When Frederic Soulies opened Pitchoun! Bakery, he aimed to bring a piece of his home country to the streets of downtown Los Angeles. But man cannot survive on baguette alone (to be fair, Pitchoun! serves far more than just baguette, but you get my drift), and Soulies seeks out the taste of France at other L.A. restaurants as well. “I like simple but tasty dishes that incorporate ingredients like mushrooms, truffles and organic, fresh veggies,” Soulies says. With that in mind, he was kind enough to let us in on his eight favorite French restaurants in town. Bon appetit.
8. Le Petit Paris
“I have a special affection for this restaurant as we know the Rolland family, the owners, and the two chefs, Baptiste and Jeremie, who are amazing. It is the most authentic French restaurant in this city that offers sophisticated yet simple cuisine. Lovely brasserie ambiance, this amazing art deco style is unique and makes you feel as if you’ve been transported back to France. Everything’s good on their menu, but the black truffle pasta is remarkable. The steak tartar, foie gras and sole meunière are also some of my favorites. The foie gras is made the authentic French way, which is rare in Los Angeles. Begin your diner with a St. Germain cocktail and enjoy the music from their DJ, Yann Muller.” 418 S. Spring St., downtown. lepetitparisla.com.
“I love the energy of this place. I go quite often with my wife, and walking along the streets in Beverly Hills is all part of the fun. The chef, David Feau, is one of my friends and a very talented chef. His dishes are always creative and made with seasonal ingredients. I love to sit, order a glass of La Chapelle de la Mission Haut Brion and listen to David’s daily specials while sipping wine and tasting some cheese. The black truffle pizzetta is a must — my wife and I can’t resist. The pan-seared rib-eye cap is the chef’s special dish, not on the menu, that I always enjoy, too. During fall, I love their cepe mushrooms simply fried with garlic and butter, and recently I tried a new sandwich with a baked brie with truffle butter and honey – it’s delicious!” 447 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 475-3540, wallysbeverlyhills.com.
“Petrossian has always shown talent in being very consistent, keeping its high-end image yet offering a variety of simple, tasty dishes alongside caviar. The new brunch menu from chef Alexandre Ageneau is really nice too. We enjoy going there once or twice a year to check out their new items and are never disappointed … but whatever I do, I always enjoy the egg royale, which is a signature dish. The blinis are great, too and remind me so much of France.” 321 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood. (310) 271-6300, petrossian.com.
5. Avec Nous
“Located in the Ermitage hotel in Beverly Hills, I like going to Avec Nous on quiet nights in the beginning of the week with my wife. The chef, Olivier Quignon, is extremely talented. I enjoy the bar, and like to start with a French 75 cocktail and chat with my wife over escargots, which are made the French way with a tasty persillade! The cote de boeuf and the cheese selection is great, and the chocolate millefeuille is to die for.” 9291 Burton Way, Beverly Hills. (310) 860-8660. avecnous.com.
4. Napoleon & Josephine
“This is a small, unique restaurant and the owners, Cedric and Olympe, feature a typical Corsican cuisine, which is one-of-a-kind here. I used to go to Corsica for vacation very often and going to the restaurant brings back old memories. I love the authenticity of their Corsican charcuterie and antipasti. This with bread and butter and a glass of red wine is the best dinner ever and reminds me of days hanging out with friends on the port of Porto Vecchio.” 7212 Melrose Ave., Fairfax. (323) 424-7487. napoleonandjosephine.net.
“I like this restaurant because it’s really Mediterranean, and Marc-Antoine, the owner, is so friendly! In America, I often miss eating fish like we used to do on the French Riviera, so I go to l’Ami to satisfy my fish cravings. The tuna tartar and white sea bass are prepared perfectly. I enjoyed going there for brunch with my kids (they love the kids menu!) and like to walk around the area.” 246 26th St., Santa Monica. lamirestaurant.com.
“Stephane Bombet has created a very nice restaurant. Our family makes our own pâtés and terrines, as my grandparents used to raise geese and ducks, and I grew up cooking them with my grandmother. I’m a big fan of cured meats, terrines and sausages then. … Try them in the charcuterie board and taste the choucroute! Their outside terrasse is also a nice plus.” 8265 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Grove. (323) 746-5130, terrinela.com.
1. Le Relais de l’Entrecote
“Relais de l’Entrecote is such an institution! You’re not French if you don’t know this concept. Ines and Nicolas Lafond did a great job bringing the authentic concept to Los Angeles – not only in the decor but in the dishes, too. The concept is unique (only one choice of entrée: steak and french fries with a secret sauce) and plenty of desserts (my favorite being the apple tart and the crème brulée). You really feel like you’ve entered a Parisian restaurant!” 8755 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. relaisentrecote.us.