The word “bistro” has long been associated with French dining, quaint restaurants and romantic ambiance, yet the word has no official French definition. “Bistro” is actually closer to the Russian term “bystro” (быстро) which means quickly. During the Russian occupation of Paris in 1815, the notoriously rude Russian Cossacks would yell “bystro” to their waiters for faster service. While that claim is merely an urban legend and some French linguists refute it, the fact is that the word “bistro” has acquired more of an atmospheric interpretation than an actual concrete definition. “Bistro” means different things to different people, but is traditionally a modest restaurant serving rich, homey meals. These five Los Angeles bistros cover all cuisine variances and moods. Bon Appetit.
1040 N La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
WeHo Bistro is everything you’re looking for in a bistro, and much more. The bold flavors, hearty and satisfying fare and a humble decadence perfected by only the French is evident here. Between the always-available champagne brunch, WeHo specialties (like Shrimp Provencal, Chicken Dijonaisse and Pastabella) and the exceptional service, you’ll start planning your return visit while you’re still here. Not sure what to get? Ask your server about the “surprise me” option. You won’t be disappointed. And if all that isn’t enough, there’s 84 free parking spaces in the CVS lot. A trip to France was never so easy.
3932 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029
While Cafe Stella was once the neighborhood’s best-kept secret, the word is out and spreading like wildfire. Sunset Junction is the perfect location for this French bistro with subtle Italian/Spanish notes. Romantic on a slower-paced, weekday night and just plain packed on weekends, transport yourself out of L.A. and into the charms of Europe by dining in the secluded garden out back. Indulge in one of the many French dinner classics like Sole Meunière, Coq au Vin or Steak au Poivre. Or, try a more contemporary meal like a Stella Burger or Rib Eye with frites. You can even do French for breakfast with its legendary Eggs Benedict. Service can be slow, but the French have always been known as leisurely folk.
1712 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles, 90041
Forget everything you think you know about the French when you sit down at Café Beaujolais. The French-speaking servers are polite and attentive and bring an authentic experience to your dining. They will also gladly help pair your wine and or beer (both French) with your meal. Regulars travel miles for the Parmesan-Crusted Halibut and the buttery, garlicky Escargots. Unlike most French restaurants, the portions of flavorful food are surprisingly large and most are accompanied by potatoes au gratin or roasted vegetables. This place is on the small side and a brief wait is to be expected, though well worth it.
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3219 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Tucked away in Atwater Village, Canelé brings a from-the-market-to-the-table rustic fare focused on freshness and abundant in flavor. Listed as one of the top ten spots for brunch by Bon Appetit magazine and LA Weekly‘s #1 Best Breakfast Spot in Los Angeles, this charming eatery is a mix of French classics like Boeuf Bourguignon and Duck Confit and casual dining with an open kitchen, chalkboard menu and communal table. Breakfast includes Eggs en Cocotte, Pastrami Hash with Sauerkraut and Deep Dish Quiche Lorraine, and an array of sandwiches like Fennel Cured Salmon with crème frâiche, Braised Leeks with Bacon and Fried Chicken with pickled green tomatoes. Conclude your experience with one of the complimentary signature Canele pastries; first come, first served.
Petrossian Restaurant and Boutique
321 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
If you want to branch out and try less common and more luxurious items like foie gras and caviar, then Petrossian Restaurant and Boutique is right up your alley. From cured meats to sea urchin to pâté, this Armenian, family-owned bistro offers a luxurious gastronomic French menu you can sit down to eat, take home to enjoy or gift to friends. Caviar is a mainstay of Petrossian Restaurant and Boutique with a worldly assortment from Kaluga to Hackleback. Petrossian even offers caviar classes ranging from novice to connoisseur. The boutique also offers signature French chocolates, truffles and river stones while the bakery has delectable French pastries, cakes and cookies. Hurry in for the foie gras because the ban goes into effect July 1!
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