Once you pass through the doors of Le Bon Cafe, you will think you’ve landed in a Parisian patisserie/bistro. Salad Nicoise for lunch? A plate of fine French cheese, or a selection of pates with those little cornichon pickles you loved in France but have not been able to find since? Want a perfect cup of French pressed coffee and a croissant as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack?
If the answer to any one of these questions is in the affirmative, zoom as quickly as the law and seasonal traffic will allow to the little cafe that has been quietly imparting the best of France’s light bistro fare here since November.
Owners Victor and Sharon Znaty are low-key people. The do not have a website or Facebook page. I noticed the cafe on a trip to Kroger but did not try it until I received a recommendation from a Francophone friend who told me that Le Bon Cafe has the best bread this side of Paris. The bread, the delightful pastries, the soups – all of the food is made on site. The establishment does not open until 9 a.m., but it is worth waiting for your breakfast until then to obtain their fresh items.
The lemon and chocolate creations in the case are edible works of art – delicious according to all accounts. My pastry sampling has not made it past the croissants and cinnamon rolls. On my first visit, I purchased a cinnamon roll to have for breakfast the next day – their cinnamon rolls are made from croissant pastry instead of yeast dough, making them flaky and delicate instead of heavy like a yeast roll. You can order it with or without icing. I bought without. The roll called to me, and by evening, I had decided to eat it for dessert instead of waiting for the next morning. I heated it a few seconds and then enjoyed the sensual pleasure of cinnamon and butter and a bit of sugar – a sweet that was not too sweet.
The menu is on a chalkboard so Victor and Sharon can be flexible, according to what the weather and the freshest possible ingredients dictate. The other day, there was a bit of a chill in the air, and several people were ordering the French onion soup, which my friend Maureen Templeton-Adams assures me is delicious, rich with cheese on top, not salty and delicious. I had planned to try the quiche but was sidetracked by the lovely salad Nicoise that took me back to the summer I lived in Paris – tuna, olives, tomatoes on a bed of greens, served with crusty bread to soak up the olive oil. My husband, Joe, tried the daily special – the French name of it escapes me, but it was melted cheese on wonderful bread, served with a small green salad on the side, and Joe pronounced it “delicious.”
I could not squeeze in a piece of quiche along with the large salad so I took home a portiofon (spinach ) quiche along with a lovely baguette to have with dinner and also as toast the next morning). We also took advantage of the little marketplace to purchase violet and honey candies and some wonderful French olive oil soap. Even reheated the next day, as a part of a light lunch, the quiche crust was flaky and the flavorful filling just rich enough to feel like a treat without being heavy.
So if your budget is not up to airfare to Paris, simply drive over to the Galleria shopping center and step into this friendly little neighborhood bistro. A word of warning – if you arrive late in the afternoon, the quiches may be gone. The back of the cafe’s business card advises making reservations for afternoon tea.
If you eat
What | Le Bon Cafe
Where | 9616 N. Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, in Galleria Center
Hours | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Contact | 213-1193, firstname.lastname@example.org