Lunch at the Le Charm, a French Bistro in San Francisco -4/16/10

A French ex colleague of mine recommended Le Charm, a French Bistro in San Francisco.  If a  French guy is  recommending a French restaurant then the food must be up to his expectations, so we decided to try it out.  Le Charm is one of the best values around.  I looked at the menu and for Lunch and there is nothing over $12.00 which we thought was very cheap for the quality of the food we got.

For dinner the real steal is the three-course prix fixe for $30.  Customers choose an appetizer, entree and dessert from the regular menu.

So my ex-colleague told me the story of the Le Charm: Alain Delangle and Lina Yew (husband and wife) were the owners of the Le Charm but they divorced several years ago.  He wanted kids and she did not, so Alain moved to newer and greener pasture in the East Bay while Lina stays at Le Charm and hired Lionel Balbastre from Toulouse, France, to take over the kitchen duties.  By hiring Lionel Balbastre,  Lina is intending to capture on his Provencal heritage by including more vegetable dishes and cooking more with olive oil.

The ambiance of the restaurant is romantic, cozy and charming as it's name!

We got to the restaurant about 11:45 so it was fairly empty in the main dinning room but the patio was almost full (picture of patio below).



The restaurant is fairly small but it is very open.

The patio is very nice especially on a nice day like today, and it can hold a decent number of tables.


They have a huge chandelier must be about 10 feet high. 

Charming lamps on the wall give a nice glow to the room.


The restaurant was nice and bright with big windows and the patio makes the restaurant looks bigger.  The bistro has a European feels and it is very warm and cozy. 

Actually, when I sat down I had the impression that I was in Paris and not in San Francisco.



Hoa ordered Le Charm Cheese Burger - $12.00 

Le Charm Cheese Burger- The best Fench fries we had in a long time!   They were fresh, small and crispy!

The burger was great!  We could not believe how cheap it was.




I wanted something light so I ordered the special of the day Salmon sampler platter with Salmon tartar, frisee salad, Salmon mousse and crisp French Fries.   The dish was excellent and it was perfect!

Cost: $13 - amazing price!


Croque Madame with two fried eggs ham and cheese sandwich, baked with Mornay sauce  $12.00 - If you skip the eggs it becomes a croque monsieur for $10.00


The potatoes chips were fresh and delicious , they use good quality gruyere and it shows.   Kevin gave thumbs up!  The portion was very generous and so Hoa had to help Kevin finish his sandwich.



For dessert I ordered a Tarte Tatin but I have to say the it was disappointed!  Hoa and I we agreed that my tarte Tatin is a lot better but perhaps I have a pretty high standard.  By the way, they only charge $5.00 for the tarte Tatin which is incredibly cheap!

Try their coffee after your meal, it is pretty good and strong.

Service was great.  They waiter was a French guy from Bordeaux and he was polite and very attentive to our needs.


This is the outside of the restaurant (green and yellow facade).  Parking was very easy and overall we had a great lunch there.

The tab came to $47 (pre-tip) which is about $15 per person which is a rarity for San Francisco.

We will definitely will come back perhaps we can convince our group to give it a try!


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