French cuisine really speaks to my soul on a lot of levels – for one thing, you have a lot of cheese in everything and wine is served at most meals (in the form of Champagne at Brunch, Prosecco with lunch, an afternoon Bellini, or a glass of Pinot with Dinner, etc). For another, there’s a certain air of refinement that comes with a sharply suited waiter and a menu that spans ‘Hors d’oeuvres’ to ‘Fruits de Mer’, and occasionally ‘Des Oeufs’ and ‘Pamplemousse’ – it makes you want to order a few Nutella Beignets (irrelevant of the time of day) and stay awhile. Some go for the L’ognion gratinee, some stay for the French Press coffee, but all can agree: French food is fantastic.
Add in the delightful charm of a lively corner on Union Street in SF, heated outdoor café tables, and those darling black doors and potted hedges, and Café Des Amis is the full package. I first discovered the café when walking down Union Street after a yoga class, and walked straight toward a sign advertising brunch cocktail specials. Over the last four years it’s become a Bourgeois eatery of the very best kind, and since its opening, the Marina and weekend brunching scene (or dinner for that matter, the Steak Frites are exceptional) has been changed for the better.
You can imagine the dismay of myself and ‘Marina Girls’ everywhere when they bumped into THIS article in Eater SF, and learned that the cafe was closing down this weekend: citing chef turnover and landlord woes, it is believed that leadership at Bacchus Management Group (also behind restaurants Spruce and Pizza Antica) were “unable to reach a lease agreement with the building’s landlord that could support a sustainable business in the neighborhood.” Simply put? The Marina is getting too pricey for restaurants to sustain. Where is all the good food going? Oddly enough, this upsetting news was first discovered by my best friend T living in NYC – apparently, bad news travels fast, and our seaboard was not the only one saddened by the closure!
Even with all of the questions popping up for residents of the 94123 (who is going to serve us bottomless bellinis and chef’s choice oysters for brunch now? Who is going to take over the lease for the space?), this weekend’s shut-down of a French gem has certainly plucked at the heartstrings of many, and Cafe Des Amis will be sorely missed. As for me? I plan to soothe my sorrows at the French spot around the corner, the Marina location of Cafe Claude – le repas doit aller sur!
Adieu, Des Amis!