Inside Café Cancale
Photo: Jeff Marini

Paul Kahan’s coastal French seafood restaurant works just fine when you’re feeling fancy. You can sit in the quieter back section and indulge in trout amandine, smoked trout rillettes, and a plateau de fruits de mer stacked high with oysters, clams, scallops, and lobster. But the place finds its groove at the more relaxed happy hour (weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m.), when diners fill the boisterous front bar, enticed by the prospect of $1 oysters and $8 martinis. Just don’t be surprised if the budget-friendly come-on stealthily leads to dinner. If that’s the case, first order Publican Quality bread, warm from the oven, then maybe the scallop crudo with butter pudding, and finally a respectable steak frites. Coastal France, you learn, is a very happy state of mind.

Update:Café Cancale has reopened its patio for dinner and brunch service. In addition, you can order carryout and delivery from their French market, which includes offerings like meal kits to make roasted chicken or mussels with garlic and crème fraîche. You’ll also find ingredients like buckwheat flour, French butter, Dijon mustard, and fresh asparagus, along with chef-made ingredients like cocktail sauce, mignonette (to go along with the Island Creek oysters on offer), and Bordelaise sauce for steak.