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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Casual restaurant

Daily 7:00am–2:00am

Features Date-friendly, good wines, outdoor dining, veg-friendly, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine, liquor, BYO
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Accepted


Capitol Hill
1117 12th Ave.
Seattle, WA
(206) 709-7674
Café Presse
Le Pichet’s little sister mixes a modern aesthetic with French comfort food

Café Presse is the hippest recreation of a French bar in town. Delicate baby-blue wallpaper provides the backdrop for the fully stocked bar, which has a marble top and black pipe barriers separating it from the dining area. A skylight illuminates wood beams lining a 30-foot ceiling, exposed duct work, and chartreuse-yellow tables. Soccer matches on the bar’s TV, along with a magazine rack carrying everything from the London Financial Times to Juxtapoz, compete for the short attention spans of the trendy crowd, much of which is probably too busy discussing Egon Schiele to notice such things.

The café does very basic French food very well. Steak frites is a favorite: a hanger steak with a nice char and a medium-rare interior comes with greasy, crispy, utterly masterful fries. The chicken liver terrine is so rich and slick that you’ll wish the baguette were 12 feet long. Expertly roasted chicken is served two ways: fresh out of the oven (expect an hour’s wait) or cold with mayonnaise (the way to go). The French-focused wine list hovers on the smaller side of mid-sized, but it goes very well with the food, and there are plenty of by-the-glass options.

Café Presse is notably better than Le Pichet (the owners’ other French café) in one aspect: it isn’t as much of a pain in the ass. Most menu items are available all day, unlike at Le Pichet, with its wafer-thin windows of opportunity in which to order certain things.

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