With their latest, Bicyclette, acclaimed République chefs Walter and Margarita Manzke have re-created Paris on Pico Boulevard, albeit with California produce.
“While the food may be done in a way that is a bit contemporary and farm-to-table, it’s rooted in France,” says Walter, who has wanted to open a classic French bistro for years. “République is much broader—there, we have dishes influenced from Japan, Mexico, Thailand, California.” At Bicyclette, he says, “there’s no soy sauce, nothing Italian.”
The dual-concept newcomer occupies two floors of the storied building once occupied by beloved restaurants Sotto Pizzeria and Picca. On the first level, a cozy 80-seat space that débuted in late June serves escargot en croute—snails drenched in garlic butter and topped with puff pastry—and a fall-off-the-bone duck confit encircled by local cherries and beets. Margarita’s perfect baguettes and sublime tarts, plus a French-only wine list, round out the meal. Later this year, the more formal upstairs dining room will open and serve a tasting menu. Until then, there’s plenty to enjoy downstairs.
At a time when restaurants are struggling to find workers, the Manzkes have somehow managed to find staff who are not only welcoming and attentive but also speak with a French accent. Such service, together with the food and the beautiful old building, is especially transporting. Walter says, “It really feels like you’re in another place, another city.”
Bicyclette, 9575 W. Pico Blvd., Pico-Robertson.
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