Fantastic & Friendly French

Escargots, Foie Gras Pâté, and even Frites (French fries) are on the menu, but at Bistro CloClo, the thing that draws you in is not just the sumptuous French dishes you don’t see at most restaurants. It’s the friendly people and the deliciously fresh ingredients.

Chef John Tan says he combines tried and true French dishes such as Coq Au Vin, Boeuf Bourguignon, and Duck L’Orange with modern American tastes. So instead of lots of butter, heavy cream and high fat, the food is cooked with just a touch of health consciousness. That’s not to say taste takes a back seat to calories. “We try to use local ingredients and still want the flavor to be there using butter and salt and other ingredients, but we pull it back just a little so the freshness of the ingredients is the masterpiece,” says Tan.

And what a masterpiece it is. The food is “mon Dieu, délicieux͟ (oh my God, delicious). The Surf and Turf entree included a petite filet, seasoned well, and a beautiful lobster tail that was tender and cooked to perfection. Grilled asparagus and a potato wedge accompany the dish. Becoming known as a romantic dining spot, Bistro CloClo will offer a prix fixe meal for lovers on Valentine’s Day. If you want to add a little splash of fun, order the bubbly and flirtatious Hibiscus Champagne Cocktail. Tart and sweet, this drink will leave your taste buds begging for more.

Manager Karim Bouskou says Bistro CloClo, which opened at the Dr. Phillips Marketplace in April of last year, is poised to be a destination restaurant. “It’s not just the Escargots and the Coq Au Vin bringing people from all over Central Florida to dine with us. It’s the atmosphere. We want you to feel like you’re in Paris.” While the people watching may not be as robust as a café on the avenue de Champs-Élysées, the Marketplace is beginning to thrive again and is fast becoming a foodie hangout.

Bistro CloClo’s patio is covered and includes heaters to keep you warm when it’s chilly. The interior is decorated with local art on crimson walls and French music plays. You’re even likely to hear hits from Claude “CloClo” François, a famous French 1960s pop singer, whom the restaurant is named after. And much of the wait staff is from France or other French-speaking countries, so French is spoken fluently but not exclusively. Unlike the negative stereotype you often hear about the French, everyone at Bistro CloClo is exceedingly helpful, friendly and inviting. To put it simply, the service is impeccable.

Kelly Froelich, a native French speaker herself, is the project manager for Intram Investments, Inc., the company that manages Bistro CloClo. She says the concept for the restaurant is to offer excellent modern French and French-fusion food in a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere. For everything from special occasion dining to happy hour and even light lunches, Bistro CloClo delivers on that ideal. Adding respectably priced fine dining, live Jazz Sunday brunch, great happy hour deals and Wine Down Wednesday, where all wines are half off, and you’ve got the winning combo that is Bistro CloClo.

Must tries at Bistro CloClo include the Prince Edward Island Mussels, which are cooked in a light curry-infused cream sauce and of course the Escargots, served hot and garlicky with crostini. Also, don’t miss the Crème Brûléeeither. This buttery, soft dessert will not disappoint. Small plates for lunch are encouraged so you can taste everything, including the Tuna Tartare, Escargots, CloClo Sliders (Black Angus beef with brie on a brioche bun) and Pâté.

Bistro CloClo’s motto is “Pour Bons Les Vivant” (For those who live well.) After you’ve enjoyed your meal, because the portion of your food is not the usual American extra, extra large, you will leave feeling like you have indeed lived well, but have not overdone it. A satisfying evening with fantastic French food and friendly French people is just one more thing you’ll love about Bistro CloClo.


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Written by Neko San

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