Featured image: Maurice-Louis Branger (Women sitting at a Café Terrace). Source: nouvellesimages.com
Nationalistic feelings are certainly enhanced abroad. Too many have warned us of the perils of nationalism, but national pride is something else and can prove to be an asset for cultural exchange when it is shared with others.
One of the elements of a culture which is easy to share and certainly brings people closer together is food. Today (July 14th) is Bastille Day, a national holiday in France. So, to celebrate the freedom and unity we all partake of in Europe, we have decided to share with you what France has shared with us. This is a short list of some of the top French establishments around PL, so you can storm their ramparts and get your cake.
All photos from restaurants & cafes’ FB galleries
1. A La Française – Gdansk
This is a fantastic spot on the culinary map as much for its prices as for its wares. In Poland we’ve come to expect the word French next to a restaurant to equal ‘beaucoup d’argent’ but not here. The menu is a selection of extremely well-priced, very tasty salads, crepes and filled baguettes with soups and daily main course specials for the hungrier among you.
2. Monsieur Armand – Gdynia
Macaroons are very fashionable and we doubt that there’s a better exponent of the art of making them in Poland than M. Armand. Macaroons for the uninitiated are small, light circular biscuits, smooth on the inside and crunchy on the outside made using a set of base ingredients of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites.
3. La Fontaine – Kraków
Here delicious French delicacies are served by a well-trained staff who actually appear to enjoy what they do. So does the chef, clearly, as he turns out such wonderful dishes as tournedos with potato casserole and a bearnaise, wine, or roquefort sauce.
4. Zazie Bistro – Kraków
A casual Kazimierz eatery is actually the closest thing Kraków has to a true Parisian bistro – complete with classic set meals (including an appetiser, main and dessert) for an affordable 29zł, and all the French culinary hallmarks like escargot, fantastic creme brulee and quiche that you can order by size from 1/8th to the whole pie. Their chef won the Młodego Talentu Gault & Millau 2015.
5. Bistro La Cocotte – Poznan
An excellent French bistro specialising in fresh ‘fruits de mer’ and duck confit. Why battle for seats when you can enjoy fresh mussels and a carafe of fine French wine in a relaxed atmosphere before entering the bright lights of the square?
The interior is smart but informal, and the friendly staff busy themselves serving up everything from fresh coffees and teas to crepes, tarts, pastries and fresh French bread. For those looking for something a little more substantial there’s an excellent breakfast selection, daily soups, and a range of lunches to line your stomach before sampling one of their wines. Bon appétit!
this casual modern bistro openly pays homage to Paris with framed period photography, fine wines, and a lunch menu redolent of dining in the French capital. The food – from the steak in Roquefort sauce to the fresh mussels and crème brûlée – is of exceptional quality across the board, making the relaxed atmosphere all the more refreshing.
A simple, modern, somewhat standard-seeming cafe plays its role as French cafe and foreign-friendly breakfast spot exceptionally well. With excellent coffee, huge cappuccinos, chai lattes, quiche, fresh bread and a range of French pastries baked on site, sandwiches and one of the best breakfast offers we’ve seen in PL.
The slick open kitchen area draws your eye to the work of chef Maciej Majewski and his team as they prepare seasonally adjusted dishes based on classic and modern brasserie-style French cuisine.
10. Saint Jacques – Warsaw
A range of well-prepared French favourites (including frogs legs and snails) are served amongst black and white floor-to-ceiling pictures of French street scenes that make it easy to forget the busy city speeding by outside. The lamb shank with herbs and truffle puree and brunoise vegetables is their signature dish for a reason, but we were equally delighted with the rustic savoury crepes.
Sinking your teeth into Charlotte’s pain au chocolate you expect to hear La Seine bubbling past, but instead it’s your waitress bringing giant jars of jams, honey and chocolate spread to dig into – this doesn’t look like typical French portion control. This French bakery/bistro is already a popular breakfast spot and the ideal place to sip a Perrier and nibble a tart without feeling like le snob.
12. Cyrano et Roxane – Sopot
A small nugget of France finds itself in Sopot in this tiny rail side cottage. Owned and run by Marc, a real-live native of Bergerac, this tiny treasure has an authentic tavern atmosphere, and wines hand-picked to compliment the nibbles and full mains on offer. Try, for instance, the French sausage platter, or for something more considerable peruse the specials chalked up on the board.
13. C’est Si Bon – Katowice
Certainly one of Katowice’s finer restaurants, the service may not be as cheerful as the interior full of lavender plants, lilac table clothes, dried flowers, candleholders and sun icons, but the food is top-notch, as testified by the long list of companies C’est Si Bon does regular catering for. The menu is in Polish, French and English, and still full of rich, delicious dishes like the hearty ‘Provencal seafood soup’. Bon Apetite!