French Restaurants

Written By Scott Joseph On January 13, 2012

This week on WMFE, Scott talks with 90.7’s Nicole Creston about French restaurants in Central Florida. You can hear the broadcast Fridays at 5:45 p.m. and again Saturday mornings at 9:35, or listen to the podcasts any time.

When most people think of a French restaurant, they usually think of something fancy. It’s true that many of the fancier restaurants around the country are French. There’s just something about putting La or Les in front of a name that makes it sound classier, at least to some.


But when I think about French restaurants, I think Classic instead of classy. More than any other country, France has done more to establish tradition in terms of technique more than in the actual food.


And beyond the fine dining french restaurants, we also have bistros and brasseries. In France, these are distinctly different types of places: brasserie translates to brewery, or what we might refer to as a brewpub or the British might call a gastropub. A brasserie serves food throughout the day, and its quality isn’t usually the sort that gives French food a good name; it can be fairly basic stuff. Wine service isn’t a biggie at brasseries.


A bistro is a neighborhoody kind of place with good wine service and plats du jour.


In this country, the terms are interchangeable and the definitions obscured. I tend to think of French restaurants in the categories of haute cuisine and country french. I’m not going to review a restaurant that calls itself a bistro and ding it for actually being a brasserie. Now I might have an issue with a nonFrench restaurant calling itself a bistro – P.F. Chang’s Chinese Bistro comes to mind, but it’s not even Chinese, so don’t get me started on that one.


Some favorite French restaurants in the area are:


Chez Vincent


Cafe de France


Paris Bistro


Cafe Margaux in Cocoa Village


Le Coq au Vin — now doing pressed duck, a French classic


Les chefs de france and Bistro de Paris at Epcot



We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.

Scott's Newsletter