Cafe La Ruche is a good spot for a cup of espresso and a quiet lunch or dinner with a friend. It has been a fixture on 31st Street since 1974, when bistro-style French food served in a cozy atmosphere was a novelty. The French street signs, cheery yellow walls and rush-seat chairs are still there, looking a little tired but definitely homey.
Even while the interior could use a little sprucing up, the food remains dependable. La Ruche does the classics and does them well: quiche, richly delicious onion soup, baked salmon. Be sure to order dessert, especially the pastries and a very good chocolate mousse (but skip the frilly dots of whipped cream that decorate the plate).
Like any good French cafe, Cafe La Ruche has a dedicated following for both lunch and dinner, as well as a small late-evening crowd that comes in for pastries and pastis.
When the weather's nice, don't miss the chance to sit at one of the outdoor tables, tucked into the space between the restaurant and the Yes! bookstore.
-- Kathleen Stanley