Le Café Bistro treats Francophile tastes with classic French dishes served in an eclectic, cozy atmosphere. Diners can choose from a slew of starters populating the varied bistro menu. Begin with authentic escargot ($7), or savor the french onion soup topped with a baked cheese-and-bread beret ($5). Classics, such as croque-monsieur sandwiches ($7), rib-eye steak with crispy frites ($15), and succulent braised-beef bourguignon served with mashed potatoes and rice ($14), give this spot a je ne sais quoi that's particularly difficult to describe. Crack through the caramelized sugar crust of a vanilla-bean crème brûlée ($5) while sipping a beverage from the drink menu, which touts various wines, beer options, and Segafredo coffee and tea.
With the deft hands of a veteran baker, Vincent Benoliel keenly measures almonds, eggs, and sugar, because accuracy is essential when making macarons. The ephemeral sweets come in a rainbow of colors and might taste of chocolate, rose petal, or lemon, but every single one has that je ne sais quoi of a macaron made by a native Frenchman. Vincent grew up in France's ubiquitous restaurant industry, ascending to the rank of sous chef in a Parisian brasserie when he was only 18. In 2005, he brought the richness of French cuisine to South Florida by importing the Eiffel Tower in 3-pound chunks and by opening Le Boudoir in Miami. His handiwork includes delicacies such as escargot, steak tartare, and fresh pastries.
Leafy palm trees and a canopy of umbrellas hang over tables outside both of A la Folie Café’s locations, setting the stage for low-key dinners of baguette sandwiches, sweet and savory crepes, and French cheese plates. Plates of niçoise salad, chocolate croissants, and buckwheat pancakes stuffed with brie add a refined air to meals, as do the gentle strains of French music and the rich taste of French wines. Visitors to the secluded Espanola Way restaurant dine amid pillowy cushions and couches and the leafy greenery of the garden seating, and those who stop at the Purdy Avenue location can expect breathtaking sunset views, even in the morning.
Recently reopened and revamped, Lemon Twist showcases a bistro-style menu designed by French-trained chef Franck Hierholzer. Subtly elegant décor is adorned with lace curtains and garnet walls, offering a comfortable, mind-soothing backdrop for first dates and pre flu-shot noshing. Begin with a bowl of soupe a l’oignon (onion soup, $7.50) or escargots de bourgogne (snails in Burgundy sauce, $9.50) before migrating your mouth to a savory entree such as moules frites marinieres (mussels in butter and white wine broth, $18.50) or entrecote grillee frites (grilled rib-eye steak, $23.50). Bronzed crème brûlée ($7.50) helps chompers cool down after spirited feasts.
Inside Rouge, silent movies projected on the wall enhance the quietly romantic atmosphere as patrons dine on primarily French dishes, along with traditional Moroccan-style stews. Steak tartare or bouillabaisse—a fish soup popular in southern France—pair with french, spanish, or italian wines from the expansive wine list. The overall dining experience transcends Miami, as french, spanish, or middle eastern music plays in the background.