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Any good French restaurants in LA?

Are there any good French restaurants in LA?
Or is my best bet to get on a plane, and fly to NY?
I'm looking for a place similar to Balthazar.

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        1. Closest thing to Balthazar in LA would probably be Cafe Beaujolais out in Eagle Rock, or maybe Bouchon in Beverly Hills.

          Mind you, this does not mean that Cafe Beaujolais is on par with Balthazar; rather, it's more like a step-child adopted by the same parents that gave birth to Balthazar.

          And Bouchon has too much of a corporate feel to give you that nice cozy, bistro atmosphere that's part of the charm of Balthazar you are probably seeking.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Bar Bouchon feels very French to me. I love sitting outdoors and eating casual bistro food. That would be my recommendation. Bouchon, however is excellent in a more formal way.

          2. Maison Giraud in the Palisades.

            Not only great (still pretty new), but part of the fun is the excitement of the cliental - Palisadians who finally have a great restaurant in their hood. They're all smiles and giggles.

            Not like Balthazar however. Bouchon and Comme Ca is more along those lines. Church & State downtown too (was more like that with previous chef, but still very good.)

            Melisse is haute. Fine dining. More like a Jean Georges experience. (but better in my experience).

            2 Replies
            1. re: foodiemahoodie

              Have to second Church & State as a pseudo Balthazar in LA (with far better food). Despite the rotating chef, we just had a very solid meal there couple of days of ago. Beaujolais may have French-accented waiters, but I'll take the cocktail program and the crowd pleasing tarte flambees at C&S anytime.

              Echoing ips, upstairs Bouchon feels like a corporate meeting room. Echoing maudies5, I much prefer Bar Bouchon downstairs, and rather enjoy it.

              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                I wish I could recommend Comme Ça. I've been several times, because it SHOULD be a really great French restaurant. They have decent cocktails and a well-curated wine list, but the food is just not up to par. Sometimes it's reasonably good but other times the meat is desperately overcooked and you can tell it's sat in the passthrough under the heat lamps.

                I'd recommend Bistro Provence in Burbank before Comme Ça, but it's not like Balthazar either.

              2. I've never been to Balthazar. I don't think L.A. is very strong when it comes to French food. But the 2 times I've eaten at Cafe Beaujolais I've had very good meals in a charming, "date worthy" restaurant.

                Cafe Beaujolais
                1712 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

                4 Replies
                1. re: Servorg

                  I'm not so sure Balthazar is so strong for French food either. It's good, but in NY it's a stone's throw away from much better.
                  Church and State is probably the closest in LA.

                  1. re: cls

                    Disagree about Balthazar, still my go to after all these years whenever in NY. l like better than most bistros in Paris. Will be trying Melisse next month.

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      Agree that Balthazaar is a NY go-to & that Melisse is an entirely different deal (haute - wear yer fanciness). I've lived in LA for muchos anos and I appreciate all these suggestions. I pretty much gave up on Balthazaar-like. I will try Church and State with glee.

                    2. re: cls

                      Yeah never understood all the fuss about Balthazar when I dined there - just ok did not find it comparable to bistros in Paris.

                      I like Bouchon but find it more cal-french rather than a true french bistro.

                  2. Bouchon tackles French food very well, but if you want the feeling of eating in a Paris bistro try Le Petit Four on Sunset in West Hollywood. Amazing food and free parking (just use the Sunset Plaza parking lots).

                    Le Petit Four
                    8654 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

                    235 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jlisa1

                      Petit Four? Amazing food?

                      I'll have to strongly disagree. Good euro-trash watching though. Fun place, but like Dan Tana's, it's not about the food. (but nothing like Dan Tana's crowd which is wildly eclectic mix).

                    2. I'm not a fan of Cafe Beaujolais. Once the Ulmers (original owners) sold it, it seems to have declined somewhat, moreso with the front of house. I encourage you to visit Saint Amor in Culver City. The feel and ambiance are not very Balthazar, but this should not discourage you as the food is excelent bistro cuisine, served with enthusiasm and competence.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Grog

                        Grog - second this; not only is the food excellent but there is a very Frenchy atmosphere and kind courteous service without the overpowering Hi I'm Greg you waiter thing. The owners are hands on and present wonderful dishes - can't wait to go back.

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

                        1. re: ZoeZ

                          Grog - third this: Had xmas dinner at Saint Amour, and there is no more enjoyable French bistro in LA/Culver City these days. Melisse is pissy French, while LSA is bistro French.
                          superb venison, very interesting lobster thermador, plus two of the most charming hosts/owners, yielded a wonderful Xmas evening.
                          Can't imagine even mentioning Cafe Beaujolais in Eagle Rock in the same sentence.

                          1. re: carter

                            I have to disagree on Saint Amour. Have tried it many times, and found it wanting. It's Moules Frites doesn't belong in the same universe as Balthazaar's.

                            1. re: sockbunny

                              Hit Saint Armour once and came to the same conclusion as Sockbunny.

                            2. re: carter

                              We too had Christmas dinner there and it was fantastic. Roast venison in a grand veneur hunter sauce, fondant potatoes, fresh perfectly cooked salmon over lentils. The place was packed but service was excellent. The talent in the kitchen is extraordinary and I believe this to be our neighborhood's best restaurant. Hope it stays good (and affordable).

