May 5, 2004
It was like ducking into a little bistro in the heart of Paris. It was small and like the name implies - charming. I ordered a great glass of wine and had the best Coq au Vin I ever had in my life. The wait staff was professional and gracious and made the meal a real find. The whole meal was a pleasure and I forgot about that nasty rainstorm outside.
I have been back many times. Each time is a true pleasure. I have since learned the story of how the owners Lina Yew and Alain Delangle met in the kitchens of France and came back to San Francisco and worked in some of the great French restaurants here, like Fleur de Lis. They pooled their money and took an unlikely risk, to open a real French Bistro where rent was cheap, South of Market. It was a gamble, but one that paid off. Slowly a following grew and now the area has grown around Le Charm. It's in walking distance from SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), Sony's Metreon and the Convention Center.
The food isn't the only thing great here, so are the prices. Le Charm is a true French bistro and offers bistro prices. During dinner they offer a three-course prix fixe dinner for only $28.00. One of the best deals in San Francisco.
The menu changes with the season and everything is wonderful. I have had all the French bistro favorites, but two favorites are the Salmon and Parisian Gnocchi. I highly encourage you to save room for Alain's Apple Tart Tatin, a real treat. The kitchen is all French and the common language in the kitchen is French.
The restaurant is small, but out back there is a lovely small French garden that is open in good weather. You will swear you are in the South of France and not South of Market.
Le Charm serves lunch from 11:30am until 2:00pm and dinner from 5:30pm until 9:30pm. You may be lucky like I was and be able to drop in. That was several years ago and their fanfare has grown, I now suggest you make reservations. The web site is: Le Charm
From journal Living in the Bay Area