Sunday, November 29, 2009

Polly Goes to San Francisco

In my never-ending quest in search of francophile life in the universe, this week Polly-Vous Francais is heading west, to San Francisco.  I'm so accustomed to transatlantic jet-lag, it'll be fun (well, so to speak), to experience the transcontinental variety.

Mostly I'm looking forward to discovering the charms of the Bay Area and its many French cultural and culinary delights.

Suggestions?  Favorites?

Oh, and if this is one of your suggestions -- sorry, I'm not biting.

Image via


Anonymous said...

Cafe Claude

(Both are on the alley where Jimmy Stewart followed Kim Novak into the [fake] back door to Baldocchi's flower shop in Vertigo [the shop was actually on Grant, and Claude Lane is a couple blocks away])

Cafe Bastille
Cafe De La Presse
South Park Cafe
Bistro Jeanty

Go to and do a search for Cafe Claude and look at the other restaurants that come up and their ratings, but these are the ones I like, and Claude Lane has been a favorite place for years.

Have a great time.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Great suggestions -- thanks!

I'll try to give a daily report, time permitting, when I'm there. These all sound like winners. I hope I can handle the calorie intake!

Amanda said...

Since moving back to northern California after my time in Paris I've continually been impressed by how much northern californians LOVE France! It seems to crop up everywhere I go.
I don't have specific recs for San Francisco, but a hearty "bienvenue" to our lovely land, and I hope you enjoy your trip!

Victoria said...

There are a ton of French in the Bay Area.

Check out the Bay Area Francophile list here

Anonymous said...

L'ardoise is my favorite french resto in SF

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm jealous!! I lived in SF years and years ago, so I have no recommendations. Enjoy yourself and drink some CA wine for me.

Michael Drips said...

Although I live in San Francisco, I was just in Paris for the first time in October and was overwhelmed by how much there was to see and do in my limited time.
Having the "genuine" French experience so fresh in my mind, I cannot think of any place in San Francisco that approaches that French experience.

doomed to be fabulous said...

Café de la Presse is the most French café I've been to outside of France. It's like a slice of Paris right in SF!

Jake Dear said...

Bonjour Polly,

I’ll contribute a French/Cajun breakfast/ lunch recommendation -- a four-minute walk from my office at the San Francisco Civic Center: Brenda’s.

It’s a tiny place, run by Chef-Owner (and New Orleans native) Brenda Buenviaje. She calls her cooking “French Soul Food -- cooking rooted in French technique and made soulful through Creole and Southern influence.” It’s become a foodie hit.

Expect to wait 20--30 minutes for a seat (you write your name on a list posted outside the door, and wait to be called inside).


Jake Dear said...

PS, I forgot to add: Brenda's is closed on Tuesdays. And very few items cost more than $10 -- such a deal.


Anonymous said...

Bonsoir Polly, avez-vous lu le site web "des grenouilles dans la vallee"? Ils parlent souvent des restos et cafes francais a San Francisco et le "Bay Area".

Pardonnez-moi, pas d'accents, c'est tres tard et je suis paresseuse. Je vous souhaite des bonnes vacances a Californie!

Véronique said...

Bonjour Polly!

There is a very charming french hotel in San Fransisco which you must visit. The Cornell Hotel

It is also the home of the the french restaurant, Jeanne d'Arc. You will see the link to the restaurant on the website as well as their menu. The soufle is amazing!!

Last March, my friend Patrice came to visit me from Paris. This was his first time in California and in the U.S. He was very excited about this trip. I chose for us to stay at The Cornell Hotel to make his first few days feel at ease. In the basement of the hotel lives a very fine french restaurant, Jeanne d'Arc. The menu is excellent and authentic french. In fact the owners, the chefs are all french. If you stay there, they also serve petit dejeuner in the morning.

It is quite charming... let me know what you think!

Bonne Route!


Starman said...

There area ton of French restaurants in San Francisco according to Google. It never occurred to me to check before.

Mary Anne said...

Hi Polly,

Cafe Claude, Cafe Bastille and Cafe de la Presse are all great, but if you can venture beyond the Financial District, Chapeau is quite good. You'll find it on Clement Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

Enjoy San Francisco!

Mary Anne

Edward said...

I was only just there this summer, but unfortunately, it wasn't a very long stay, so I don't have any recommendations. Still, I was astonished at how many Francophones I ran into over in California, from both Quebec and Paris.

When I was down at Pier 39, I ran into a woman and her daughter who had just arrived from France that day, as I overheard her translating the board about the sea lions into French for her non-English-speaking daughter. The funny thing was, I ran into her the next day in Union Square!

Have fun while you're there! It really was a neat city and one of my favorite places I've visited.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Merci to everyone for the comments and suggestions!

I simply adored San Francisco -- it is so French! -- and am writing a new post about it. It's been a busy time.

le cercle français said...

Stop by chez Paulette. Best macarons in town!

Anonymous said...

Hope you found Café Jacqueline, 1454 Grant Ave North Beach for the BEST soufflés ... and the sympathique Jacqueline toute seule au fond dans la cuisine! LOVED this restau!

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