Floor-to-ceiling windows flood La Parisienne Bistro with sunlight filtered through leafy trees, framing plates of smoked trout terrine or seared pork belly in a rustic, soothing glow. Chef Cedric Payne and owner Ali Benhamed worked to compose a menu teeming with the finest examples of French and Belgian cuisine: from seared duck breast with foie gras, to caramelized onion soup, to creamy risottos. Croque sandwiches and custom-made omelets ring in the morning with Old World elegance, while modern lounge music served with lobster in saffron veloute and felix escargots make for dinners that are both luxurious and laid back, like reclining on a beanbag throne.
Casual bistro serving traditional European comfort food combined with classic American favorites. 40 wines by the glass, a hand crafted zinc bar and a fantastic dessert selection add to the great options that Chef Everett creates for the menu.
The husband-and-wife chefs at Jean Jacques Bakery and Cafe have kneaded and frosted French- and European-style breads and pastries for more than three decades. Jozef and Emmanuelle Bindas oversee the ovens as they roll out steaming, flaky baked goods such as brioches, almond croissants, and the assorted pastries that fill the bakery’s glass display case and infuse the air with a buttery scent laced with cinnamon. French batards and baguettes join fluffy bread baked into novelty shapes, such as crabs and the human genome, and holiday treats ring in the season with stollen and bûche de Noël. Cakes in flavors such as chocolate truffle and cassis mousse help celebrate the occasions in between, from anniversaries to birthdays. Jean Jacques Bakery and Cafe also serves lunches of soups, salads, and sandwiches, and Emmanuelle helms the shop’s wedding-cake designs.
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When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.
Long before she became the owner and executive chef at Europa Italian Cafe & Tapas Bar, Michelle Williams cut her teeth in the restaurant industry as a hostess and a cocktail waitress. Ambitious from the start, Williams soon finished a rigorous chef apprenticeship program, became a sous chef, and learned to cut onions so expertly that everyone nearby would weep tears of joy. Today as a founding member of the Richmond Restaurant Group, she oversees a slew of unique local eateries.
At Europa Italian Cafe & Tapas Bar, Williams and her cooking staff blend dozens of Spanish tapas with classic Italian pastas and seafood. The restaurant's signature paella mixes scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams, and fish to harmonious ends, and the meat paella alters the classic recipe, replacing seafood with chicken, chorizo, and lamb sausage. More than 50 bottles of European and American wine—as well as housemade sangria—complement the dishes.
Windowpanes stretch from the floors to the 20-foot ceilings at Bistro 27, flooding the spacious dining room's wood floors and white tablecloths with natural light throughout the day. This sense of refined comfort extends to Brazilian-born chef Carlos Silva's menu of French- and Italian-inspired cuisine, which draws from the passion he developed while studying classical European cuisine in culinary school.
After immigrating to America in 1993, Silva honed his techniques by manning the stovetops in a French café, an Italian eatery, and an Easy-Bake Oven focus group, polishing the skills he would eventually use to develop his menu at Bistro 27. In addition to house-made pastas, the kitchen also fills diners' plates with high-end proteins such as Wagyu Kobe-style beef, cage-free chicken, and Scottish salmon.