The Best: Great cappuccino and a delightful patio with a French flair and parking. Might Not Like: If it’s chilly, there’s not much indoor seating.
This summer will be 10 years since I found French Market Café, an unassuming patio restaurant on Abbot Kinney, just a few blocks shy of the nexus that is the shopping and dining strip, and I am delighted to say that in a culinary culture where the new and trendy is constantly traipsing across the LA food scene, FMC is exactly what it was a decade ago. When something works, you really don’t need to mess with it, and FMC works well. A little piece of the French countryside tucked into a parking lot and next to an ever-revolving fitness studio, the café is accompanied by a little French market full of European delicacies and treats. The large built up patio dining space is dotted with wicker chairs and wooden tables and the occasional heater that is more than welcome on a chilly winter beach morning. Red, white and blue lanterns hang above the entrance and sway in the gentle wind.
The food is a classic French menu and full of scrumptious carbs. Ham baguettes, croquet madams, crepes, and omletes, and a plethora of salads full of organic greens topped with French meats and cheeses all accompanied by tasty French bread. The cappuccinos are full of life, foamy and almost regal in a city where the more anemic caps with only the barest amount of foam reigns, and with one sip, you imagine that you are in France minus the hassle of LAX and the 12 hour flight.
But perhaps one of my favorite things about spending a quiet Sunday morning at FMC is the crowd. While there is the expected cadre of board shorts and beanies, I find that the FMC patio is often full of down to earth Venice—people who have perhaps eschewed the brand new establishments with their trendy vibes for something that is quiet and welcoming and almost homey in a part of the world where homey is hard to find. Friends sit around at the tables, people greeting each other across the way, regulars and newbies all together enjoying the LA sun in everything from jeans to athletic gear. There’s no driving music, no avo toast, and no perky, overdressed hostess manning the throngs of people, but there is plenty of good. Delicious runny eggs on top of ham and cheese, delightful drinks, and an atmosphere that makes you think the Eiffel tower might be just right around the corner where LAX actually is.
Thank you French Market Café. Don’t ever change.
Hip and Trendy, not so much, but Classic all the way.
Cheaper than Spendy and a good value too.