LOUISE BOLGER | SUN
Christophe and Marieke Celis invite guests to experience
a taste of France.
What do southern Florida and the south of France have in common? They both border magnificent bodies of water, they both have temperate weather and they both have great food. Now some of the great food from the south of France bordering the Mediterranean Sea is available right across the street from the Gulf of Mexico.
Last summer Marieke and Christophe Celis sold their home in France, packed up their three daughters and moved to Florida. After years of working as a chef, Christophe was ready for his own bistro, and after 10 years of visiting Anna Maria the family was ready for a move. Everyone was on board when Marieke found an on-line advertisement for a French restaurant for sale in Bradenton Beach. A week later they were on a plane headed for the Island and their new adventure.
The Celis became the new owners of the French Table on July 1, and were off to a good start, until Hurricane Hermine blew in on Sept. 1 and flooded the restaurant. It was three months before they could reopen, but it did give them the opportunity to redecorate, installing new floors and adding their own personal touches to the restaurant. They were able to reopen just in time for the winter season and have been busy every day since.
The French Table's menu is traditional southern French country cooking. Christophe bakes his own bread every day, and most days there is a special entree. Other entrees include mussels in crème fraiche, sautéed shrimp flambees, grouper mangue, sautéed duck breast, beef in red wine and a French favorite, cassoulet.
Appetizers include grilled mussels, French onion soup, ceviche, salads and pancake with smoked salmon and shrimp. You can, of course, finish with desserts like crème brulee, flan and chocolat mousse. The Celis also are very proud of the expanded wine list with a large selection of French wines, and they also offer a variety of beer. Every dish is homemade with fresh ingredients bought daily.
Marieke is there every day serving their patrons, and you will frequently find one of their three daughters helping out. The couple's moms even help out when they're visiting, adding to the warm relaxed feel of the intimate bistro.
Although the French Table is not open for lunch, the Celis will accommodate private parties of at least 20 for a luncheon. Wedding parties, baby and wedding showers, birthday gatherings or just a nice get together of friends are always welcome.
When you step in you will immediately feel at home and be transported from the Gulf of Mexico to the Mediterranean Sea. Marieke and Christophe Celis want everyone to know the French Table is still open and is still a little bit of France on the beach, with authentic food and some French music thrown in for flavor.
103 Gulf Drive North
Tuesday – Saturday: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday
All major credit cards accepted