Venture off the beaten path of the highly trafficked Charleston tourist crowd, turn on to 98 Broad Street and you will discover a local restaurant staple that has been doing business here for well over 25 years.
Gaulart & Maliclet, known to locals as “Fast and French” is simply charming. It’s a small shot gun space that has bar and very limited high top seating. If there is a space to be had there is a chair and some sort of make shift seating in place. If you’re looking for something roomy, this is not the place!
We arrived on a damp and dreary day for lunch. Although I didn’t know what to expect I did know that friends of ours actually met at the restaurant while having lunch and were married a few months later. How romantic is that?
We were quickly seated in the back of the restaurant and perused the menu. For a tiny, tiny place the menu is extensive. Lunch specials, soups, salads, lunch plates, vegetarian options… you have quite the selection.
Our server stopped by quickly to see if we were ready to order and we actually needed a few minutes to decide. It was the only time that we would have expeditious service as our service became spotty at best. Be that as it may, we were ready to place our order.
My husband chose a simple Croissant with Turkey and Brie. It was to be served with your choice of soup or salad. They offered two cold and three hot soup options and he landed on the lentil soup. I choose the O’Rye which was toasted Canadian rye bread, pate, blue cheese and your choice of soup or salad. Wouldn’t you know it, the day I order this they are out of blue cheese.
The server suggested that I either get two pates or a sampling of Morbier Cheese which she described as “stinky cheese”. It’s actually known as the funny French cheese with a black streak running through it. It sounded interesting, but I opted for the pates.
The kitchen is on their game here and our lunch arrived in no time. Service is scant though as we never saw our server again except to bring us our check.
Lunch was good but not what was ordered. My husband received a ham and cheese croissant, albeit tasty, not what he ordered. We weren’t able to get mustard, etc. to add to the sandwich because our server remained MIA. This was disappointing.
My lunch was good but the Roquefort dressing was thin and watery and not very flavorful, which surprised me. The pate however was outstanding and quickly snapped up. I did finally flag down a server and asked for an additional side of Morbier cheese. It was served with 3 slices of French bread and it did not disappoint in its’ taste or aroma.
The checkout process can be a bit laborious. Your check is taken to the cashier at the front of the restaurant. It took us as long to get our lunch as it did to cash out our bill. This was a bit of a drag after a nice lunch.
All in all, I’d recommend Gaulart & Maliclet. I’m interested in trying their dinner offerings and will be sure to go back there soon.
Fast and French. Hands down, this is the best place in town for lunch. The soups and salads are amazing the sandwiches are lovely, and the wine selection is very good. Since I have relocated to Charleston, I take all of my visitors there, and have never had a bad review from any of them.
roxy333 reviewing wrong restaurant.
First of all, roxy333, you were not, in fact, at Gaulart et Maliclet. They don't serve Canadian Ham OR bacon OR hashbrowns there.
Gaulart et Maliclet is a perfect French bistro including the authentic French proprieter shouting as you walk in the door, "How many are YOU??" Fabulous!!!!! All of the food is delicious, and the atmosphere, well, that's more complicated, but in a good way.
This is a hot spot to visit before and after shows during Spoleto. Even if you have to wait to get in, it's worth it. They serve pate', imported cheeses, fresh fruit, fantastic French sandwiches, unique appetizers, and a lot more. My favoite sandwiches are the Croq Baguette (sliced ham or turkey with Dijon mustard, melted swiss and mozzarella cheese, and a crisp piece of green leaf lettuce), and the Ham and Brie croissant with homemade soup. Their homemade soups are amazing. Hot ones change on a daily basis, and they always have cold gazpacho soup (I would not eat any other gazpacho, ever) and cold cucumber soup with yogurt and dill!! :)
Salads are made with all fresh vegetables and green leaf lettuce (not an iceberg to be found, which is the way I like it.) All of their dressings are homemade and range from light and gingery to rich and mustardy. My favorite salad is the Bucheron: green leaf lettuce, peanuts and raisins, mushrooms, goat cheese, and sesame-lemon dressing. Incredible flavors that are perfect together. The perfect bite has a little of each ingredient, including some sesame seeds from the dressing.
The owners are artists and frequently attract other artistic-types to work there, giving the place an interesting air of constant creativity. There is an excellent but reasonable selection of French wines. One more thing, the bread is made daily at a local French bakery. YUMMY!!!
Good Food. Unimpressive Service.. The main portion of my meal was pretty tasty but the hashbrowns that came with it looked like the burnt scarps from the bottom of the pan. Also, be careful if you need to substitute anything in your order. We went for brunch and our server did not know if she could substiture canadian ham for bacon. She had to yell back to the kitchen to find out and then didn't tell me that she was going to charge me $2 extra for the measly two pieces of bacon that they gave me in place of the ham. If I ever go there again, I'll make sure to keep it simple for the servers and just point to the menu and remember that I can only order a plate cooked the way they like it.
This is not a review of Fast & French Gaulart-Maliclet French Cafe.
Tasty & Fun. This is a new favorite. I've lived or visited Charleston for the last 21 years. Last weekend was my first time at Gaulart and Maliclet. The food was memorable and I can't wait to return. We went for lunch and had a sandwich/soup and I had brie and bread and soup/salad. An apple tart with ice cream for dessert. You sit next to other people at a variety of curvy bars. We enjoyed the atmosphere. Felt very European and authentic. They are busy so the service is shared and seamless but they know what is going on. I understand from others dining next to us that the Chocolate Mousse pie is wonderful and that there is fondue at night.
A Charleston Favorite.... I've been coming to this Charleston staple for years and it is still one of my favorite places to eat in this city. There is always a line out the door, and with good reason- the food is simple, yet consistently good, and the atmosphere is fun and eclectic. Service can lag sometimes, but I feel the wait is worth it- after all, it wouldn't be French without at least some attitude :) It's best to go with friends on a night where good food and conversation are the only things on the agenda- and have the fondue!
true to its name. Great place for a quick bite of americanized french food. Soups are wonderful and flavorful - so good you want to fill a bath tub up with them!
The people are nicer in France. Great concept for a restaurant. Food was mediocre. Probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if the staff was friendlier. Most of them never even smiled! On our way out the door, one waitress got angry with a customer for needing a telephone number for a local cab company.
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