Caribou Cafe offers a delectable selection of classic French dishes such as the Niçoise salad, Moules Frites and Escargot. It certainly has the charm of a small French cafe, if not the flavor.
The chef, Olivier Desaintmartin, is a native from Champagne and has studied with great chefs from France. The dishes he serves are not outlandish or particularly fancy, but are simple, classic and hearty French dishes.
Caribou Cafe is located on Walnut Street so its outdoor seating is perfect for enjoying the weather and people of Philadelphia. The interior is small and homey, but can be rather stuffy, depending on the day. It is not ideal for larger crowds, although the staff can be very accommodating and are willing to put tables together if needed. They also allow a bit of dining or soup at the bar, which is spectacular on a slow day.
The beer and wine selection is vast albeit pricey considering there is a decently priced Irish pub just across the street.
Last time I was here, my wine came with at least two dead mosquitoes. It was a humid, bug-filled day, but I was still surprised that the waiter allowed it to happen. I did not let that bother me because the crème brulée was particularly good that evening. It had just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess and was torched to a perfect crunch on top.
The food here will not amaze you, but it does pay homage to classic French dining. Come to Caribou Cafe for the atmosphere and selection of drinks. Happy hour is every day from four to six with discounts on all sorts of beers, wines and cocktails.