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.