st St, Santa Ana, CA 92703

                        1. if you are over on the westside, give Lilly's French cafe a try.
                          although during normal dining times, La Cachette bistro in santa monica is probably over budget, they recently ran a special for those dining in the dining room after 9 pm on friday and sat. nights.
                          call, maybe special is still being offered

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                          Lilly's French Cafe & Bar
                          1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

                          1. Years ago I used to go to Le Petit Moulin on Montana, around 14th. Very small, quiet, lot of regulars. Older, dignified waiters. It's probably long gone now. Anybody know?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: lindsaypinkham

                              The Woman In The Hat, who is much more of a Francophile than I am, still likes Café Beajolais, or the spun-off Bistro De La Gare, in Pasadena.

                              1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                                Café Beaujolais has the same owner as Angelique. The man he bought it from couldn't stay out of the business - another unsuccessful retirement! - and started up Bistro de la Gare. The family went there for dinner on a Thursday night shortly after they'd opened, and were very much impressed. Went back on a Saturday, about a year later, and it was a disaster - the door people were letting everyone in, it was packed, and the kitchen was beyond the weeds and washed out to sea. I keep thinking it needs another visit, though. The French guy that was trying to sell table linens up the street some time back said it was his favorite lunch spot, and being a block away was only one of the reasons.

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                                Bistro de la Gare
                                921 Meridian Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

                              2. re: lindsaypinkham

                                I used to go to their (LPM's) early bird specials which at the time were about the highest priced French food I could afford and not bad. But --getting to the point of this thread--honestly, at a certain point you have to look at the law of averages. And, having now had a bit more French food, I'd have to say the odds of getting memorable cheap French food are weak at best. Better to spend a little more (or a lot more, alas) and get some good stuff. Alternately, explore some other great cuisine that;s here a-plenty, i.e., Chinese.

                              3. I had a late lunch at Taix on Sunday as a first-timer, after reading about this place and observing it on Sunset for many years. There's nothing trendy or nouveau about Taix, which is fine with me. Very professionally run (well, the family has had 84 years to get it right, so it should be, I suppose) and comfortable, albeit unexciting.

                                We had a slate of old-school classics: onion soup gratinee; pate campagne (served with lots of cornichon and pickled pearl onions; asked for Dijon mustard, which was brought in a little ramekin); excellent, fat mussels with leeks, cream, white wine and a paper-lined silver cone of pommes frites; grilled fish. For dessert, tarte tatin (served with vanilla ice cream, though would have preferred whipped). By the glass, had a very good CA Syrah and French Muscadet; the list by glass and bottle is quite good and very fairly priced. Actually, everything on the menu was reasonably priced (as was the $2.50 on-site-parking valet), well prepared and tasty. Service was proper, friendly. Noticed older French families among the diners, as well as neighborhood Angelenos out for a special time. The ladled-at-table soups seemed to be very popular; I'll be sure to order next time.

                                We'll definitely return to Taix when in L.A. and not in need of novelty. Tried and true is often far more satisfying than new for new's sake. (The same can be said for Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood or, for that matter, the truly outstanding calf's liver dish I had for lunch at Spago a few days earlier.)

                                -----
                                Taix French Restaurant
                                1911 W Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Riccardo

                                  Thanks for the review, Riccardo. Like you said, "there's nothing trendy or nouveau about Taix." That's what makes it special. Good food, value and service where you can actually carry on a conversation. Just like an old reliable friend. I hope it stays around for another 84 years.

                                2. Someone at work recommended a cute little place in Santa Monica called "Madame Chou
                                  Chou." (pronounced shoo shoo)
                                  I really liked it. Very nice French couple. Charming patio out back. It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I tried it at lunch time, but I'll definitely be back for dinner.
                                  Had a lovely frisse salad and a pork sandwich.
                                  Nice French wines by the glass.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: perk

                                    Place Link below

                                    Website: http://www.madamechouchou.com/

                                    Phone: 310 392 2509

                                    I can't edit the place link I created since that function is still out of commission, so I've included them in the body of the post. Perhaps the Chow Team will add them and then they can eliminate them here?

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                                    Madame Chou Chou
                                    2518 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                                  2. L'Epicerie recently brought on Sébastien Archambault and the food is quite good.

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                                    L'Epicerie Market
                                    9900 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                                    1. Soleil
                                      1386 Westwood Blvd
                                      Los Angeles, CA 90024

                                      Very cute and cozy French place.

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                                      Soleil
                                      1386 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: WhiteandBlackSwan

                                        Does Soleil still offer AYCE Mussels and Fries on aweeknight (Wednesday?)?

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                                        Soleil
                                        1386 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                                        1. re: Norm Man

                                          They do. 24 hour advanced reservations. Wednesday nights. Also, 14 kinds of Poutine.

                                      2. La Dijonaise in Culver City's Helms District. When I crave le petit dejeuner (breakfast) I head over and devour one of their croissants. It's exactly what you are looking for - a simple bistro.

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                                        La Dijonaise Cafe
                                        8703 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232