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.
The air has cooled by the time diners stroll onto La Goulue's palm-tree-shaded terrace, their arms laden with shopping bags from the surrounding boutiques and fine jewelers of the chic Bal Harbor Shops. Waiters dart forward, jotting down orders for French wines and sparkling champagnes before heading into the breezy dining room. They sweep past pristine white cloth tables and elegant brown leather banquets before relaying orders to the bartenders behind the 20-foot imported pewter bar.
Tucked away in the kitchen of this bright Parisian bistro, chef Jean Pierre Petit is hard at work. He folds organic produce, premium meats, and fresh fish into traditional French dishes, from buttery escargot to pan-fried trout amandine to homemade duck confit. The skilled chef whips a parmesan and gruyere soufflé that was praised on Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate for it's "light-as-air texture." For dessert, he drizzles crepes in lavish toppings of dulce de leche, Grand Marnier, and liquefied unicorn horns.
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.
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.
Situated inside the lauded Lords South Beach Hotel, Cha Cha Rooster serves internationally inspired meals in a variety of elegant settings. Gauzy white curtains and trimmed hedges surround the street-side terrace. Inside the aptly named Gold bar, thousands of sparkling scales cover the walls surrounding guests sitting at a long banquette or in studded leather chairs to share cocktails and secrets. Guests share hearty breakfasts and express lunches in the retro-chic dining room or while lounging beside one of the resort's three outdoor pools.