Quick Bites: A Taste of France

Coral Gables’ French cuisine is the crème de la crème when it comes to the city’s diverse culinary scene. Offering everything from breakfast crepes and croque monsieurs to onion soup and escargot, here are some local French restaurants we love:

Sweet or Savory

French Cuisine

The new restaurant Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café is located on the ground floor courtyard of The Plaza Coral Gables, the latest place to open there and the latest location of this national chain that started in Texas. It is bright, roomy, and cheerful, with a large variety of sweet, savory, and breakfast crepes posted on chalkboards. Prices are reasonable ($9.75 for the classic lemon & sugar dessert crepe, $14.25 for a ham & gruyere lunch crepe), with counter ordering for table delivery.

3005 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
Open 8 am to 9 pm daily

Outdoor Dining

Every French restaurant in the Gables has a couple of tables outside, but the most expansive outdoor seating is at Brasserie Central. Owned by Pascal Oudon (proprietor of Pascal’s on Ponce), Brasserie Central has a large menu of classic French brasserie fare, dishes like country-style paté ($19), croque monsieur sandwiches ($22), and quiche ($22). Our favorites are their steamed artichokes ($20) and pan-roasted trout almondine with green beans ($33). Great happy hour bargains for mussels and oysters.

320 San Lorenzo Ave.
Open daily for lunch and dinner

In the Hood

French Cuisine

When you want good French food in a cozy, informal setting, Frenchie’s Diner is the place, just off the beaten path. Now open for a dozen years, Frenchie’s offers daily black board specials, from tuna niçoise salad ($29) to filet au poivre ($49), with certain café staples always available, like onion soup ($12) and escargot ($14). You can also usually get a huge plate of mussels with fries ($31), which can feed two. Owner Gabriel Castrec is always present, making sure customers are served with aplomb.

2618 Galliano St.
Open for lunch and dinner (closed Sun. & Mon.)

Historic Setting

French Cuisine

The latest entry, Bouchon Bistro, is in the historic La Palma Hotel in an immaculately designed setting right out of the Belle Epoque. With a crew trained by Chef Thomas Keller, one of the top masters of French cuisine, the idea is to offer classic French bistro food done to exquisite perfection. So, the simple Poulet Roti ($38), or roasted chicken, is elevated by using pasture-raised birds, brined and cooled for 24 hours before preparation. The same goes for their salade Lyonnaise with bacon lardons ($21) or their steak frites ($55) — basic dishes done superbly.

2101 Galiano St.
Open daily for dinner, lunches Fri.-Sun.