Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Featuring....Bistro Francois

Well folks, I have had a lot of requests for this sort of thing so today I am launching a new feature to the blog. I call it "Featuring..." Every so often I will be featuring what I know about some of the businesses downtown. Be ready for some not-so-guide-book reviews of places. I will try to feature places I like and places I don't like and tell you why. The only problem here may be that some businesses won't let me take the pictures I want or won't quote me prices, that sort of thing. But for now, I have a few on the burner, so here we go!

First up is the Bistro Francois, or more generally known as the French Bistro. I first remember seeing this place around about 1995, to the best of my memory, so it is not likely to close down during the first low season. It is still owned by a French woman who lives in seclusion above the restaurant. The first couple of years they opened it was standing room only. People sat on the curb across the street, waiting to be seated. Their big claim to fame was that they were the first people to put a grill on the street and cook steaks and baked potatoes on it. Commonplace now but attention grabbing back then. They have long since abandoned this practice but the food here is still always good. I go here a lot for breakfast and this place also attracts a local clientle. Always a good sign when a Mexican will eat at a tourist spot.

They call themselves a lobster house and grill, but the menu is much more varied than that. Shrimp, pasta, fish, salads and even a portabella mushroom with herb vinagarette and you can throw in a crepe for dessert.

It is located on Matamoras, just off the corner with Hidalgo. It's a bright and a weirdly decorated place, hard to miss.

Once inside, you'll find that the walls are covered with an eclectic set of handpainted tiles to chair rail height.

Above the tiles the eccentricity doesn't stop. Although not the menu, the food that they serve has been whimsically painted onto the walls. Both this and the tiles will keep you busy while waiting for your food!

Tired of looking at walls? Then look up! Even the ceiling has been painted in whimsy. Here you see the namesake lobster and behind it you can just make out a shrimp.

The menu is posted just outside the door. (notice they found a use for those starfish!) This one is in English and below it is the one in Spanish. I always find this menu a bit hard to read. It is just a bit too cluttered for my taste. But if you make it through it, you are almost guaranteed to have a good meal.

I have eaten both breakfast and dinner here more times than I can shake a stick at. Only once did I have a meal that I did not think was excellent. And even that was OK. Just not what I expected. This place is definately on my recommend list.


CancunCanuck said...

Great idea for some posts Wayne, thanks for the insiders look at Isla! I must admit that being the "po' folk" that we are we rarely eat out on Isla, we'll bring our own cooler or just snack at Buho's on the beach. Now we will have some good places to try, from what I can see on that menu the prices are quite reasonable.

Cool pics!

Anonymous said...

Gracias Hombre - Wish I could see that menu better ;-0

We will make it there one of these days.

Juan Calypso