Bites Nearby: French Market Cafe

In this new weekly feature, Patch picks a nearby eatery worth checking out. Our first pick: the French Market Cafe in Venice.

You could stand on a corner and look around until a restaurant sign draws you in. We've got a better idea. Each week, Marina del Rey Patch picks a great nearby restaurant that is worth checking out. Here's this week's choice:

French Market Cafe

"Bonjour, Paul."

That's the usual greeting I get at the French Market Cafe in Venice and it instantly gets me in a good mood. In turn, I start getting all Frenchy and start saying words that I would never normally utter, such as "merci,""oui," and "esprit de escole."

There's a charm to this place, a certain "je ne sais quoi" perhaps, that I really like. The food is good, too. If you're a coffee drinker, it's a good place to start the day.

Here's how it works: Walk in and head straight toward the back where you can either pour yourself a cup of coffee or order a special latte or whatever. Then, you can pay up front. If you're going to eat, grab one of the green menus immediately to your right as you walk in and then queue up on the right side of the market near the refrigerated beverages. Check out the specials on the chalkboard above the cashier, decide on what you want, pay for it and the cashier will give you a number if you're going to eat there. Pick a table and your food will come up shortly.

I recommend the quiche Loraine (pronounced LOH-ron, not low-RAIN), the French onion soup and the turkey sandwich on a French roll (of course).

For all the gorgeous weather we have in Southern California, it seems likes there's a dearth of al fresco dining. Maybe it's just me. Anyway, the French Market Cafe has a great deck. You smokers can puff away out there (until the city law banning that kicks in this year), the sunshine fills good and the conversations are punctuated with French exclamations.

You can eat inside, too. The few tables they have inside are perfect for work-related coffee and lunch. I meet with Marina del Rey Patch food writer Cynthia Rogers there regularly to go over her stories over a turkey sandwich and French onion soup.

The market part is cool, too. They carry French candy, mustards and other tasty treats. There's also fresh squeed orange juice, beer, wine and soft drinks. They also have French news, photo and celebrity magazines.

Check it out.



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