La Sardine



Authentic bread


French onion soup

Salad Lyonnaise


***** (5 stars)

For a couple years I’ve been looking for a truly authentic and wonderful French brasserie in Chicago. Unfortunately, I was looking in River North, where there are quite a few choices, some good, but none wonderful. Then I stumbled upon this place. How I’d overlooked it I don’t know, since it is just off of Randolph’s restaurant row, but it is a bit of an obscure side street.

Anyway, it’s the real deal, with all the classic French comfort foods, impeccably prepared.

It’s really the small details that make the difference: the warm, crusty French bread and sweet butter served before you even order; the exactly correct Dijon mustard that accompanies the country-style house-made terrine of pork pate; the croutons on your Salad Lyonnaise that have obviously just been toasted; the perfect crust of gruyere on the French onion soup; and of course the right ambiance and soundtrack to accompany a classic French bistro meal.

In addition to the delights listed above, we also tried the mussels, a new recipe for the Spring, and they were easily the best I’ve ever had, done in a cream sauce loaded with herbs and just a hint of spice from a confetti of tiny chorizo bits.

The Burgundy by the glass was top notch, and they have my favorite Republic of Tea bottled teas.

Service was not French, but definitely charming and helpful, and everyone seemed glad for our business. This will definitely become a regular hangout for us. It’s by far the best French dining experience I’ve had in Chicago.

La Sardine
111 N Carpenter St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 421-2800