Houston >Food & Dining > Cafe Rabelais
2442 Times Blvd, Houston, TX | Directions 7700529.716730 -95.415588
Monday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Wednesday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Saturday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Sunday 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Neighborhoods: University Place, South Central
Great Atmosphere and Great Service – This was my first experience eating French food and I was very pleased. The menu offers various types of dishes, meat, vegetarian, fish, which makes it hard to choose (prices range from $8 -$30+). I ended up having the pork sandwich, which was out of this world. The wine list was great too - lots of information about the different types of wine. Our waiter was attentive and did not make us feel rushed. All in all, a great choice for a meal out!
I love this place!!! – I'm so happy each time I come here. Everything I order is always wonderful and my dining companions are always equally happy. Service has always been very attentive and the staff is knowledgable about the food and wine. Since they don't take reservations, if there is a wait for a table, we give them our cell phone number, take one of their buzzers and have a beer at the Gingerman across the street. There are no menus. They have a large chalkboard on the wall with their menu on it. I've had lasik but still must be blind because I can never read this thing. Plus I feel bad standing over some diners who had the misfortune of getting the table under the menu. I always end up ordering a special that they've told me about at the table. That is my only complaint about this place and it's just how they do it, so I don't expect them to change it and it definately won't stop me from going.
SERVICE DOES NOT EXIST HERE – The food is decent and the host person is knowledgable but the service is horrendous and they don't hire more people. We waited forever to even be acknowledged. They need to have real menus also so people can read them and you don't have to get up in front of someone's table to read a menu on the wall. The waitstaff are RUDE and the host is RUDE. THEY NEED TO HIRE MORE PEOPLE AND FIRE THE OLD.
Yum! – This restaurant was highly recommended as a small, romantic place with a great wine list. I have to admit to being turned off when I first pulled up to see that it was in a strip center, but once you enter, the big city location is forgotten. This restaurant is charming. The waiters are knowledgable and attentive without being all over you. There are no reservations so go early because we had a two and a half hour dinner (arriving at 6:30) and did not see anyone leave while we were there - Tables don't turn often! We ordered two bottles of wine (one white & one red) and corked them & took them with us when we left. Their wine list is wonderfully extensive with a focus on French wines of course. The escargot was fairly flavorless, so I would not order that again, but my friend's crawfish was delightful in a delicate sauce with a puff pastry. We both ordered steaks as our entree. I had the filet mignon with goat cheese and pine nuts. My friend had the ribeye steak with mustard sauce. My steak melted in your mouth and was rich and flavorful, accompanied by an assortment of vegtables. My friend's steak was unremarkable, served with fries ("pomme frittes") and all of the seasonings on the side. We were surprised by this since the waiter recommended it as one of his favorite entrees. We skipped dessert, opting instead to continue drinking our wine and eating some of the delicious crusty bread that they have on all the tables. Overall, I loved the restaurant. I felt like I really found a secret little gem, tucked away on a small side street in Rice Village. I look forward to returning and exploring more of the menu and their vast wine list!
Bon vivants flit to this affordable Rice Village bistro for country French food. – In Short
Who wouldn't be captivated by this rustic French cafe sporting gothic candleholders and friendly, French-speaking servers? Order from the chalkboard menu: Escargots, boeuf au poivre (sirloin with pepper cream sauce), merguez & frites (lamb sausage sandwich/fries) or blue cheese quiche when available. For lunch, try the exquisite salade de chevre with goat cheese-eggplant croutons, apples and hazelnuts. Finish your lingering repast with dessert crepes.
Fabulous! – My husband eat here about once a month and we just love it! Both romantic and lively. The mussels are divine and the pomme frittes are crispy. I've had several fish dishes and all of them have melted in my mouth. My husband loves the duck. The wine list is extensive. Talk to JJ and ask him for a recommendation. They have something for every price range. We recommend it highly!!
Most Romantic...Best Food! – After dining at Cafe Rabelais on Saturday evening, I was in awe of just how special of a place this is. From the moment we walked in we were greeted warmly by the staff and told of a 30 minute wait. We thought this to be excellent as the restaurant does not take reservations, it was a Saturday evening, and every table was full. We were directed to the bar where we enjoyed a recommended glass of wine while waiting. A mere 15 minutes later we were shown to our seats for the start of one of the most romantic evenings we have experienced in a long time. From appetizers through to dessert, each course was prepared and served to perfection. The staff was excellent in making recommendations from the food to the wine list, and we felt we were in very expert and caring hands. The food is marvelous, the atmosphere absolutely outstanding, and the courtesy and professionalism of the staff unequaled. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for that special place to take that special someone!
French cuisine graded: F – Some friends and I went to Cafe Rabelais last night and were so disappointed I doubt any of us will ever return. First off I want to list the good qualities- the ambience is divine -although noisy- it's quite a romantic spot. The wait staff seems frazzled but that is too be expected when you go during peak business hours and are pretty attentive. The wine list is not only full but also very informative.
Now the bad news I ordered escargot to begin...it's a treat since many Houston restaurants don't serve it and it's a favorite of mine- the menu warned it took 20 minutes to prep yet much to our surprise 10 minutes later it was delivered to our table. The taste was displeasing - like chewing on sea water. Actually, there was not even a hint of any other flavor other than diluted sea water...yuck!
Moving on to our soup - potato- it was served slightly above luke warm temperature and tasted like butter...just butter. yuck #2!
Finally the entree - I ordered the chicken sandwich- it's supposed to be served with fries but my plate didnt have any and there wasn't even enough chicken to create a thin layer across the baguette it was served on. My friend ordered the tuna steak salad only to have the tuna sandwich delivered. When she corrected the waiter her sandwich (containing 4 large pieces of tuna) was replaced 10 minutes later with a handful of spring mix, a few black olives, and only 1 piece of tuna (the salad is more expensive than the sandwich, btw)- no dressing or anything. Yuck #3
In conclusion, although the ambience is very romantic the food leaves too much to be desired.
Reminded me of Paris! – Despite the recent negative reviews, my date and I decided to try Rabelais, and we were truly delighted! The food (beef medallions, duck breast) was great and the service excellent. The decor totally reminded me of France!! The manager/sommelier was friendly and helped us pick out an outstanding bottle of Gigondas that was reasonably priced. Overall, we truly enjoyed the transporting experience and plan on going back often. As someone who's been to France twice and lived in NYC for 10 years, I can honestly say that Rabelais compares favorably to other provencal restaurants I've been to. Also, each table is candle-lit and the whole experience quite romantic.
A total disapointment – The restaurant was highly recomended here and in the wine press, so my experience was a real let down. It's a neat place in a very relaxing part of Houston, very much the French bistro on first blush. My visit started well with the wine list (the manager decanted my 1/2 bottle as I sipped a white), but fell apart from there. The service was barely there and the food was totally flavorless. My venison was the texture of liver and the weak flavors that were there were not well matched to one another. The arugula salad with beets was also essentially flavorless.
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