Comfort Food, French Style

Café Felix brings a bistro ‘A’ game to A2


Sometimes when it’s a chilly, rainy night on the cold streets of Ann Arbor, you need the comfort of a nice French bistro: the gleam of brass, warm conversations, laughter, a perfect bar, the pop of champagne, and the aroma of real-deal French bistro food. You shake off your umbrella and sigh: You are at Café Felix.

Café Felix has been a fixture on Main Street since 1997. In other cities that might mean a tired joint with unchanged décor and stained menus. Not in Ann Arbor, where rents are high and restaurants need to bring their “A” game to keep the kitchen humming.

Even on a wet Wednesday night the crowd at Café Felix was lively. Our party nosed through to be seated at a table under a painting of a portly gent nursing a cigarette and glass of red wine. He seemed to say, “Just relax, monsieur, you’re home now. Oh! And no flat-screen TVs, so you can converse like the true French.”

We started with classic French aperitifs and intelligently mixed cocktails with names like “Brotherhood.” This went down with an order of light, lemony calamari. On cold nights soup is a must; the superb tomato bisque brought some peppery heat, while a Bistro Salade came with candied pecans and generous amounts of creamy blue cheese.

One main course was gnocchi with Asiago cheese; a close-your-eyes bit of comfort-food perfection — feathery light gnocchi with a mix of fragrant cheese, wild mushrooms, and veggies.

Café Felix offers four pizzas, including a Marguerite pizza that was crisp and warm with oozy mozzarella. Of course, the quintessential French bistro dish — beef steak avec frites — had to be ordered. With a French flourish, an effortlessly seared hanger steak arrived surrounded by french fries so good we had to keep the neighboring table from reaching for samples.

Desserts followed with a traditional chocolate mousse and an untraditional espresso crème brûleé with freshly made doughnuts and caramel and raspberry sauce — a Café Felix riff on “coffee and doughnuts” but without exaggeration, a million times better.

The gentleman in the painting above our table nodded, “Oui, monsieur, that’s what I’m talking about.”

204 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-662-8650. L & D daily, Br. Sun.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

The Detroit Hot Spot With Dual Personalities

Part restaurant, part night club, we explore the many facets of Sweet Soul Bistro

Meet the Southwest Detroit Pizzeria Serving Sospeso

PizzaPlex in southwest Detroit is challenging what it means to be a new business on the block

Molly's Picks: Christine's Cuisine and Trattoria Serventi

Restaurant veteran Molly Abraham noshes around town, tracking down some top spots

A Former Coney Island in Southwest Is Serving Vietnamese-inspired Dishes with Serious Flavor

Flowers of Vietnam offers chef-driven fare with a neighborhood joint vibe

Lumen Detroit Opens in DTE’s Beacon Park

The brasserie-meets-beer garden is another bright spot on the Detroit dining scene
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. 7 Michigan Breweries Worth a Trip
    Check out these must-visit locations during your summer travels
  2. To Market, to Market
    Michigan Wine & Cider Festival at Eastern Market May 24
  3. Your Guide to Michigan’s Odd and Unusual Festivals
    We rounded up some of the state’s most niche events, celebrating everything from fishflies to...
  4. Hour Media’s Real Estate All-Star Party 2017
    Hour Media's Real Estate All-Stars celebrated at the fourth annual Real Estate All-Star Party...
  5. Dry Times: Looking Back 100 Years After Prohibition
    A century ago, Detroit became the first city in the nation to prohibit alcohol
  6. Meet the Southwest Detroit Pizzeria Serving Sospeso
    PizzaPlex in southwest Detroit is challenging what it means to be a new business on the block
  7. An Hour With... Candice S. Miller
    Macomb County Public Works Commissioner
  8. The Gentleman’s Guide to Style
    From grooming to shopping, a comprehensive directory for stylish men in metro Detroit
  9. Motherhood in Metro Detroit
    From pre-pregnancy thoughts to developing unconditional love, several local women give a glimpse...
  10. Birdie’s Something Chocolate Makes a Ganache With Panache
    The local business is making sweet success out of a family recipe