Red and white checks are everywhere at this old-school bistro: on the tablecloths, the wicker chairs, and even the curtains. A venerable institution since it first opened in 1908, its low-key classy décor and traditional menu attracted the attention of President Obama, who made a surprise visit here with his wife Michele in 2009. The kitchen turns out reliable and succulent southwestern dishes like cassoulet, foie gras, and duck breast with black cherry sauce. Starters include escargots (snails) and oeufs au Madiran (eggs baked with red wine and bacon), and the dessert list is full of classics such as île flottante, crème brûlée, and dark chocolate mousse.
- Margie Rynn