Ooh La La...

Ooh lah lah! Yes it's a French bistro in Chinatown! Try Oriel on a slower night, like Sunday, for the best experience. It's tiny, and fills up quickly with hipsters from all over the city! Eating under the Metro Gold Line is a trip in itself, but once you're safely ensconced inside you'll think you're in Paris! The wine and beer selections are wonderful and expansive. There are tons of wine by the glass, so there's something for everyone. We started with the Bread and Things. The bread is possibly one of the best in the city! Thank you Bub and Grandma's Bread! Spread with butter, topped with fresh parmesan, and grilled to perfection, it's a cruncy, savory treat. But wait! The romanesco dipping sauce is the bomb! I promise you will love this! The French Onion Soup is served in a traditional footed-French bowl with 15-month aged Comte cheese. And there's plenty of it! This is a meal in itself. The broth is wonderful and rich and makes the soup 5 stars for sure! We also enjoyed the Croque Monsieur sandwich with Parisian ham and a bechemal eggsauce. The sandwich was amazing too! For dessert, we had what I'd definitely call LA's best creme brulee. It was cold and creamy with a crunchy, crispy caramelized top. Even though I was full up to my eyeballs, I had to eat it, because it was that good! I wish that Oriel would open in another location closer to my house because I'd be their best customer. Who knew French food existed in Chinatown?

Oriel Chinatown 1135 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles (213) 253-9429 Hours: 5:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.

What a little gem in the heart of Woodland Hills. I love the ambience as it reminds me of a French chateau. The private booths with curtains are perfect for a romantic lunch or dinner, but the rest of the restaurant is beautifully appointed as well. Chris, the owner comes over to personally greet you, and on our visit served us as well. (Note: His wife is the chef). We started with a glass of wine from the extensive list, then moved on to soup and salad. The onion soup was one of the best I've ever had. The broth was full of flavor and the cheese was perfectly melted. The side salad my mom enjoyed was crisp and fresh. For lunch I had the Lobster Cobb Salad which is made tableside and is full of succulent loster meat, avocado, bacon, fresh tomatoes, and egg. My mom had the Chicken crepes which were stuffed with chicken and spinach. Both dishes were 5 star in my book. For dessert we loved the creme brulee. Brandywine is one of my mom's favorite valley dining establishments; and now it's one of mine. Brandywine 22757 Ventura Blvd. Woodland Hills (818) 225-9114. Hours Lunch: Tues-Fri: 12:00 p.m.-2-30 p.m. Dinner: Mon-Sat: 5pm-10pm Reservations Essential Not Recommended for Children.

What a little gem in the heart of Woodland Hills. I love the ambience as it reminds me of a French chateau. The private booths with curtains are perfect for a romantic lunch or dinner, but the rest of the restaurant is beautifully appointed as well. Chris, the owner comes over to personally greet you, and on our visit served us as well. (Note: His wife is the chef). We started with a glass of wine from the extensive list, then moved on to soup and salad. The onion soup was one of the best I've ever had. The broth was full of flavor and the cheese was perfectly melted. The side salad my mom enjoyed was crisp and fresh. For lunch I had the Lobster Cobb Salad which is made tableside and is full of succulent loster meat, avocado, bacon, fresh tomatoes, and egg. My mom had the Chicken crepes which were stuffed with chicken and spinach. Both dishes were 5 star in my book. For dessert we loved the creme brulee. Brandywine is one of my mom's favorite valley dining establishments; and now it's one of mine. Brandywine 22757 Ventura Blvd. Woodland Hills (818) 225-9114. Hours Lunch: Tues-Fri: 12:00 p.m.-2-30 p.m. Dinner: Mon-Sat: 5pm-10pm Reservations Essential Not Recommended for Children.

Republique is one of the hottest new French-modern restaurants in town and has rightfully earned that title. Pronounced Re-Poob-Leek, step inside this trendy La Brea Avenue eatery and you'll feel like you're in the East Village in NYC. The modern space bustles with energy in the former Campanile building. The setting is gorgeous with its oak tables and wrought iron accents. Service is very knowledgeable and friendly and is a true dining pleasure Our server Adrienne was fantastic! Start off with some crisp breadsticks while you pour over the extensive wine list. We had a glass of the French white burgandy ($19). Be sure to order the Beurre de Baratte ($5). This is a loaf of crispy on the ouside, chewy on the inside, fresh bread with Normandy butter. Now if you've never eaten Normandy butter, you are in for a nice surprise. Normandy butter is smooth in texture and slightly salty with a rich, rich taste. Once you try it, you will never go back to regular butter! You can get it at Gelson's or Whole Foods.We also had the Bacon Tart ($16) with Neuske's bacon, caramelized onions, and gruyere. The caramelized onions made this dish slightly sweet, but the bacon provided the saltiness to make it perfect! We loved the Mary's Rotisserie Chicken. ($29) Skin was plumped and crispy and perfectly seasoned. Meat was juicy and bursting with flavor. We love Barlo Kitchen's rotisserie chicken, but Republique definitely gives them a run for their money. This chicken is phenomenal! Sauteed kale and fingerling potatoes complete the dish. We loved the juices from the chicken which made it all the more delectable! Of course we forced ourselves to have the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake ($11) for dessert. This cake reminded me of the cake my Nana Lila used to make. It was the perfect combination of sweet and salty, not the abuse of sea salt like so many desserts today. The tiny milk concoction served in a shot glass on the side was a thoughtful finishing touch. This dinner was truly a special "date" night.Heart Republique 624 South La Brea Avenue Los Angeles (310) 362-6115. Hours: Mon-Sat 8:00 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon-Wed: 6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Thur-Sat: 6p.m.-11:00 p.m.

 

Recommended Dishes: Beurre de Baratte, Bacon Tart, Rotisserie Chicken, Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake.

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