Restaurant Review #155: Champagne French Bakery Cafe, West LA

Chicken pesto sandwich

I've never had much interest in trying Champagne--I've always had an attachment to Panera, so on the rare occasion that I'm in the mood for a sandwich, that's where I go. But when you're in a hurry and Champagne is the best and fastest option available, that's where you end up. It had to be better than Baja Fresh or airport food, I figured.

I tried the garlic chicken panini and the hot chicken pesto sandwich. I really enjoyed the panini--it was served very hot, it was the right size for my mouth, and it wasn't too messy. All of the ingredients made sense together, the bread-to-filling ratio was perfect, and there was nothing sketchy about the chicken.

The chicken pesto sandwich was dry though. Our fries were cold, and they didn't get my order right (I asked for salad on the side, not fries). Since I was the last customer of the night, arriving just 10 minutes before closing, I wasn't surprised--the place was completely empty, and they'd probably already cleaned up the salad prep station and cooked the last of the fries.

Garlic chicken panini and fries

Champagne is, in many ways, a direct competitor with Panera--both are chains that share the fast-casual concept and have similar menu items. One area in which Champagne may have an advantage over Panera is that they serve hot breakfast plates like crepes and French toast, while Panera's breakfast choices consist almost entirely of bagels. At lunchtime, you can get French fries--another food Panera does not offer. However, Champagne does not offer an equivalent of Panera's popular "You Pick Two" combo. While they do offer several combos that are a good deal, they don't offer as much flexibility--you can only get a cold sandwich with their deal, while at Panera, any sandwich, any soup, and any salad are up for grabs. On the other hand, Champagne also offers the option of getting all three-soup, salad, and half sandwich--which you can't do at Panera. So rather than trying to pit the two against each other, I think it's best to say that while Panera and Champagne are similar in their fast-casual sandwich concept, the two have enough differences to keep things interesting.

Champagne French Bakery Cafe
2202 Sawtelle Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Champagne Website
Champagne Menu

Champagne French Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

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