Calling Toulouse Petit Kitchen and Lounge "French" is taking the term a little loosely. The decorations inside are certainly meant to appear as though it has been taken right out of France, and so is most of the food. The noise level, waiting line and crowded conditions are more likely to have people thinking of Italy I would think, however. In reality the establishment is inspired by the French Quarter of New Orleans, and offers both French-style food and Creole food items.
It seems to be quite rare to find empty tables here. There can be fairly long waiting lists, so it pays to call ahead to find out what the table availability looks like. It is also possible to reserve a space on their web site.
Once inside, you will find that there are an assortment of seating options, from large circular booths that can seat five or seven people to smaller tables for two or three, to single bar stools for those dining alone. Table height also varies - some are the higher level that is fashionable at coffee houses and certain fast dining type establishments, while others are at standard seated height.
Many of the tables have amazing woodwork, and the walls are a fascinating textured and painted mixture that certainly resembles some of what you might find in Europe or probably the French Quarter (though I have never been there).
The restaurant has only a very obscure iron worked sign on the southeast corner of the building, directly above the entry door. Therefore, it is not necessarily an easy place to find, even if you are looking right at the place. It is in the lower Queen Anne area, and close to the Seattle Center.
Parking can be a real pain in this area, at any time of day or night. Be prepared to walk a little ways or take any of the reasonably frequent bus routes that serve the intersection (especially route 1). Also, along the north side of the Seattle Center Mercer and Roy are one way streets, and thus getting around can be a bit of a tangle.
Favorite Dish Beignets are $4 for a small order, $7 for a large order, and as best as I can tell have proven to be a favorite with just about anyone who has tried them from this establishment.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner items are all popular here, and the Breakfast item I enjoyed was Eggplant and Heirloom Tomato Caponoata Bruschetta, for $10.
You'll want to explore the web site a bit, as they have quite an extensive menu and drink list.
I love this place. It can be a bit on the pricey side. For instance, there is an heirloom tomato salad for $14! But I have never had anything I didn't like. And some things I loved - Including a chocolate and peanut butter Ice Cream desert.
Great covered outdoor seating when the weather is good (or borderline good) and a fire inside for the winter.
The Back Bar is also great! Many of the decorations were actually acquired in Paris.
Favorite Dish Heirloom tomato salad is worth the $14.
Mussels are good, Steak Frites is good, Lamb Burger is good, and I have been wanting to try their cassoulet this winter.... I bet it is good.
We had brunch here on 12 Sept 2004. It was wonderful!
The cafe is part of the restaurant CAMPAGNE which is supposedly one of the best French restaurants in Seattle -- but I have never eaten there and cannot say yes or no. The cafe, however, is decorated with a French bistro flair and is not kitchy, at all, like so many "bistros" these days.
When we happened into this place for brunch we did not know it was a "French" restaurant -- and as most of you know I have a penchant for foie gras and therefore, we will have to visit again, sometime.
Favorite Dish Both my husband and I had the Quiche du jour which was so light and fluffy -- the best quiche I have ever had. I do not remember the ingredients -- a meat, cheese and french herbs...??? It was served with a salad and made a wonderful brunch. Since it was late, nearly noon, when we sat down, we also both ordered champagne cocktails. Wonderful! I had a bloody mary with my meal that was only average. The coffee and espresso were also quite good.
Walking into this bakery is like walking into a little corner of Paris. The pastries are always fresh, excellent, and very tasty either to-go or while sitting down with a coffee.
There are not many places to sit down, so most people will order a coffee or latte and pastry to go and then stroll around the market. If you can find a seat at the counter-type section near the street, it's a lovely place to people watch and sit enjoying your pastry. In the spring and summer the windows lift up and out so there is nothing between you and the people walking along the street a few feet away.
The bakers are French, adding to the authenticity of the baked goods including breads, sandwiches, pastries, tarts, and specialty items. The staff is very friendly and begin to recognize you if you go every week like I do!
All in all an excellent get-away from work for a morning latte and pastry for the local, and a great snack stop for the tourist.
Favorite Dish Absolute favorite is the pain au rasin. Others include: brioche, almondine, and a la framboise (croissant with raspberry jelly)