It’s not Paris, but a Boca Raton bistro has a French accent and comfy outdoor setting

Alfresco dining at Chez Marie French Bistro

Chez Marie French Bistro, tucked into a sprawling strip center close to the Delray Beach-Boca Raton border, is worth seeking out for an evening of satisfying Gallic-inspired dining with friendly service


The Polo Club Shoppes strip mall in Boca Raton isn’t exactly the Champs-Élysées.

But in this sprawling suburban-style, supermarket-anchored shopping strip you can dine alfresco on satisfying French bistro cuisine while sipping a glass of Sancerre at Chez Marie French Bistro.

It will take a GPS app to navigate through the huge shopping center until you find the restaurant in a courtyard hidden behind a construction site. But find it you will as have other diners since it was opened in 2014 by a French couple, Stéphane and Marie Gattacieca. You’ll be glad you did.

Interior of Chez Marie French Bistro

Marie and Stéphane, who left France in 2009, hail respectively from Grenoble and Annency in the French Alps.  Marie, who studied communications at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, runs the front of the house, while Stéphane, a former investment banker, helms the kitchen. He learned to cook at a young age from his pastry chef father and later in life, at the urging of friends in 2007, decided to take cooking lessons at the prestigious Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon before heading to the U.S. to open the couple’s first restaurant.

Onion soup

Chez Marie offers classic simple bistro dishes, among them escargots, French onion soup, duck à l’orange or filet mignon.  There’s an ala carte menu and a three-course fixed-price menu for $35.90. If you choose to dine there plain accordingly. They are closed Sundays and Mondays.

As a fan of French cuisine and with Chez Marie being one of only a few eateries specializing in Gallic cuisine close to Delray Beach, I was happy to dine there recently.

Even more so, because of the abundance of outside tables – there are 16 – that made it a desirable spot for those who still remain fearful of dining in as the-COVID-19 pandemic appears to be ebbing. Inside dining with brick-lined walls with mirrors, white-hued booths and white cloth-covered tables has appropriately distanced seating.

Duck a l’orange


Service was largely friendly and professional. Our server, Suzie, was not French, but a native Long Islander who previously managed the well-known Frank’s Steakhouse in Jericho, we learned. Nonetheless, she guided us to a satisfying dinner.

After a review of the short wine list, I selected a glass of Lucien Crochet Sancerre Rouge, a pinot noir from the Loire appellation and something off my radar. Modestly marked up at $14 for the glass, it proved to be a friendly, fruit forward mouthful of cherry notes. I would have preferred an earthier wine. Next time.

Lamb shank

Bread is good and crusty, but we didn’t get any until we asked a busser mid-meal.  Not a real problem, just a hiccup.

Onion soup, a quintessential bistro offering, was hearty, topped with nicely browned, bubbling cheese and well-caramelized onions beneath the cap.

Chocolate mousse

Duck à l’orange was nicely bronzed. The meaty portion seemed firm, but was, indeed, tender. Alas, the accompanying orange sauce was a bit overloaded with astringent orange zest to suit my wife’s taste.

A special that evening, a braised, herbs de Provence-infused lamb shank ($29), was delicious and pull-from-the bone tender.

Both entrees were accompanied by bright-green, crispy string beans and chunks of roasted potatoes.

Chocolate mousse, included on the prix-fixe menu, was a fine example of the classic dessert with its rich chocolate flavor and creamy texture.

It’s nice to know that well-prepared, modestly priced French comfort food is available not only close to our home, but with a choice of seating options that make dining at Chez Marie all the more comfortable.

Chez Marie French Bistro

Polo Club Shoppes

5030 Champion Boulevard, Boca Raton, FL 33496



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