Where to Eat This Weekend

Bistro, brasseries and other French restaurants on our radar

Last week we suggested trying Mexican restaurants, this week we’re letting our French flag fly.  Click through to see our picks for magnifique French dining out this weekend.

Reservations are hard — borderline impossible — to come by at this itty-bitty South Philly BYOB, but occasionally there are last-minute cancellations and owner Charlotte Camels can slip you in. It’s worth a shot to try her husband Pierre Calmels elegant French fare. And the butter — did we mention the butter?
Bibou, 1009 South 8th Street; 215-965-8290

Bistrot La Minette
Chef-owner Peter Woolsey’s wonderful fare meanders through Alsace (flammenkuche) to the French seaside (grilled sardines) and directly to heaven (Morbier cheese bread pudding). Add professional, red-vested waiters and a dreamy outdoor courtyard and this Queen Village spot transports you directly to France.
Bistrot La Minette, 623 South 6th Street; 215-925-8000

Le Bec veteran Peter Gilmore’s eponymous Chester County BYO, tucked into a tiny townhouse, is a perennial favorite — and a multiple Best of Philly winner — for its menu of old-school French dishes with contemporary touches.
Gilmore’s, 133 East Gay Street, West Chester; 610-431-2800

Le Bar Lyonnais
Georges Perrier’s subterranean alternative to Le Bec has just revamped its menu for spring and has adjusted prices, which now run from $10 to $31. Executive chef Nicholas Elmi has added dishes like mushroom ravioli with ivory sauce to signatures like the crab cakes, and the Redux Burger, served with caramelized onion puree, cherry tomato confiture and frites for $14.
Le Bar Lyonnais, 1523 Walnut Street; 215-567-1000

Stephen Starr’s Parisian bistro is lively (or loud, depending on your p.o.v.) and its Square-side location in Rittenhouse makes it pretty much unrivaled in the people-watching department. The menu includes perfectly fine renditions of bistro classics — steak frites and omelets — but you’re really here for the scenery, right?  Read the November 2008 review.
Parc, 227 South 18th Street; 215-545-2262

If you try any of these spots this weekend, let us know about your meal by writing in the comments.

*Photo courtesy of Joff Hopkins via Flickr