Jacksonville Restaurants - French Pantry Review
Ever since moving here to Jacksonville, foodies have raved about the French Pantry. I finally gave in and me and and my companions braved the waiting line that is ever present. (They should really put an awning so people don't have to fry in the bright summer heat.)
Atmosphere: The place is small and has a seating capacity of about 30. I am not sure if there is any good time to go there without having to wait 15-25 minutes. For those of you that haven't been there, the place opens at 11 am and already has a line going out the door. Once you get in the menu is posted on chalk boards. There is a wonderful selection of bruschetta that had its own board, and another with the main lunch items. As you wait in line to order your lunch you will see the desserts on display. When you put your order in, you can also order bread and any other items you will want to take with you. Then you sit, and a waitress will bring out your food. Because of the size of the place, it can get quite loud and the seating is limited.
Menu : The food served here is a varied lunch menu with is varied, not necessarily French. Before you lunch order comes out, you are served with fresh baked French Bread and Pesto Rolls with olive oil.
For starters, we had the Bruchetta with Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella cheese and I because they looked so good, I dug into the eclairs. The bruschetta was excellent - the tomatoes were so fresh, the melted cheese was good but the bread very good! I have a thing for eclairs and when I saw these in the display case, I couldn't resist. They were excellent - the filling was creamy and plentiful but not overwhelmingly sweet. You have got to try it because its one of the best I've ever had!
We had the French Dip, the Parisienne (French Dip with Brie), and the Rare Roast Beef with Boursin Cheese. Several people I know rave about the French Dip. It was good but I preferred the Parisienne French Dip version. The au jus was good and not at all salty. The best (for me) was the rare roast beef with the boursin cheese - the combination with the fresh greens and the bread was a winning combination.
Service: Even though we had to wait for 15 minutes outside, once you get inside, things move pretty quickly once you put your order in. The only thing that will hold you up are the patrons who linger about after eating oblivious to other diners waiting for a table! In a place like this we should all share and be considerate. The waitress was good and efficient despite the volume of people.
I would recommend this place if you have the time to wait and have a good fresh lunch. Will I go back? Probably but instead of being in a crowd and waiting in line, I will order and pick it up.
Jacksonville, FL Tel. (904) 730-8696Directions
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