For us, this is what a brasserie should be, and it would seem there are others who agree; from all accounts France Soir has been busy every night for over 20 years. It’s the kind of place with regulars who come week after week, year after year.
And we don’t blame them. The character and atmosphere at France Soir is arguably unmatched by any other restaurant in Melbourne. There is an energy that comes from the busy chatter and tightly packed tables.
The clientele ranges from those eating early on their way to the theatre to jovial groups chattering loudly for hours over bottles of Bordeaux to families celebrating birthdays and anniversaries with champagne and oysters. But France Soir wouldn’t be the same without the waiters. These guys manoeuvre up and down the restaurant calling orders to the bar from across room – in French, of course. Many of them have been here for years; they’ll greet you with a kiss or a handshake, often flirting shamelessly with the women.
But all the while they deliver classic, consistently excellent French staples quickly and at great value. The carte has everything you might expect: steak frites, margrex du canard, steak tartar, oysters as well as crème brûlée and crepe suzette for dessert.
France Soir also features one of the most impressive wine lists in the city. The cellar has been developed by owner Jean-Paul Prunetti over the last 20 years and is now catalogued in the leather-bound wine list with over 2,100 references of mostly French wines categorised by region.