The “New” Café Bastille

March 10, 2011  |  food & drink, san francisco

If you happened to be in San Francisco on the 14th of July, you have probably heard of Café Bastille. It is in the small alley of Belden Lane, with its European flair and café terraces, that all festivities start and spread to the rest of the city. If something important is happening in France, TV crews head to Café Bastille, sure to find enthusiasts and regulars to offer their reactions. We are in the center of French culture in the city, in a way. As the saying goes, ‘it all begins here.’ A lot of young French restaurant owners, who opened their own restaurants in the city and beyond, started their American dream at Café Bastille.

Olivier, who owns the café, is born and raised in Paris and he feels proud of the history and the continuity of his restaurant, one of the rare bistros to have been around for 20 years. He studied hospitality in France, and when he came to San Francisco, he wanted to create a corner of France, a bistro, just like a typical one in Paris, that offers traditional Bistro fair and has a famous name for party times.

On March 6th The “New” Café Bastille was unveiled with a party, a new chef and a spanking new menu. The lunch menu boasts Bistro favorites such as moules et frites, avocat crevettes, escargots de Bourgogne, truite aux amandes and steak au poivre, while French classics were added to the dinner menu – boudin noir, hachis parmentier, boeuf bourguignon, lapin à la moutarde, and coq au vin.


The décor also marked a new beginning with colorful posters that emphasize the Bistro look. Now, the Café is officially ready to continue with business as usual – regulars stopping by to say hello to Olivier, French music playing in the background amid the Bistro’s hustle and bustle, tourists enjoying the San Francisco sun and ambiance, and Financial District folks grabbing a lunch. “People come to the café,” Olivier says, “because they discover a surprisingly European type of environment where they feel relaxed and happy. It is rare to find cafés with outdoor terraces next to each other in the USA.” And Olivier likes all of it. He feels at home in his French Bistro in America, where French culture lives and is celebrated every day.

  • Café Bastille, 22 Belden Lane, San Francisco
  • Reservations: (415) 986-5673
  • Visit website!


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