Champagne French Bakery Café has been serving authentic French cuisine throughout California since 1987 when it first opened in San Diego.
I often visit the location on Barrington Avenue and National Boulevard just to buy French pastries. On this visit I decided to have a meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at all Champagne locations.
Having just returned from France I found it comforting to know I could still find a slice of Paris in Los Angeles. Outside the café I noticed the same tightly-woven wicker chairs found at similar establishments throughout Paris. Inside, the atmosphere is cozy and inviting and comes close to having a French café dining experience. However, at Champagne you order and pay for your food at the counter then find a table and wait for your meal to be delivered.
I ordered the Parisian salad -- mixed greens with sliced apples, dried cranberries, candied pecans, blue cheese and shallots, tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. All the flavors worked well together and I enjoyed the natural sweetness of the fruit with the occasional nutty crunch.
I also tried the half quiche combo, which comes with a cup of soup or spring salad. Quiche options are smoked salmon, classic quiche Lorraine, or spinach and goat cheese. I chose the latter and had it with a cup of tomato basil soup. Soup options include French onion and the soup of the day, which happened to be a corn chowder on my visit. The tomato soup was a good choice with the spinach quiche as the acidic quality of tomatoes paired well with the richness of the quiche. The goat cheese was not overpowering and the spinach was prominent throughout. I think the half-slice option is great, as a full piece would have been too much for me.
My friend thought the curried chicken salad croissant was excellent and came on a soft, freshly baked croissant. The chicken salad had a nice flavor profile with curry powder, raisins and a surprising crunch from the toasted almonds. The filling was layered with lettuce and tomato, which provided a fresh crispness -- a necessary component to the moist chicken salad and soft croissant.
The kid's meal was a big hit with my kids. They all enjoyed the thinly-pressed grilled cheese sandwich (Panini-style), accompanied with French fries (or a fruit cup) and a drink. Other kid’s meal choices include French toast, ham and Swiss cheese sandwich, scrambled eggs and bacon or a cheese crepe.
I could barely keep the kids from ogling the myriad of enticing desserts and pastries. I noticed a mini-dessert special – three desserts for just under $6. We chose three mini-cream puffs that actually counted as only one dessert; a coconut mango mousse cake; and a strawberry cheesecake parfait. The cream puffs were light and airy and filled with a cream that wasn’t too sweet, topped with a thin layer of icing. The parfait was a bite of cheesecake, fresh strawberries and whipped cream. My favorite was the tropical-tasting coconut mango mousse cake, which was fluffy and creamy. A sweet ending indeed.
Champagne French Bakery Café, 11709 National Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064, 310-231-9700
Hours: Sun. - Mon. 6:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.