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Aug 17, 2012 12:23 AM

What Bay Area French restaurant is comparable to this D.C. restaurant, please?

I had a great meal at La Chaumiere in Georgetown some time back.

I haven't been to many French restaurants locally and really am not too familiar with what is standard in French cooking, etc. so maybe most would have similar dishes as this one. But judging by on La Chaumiere's online menu, are there any Bay Area restaurants that seem similar to that restaurant?

And judging by a photo, any places that might have a similar vibe/decor?

I'll add that I don't eat meat other than fish. Thank you!

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  1. So I assume you are looking for a very traditional French bistro type place, that serves affordable French food, in a warm, somewhat nostalgic setting.

    There are a lot of places in the East Bay that meet that description:

    In Mountain View there is:
    Le Petit Bistro

    In the city there is:
    Cafe Claude
    Chez Maman
    Chez Papa
    Chapeau! (though Chapeau! is more formal
    )and here are a list of some others:

    1 Reply
    1. re: goldangl95

      Thank you so much. Of those I've been to La Note and that's it. Will be looking into all these.

    2. I honestly can't think of a place with that kind of decor. The beam ceilings are specific to older houses on the east coast, and is not french but very colonial america. The level of preciousness is hard to replicate. The place actually looks more german in the pictures than french, or perhaps swiss, because it's actually early american which was a mix of french / german / dutch / english.

      The menu is a little more traditional than Left Bank in Menlo Park, but only a little. I love cafe brioche in PA, but it's also a touch more modern - more like what you'd actually find in france these days.

      What part of the bay area are you looking?

      4 Replies
      1. re: bbulkow

        I'm in the East Bay but open to a wider area. Thanks for the suggestions and comments. I've never seen decor like that out here, so I figured it wasn't likely to find a similar feel place. That's for the East I guess!

        1. re: bythebay

          On further reflection, I think I'll finger Fringale in the city. It's close to the east bay, it's one of the most french but non-stuffy in the best french way. Room looks nothing alike. Warning: I haven't been there for a decade but it's the kind of place that doesn't change. Get the duck.

          1. re: bbulkow

            Good call. After Hirigoyen moved to Piperade, Fringale's food moved more in a classic Parisian bistro direction.

            1. re: bbulkow

              Thanks I have heard good things about it. Sounds like a good one to try.

        2. Liaison in Berkeley. Not fancy but nice and generally similar menu.

          6 Replies
            1. re: goldangl95

              Wow, I don't mean to hijaak this thread, but what do people eat at Liaison that they like? We went there once for dinner and thought it was indifferent food. There were three of us and every entree was full of the taste of red bell peppers: chicken, fish, and beef. Didn't come close to Chapeau! or La Note for us.

              1. re: jaiko

                So this comes from someone who feels no real nostalgia for traditional French bistro food (I mean I like it, but it's not something that I really crave), but I found all their renditions competent and flavorful with the nostalgic ambiance the original poster request. As an added bonus, I think their wine list is well thought out for the price bracket.

                Chapeau! is at least one price differential above, and I don't find La Note as being particularly better than Liaison.

                1. re: jaiko

                  Their sole with crab stuffing is great when they have that. So are the quenelles. For less rich options, the Nicoise is good and the burger is first rate. The bouliabasse has a red pepper rouille but other than that, I don't remember anything with a lot of red bell pepper - overall, I really like almost everything I have ever had there. Seems like time for a return visit!

                  1. re: jaiko

                    Yeah, I am a pretty big francophile when it comes to food (love Chapeau, Cafe Claude, and Nizza la Bella) and I have never had a meal I liked at Liasion. The last two times I was there (admittedly, a few years ago) I had the Salade Niciose and the Steak Frites and both were disappointing, as was the tarte tatin.

                  2. re: goldangl95

                    Thanks. Never been there. Not too far for me to get to.

                2. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

                  Oh, and one other question. Do you all think there's any chance of getting a vegetarian version of French onion soup at any of these places? I could have sworn they made one for me at the place in D.C. but maybe I'm remembering wrong.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: bythebay

                    I'd call and ask - but I'd assume at least one of them does - it being Berkeley and all.

                    1. re: bythebay

                      Doubtful. You're looking for a traditional bistro menu, and meaty broth is the main ingredient of a traditional French onion soup. Try Morty's Deli in SF.

                      1. re: bythebay

                        You can not only get a vegetarian French onion soup, you can get a GREAT version at Nizza La Bella in Albany, which is the place we find infinitely more appealing than Liaison. Absolutely amazing broth; I was shocked to discover it was vegetarian, in fact. Far better than Chez Panisse Cafe or Gather has given us. Their dinner version is a full 20-oz bowl, though, so it's really too filling to eat with a full entree. Unless you share it, a salad is the most you'll be able to manage afterwards.

                        Nizza's pizza "La Fruits De Mer “Bouiabaissa" is spectacular. Their dough is high quality and the wood-fired oven makes a big difference.

                        1. re: jaiko

                          The French part of Nizza's menu might be the best French food in the East Bay. Some of the best NY-style pizza, too.


                        2. vegetarian anything at le Chaumiere in DC? doubtful. and DC French is sort of stuffy. but I've always liked Cafe Claude in SF, and the staff knows how to properly abuse the guests (and if one eats flesh they have a darn good poulet roti)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: hill food

                            I know, it seems odd to me too, but somehow I seem to remember that I had the soup and I'm certain I'd have asked about the broth. But maybe I forgot to.