It only started happening recently, but every single time I make brunch plans with a friend, I catch myself googling, “best French bistros in LA.” Then I stop myself. Wait. Why does it have to be French? In the past month, I’ve schlepped across town for baguettes and cheeses, and sat on more woven rattan chairs than I care to admit. Again, Why?
There’s only one explanation—I have a hankering for Paris the same way I sometimes crave le French fry when I get the midnight munchies. Maybe it’s a form of escapism. As much as I love Los Angeles, every once I while, I want to be somewhere else—somewhere with wooden paneling and red-and-black decor. (It’s just a human thing to feel. When I was somewhere else, I very much wanted to be in LA). Maybe there’s wine, or even un café. Dark and bitter, the way they like it in Paris. If there’s a crossbreeze, that’s even better.
After having a few conversations with my Angelino friends, I realized that I’m not alone in my fantasy. Even some of the most beach-and-palm-tree-loving folks I know expressed interest in a mini European getaway. Which is why I decided to pen this post—for those of you who want to find a little taste of France in Los Angeles County. So, voilà! Here are some of my favorite Parisian corners in the city.
Le Petit Paris
I already mentioned this place in a recent post I wrote about my night at the LA Opera, but I firmly believe it’s worthy of another nod. The cocktail I ordered—a concoction made with gin, fresh lemon, lime and grapefruit juice—is definitely something I still can’t shut up about. Housed inside the historic El Dorado building, the space opens up lavishly. There’s plush, velvet furnishings, patterned tile floors, and dim, romantic lighting, especially in the evening. That mix of modern and vintage design provides a luxurious, Parisian-glam experience you won’t soon forget.
Meet in Paris
You might not be actually meeting in Paris, but it’ll certainly feel that way as soon as you step under the red awning of this Culver City bistro. You’ve got the quintessential red awnings. You’ve got the rattan chairs. You’ve got that warm, cozy vibe that makes you feel as though you should curl up with a book and a café au lait. I went there for brunch and was wholeheartedly satisfied with my fish soup and salmon salad. Brunch portions are generous—and above all, oh so tasty. (Also noteworthy: the restaurant hosts all-you-can-eat-mussels evenings every Tuesday and Wednesday).
From ornate chandeliers to imperial red chairs, this place has all the trappings of a true old-school French brasserie. Sidewalk seats are almost always taken, so make sure you call ahead if you want to dine al fresco. (Trust me, you’ll want to, especially if the weather’s nice). Expect a myriad of languages wafting through the air. Even the French come here for a taste of home. You’ll find classical French fare here — and yes, that includes escargot, which makes an appearance on the happy-hour menu. End your meal on a sweet note by scooping up one of the baked treats behind the bistro’s countertop display case.
Also check out:
Little Next Door in West Hollywood
La Tropézienne Bakery in Los Angeles and West Hollywood
Papilles in Los Angeles
Chaumont Bakery & Café in Beverly Hills