You don’t have to be French to celebrate Bastille Day on July 14. Think of it as another reason to relish independence and experience one of the many multi-cultural restaurants in the San Fernando Valley. From casual bistro fare to more refined indulgence, there are choices for everyone.
This restaurant in a Burbank shopping center off of Pass Avenue is a surprise. Pairing mustard walls and wood furnishings, this stylish restaurant feels very country French. Check out their three-course prix fixe anytime dinner. A la carte is available as well. 345 N. Pass Ave., Burbank. (818) 840-9050.
The originator of the $1 soup or salad, Cafe Bizou has made a name for itself for over two decades as a reasonable and reliable restaurant with excellent food — albeit French with a Continental twist. Don’t miss the Monkfish served on Saffron Shrimp Risotto and Fried Carrots with a Lobster Sauce. It’s always packed, so make a reservation. 14016 Ventura Boulevard Sherman Oaks, (818) 788-3536.
California Canteen is reminiscent of a very casual, neighborhood bistro you might stumble upon in Paris or the South of French. The fare is a combination of French and Mediterranean with a decidedly California twist — and fair prices. The French Onion Soup and Salade Nicoise will put you in the mood. Wine starts at $5.50 by the glass. Bottles also available. The Sangria is a must if you like the sweet stuff. 3311 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Universal City, 323-876-1702.
La Frite has served up casual bistro food with an American twist for over 40 years and had a makeover thanks to Gordon Ramsey. Enjoy French selections, such as crepes, pommes frites, croques and escargarot and you’re set. 15013 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-990-1791.
Just seeing the red exterior of this Sherman Oaks restaurant evokes feelings of being in Paris. The interior reinforces the look and feel with Parisian wall prints, white table clothes, and provencal colors. Dine on Black Mussels Poulette, Escargot, Coq Au Vin, Onglet Aux L’echalotte and Pomme Frites for a true French experience that won’t break the bank. 13360 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818- 501-7999.
Le Sanglier is an elegant and intimate restaurant that’s been a fixture in the 818 for over nearly 40 years. Enjoy classics such as Coquilles Saint Jacques, Escargot, Filet Mignon, Baked Brie and more. 5522 Crebs Avenue,
With its dark wood, dimmed lights, crisp white cloth tables and chandeliers, Mistral has that serious French bistro feel. Dine on classics like Escargots a la Bourguignonne and Steak with garlic, parsley and butter. Indulge in a French martini or choose a wine selection from one of the best lists in the San Fernando Valley. 14016 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-981-6650 .
This casual order at the counter street cafe channels Paris with its sidewalk seating. They serve up crepes, sandwiches, salads, eggs, soups, farmer’s market entrees, hummus with toppings, smoothies, coffee, tea (including fresh mint) and patisserie desserts. There’s also a brand new vegan menu. While you are there, be sure to check out the wall boutique lined with French food and gift imports. And, if you need catering or a private party on the premises, just ask owner Nily for all the info. Located just west of Fulton at 13333 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-855-8818.
Rive Gauche: This little hideaway has been quietly serving up French cuisine for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch in Sherman Oaks for over thirty years Eat on the outside brick and flowery patio hidden from Ventura Blvd. The menu is very traditional with a varied selection of salads, meat, poultry and seafood. 14106 Ventura Blvd Sherman Oaks, (818) 990-3573.
Do you have a special French venue in the 818? Let us know in the comments below.