C'Est La Vie
French Restaurant$$
Today 7:30 am – 3:00 pm
Contact Information
1553 Main St Sarasota, FL 34236
1553 Main StreetUSFloridaSarasota34236
$$French Restaurant, BakeryToday 7:30 am – 3:00 pm
Monday 7:30 am – 3:00 pmTuesday 7:30 am – 3:00 pmWednesday 7:30 am – 3:00 pmThursday 7:30 am – 3:00 pmFriday 7:30 am – 3:00 pmSaturday 7:30 am – 3:00 pmSunday Closed
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Review Summary
33 reviews
5 star
14 reviews
4 star
7 reviews
3 star
3 reviews
2 star
6 reviews
1 star
3 reviews
French cafe & bakery counter for breakfast & lunch from croissants to crêpes served indoors & out.- Google
"Didn't taste freshly baked, more like a 2 day-old baguette from Publix."
"A popular French bistro in downtown Sarasota."
2 reviewers
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Karolina Maria's profile photo
Karolina Maria
a year ago
I am very disappointed by what I thought would be an authentic French bistro experience. First of all, the restaurant pulls it off with the decor. It looks cozy and appealing from the outside and in, no complaints there. I think they should play more French music - I can't help but be knocked out of the intended atmosphere when a song comes on that I've heard on the radio 1000x before. I can't comment on the bakery or dessert items (I went there for brunch with my mom and sister) but the meals served left a lot to be desired. First off, we were served a basket of bread and butter, with no plates. Didn't bother to ask for any because the bread itself was very dry. Didn't taste freshly baked, more like a 2 day-old baguette from Publix. Service is passable, with the waiter staff barely saying anything to you before you talk to them. We ordered 2 omeletes and a baguette sandwich, all with a side of potatoes. One with mushrooms and bacon, and another with salmon and mushrooms. Salmon tasted good, but the first omelette arrived with mushrooms and ham instead of bacon. The side of potatoes that comes with the meals was very dry and lacked any flavor but, well, potato. I'm not an expert on French cuisine but there's millions of ways to dress up potatoes, surely some that would taste more authentic and not like they were pulled out of a bag of frozen potatoes just 10 minutes ago. The presentation of the food also did a disservice to the actual meal. Served on humongous platters that dwarf the food, the meal looks and feels bare. I would add another side to each meal, at least. I know they offer a few more side options at an extra charge, bu why would I go here to pay $13 for a sandwich and two sides when I can go to a major chain and get probably 2x the food for the same price? That's the kind of thinking you should take into consideration when planning your menu and plating your dish, in my personal opinion. The baguette sandwich I ordered (The "Brest" sandwich) was, again, on dry, tough bread with cube-like pieces of chicken that kept falling out, along with all the other pieces of my sandwich. It was a decent size but, coupled with the dry potatoes, had barely any flavor. I didn't finish it. We also had some tea and soda, pretty standard. No complaint there. The place started to fill up the longer we sat there, but when the bill came, I couldn't help but feel a little ripped off. Gratuity is included, which I didn't know prior to coming in. I wouldn't necessarily mind if the service and food hadn't been so poor. I definitely would not have tipped as much as I was charged. All in all, 2/5 stars, and I probably won't be coming back :/ At least not to the cafe. maybe the bakery counter is better.
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Brian Howard's profile photo
Brian Howard
9 months ago
The food was amazing had a crossiant with ham and cheese and I have never tasted something so good
sergiy khoroshenko's profile photo
sergiy khoroshenko
a week ago
Great hot sandwiches and french macaroons
Ken Doyle's profile photo
Ken Doyle
3 years ago
It amazes me that a place with such a rude owner can still be in business. It must be because of the location bc the food isn't all that great. The staff makes you feel like they are doing YOU a favor by serving you. You better hurry up, eat and get out of there... Or they might eat you up and spit you out like a Frenchman who just tasted a bad pastry.
Colleen Sperry
6 months ago
Slow service but DELICIOUS, cheesy, carb loaded French food. Yum!
