Dubbed one of the best crêpe purveyors in Chicago by Chicago magazine in 2010, La France Café & Crepes welcomes diners with a mellifluous menu of French flatcakes that sets tongues to tapping and moustaches to twirling. Chef Ben Mchabcheband and his culinary crew carefully construct each crêpe fresh to order, filling its belly with sweet or savory selections. To help you recall sweet dreams, choose warm apricots smothered in melted brie atop a sweet vanilla crêpe ($8.95) or nestle apples with cinnamon and caramel within a sweet crêpe blanket ($8.95). Crêpe forestiers envelope chicken or beef, wild mushrooms, and gruyere cheese to deliver a savory meal and epistles from the front lines of the kitchen ($12.95), while open-faced galettes expose the stomach-invading strategies of empire-driven eggs and various members of their hunger-trouncing team, such as ham, fresh tomatoes, and braised spinach ($11.95).
Born as a humble street cart in Chicago, Suzette's Creperie has moved to the cozy comforts of downtown Wheaton. Whether diners nibble within the bistro walls or out upon the open-air patio, they'll be free to indulge in a variety of French-inspired fare, including crepes, quiches, and dinnertime entrees. Crepes include savory selections such as spinach soufflé topped in swiss cheese ($12.50 at lunch), or beef bourguignon, braised in red wine for six hours and then rolled into fluffy tubes of satisfaction ($15.50 at lunch). Quiches, served with a side salad of baby field greens and balsamic vinaigrette, include fillings such as lorraine, broccoli and cheddar, or spinach ($10.50 each), while large-scale entrees (available during dinner) include crab cakes with habanero lime sauce ($20) and duck confit with wild mushroom risotto ($21.50), which singlehandedly sends a warning to humankind's two biggest threats—ducks and mushrooms.
Café Amano summons patrons to its elegant, warmly lit interior with the savory aromas of gourmet small plates, salads, pastas, entrees, and more. Warm up over a plate of warming gnocchi di pesto, potato dumplings chaperoned by apple-and-gouda chicken sausage ($17), or sink your teeth into an elegant entree such as the oven-roasted rack of Australian lamb chops, enrobed in a shiitake mushroom port wine reduction ($29). A menu of decadent handmade desserts sports sweeties such as the chocolate l’orange torte, infused with Grand Marnier and tipsily donning a lampshade-style hat of chocolate ganache ($9). Relax in the cream and black accented dining room with a correspondingly hued Intelligentsia café au lait ($3), or sip on an imported dessert selection from the wine list such as the French Pineau des Charentes ($7 per glass). View the full menu here.
Though outside the streets may be full of rain and slush, inside Pasteur, it's always sunny and tropical. Pure white walls carry the natural light from the front windows all the way to the back of the space, and woven chairs and soaring greenery lend a shore-side air to the space without relying on tables sprinkled with sea salt. What began in 1985 as a restaurant serving one simple dish—Vietnamese pho—has blossomed into a bustling, upscale eatery serving cuisine from all regions of Vietnam. Flavors of lemongrass, coconut, and garlic underpin a menu highlighted by seafood dishes: monkfish in a curry tumeric sauce, salmon baked in a clay pot, and whole fried snapper.
The culinary artisans at Le Poulet Bistro craft crepes le poulet, beef bourguignon, and traditional French dishes in an elegant, rural French setting. Behind a white-brick façade, waiters carry dishes over dark hardwood floors and past burnt-umber walls spotted with French-themed art. Le Poulet’s European style of cooking lets meat continually baste itself through the cooking process, a feat of automation bettered only by barrels of self-linking monkeys. Sweet treats such as the crepes Mon Ami—thin French pancakes filled with fruit and vanilla whipped cream—cap off evenings alongside authentic Italian Lavazza coffee.
Eager to dispel the misconception that the French only excel in fine dining, as they told Crain's Chicago Business, restaurateurs Stephan and Nicole Outrequin Quaisser opened Brasserie by LM to show how France does everyday dining. The magazine lauds Brasserie's “case of simplicity done well,” showcased by dishes such as duck confit with “beautifully browned skin," traditional onion soup, and brick chicken, perfect for building an edible dream house. For early risers (the restaurant opens at 6 a.m.), the culinary team crafts French-style breakfasts with French toast topped by caramelized bananas and crepes filled with gruyere, ham, and béchamel.
To complement those bites, barkeeps pour imported and domestic wines and stir up specialty cocktails and premium coffee drinks. Feasts unfold in a space that’s the essence of South Loop sleekness, where a large chalkboard menu towers over a spacious lounge filled with bamboo-topped tables, wine bottles peeking from floating wooden shelves, and cheery orange seats.