French >Cafe Provencal
2310 E Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks, CA | Directions 9136234.173798 -118.844388
Neighborhoods: Thousand Oaks
Hidden Treasure – As always happens with food, when a dish is brought in front of you is either love at first sight or not.
I love food and I like to try a lot of different restaurants that offer a variety of cuisine and I can confidently say I have eaten in most of the restaurants in this area - the best and worst. But the experience I had last night, at Cafe Provencal, a strip mall restaurant, was one of the most positive and worthy I ever had in my dining outings.
The service was excellent, the atmosphere romantic and relaxed and the price fair. But, what I really want to talk about, is the food.
The crab empanada opened my meal with joyful surprise, being it very different from any crab appetizer I had before and tingling my appetite with its delicate flavor and fluffy texture.
Then I ordered a plate of Ravioli Picasso. It is a simple dish and I grew up with it when all the alfredo sauce of the world didn't existed yet and my mother used to make it, with love and expertise, using the best fresh ingredients - so simple, indeed, that it is easy to mess up with it, by making it too heavy and unsuitably rich.
When the Ravioli Picasso softly landed on the dinner table it awoke my senses in a split second and, right away, I knew it was going to be love at first bite. The smell of bacon, nicely displayed on the little pillows of pasta, wafted in the air just enough to be captured by my nose and it was so surprisingly delicious that it gained a life by itself. So much, in fact, it conjured in my mind sudden images of caring hands chopping the bright red cured meat in little pieces and it brought up visions of hot oil sizzling in the pan where the melted fat produced the seducing aroma from within. One little sniff and I was totally taken! But my journey to the star studded path of flavor had yet to begin. I gently pierced one of the tender ravioli with my fork and carefully I paired it with the creamy sauce and the bacon. I covered the distance from the plate to my mouth with salivating anticipation, knowing already that I was not about to be disappointed. When the perfect bite caressed my tongue, I envisioned an explosion of fire works on my taste buds and I engagingly savored every particles of this delicious food with the senses alerted and the mind inspired. The multiple ingredients mingled together like an edible poem and - I have to say - it was exactly like my mother used to do it!
The only thing I needed after was a dessert and the Chocolate Lavender Creme Brulee was as heavenly delicious as I tasted it in Aix En Provence last summer. And, when the time came to take the last bite, I caught myself dreaming for more...
Ambient Atmosphere, Best Place To Dine! – My favorite French place. They always have new dishes to try, I love the fish and filet migon dishes. Go on Wednesday and Thursday Nights to get wine tastings with a 5 course meal. Make reservations and you will be impressed. Service is awesome! The owner is pleasant and friendly. It is a small restaurant that is romantic and a perfect place to avoid crowds and loud, rushed waiters you get at the promenade just across the way. I've been going to this place for the last couple of years and never had to wait long for my food, never had a bad experience. Don't forget to order dessert, I've had the lavender creme brulee, the chocolate crepes and a mocha or dessert wine to top it off. Very nicely priced for the excellent service we get.
delicious food, great service, closed Sundays – I've eaten here 3 times and enjoyed it every time. The food is a little expensive for what you get but I still like it. I'm not that familiar with french food so I don't really know what I was eating but it tasted fresh. They are closed on Sundays except for Mothers Day and Easter when they have special menus. Twice, the soup wasn't hot enough but they took it back and reheated it. The service is adequate, maybe a little slow at times. It's a nice place to have a leisurely lunch and enjoy some different flavor combinations.
Not bad – Food is pretty good, service is good, ambiance/ decor is a bit odd. I'm not a fan of them charging a fee when 2 people split an appetizer. The restaurant is not bad, but I wouldn't go out of my way to go there.
I can't believe I didn't know about this place! – Five of us went to Cafe Provencal for a friend's birthday on a Thursday to have the $45 Dinner Deluxe. I can't tell you how amazed at how good the good and wine were, how friendly the service was, and how cute to atmosphere was (especially for something in a Thousand Oaks strip mall. We ordered our dinner special that included cheese ravioli with pesto appetizer (delicious and paired with a perfect chardonnay,) a fish (a salmon dish), then a meat (a chicken dish that was served in a roll with the most amazing sauce), a soup (potato leek--yummy!), then dessert (chocolate mouse--so good!). Each dish comes with a PERFECTLY paired glass of wine, which they refilled if you finished. Other people at the table ordered the pork medallions that were fantastic, and a ceasar salad that was very good as well. Every in the restaurant was talking about how great the food was. Yes, every once in a while a French voice over the speakers might start talking to the couple who were having an anniversary, or our friend who's birthday it is. I think he was trying to get her to stand up and dance. It was both a little startling, but engaging. I like that the manager or owner likes to have fun, and wants to make your visit something you won't forget.
I will DEFINITELY be back. It looks like their special this week is up, and I can't wait to go.
Then you've never been to Paris!! – we looked forward to finding a French restaurant and could barely have been more disappointed. fried scallops so crusted as to be coccoons, soggy potatoes floating in the sauce from the steak, very over cooked string beans (impossible to find in France), and the chocolate brandy cake (delicious) took 15 minutes...and it was cold. I'd ordered two appetizers for dinner and our waiter brought the second one as an 'entree', twice as large as I'd requested. The escargot were under garlicked and we who don't put salt on much had to salt everything. And, for slow and cold cake, and a too-large course, we barely got a 'sorry'! The young French girl was charming, our waiter was definitely not. We're sorry to warn you: I don't know where the other reviewers have eaten, but it surely was never Paris, where we lived for four years.
Editorial Review – Thousand Oaks provencal French neighborhood bistro boasts authentic cuisine such as fois gras, escargots, loup de mer and roasted duck.
The Best French Food! – Absolutely love this place! A little on the pricey side and reservations are an almost must especially on the weekends. But what Great Food! Highly Recommend!
Very Fench! – We are regulars at Cafe Provencal (over 4 years) and we have a wonderful experience every time. The food is fabulous - truly French - and the specials (Wed. & Thurs. nights) must be tried! These special dishes; several courses, well paired with wine and dessert are a great value. The chefs & owners are French, the atmosphere is intimate and attractive, and the service is excellent: professional, friendly, never snooty. On the occassion of a guest with a birthday it's also humorous. The restauranteur, Serge, is almost always on the premises (a sign of great place), and his regulars get great emails from him regarding special menus and other delightful things. You must try this place, you'll become a regular too!
*Note: I have often dined with large groups, even though the restaurant is quite small, but if you wish to do this, make a reservation well in advance.
Awesome – I have been eating at Cafe Provencal since the beginning, Their food is the best French food on this side of Los Angeles. Their fish is always super fresh!!! I always eat the specials, each time it's a new surprise. They serve their own label of wine
which is good and well priced. I highly reccommend
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