                        2. Anisette was most like Balthazar, down to the decor and raw bar. Unfortunately Anisette closed. Church and State serves similar bistro fare with a smaller raw bar in a slightly more dimly lit but not unpleasant setting. I haven't been since they switched chefs though.

                          I cannot recommend against Comme Ca enough. I found the duck confit oddly pale and overly salted on my 1 visit and never bothered to go back.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Porthos

                            "I cannot recommend against Comme Ca enough..."

                            Is that a double negative which lands you (unintentionally) in the affirmative? Forgive me for grammar stuff, but it was a little confusing.

                            I've had once experience at Comme Ca. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. I'd go back if someone insisted. And Lizziee on this list said stick to the appetizers - which I didn't do.

                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                              I think it's a triple negative which lands me back in the negative? ;)

                              It was a bit awkward. To clarify, I do not recommend Comme Ca.

                              1. re: Porthos

                                your meaning, in the original post was not only clear, but you phrased it cleverly as well.

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  Porthos forgot to mention the excruciatingly uncomfortable chairs at Comme Ca and the over the top valet parking fee which together with mediocre food made it on the never to return list.

                                2. Thanks to everyone who has replied, I have quite a few restaurants to try.
                                  Another question, where's the best Cassoulet in LA?
                                  Thanks for all your assistance.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: adrouault

                                    At the moment, I would give the nod to Le Saint. Amour ($45 for two). I would also check on the new Maison Giraud in Pacific Palisades to see whether he is offering a version (on a separate note, Alain Giraud, at his prior restaurants, made my favorite daube in town, so I am hoping that is on the menu as well).

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

                                    Maison Giraud
                                    1032 Swarthmore Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90272

                                    1. re: New Trial

                                      Le Saint Amour is indeed a terrific little place.

                                    2. re: adrouault

                                      I just read a very nice review of Maison Giraud on Lizziee's blog. And she mentioned having a very good cassoulet there. But (having been there a number of times myself) I don't think it's on the regular menu - but one of the daily specials. Everything she loved - I have tried and agree with.

                                      And the daube is not on the menu. But it will likely come up as a nightly special. Not sure how you plan that.

                                      1. re: adrouault

                                        Has anyone been to l'epicerie since the RH chef moved over? We used to very much enjoy the food at RH. Thought it was pretty good SW French food notwithstanding the setting.

                                      2. Saint AMour has a great Andouillette. Not to everybody's taste, but I like it.
                                        There was a great cassoulet place at Pastis on beverly blvd - i believe it closed.
                                        if you want to fly to new YOrk, save up a bit more and fly to Paris.

                                        as well, I like Cafe Pierre in Manhattan beach - some traditional dishes - order carefully. they also have a few italian dishes (as you might find in paris) a merguez, and a few cal-french approaches.
                                        good luck.

                                        1. Asking for something lilke Balthazar is a pretty high standard to set. So I am actually going to ignore it. ;)

                                          Here are two Bistros (I think of Balthazar as more of a Brassiere) that actually remind me of France (was in grad school there in 2006-7 at BEM).

                                          La Poubelle (Hollywood) I know, I know. Funny name.

                                          Le Petite Cafe (Santa Monica)

                                          Let us know how your search goes.

                                          p.s. This is not say there isn't a lot of good info in the thread above. Just two more thoughts.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: ellaystingray

                                            I'll look into all of these.
                                            I just hope that the name isn't an indication of the quality of the food.

                                            1. re: adrouault

                                              Le Petit Cafe is owned and run by Alsatians, and very enjoyably too. I don't know exactly where it is on the authenticity index, but our first dinner there was with Mrs. O's mostly-French family, and we all liked it immensely. As we live a good distance away I rarely get there except for lunch, when the menu shifts partly over to the American side. Last time I was there the confit de canard I was hoping for was off the menu, so just for the hell of it I ordered the cheeseburger, with frites of course. It was excellent.

                                          2. No, your best bet is to fly to Paris and choose from many excellent French restaurants of all types and prices. "California French" is a different animal. NY French is mostly overpriced and pretentious as if catering to the investment banking crowd who want to pay $1000 per meal. Las Vegas French fits right in with LA and NY.

                                            1. there isnt anything similar to Balthazar here in LA...but Melisse is even better !

                                              1. My husband and I like Taix on Sunset in Echo Park and Madame Matisse on 3536 West Sunset in Silverlake.

                                                1. Found out Madame Matisse just closed down. :(

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: buffmamabear

                                                    But Taix just goes on and on and on … I must say that my own tastes are of the old-school sort, not as firmly so as my late FIL's, but if it's French it better have escargot on the menu. I liked Madame Matisse okay, but I enjoyed the meal at Taix rather more. However, the place is very solidly stuck in the '50s and shows no signs of changing. There are those of us who don't mind that, and we're happy to have it to go back to for affordable trad French, but I'd hesitate to recommend it to anyone under 55 …

                                                    Equally traditional in its own odd way is La Vie in Rosemead; it's owned and run by a Vietnamese family, Papa being the chef. Firmly classic French, their only real shortcoming is that every main dish comes with the same side-vegetables, although they're always well prepared and appropriate. I think this is done to help keep the prices down; it's quite affordable. Service is always friendly and attentive, the room is small, though we've fit eight or ten at a table, and there's no dress code spoken or implied. It was Papa Steve's favorite place, both for the kind of food they served and for the prices; he was picky about his food, but unwilling to part with a nickel more than he had to.