Any walk in Los Angeles presents plenty of doors — doors to bars, stores, museums and everything in between. For Angelenos it’s about choosing to walk through doors that will open up a world that transports them from city sidewalks and into completely different environments. And if you’re willing to drive a little, you can discover a lot more.
French Quarter restaurant in West Hollywood proves to be one of those places particularly adept at making visitors feel as if they’ve been transported to a new place, one entirely different from the restaurant’s surrounding city. If you’re just whizzing past in a car, you might notice the covered patio area for eating, each window decorated with a stained glass fleur-de-lis. Open since 1974, the restaurant is a quaint space located inside a congregation of shops called French Market Place.
The restaurant takes its name from the iconic neighborhood in New Orleans, Louisiana, called the French Quarter. Home to Bourbon Street, a popular tourist destination, French Quarter remains a fun place with plenty of culture for visitors to take in any time of the year.
So it’s no surprise that French Quarter Marketplace, and the restaurant inside of it, have plenty to enjoy, too. Once the front doors close on the hustle and bustle of Santa Monica Boulevard, visitors find themselves immersed in a buzzing, welcoming atmosphere.
Before you give the hostess the number of your party, take a stroll around the marketplace. A fountain with surrounding bricks allows you to sit and watch the wall fall on fish of all colors, some at impressively large sizes. If you ask the right person, or bring a cute younger sibling, you can get a handful of fish food to fling toward the creatures’ puckered mouths.
The space is decorated with white railings, quaint light fixtures, painted walls and individual paintings, creating an authentic experience. Additionally, there are businesses upstairs and downstairs, ranging from Psychic Lady to Marc Edward Skincare.
But simply sitting and grabbing a bite at the restaurant is an experience in itself. The space is filled with cozy tables with white tablecloths or you can choose a seat at the bar. If you’re looking for more intimate seating, you can ask to be seated in a small section upstairs that is set apart from the rest of the restaurant.
What you order will depend on what time you decide to visit. The brunch offers the usual staples, like omelettes and eggs but with clever names.
You can order a Mardi Gras omelette, a blend of turkey, avocado, bacon and jack cheese. If you have a seafood craving, you can ask for the crabcake benedict, which comes with an orange cilantro hollandaise sauce. And if you’re 21, you can wash it down with a mimosa.
The menu for the remainder of the day contains expected items like sandwiches, hamburgers and pasta. Its versatility makes it easy for virtually everyone in a group to find something that hits the spot. The sandwiches alone can appease a variety of eaters. On the lighter side is a half sandwich of tuna, turkey salad or turkey with sliced fruit that is just the right size if you don’t want a large meal.
On the heavier side is a conejo sandwich which, despite the English translation of its name to rabbit, consists of steak paired with coleslaw, tomato, lettuce, avocado, grilled mushrooms and onion on a french baguette. And even if you just want to order a tea, it’ll still come with a cutesy teapot of hot water for you to pour at your leisure. There is no rush, or pressure to order large amounts of food.
That’s perhaps the greatest charm about the marketplace; it welcomes you to visit if you aren’t planning on chowing down on a hefty entree. Its easy and acceptable to chat and laugh loudly.
On any given day, the restaurant’s visitors range greatly in age, which is a testament to the fact that the space lends itself for a date, a mother-daughter bonding session, or lunch out with a little cousin. You can park in the locale’s lot or around the street at meters. If you have time, walk up and down the nearby streets and you’ll find even more behind its doors. The French Quarter is just more assurance that, if you look hard enough, Los Angeles and its surrounding areas are anything but boring.
French Quarter Restaurant is located on 7985 Santa Monica Blvd.
Eva Recinos is a junior majoring in English. Her column “Nook & Cranny” runs Mondays.