Carpe Diem by Cafe de France in Delray Beach: Traditional French Restaurant With $1 Mimosas!

Carpe Diem by Cafe de France in Delray Beach: Traditional French Restaurant With $1 Mimosas!
Photo by Candace West
Owner Olivier Le Gloahec shows us the filet mignon. Click here to read more about Cafe de France.

It was during a backpacking excursion through France (funded via my grad school student loans) that I first began to truly appreciate the country's haute cuisine. I loved the food so much that it led to an obsession for all things French. Maybe this is what caused me to naively marry a Frenchman. The marriage didn't last, and I'm still paying back those loans, but such woes haven't diluted my affection for succulent, traditional French food.

Despite food trends that come and go, gastronomes will always love French cooking for the promise of Old World charm, those fresh breads and pastries, traditional dishes, and decadent flavors. At Olivier Le Gloahec's Carpe Diem by Cafe de France in Delray Beach, I reunited with many of those classic and regionally inspired standards like the rich butter-and-cream cooking of the north and the olive oil and garlic flavors of the south.

Old World charm? Check.

Indulge yourself with the filet mignon.
Candace West
Indulge yourself with the filet mignon.

Location Info

Map

Cafe De France

110 E. Atlantic Ave.
Delray Beach, FL 33444

Category: Restaurant > Bistro

Region: Delray Beach

Details

Carpe Diem by Cafe de France, 110 E. Atlantic Ave. Delray Beach. Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call 561-455-2140, or click here.

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According to the restaurant's website, the Le Gloahec family is "one of the most oldest Chef & Baker Family in France (1820 our first Restaurant — Bakery)." These sixth-generation restaurateurs can be counted upon for Old World charm and tradition. Beginning with the décor, the restaurant stands out against the funkier, more modern eateries lining Atlantic Avenue. Whereas trendier restaurants decorate their patios with 1950s office themes or upholstered wing-back lounge chairs, Carpe Diem is undeniably French (servers and all), if not a tad flashy. It rocks a 19th-century style with a cacophony of sparkles and gold: shiny trinkets, naked cherubs, and prints hugged by heavy golden frames. Dozens of stenciled fleur-de-lis (stylized lily flowers) pepper the walls, which are painted — you guessed it — gold.

The eatery has an intimate feel, even after a renovation last year that added 50-some seats and several new entrées to the menu (beef bourguignon and risotto del mar, to name a couple). With the new bistro-style look came a revised name; instead of Cafe de France, it's now Carpe Diem by Cafe de France. Lunch and dinner are served every day, brunch on weekends.

On a recent weekday, I sat alone for lunch on the covered patio overlooking Atlantic Avenue. A young brunet waitress sporting a silk scarf was busy explaining what a mimosa was to the couple seated behind me. I sipped on my own mimosa (they were on special for $1) and eavesdropped. I wondered at the waitress' politeness; her slow, patient hospitality — no rushing of the customers, no smirking at naïveté. Carpe Diem is truly Old World French, all the way down to its gracious service.

Fresh baked goods? Yup.

Looking from the patio through the floor-to-ceiling windows, one can see a glass case filled with assorted pastries and tartes taunting the customers. The lunch menu tormented me with sandwich and tartine options, all served with fresh baked bread. Passing up staples such as croque monsieur (a grilled ham and Gruyère cheese sandwich) and a pâté sandwich (country or Provençal pâté on baguette with romaine and cornichons), I chose to crunch into a baguette filled with Roquefort and pear. At first bite, the sweet raspberry vinaigrette and sliced fruit quickly surrendered to salty Roquefort (a blue cheese aged in the caves of Southern France) and savory chicken. The sandwich was as big as it was flavorful. My only complaint: The bread was stiff where it should have been crunchy — it was either stale or overheated.

On a different visit, I fared better with a starter of Norwegian smoked salmon. The brioche toast rivaled the spotlight ingredient. Buttery, tender, and rich, the bread could function perfectly as a burger bun, but here, it was delicate enough for salmon. The puffy toast made a sumptuous pillow for the cured salmon, sweet from a dressing of citrus, dill, and Muscadet (a refreshing white wine).

Traditional dishes? Several.

How to choose among favorites such as mussels mariniere, foie gras, chicken cordon bleu, or coq au vin? Solution: Carpe Diem's prix fixe dinner ($29 for three courses) will get you varied selections for a fair price. Each of the options comes with its own palate cleanser between first and second course: a lemon-mint sorbet that brings a cool, watery wash. A few of the entrées such as the duck a l'orange will cost an extra fee ($5 to $10), but the half-order of roasted duck with Grand Marnier sauce is still a bargain. The skin is crispy and the meat juicy, and the extremely sweet orange sauce is sure to provide a week's worth of vitamin C, considering how much orange is added.

A slight miss during one of my dinner courses was the escargots. In Paris, I began an addiction to fresh snails, even contemplating taking the pretty, iridescent shells home with me from the restaurant. I ate escargots de Bourgogne en meurette (snails with mushrooms, onion, and bacon with wine sauce) more times than would seem reasonable. But at Carpe Diem, the garlic-butter snails are chewy. They could use more butter than oil and more parsley than garlic.

During my lunch visit, the mimosa virgins behind me and I were on our second round of $1 house champagne lightly spiked with orange juice when a bowl of gratinéed onion soup arrived. Popular even in Roman times, French onion soup has pleased generations of palates. Carpe Diem's beef broth is on the salty side, but sweet caramelized onions sealed with a layer of browned Gruyère cheese are so tasty, it doesn't matter. The traditional clay serving bowl always seems to remain hot until the last drop of soup is gone, and the best part is using a spoon to scrape the remaining cheese crusted on the sides.

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27 comments
Cougartay
Cougartay

This place is absolutely awful. Food is terrible the kitchen is loaded with rodents and filth, not to mention the owner sleeps with the waitresses with his wife working by his side. Terrible place, classless ownership. I wouldn't recommend this to anybody

naomiroyy
naomiroyy

France is a great country. It is an interesting article. I read more about Cafe de France. The main thing of hotel business is that you must have to good hotel staff.

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leroyandersonn
leroyandersonn

I do not understand what happened with the Carpe Diem. I think it is a good French Cafe. I love food so much. French food recipe is also my favourite food. 

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Mycafedefrance
Mycafedefrance

To Charlie Delray,

I m sorry for what's happen, and I agree, staffing is the harder things in this business, Specially when you open a new place.1.5 years and still didn't take any day off to always be on the restaurant and avoid mistake that anyways can happen in all business and everywhere.

BUT Cafe de France grow up very fast with a lot of repeat customer, that s the reason why we are expanding the restaurant.

I invite you to stop by and introduce yourself and ask for Olivier, or just try again you will have this time an amazing meal.

Thanks again

zovannee1
zovannee1

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gorgepeterson
gorgepeterson

It is so nice French restaurant. I do not know about its food. I like its interior design. It s looks so unique and attractive. Here I read about its food and I am totally mad on it.  usa online casino

Charlie Delray
Charlie Delray

Great line, kudos to the writer: "The servers misconstrued my slow pace as defeat; one busser nearly lost a forearm after a premature attempt to clear the plate."

Ken
Ken

It's june 2 already? What did I miss?

 
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