We had a leisurely two-hour lunch with friends in the Bistro-Restaurant
Salut les Copains in Havre Street just off the magnificent Reforma Boulevard.
The restaurant is part of a larger and very elegant French-Mexican culture
center, which includes a French book shop, an exhibition area, as well as what
seemed to be space for lectures or workshops.
It was a hot sunny day, but pleasant in the shade, so we selected a table on
the terrace. Refreshing lemonade was produced swiftly while we studied the menu.
Although the fare was clearly French, the menu was in Spanish only. For lunch,
only set-menus are available and include a salad or soup, a main meat course, and dessert. Vegetarians will go home truly hungry.
The salads were fresh, although the dressing rather bland. Although the bread
was tasty, I thought it a bit dry. The main courses were cooked to perfection.
Three of us had chicken: mine was flattened chicken breasts in a cream sauce
flavored with tarragon and perhaps a touch of orange -- I couldn’t really made
my mind up on that and regret not having asked as it was divine and worth trying
to reproduce at home. It was accompanied by a small selection of vegetables and
fried potatoes with onions. The two other chickens had an equally tasty basil
sauce accompanied by vegetables and rice. The fourth person in the party raved
about her salmon, which was also smothered in a creamy sauce of some kind.
I actually felt like meat, but as my understanding of very well-done and that
of the average French cook differs radically, I decided not to. The men at the
table next to us had two different steak choices and I was surprised to see that
it was well-done with only the slightest touch of pink. My chicken was tasty
enough that I didn’t regret my choice, but next time . . .
Desert was a passion fruit sherbet and fig cake -- both were good, but the
sherbet was particularly refreshing. I scored again as they ran out of fig cake and offered me an even better chocolate cake instead. We rounded the meal off with cappuccino, unfortunately with very weak coffee, as the Mexicans prefer it.
The set lunches range in price from just over US$8 to just less than US$12.
Including drinks and tip, the bill came to less than US$15 per person, which I
considered excellent value for the quality of the food and the pleasant
It was hard to pinpoint the average lunchtime clientele. Some were office
workers from the nearby business district while other seemed to be ladies at
leisure. There were also a significant number of older French ladies dining
either alone or in pairs who clearly knew a bargain when they tasted one.
Salut les Copains
Casa de Francia
Havre 15 (off Reforma)
Mexico City, Mexico
May 7, 2003
From journal Mexico City well balanced: two museums, four lunches