Friday, May 22, 2015

A Cozy Casual Dining Gem!

Another evening and another 'Groupon'!  This time our Groupon coupon was for a casual but upscale dining spot in downtown Knoxville.  At the time that I checked this restaurant out on Trip Advisor the worst rating was Average with the majority being Very Good or Excellent…mostly the latter.

This is Café Du Soleil in Knoxville Tennessee.  It’s not very far from busy Market Square but it is a little off the ‘normal’ beaten path.

This is a view of the patio or outside dining area at Café Du Soleil.  The street isn’t that busy so traffic doesn’t seem to be annoying.  However, there are only about 10 seats outdoors…

It turned out that our server on this Wednesday evening was the owner…Joe Consumo.  He told us that he takes on that task 2 nights a week when business is usually a bit slow.  As it turned out, this evening he really ended up running fast in order to serve his customers.

For my appetizer, I ordered the Carpaccio. ($12.00) It is thinly shaved organic Black Angus beef served with olive oil, lemon juice and roasted garlic and sided with mixed greens and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and lemon.  It was very tasty although the seasoning on the beef seemed a little underwhelming…

The wine list at Café Du Soleil is short but even the least expensive wines, ($7.00 each, which we ordered), were very good indeed!

One of Laurie’s favorite appetizers is L’Escargot…snails.  Café Du Soleil’s version was very different from the norm. ($10.00) The large Helix snails were swimming in a very creamy herb garlic sauce and they were served in a martini glass.  Both the snails and the sauce were excellent…and those toast crisps were used to good advantage…soaking up some of that sauce!

For her entrée, Laurie ordered the Fish of the Day. ($27.00) We tried to remember the name of the fish but it had a Hawaiian name and we just can’t remember what it was.  Joe told us what it was and that it was not a ‘net caught’ fish, but rather a fish that had to be caught on a line. 

Whatever type of fish it was, Laurie thought that it was just great!  It was firm, buttery and not ‘fishy’.  For her sides, she had the bacon potatoes au gratin and the sautéed vegetables.  Everything was excellent!

At the beginning of our meal, there were 4 couples dining at Café Du Soleil including us…  Then a party of 10 arrived…a business group…and the owner really started running!  The interior space at Café Du Soleil only seats a little over 30 patrons.

Lamb is one of my favorite foods but I can rarely find quality lamb in a restaurant… So I took a chance and ordered these beautiful lamb chops. ($35.00) As you can see with the chop on the right, they were cooked to just the right degree.  The reduction used when cooking these chops just added to the total ‘taste package’!  They were the best I’ve had in many years!

The side vegetables were excellent as well… I could have eaten a plate full of them!  When I asked about the bacon potatoes au gratin, I mentioned that I’d probably order something else as I really don’t like onions with potatoes and cheese.  The chef overheard me and he prepared my potatoes the way I like them…very nice indeed!

What the heck!  When we’re spending this kind of money on dinner, we might as well go all the way!  We decided to split a dessert.  This is the Gateau Basque…bread pudding with almonds, chocolate, spices and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Yikes…it was sooo good!  What a great ending to a top notch meal…

Even with the Groupon coupon this was an expensive meal!  Still, sometimes you really do get the quality you’re paying for…and this was one of those times.  Café Du Soleil has a fixed menu with small plates and a couple of pasta items but the nightly specials change regularly and there are usually no more than 4 or 5 choices.  I read a recent negative review…published only 3 days following our visit.  Mine will definitely offset that input!  We will return with friends or for a special occasion…

Café Du Soleil is located at 416 Clinch Avenue in Knoxville Tennessee.  Phone: 465-595-0134.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a fine dining experience!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Looks like you had a really good dining experience and well priced thanks to the Groupon

  2. Sounds like you picked a wonderful place.. We use Groupons some ---mostly for cabins/motels, etc... We've only had a bad deal ONCE. Our last trip to Amicalola Falls State Park in GA was with a Groupon... Great deal!!!!

    Your food sounded good ---especially that DESSERT... ha (You'd know I'd pick up on that!)