Want to dine around the globe? Well, we have limited travel and no airplane needed for dining around the globe on the Suncoast.
My how things have changed!
When we first moved here 21 years ago, prime rib and a baked potato wrapped in foil were standard fare. Finding a great coffee shop or local French bakery was almost unheard of. But look at us now!
Aside from the abundance of good Peruvian, Italian - from classic to Northern - and many sushi spots, the local dining options continue to grow with influences from abroad.
Ce la vie, a longtime favorite downtown destination, now offers a second location on University, next to Total Wine and Spirits. Aside from the fabulous croissants, breads and mouth-watering pastries, Ce La Vie at University also serves a delicious dinner menu Wednesday through Saturday nights.
House made terrine of semi cooked foie gras, served with kiwi and pineapple chutney ($12.50), had me at ‘Bonjour’. The incomparable French entrees, buttery rich and creamy, are so affordable, especially if sharing such an uptown dish.
And, of course, there is the onion soup gratin ($6.80) -- melting bubbly cheese with a rich stock. No matter what the summer temperature brings us, a classic French onion soup is still a baseline for all things wonderful.
Entrees at Ce la Vie are abundant. My personal favorite is the spiced duck breast with peaches and sweet mashed potatoes. While the peaches and potatoes add sweetness to the dish, the duck performs well with these flavors. There are classics, such as beef bourguignon, ($20.00) and the mules’ frites. The steamed mussels with choice of curry, tomato-basil or white wine are extraordinary ($14-$16.80).
Those looking for lighter options have a selection of salads, paninis and crepes – and no one, I mean NO ONE, should leave before a dessert. From chocolate eclairs to a true apple tatin, the dessert selections are fabulous. (Ask the owners about the amusing story of how tatin came to be in France).
There is something so delightful about local international cafes that can take us back to our last travels. In the case of C'est la Vie, you will certainly fulfill cravings for a true Parisian bistro.
C’est La Vie University Park | Lakewood Ranch
• Open 7 days a week – Mon-Tue 8:30am-5pm, Wed-Sat 8:30am-9pm, and Sun 8:30am-3:30pm
• Offers breakfast, Sunday Brunch, lunch, Catering and dinner
• Shoppes at UTC, 8527 Cooper Creek Boulevard, University Park, FL 34201
• Call 941.355.2323
C’est La Vie Downtown Sarasota
• Open 6 days a week – Mon-Thu 7:30am-6pm and Fri-Sat 7:30am-7:30pm
• Offers breakfast and lunch and Catering
• Downtown Sarasota, 1553 Main St, FL 34236