It had to arrive eventually.
French food, some of the best in the world, was no doubt going to someday permeate Medellín, a city becoming more international by the year.
Well someday is today, and the best restaurant for French cuisine is Brie Bon.
It’s the newest French restaurant serving paisas and the growing foreign community, one of about a half-dozen open today if you count Le Panetier, the café overlooking Primer Parque Laureles.
We at Medellín Living have been on a mission to try them all, all of them offering good food, with atmosphere, authenticity and pricing being the primary differences.
Let’s run through these variables, shall we? Then you’ll see why Brie Bon tops them all.
La Cafetiere de Anita is the most famous, one of the places Martha Stewart went when she came here last year. It’s also the most expensive.
You know you’re in a fancy restaurant when you’re there, with the well-dressed waiters, immaculate table settings, and the location along the Milla de Oro.
Dave went recently when a reader invited him to dinner, and he had the salmon. It was fine for 46,000 pesos (about $24), but it didn’t blow him away. He did love the desserts though.
I love the escargot at Ganso & Castor, a dish many people find strange, or inedible. That’s fine. More snails for me. The garlic butter sauce they come in makes them delectable.
Once mainly a café, and still with the quaint elegance of one, the place evolved into a restaurant, a place with dishes range from 18,000 pesos (about $9.50) to 30,000 pesos (about $16).
Paris Paris is slightly more economical, but with the same theme, only entirely set on a breezy patio.
The blue cheese chicken is my favorite dish. A friend of mine loves it so much, he orders only that, every time.
Mickael, the founder, is from northwest France and opened the restaurant to share his country’s cuisine with Medellín at affordable prices. Nothing on the menu is more than 26,000 pesos.
The mission at Brie Bon, I learned after several trips there, is to replicate French cooking to the point where you feel like you’re in France when the mix of flavors dances on your tongue.
I think they’ve succeeded.
I’d make a more declarative statement but I’ve never been to France, unlike Juan Florez, one of the owners, who was inspired by the food during his trip.
This I can say: the boeuf bourguignon was incredible.
The beef was tender, marinated mostly in red wine, something done a day or two before it was ready for cooking, and when it was finished it was perfect.
So were the mashed potatoes, and I loved the way they prepared the asparagus, shaved into thin slices that were slightly crispy.
It was a big plate and for 30,000 pesos (about $16) I was full.
I looked around while my food digested, appreciated the finer details of the place, such as the options to sit indoors or on a patio, the canopy they can use to cover the outdoor tables during the rainy season.
I loved the iron chairs and their classic European design, and the wine room at the far wall, and the location along the green and soothing Vía Provenza.
You could unwind here after work with one of their many drink options, such as martinis and cosmopolitans.
After enjoying my meal, I found out about the special brunch menu, something that really caught my eye. Brunch is available starting at 10 a.m., Thursday through Sunday.
I just had lunch the previous Sunday with my two good friends from the states, Jen and Mike, and Jen had mentioned how she wished there were a great place for brunch in Medellín, a place with trussed-up eggs and all the sides, and mimosas too.
When I made this new discovery I hit her up immediately in Facebook Messenger:
“Found a great place for brunch…eggs benedict, mimosas, all that stuff!”
She was teaching her class but responded shortly thereafter:
“We’re going! Let’s get the group together, and by group, I mean you, me and Mike, jaja.”
We went, we ate, we fell in love. With the food, not with each other.
We all had the eggs benedict (13,500 pesos, or about $7), Jen’s with a mimosa and Mike later ordered the French toast, the perfect Sunday preceding a national holiday, in this case the Assumption of Mary.
Later, when I thought about my experiences at Brie Bon, I realized there was one thing about them that was not 100 percent French, and being authentic is something for which the restaurant takes great pride.
The portions at Brie Bon are big. In France, from what I understand, they’re small.
If you’re going to dare to be a little different, do it in a way that pleases your clientele.