(credit: KCBS/Connie C. Kim)
An extravagant, decadent, authentic and exquisitely prepared French meal in the East Bay is possible. CBS recommends some great French restaurants that will have you wanting to go back again and again. These are five that make most say “Oui, s’il vous plaît.”
1517 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94709
Authentic, fresh and flawlessly cooked French food – that’s what Alice Waters, chef, author and the proprietor of Chez Panisse, believes in. Convinced that the best-tasting food is organically and locally grown and ecologically harvested, Chez Panisse offers all of best in locally grown vegetables and fruits, and the freshest of meats. Chez Panisse has a network of nearby suppliers who, like the restaurant, are striving for both environmental harmony and delicious flavor. Waters is a passionate advocate for a food economy that is “good, clean and fair.” To view the huge selection of wines from Chez Panisse’s wines, click here.
960 Moraga Road
Lafayette, CA 94549
This is a change-the-silverware-after-each-course French restaurant, which means it’s pricey but well worth the money. Crème brulee, escargot, French onion soup, rack of lamb and so many more delicious meals are perfectly paired with wines. Have fun trying to pronounce some of the dishes on the menu, likely difficult for those without the native French tongue. This is a solid, French bistro dining experience. Some of the meals are served prix fixe, and an outdoor garden patio is also an option for seating.
2013 Elkins Way, Suite A1
Brentwood, CA 94513
The understated elegance of this restaurant adds to the allure of Scottie’s Shutters Brasserie. Low key and simplistic, this restaurant usually surprises first-time diners as they taste why Scottie’s has been so positively reviewed. The menu is always full of flavor and will enchant diners. The restaurant’s deliciously prepared food explains why there is no reason to overly decorate the atmosphere. The seasonal foods are crafted from organic, locally grown foods and are always fresh and cooked to perfection. See Scottie’s dinner menu and beverage menu.
5478 College Ave.
Oakland, CA 94618
This fine French eatery is a small-plate restaurant in Oakland’s Rockridge district. Not only are you given a choice to dine at your own table, but you are also encouraged to join one of the restaurant’s many large communal tables, located in the main dining room and on the patio. Don’t be shy! Small plates reflecting the best of seasonal Mediterranean cuisine and cocktails are served family style by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. There are gluten-free pizzas, mussels cooked to scrumptious perfection, pommes frites, ribs, lobster empanadas and many more savory entrées and appetizers. A sample of how unique À Côté makes its cocktails includes one made with bourbon, Lagavulin, black tea syrup and fresh bergamot juice.
2377 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Charming as charming French restaurants come, La Note is an authentic Provençal restaurant in the heart of downtown Berkeley. This chic eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Owner Dorothée Mitrani-Bell is a graduate from UC Berkeley. The restaurant and patio are available Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday for private events, and the patio is open April through October. A live accordion player is at La Note every Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. With amiable servers who are also French speaking, the ambiance is pure perfection.
Kelly Gullo is a freelance writer in San Francisco, CA. Kellys topics are about music and nightlife. Kelly has also written a variety of articles on health and dieting and topics related to the environment. Kelly has a degree in journalism and public relations from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.