Dime I
a year ago
I've been here a few times but looks like this is the last time. My colleague and I were here for lunch since we work in the area. So right off the bat when we sat down, I noticed dirty utensils. Not the most appealing thing for the customer. The table wasn't looking a whole lot clean either. The server gave us some bread first, (which the bread here is delicious, btw) however he didn't bother to give us small plates until we asked. When we placed our orders, my order was screwed up and this was annoying. I asked for a Montpellier sandwich with salad, but I got one with potatoes instead. So he takes my plate back and 10 seconds later I get another sandwich with salad. Great! I said, but when I started eating the sandwich, I noticed it was a Cannois sandwich, and not a Montpellier halfway through eating it. At this point I just didn't care and ate it. I didn't feel like complaining or waiting for another. Other adjacent parties had order problems as well. To add to things, my friend's drink glass had a small dead bug underneath it on the outside. So overall, not a good experience and we'll probably be going to the city center cafe instead next time.
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J Ford
2 years ago
The food was just amazing here. I loved the croque monsieur, and the cafe au lait was perfect. My wife also loved the croque madame. If I lived in the area I would make this a frequent stop. Only issue - the service may at times be iffy. The staff is very friendly, but sometimes you may feel a bit forgotten. Caveat - we did arrive when they had full tables inside and out.
Cheri Alberts's profile photo
Cheri Alberts
2 years ago
Among the hustle and bustle of Saturday morning foot traffic, around the corner from the farmer’s market, sits C’est la Vie! a popular French bistro in downtown Sarasota. In an area where there are plenty of other options, people are drawn to this unassuming establishment with a surprisingly large dining room and an outdoor patio seating area. Inside, patrons line up to shop the display case full of fresh pastries and breads available for carry-out. They seem to have tried to fit as many tables and chairs into the space as they can, and while the quarters are a little close it doesn’t feel cramped. On this cloudless, cool morning, a table on the patio opened up, and so our visit began. The drink order was taken almost immediately, and within a few short minutes a café au lait was delivered to the table, with a glass of ice water. Café au lait may not sound noteworthy, but it was made with high quality coffee cut just right with milk, it was exactly what this meal called for. The only glitch during our meal was that our drinks were never refilled. The drinks were quickly followed by four, thick slices of a baguette, with a side of butter, and the pastries that were ordered. The apricot croissant that arrived was flaky on the outside, accented with apricot slices baked inside, and dusted with powdered sugar. A beignet followed, but it was different than what I am used to. My only experience to date with beignets is from Café du Monde in New Orleans, and this was nothing like that. This was more of a yeast donut, sweet and airy, with a very light sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar on top. To clarify, while not what I’m used to, this was delicious! Other types of toppings were offered, apricot, raspberry, or whipped cream, and while all sounded heavenly, plain is the true test and did it ever excel. You can hardly go to a French bistro without indulging in crepes, and I opted for Crepe Paysanne. Made with buckwheat flour, which I was told is the traditional method, and filled with cheese, bacon, potatoes, and eggs this dish was surprisingly light and satisfying. It was served with a salad made primarily of romaine lettuce, with tomato, red onions, corn, and a side of dressing that I can only describe as a creamy vinaigrette. It made for a wonderful accompaniment to the richness of the crepe and its filling. The last part of the meal was a Croq’ Monsieur with a side of potatoes. I actually meant to order the Croq’ Madame, one of my favorite sandwiches, but had a brain lapse. Even with this minor oversight, I thoroughly enjoyed the toasted ham and cheese sandwich, topped with loads of béchamel sauce. The side dish was some of the best home style fried potatoes I have ever had, crispy and lightly salted. The combination of the two made for a savory plate that was easy to enjoy. At no point do you ever forget you are in a French bistro, but there are times as you hear the various languages of European tourists that you forget you’re in Sarasota. Overall, I only thought the bathroom could have used some work. Other than that, the staff is friendly, courteous and helpful with suggestions when asked. Based on the small sample of the diverse menu, I can only assume there’s something for everyone here. I can say, with all certainty, I’m looking forward to returning, perhaps for lunch to sample their wine and beer selection.
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