The café's reign seemed over last summer when longtime owner Louis
Flematti sold the Las Olas building, but the café part of the deal
fell through, and Swiss native Flematti decided he didn't want to
give up the restaurant business after all.
He and his French-born wife, Janine, wound up closing the 180-seat
café from August to late October for renovations, including new
bathrooms, interior painting and pruning to open up the sidewalk
patio. Another big change: The café dropped lunch service due
slow daytime traffic in a down economy. That's not the case after
dark, though, when Le Caféde Paris, like the rest of Las Olas,
draws a crowd. MORE
Dining values—and not just for early birders—have long
been a part of the appeal here. You can order dinner for
two with a bottle of
wine, Caesar salad, a choice of six entrées and dessert from
the pastry cart or baked Alaska for $88. There are also
three-course prix fixe menus from $24 to $32, including our
trout Bretonne. The flavorful fish, served with sautéed
shrimp, mushrooms and capers in a shallot butter, included
and a dessert off the cart for $25.
Servers are cordial but not chatty, and there are some lags
when the place is packed, but our servers were quite helpful
recommendations, starting with the mussels meuniere & gravere. The
19 mid-size molluscs were bathed in a lush bath of wine, butter
and garlic spiked with shallots and parsley, so good you'll want
to sop up the aromatic juices with the crusty French rolls, fresh
from the oven.
Starters include paté, vichyssoise, Russian osetra caviar for
a big splurge and a comforting coquilles St. Jacques with plump
scallops in a bubbling hot bechamel sauce, topped with Swiss
cheese and browned under the broiler.
Stone crabs may be more Floridian than French but they're a yearly
staple, half a pound (generally three) for $16.95 and a pound for
(five or six) $32.95, served with a mesclun salad, sliced tomatoes
and hard-boiled eggs. I like the crabs' sweet, clean taste on its
own, but there's a perky mustard sauce for dipping.
Entrées are as simple as grilled salmon or as elegant as a
classic beef Wellington. The puff pastry-encased filet mignon
in a bordelaise sauce, a wine and beef-bone reduction, and
the buttery tender meat was properly cooked to medium rare.
The chicken and mushroom crepe was also a winner, with a super
creamy bechamel sauce and sides of steamed broccoli and halved
tomatoes garnished with herbes de Provence. These accompaniments,
along with a staple of sliced Lyonnaise potatoes, were better
the mushy risotto and overcooked snow peas we had on a previous
The dessert cart is temptation on wheels, filled with treats
like a creamy-crisp Napoleon, fruit tart and mousse au chocolat.
extra special splurge, try the cherries jubilee, crepes Suzette
or huge baked Alaska. Easily shared by two to four people,
is flambéed at the table. How often do you see that anymore?
one of those traditions worth keeping, like Café de Paris.