You don’t have to serve French fare and wine to be considered a bistro. So long as your menu is small and specialized, the atmosphere cozy and the food over the top, you have gained bistro status. Here’s a look at some distinctively different small restaurants that have earned themselves a bistro title.
Soul Food Bistro
American southern food that encompasses everything you know it to be. Hot, hearty and finger licking good. There are two different locations, one on the west side of Jacksonville, Florida and the other on the south side so that the whole city can get a taste of their daily specials like Tuesdays curry chicken or Thursdays classic meatloaf and mashed potatoes. What makes this a stand out bistro is the cafeteria style setting, allowing you to pick and choose whatever combinations you want.
Chives Canadian Bistro
Chives is the epitome of the bistro as they use fresh local ingredients, making it necessary to change their menu with the seasons. Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia the owner of Chives is also the chef and has written 3 best-selling Canadian cookbooks. With starters like smoked potato and celery root chowder and entrees like Nova Scotia spring lamb you can see how he has perfectly blended local flare with a French twist.
Located in the heart of Paris, Le Rubis is best known for its extensive wine list. A favorite for local business men for lunch, who enjoy the typical Paris bistro fare that includes favorites like andouillette, jarret and bourgiugnon. When in Paris, make sure you choose to dine at twilight when the locals are lined up at the bar, giving you the chance to sit at one of the cozy banquettes.
You might be on Spring Street in New York City, but when inside the Balthazar you are transported straight to Paris. The décor is a good blend of opulence and cozy with furnishings that are unmistakenly Parisian in design. You will find solid bistro food like classic roasted chicken and steak fries, but more impressive is the oyster and shellfish bar. That’s what really makes this award winning bistro in New York stand out above all of the rest.
Inside of Battersea, London you will find a menu that is pure French all of the time. Sit down to a plate of foie gras, or baked Camembert. The ingredients are always fresh and the food always cooked to perfection. This is a stand out bistro in London not for the food, although that is a plus, but for the warm and cozy atmosphere that has been set by the brothers who own and run it. Chez Manny is a perfect example of the bistro that caters to the local crowd.
You will find that bistro quality in small restaurants scattered all around the globe. Whether they serve local food, classic French or combination of the two, it’s that warm fuzzy feeling that you get when you walk inside the door that should make it stand out as one of the greats.