As I headed to Cafe Normandie, I didn’t know what to expect. My first taste of French food had not gone over well; I had the misimpression that all French food is drowned in butter and cream and is essentially an excuse for Americans to go off their diets.
Cafe Normandie defied my expectations. When I opened the cafe’s door, the smell of freshly baked bread filled the air. This smell immediately lured me to the “sandwich” part of the menu, and I inevitably decided to order the salmon sandwich. My partner chose the “friand to order.”
The salmon sandwich was absolutely everything that a sandwich should be. The baguette was right out of the oven – crispy on the outside, while light on the inside. According to our waitress, the dough was imported directly from France. The baguette was filled with smoked salmon, fresh spinach, and tomato slices. The smoked salmon was top of the line quality – the best I’ve ever had- and was layered generously on the baguette. The sandwich and spinach salad came with a very light balsamic vinaigrette that didn’t overpower the smokiness of the salmon.
The friand included a choice of 3 stuffings (meats, cheeses, and/or vegetables). My partner chose chicken, brie, and fresh spinach. The pastry was light, flaky, and “melt in your mouth” delicious. The amount of brie was perfect – enough , yet not so much as to overpower the chicken and the fresh spinach.
Chef and owner Benoit Legris, from Normandie, runs this cafe wonderfully. He greeted us, chatted with us, and, at the same time, completed multiple orders. He serves simple, delicious, yet not pretentious, French cuisine.
Both dishes were large enough to take half home. The only problem was they tasted so amazing that we didn’t have the self control to do so.
[easyreview title=”Cafe Normandie” cat1title=”Taste” cat1detail=”The ingredients were distinctly fresh, the bread hand-baked, and contained perfect amounts of brie and/or vinaigrette.” cat1rating=”3.5″ cat2title=”Atmosphere” cat2detail=”Cafe Normandie is a quaint little French eatery, with charming paintings and the smell of bread baking as you enter.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Food Presentation” cat3detail=” A crisp spinach salad accompanied each of the well put-together sandwiches. ” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Service” cat4detail=”Our waitress was friendly, hospitable, and the food service was fast and efficient.” cat4rating=”3.5″ cat5title=”Overall” cat5detail=”Cafe Normandie represents French food at its best with the absolute freshest and best ingredients available. I look forward to many meals here in the future. ” cat5rating=”3.5″]
3756 Tamiami Trail North; (239) 261-0977
PRICE RANGE: Lunch $9 to $13, Appetizers $6 to $13, Dinners $17 to $23
CREDIT CARDS: All major ones are accepted
HOURS: Lunch 11 am to 3 pm, Dinner 5 pm to 8:30 pm