An out-of-the-way spot that's both romantic and relaxed, Bistro Campagne is an ideal spot for first dates, but also a good choice for intimate gossip sessions between friends. Low lighting, cozy seating, and the one-of-a-kind decor of tasteful mosaics and hand-painted murals make this cozy cottage-turned-restaurant feel like a sweet getaway.
Executive chef and owner Michael Altenberg is a force in the sustainable foods movement, so his recipes boast ingredients that are almost entirely organic and often sourced from local family farms. Steaks are grass-fed, and all fish are either wild-caught or responsibly farmed. Simple, French-inspired preparations with the occasional international twist let the high-quality meats, fish and seasonal produce speak for themselves in dishes like farm cheese ravioli with basil red pepper fondue, or grilled duck breast with curried lentils and rainbow chard. Don't equate "organic" with spa food, however; true to French tradition, most dishes rely heavily on fresh butter and cream, making each bite a delicious indulgence. Entrees cost $17-$22, and portions are generous.
The wine list boasts a range of bottles exclusively from France, with a few served by the glass at $7-$9. The beer list is equally enticing, with a sampling of brews from France, Germany, the U.S. and Belgium, including some Trappist ales. An extra-authentic touch comes only to those who skip the booze: Coke comes in glass bottles with a lemon wedge, just as you'll find it in Paris.
Despite its tiny-looking exterior, the place opens up into a very large, several-room space that's often packed at dinnertime, but the crowd here is generally quiet and devoid of scenester-types. Reservations are recommended, but not necessary: When the season allows, you can spend your waiting time sipping cocktails in the lovely country-style garden.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Julia Steinberger