French Restaurants in Lake Forest

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Executive Chef Eddy Rocq, educated at the Mederic Culinary School of Paris, now serves up French sandwiches and sweets at Rocq Café. His macarons, a variety of light French sandwich cookie, have been featured in Oprah's O magazine and added to the shelves of the Laguna Niguel Whole Foods and Tustin Whole Foods. He sells hundreds of these airy treats each week, in flavors such as fruit, chocolate, and moon rock. He changes up the lunch menu every week to keep fresh flavors in the spotlight, often showcasing panini and croissant sandwiches, quiches, and homemade soups.

22722 Lambert St
Lake Forest,
CA
US

Simply Fondue's intimate, chandelier-lit dining room plays host to tabletop pots that bubble with warm imported cheeses, oils, and broths. The restaurant's cheese fondues from Switzerland, the Mediterranean, and England allow diners to taste the world's flavors without having to lick every country's flag. The eatery also simmers traditional canola and broth fondue using individual "fondue grills," which sear each morsel for lighter munching. For each entree, chefs pair simmering helpings with platters of meat, seafood, or veggies, all of which can be altered upon request.

Many meals conclude with chocolate fondue, which features an impressive coterie of sweets such as pound cake, triple-chunk brownies, peanut-butter balls, and fresh pineapple chunks plucked from the hats of local conga dancers. The dining experience stays casual throughout with plush red booths and upholstered bar stools set against textured stone walls.

28719 Los Alisos Blvd
Mission Viejo,
CA
US

Gourmet French fast food at its finest; using only fresh, first-quality ingredients and prepared in a healthy way.

2 Hutton Centre Dr
Santa Ana,
CA
US

For nearly 80 years, Gemmell's Garden Centre has fortified and ornamented lawns with plants, garden decor, and accessories. Undernourished noses can feast on the fruits of Gemmell's 24 lush greenhouses, where more than 48 combinations of colourful, fragrant Victorian hanging baskets ($39.95) originate. Customers can conceal a lawn’s bald spots with photosynthesizing toupees such as vegetable plants, including more than 30 varieties of plump tomatoes ($1.99–$4.29). Trees and shrubs ($10+), meanwhile, lavish lawns with a leafy canopy in the summer and shelter for hibernating garden gnomes in the winter. The nursery’s friendly, knowledgeable staff provides helpful advice on gardening and landscape design, gladly assisting customers in selecting plants for filling flower beds, pots, or piñatas.

34471 Golden Lantern St
Dana Point,
CA
US

Sitting pretty in the Saddleback Mountains, Ayres Hotel & Spa Mission Viejo indulges its patrons with modern suites and lavish amenities. Free high-speed Internet and a complimentary cooked-to-order American breakfast prevent the need to pilfer passwords and thrust eggs and bagels into barren coat pockets. Sink into the soothing arms of a king-size Ayres Dream Sleeper bed to enhance your REM cycle’s productivity. A bottle of sparkling wine and an appetizer from the hotel’s restaurant ($10 value) stand at the ready to keep neglected hunger pangs from consorting with troublemaking hunger gangs. With a late 2 p.m. checkout, customers can ease into the day or get a head start on the coming night’s slumber.

325 Bristol St
Costa Mesa,
CA
US

Marché Moderne: A User's Guide

Modern French Bistro | Local Ingredients | Seasonal Menus | Cosmopolitan Vibe | Covered Patio

Sample Menu

  • First course: bone marrow with bordelaise sauce, truffle-butter-grilled asparagus, and toast
  • Second course: Shelton Farms chicken coq au vin with angel hair pasta
  • Dessert: beignet with butterscotch pot de crème

While You're Waiting

  • If you’re close enough to the open kitchen, ask the chef-owners, Florent and Amelia Marneau, for some relationship advice. The couple probably has some tips to share, having successfully worked together in the same kitchen since 2007.
  • Admire the elegant interior design, which evokes the cosmopolitan feel of some of the owners' favorite french bistros around the world. The dining room transfixes the eye with its ancient stone accents, dark hardwoods, french doors, and italian patterned-silk banquettes.

Inside Tips

  • Scratching your head over what to order? Get the Spontanée prix fixe. You'll be rewarded with three reasonably priced and hyper-seasonal courses handpicked by the chefs.
  • Reservations are recommended.

Vocab Lesson

  • À la minute: this phrase directly translates to "to the minute." In cooking, it's used to describe food that's prepared to order.
  • Marché: a market. The restaurant's name—Marché Moderne, or "modern market"—is a nod to its chefs' emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients.

While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Covet luxury apparel from renowned designers such as Hermès and Valentino at the South Coast Plaza shopping center (3333 Bristol Street).

After: Sip a craft cocktail with local trendsetters at Mesa (725 Baker Street).



If You Can’t Make It, Try This Pinot Provence (686 Anton Boulevard), another upscale spot specializing in seasonal French cuisine.

3333 Bristol St
Costa Mesa,
CA
US