Palate Pleaser: Bastille Cafe & Bar


As I sat in this quaint café positioned on Ballard Avenue and overlooking the Sunday Farmer’s Market, I could not help but revel behind a cup of coffee and watch denizens leisurely browse through an abundance of locally harvested sustenance. From my peripheral view, seeing the server fill my cup encore fois, I get lost in the enchantment of Bastille.

The Menu du Jour is delicately written on the mirror in the main dining room. Each menu item progresses as an invitation into Bastille’s world of flavors.

This Ballard brasserie from owners Deming Maclise and James Weimann creates a cause for reverie and escape from the ordinary (or the rain). I imagine Seattle Francophiles flock to this place for the atmosphere and food.

Coffered ceilings with black trim add to the marriage between romance and escape. Antique light fixtures and chandeliers gently illuminate the tables while natural light floods through the large street-side windows to implant the Parisian experience. Racks of rustic baguettes line the walls, waiting their turn to be sliced and adorned with sea salt and Plugra butter. They are well worth the $4 charge, which includes refills.

At Sunday brunch I love the croque-madame packed with Skagit River ham, aged Comté and served with a plentiful side of lush winter greens. The Bastille Lamb Burger, a savory filled lamb patty served with delicately sliced pickled red onions and melting Cantal cheese on a fluffed bun, also delights. The Cantal and Harissa aioli cascade from my burger and onto my plate. The sauce becomes a complement to my crisped pomme frites. Finally, a chanterelle omelette oozing with only fromage blanc and thyme to give the ultimate minimalist experience of taste. Harissa-roasted Yukon potatoes complement the meal, with each return becoming better than the last. The table condiments, including memorable horseradish mustard, accompanied every bite to deliver an explosion of flavors.

For beverage pairings, I recommend the Annex punch – a well-curated mix of orgeat, orange, lemon, seltzer and nutmeg. I watch in captivation as skilled bartenders raise a ruby red Bloody Mary. Doors along the opposite wall open onto a covered patio. The Back Bar, tucked at the end of the hallway behind the open kitchen, is fraught with invitation to another world. Even the pouring rain cannot keep Seattleites from ensconcing the entirety of Bastille.

The 12-page beverage list includes various wines from France and the Pacific Northwest. Wines by the glass start as low as $6 and a 500 mL carafe of house red, white or rose is just $15.

Brunch is served every Sunday from 10am-3pm and dinner is served daily from 5:30pm until late. Reservations are encouraged.

Bastille is a definite visit if you’re craving some “damn good French cuisine.”

Photo Credit: Bastille Cafe & Bar