French food in York
Advantages: Great food, good value and good service.
Disadvantages: the space is too small.
We first went to a Caf Rouge when we visited York in September 2009. The main reason was we had a GBP10 voucher that could be used in a few restaurants including Caf Rouge.
Caf Rouge is a renowned French style chain of restaurants that opened its first outlet in 1989. Now it has over 90 across the UK. The one I visited in York is in the heart of the shopping area. It is approximately a 5-10 minute walk from York Minster as well as to Clifford’s Tower and York Castle Museum.
The external dcor is quite rustic with a red theme. The yellow logo of Caf Rouge is on a red sign hanging above the entrance to the restaurant. This appearance makes Caf Rouge stand out from other surrounding bars and restaurants. However when I came in I was a little surprised with its size. There were just a few tables, one of which was just inside the entrance. Like other bars you can see a few paintings on the walls. However a large mirror occupied an entire wall that made the space feel bigger.
At Caf Rouge you can just have a cup of coffee with a croissant in the morning, or pop in for a spot of lunch or even an evening meal. We were there at about 6pm for dinner. Although there were customers already seated we were served quite fast. The staff were mainly young, friendly and efficient. First they brought the menu for us to choose for our dishes. The menu covers a range of French food to suit most tastes. Likewise their wines are predominately French too. The first two pages of the menu display daily specials, which were almost half the price of a la carte items. However you can’t use vouchers for these daily specials. We sampled the Entrecote rouge, a steak with French fries (GBP15.95). This was the most expensive main course on their menu. The steak was tender and tasty and the sauce that was provided complemented the meat. However the fries were a little disappointing. I am used to British chips. To me the French fries are too thin and too oily. We also tried an offer of two courses (GBP9.95). After two months I forget what we had, but I remember it was delicious. Our dinner cost GBP35 inclusive of beers and a tip. Considering what we had and the quality of the food I would say the price was pretty reasonable. I have not been to France so I can’t say it was genuine French food although I prefer to believe it was.
Next day we had a dinner in a local pub that cost us almost GBP50 yet the food and the service were a lot poorer than that we were given in Caf Rouge. On this basis I would recommend Caf Rouge for a chance to taste French food. I felt there was one small disappointment and that was the limited space of the restaurant. It was too crowded due to popularity and I felt like I was sitting in the lap of the next customer. You couldn’t help but see each other’s food and listen to each other’s conversation.
Summary: good French food in York.