TAIX FRENCH RESTAURANT
CELEBRATING 90 YEARS OF FRENCH COUNTRY CUISINE
Earlier this year I started going out to dinner with some good friends trying to hit up as many of L.A.’s classic restaurants as possible. For our first dining destination, I choose Taix French Restaurant. As an L.A. native, I have seen the Sunset Boulevard French restaurant all my life, yet never ventured in. Over the years, I even heard it sported a great happy hour but still didn’t go.
I don’t know if I was dyslexic as a child, but every time I passed the yellow restaurant I could have sworn it said Taxi. I actually thought it was a yellow cab headquarters. When I learned it was Taix, which I couldn’t even pronounce (it’s pronounced “tex” by the way), I thought maybe the restaurant’s glory days were long gone. I’m glad to say that’s so not the case.
When I finally ventured to Taix French Restaurant, Los Angeles’ oldest and only family-owned French-Country restaurant now celebrating its 90th anniversary, I soon learned I had been missing out all these years. The space is huge, yet cozy and it’s the perfect setting to indulge in a long, rich meal.
The Taix family are the third and fourth generations of a family of sheepherders and bakers from the “Hautes-Alpes” in southeastern France who immigrated to Los Angeles around 1870. In 1912, Marius Taix Sr. built a hotel called the Champ d’Or in downtown Los Angeles’ French quarter. In 1927, Marius Taix Jr. opened Taix French Restaurant within the hotel serving chicken dinners for 50 cents at long family-style tables. Diners could choose private booth service for an extra quarter. Taix’s novel food, unique service and affordable prices made it a Los Angeles favorite.
The present location on Sunset Boulevard opened in 1962 and continues to be a family affair. Family style service has given way to private booths, but Taix French Restaurant remains faithful to the famed tureen of soup, fresh French bread, and abundant portions of French country cuisine. Now the restaurant is carried on by Marius’ son Raymond Taix and his son Michael.
The bar features an impressive cocktail menu, including an entire Negroni menu, along with classics such as the Sazerac, and Vesper (two favorites of mine), Tom Collins, Harvey Wallbanger, Rusty Nail, Sidecar, Manhattan, and Old Fashioned. And the vast wine program, which is run by Michael Taix, is impressive.
I say start with a stiff cocktail and then begin your dining experience with house favorites such as the Baked French Onion Soup—a must-have—and the Moules Marinières, mussels cooked in white wine, butter, parsley and shallots. If you want the real French experience, go with the Escargots De Bourgogne—a half dozen escargot imported from Bourgogne, France baked in the shell with fresh garlic butter—along with the Ratatouille (a French Provençal stewed vegetable dish). The Charcuterie Plate (Butcher’s block) is solid if you’re a fan meats and cheese.
The Plats Principaux (entrees) are aplenty. Popular dishes include the “Taix” Burger, Steak Frites Au Poivre, Lamb Chops, and Salmon Filet. We went with the delectable Short Ribs braised in cabernet sauvignon, which was absolutely delicious.
You may want to consider dining on a Sunday night so you can enjoy the Cassoule—a French favorite. This slow-cooked casserole, which originated in the south of France, consists of tarbais beans, duck leg confit, homemade saucisse de Toulouse, confit pork belly, and lamb shoulder slow baked with garlic, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. This is a not to be missed specialty dish.
Since you’ll be eating very rich and decadent cuisine, you might as well save room for dessert. Winners include the Mousse au Chocolat Noir (a must-have for chocolate lovers); Peach Tart a la mode; and the divine Floating Island. And because I am such a big fan of liquid dessert, you can’t go wrong with a dessert wine or glass of port or the appropriate French Coffee with Cointreau and Kahlua.
A definite classic L.A. restaurant, I may have missed out on years of indulgence at Taix, but rest assured I will now be making up for lost time.
Taix French Restaurant is located at 1911 Sunset Blvd. Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30am to 10pm; Friday 11:30am to 11pm; Saturday 12pm to 11pm: Sunday 12pm to 10pm. Valet parking is available for $3.50 on site. Call (213) 484-1265.
Story and some photography by Jose Martinez
Some Photography courtesy Of: Taix French Restaurant