Wandering Colonial Williamsburg is one of my most calming, relaxing things to do. Make it during the holiday season (we have made a habit of being there in December every year), and my happiness is multiplied. You get carolers, flaming “streetlights,” and beautiful, traditional wreaths made from apples, pears, acorns, holly-berries, and ribbons. If you have not experienced it and are a fan of history and fireworks both, make sure to schedule your trip during the Grand Illumination.
Add dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and the December trip is perfect. Le Yaca, a white-tableclothed French restaurant is on that short-list. Obviously, I’d eat there (and have) any time of year, but at the holidays, the soft lights and blazing fire transport you out of the outdoor “mall” area the building is in and off to a cozy experience full of ambience.
Do me a favor and don’t go to Le Yaca if you just want an appetizer; get the full-on multi-course encounter with French cuisine done right. Let’s start with starters.
Many excellent options but my one-and-done recommendation is the “Crepe au Crabe” to split. It is a classic thin crepe filled (truly stuffed) with lump crab meat- sweet and luscious- and in addition to swiss cheese and spinach, it is topped with a super-luxurious bechamel sauce.
Soup or salad? My go-to is the “Soupe à L’oignon” – a silky-textured pureed onion soup with deep, rich flavor. If you want to dive into more appetizers, I’d suggest adding the escargot to your order. Served with garlic, butter, and parsley, they add bits of tomato to their version.
For the main, be sure you know the special before making a decision! Last time we were there, they served up a poached lobster that was remarkable. My personal favorite however is the “Grenadin de Veau,” a mind-blowing veal tenderloin, cooked to perfection at my requested medium-rare temp.
It comes with two sauces on the side for dipping: port wine and creamy mushroom. Both explode with flavor and offset the other- hint: switch sauces each bite. Also, on the plate are crispy potatoes (really crispy!) and spinach, my favorite side to red meat of any type. If you order entree a la carte, you still have an option of soup or salad, so you won’t be missing out on that pureed onion bliss!
Finally, we get to dessert. I’m confident it is all fabulous and they have a longer dessert menu than most fine dining establishments. I can recommend the “Marquise au Chocolat” which is a chocolate truffle cake with crème anglaise. If you’re in the mood for a fruit tart, go for the “Tarte Fine Aux Pommes”- a divine caramelized apple tart served with vanilla ice cream. Or you can finish your meal off with an assortment of cheeses.
However, I default to their specialty: “Souffle Aux Grand Marnier.” It’s an upcharge on the prix fixe menu and takes almost half an hour to prepare, but it is SO. WORTH. IT. It is exactly what it claims to be: a souffle with Grand Marnier liqueur. In short, do not leave Le Yaca without ordering dessert.
As I mentioned earlier, Le Yaca is located as part of an outdoor mall typical in the newer parts of Williamsburg (still only 10-15 minutes from the Colonial area) but the upside is you will find plenty of free parking. If you are there during warmer weather, you have the patio option, but personally, the interior is so charming,
I always prefer dining inside. Closing note, they also have a Virginia Beach location, which I haven’t tried but if that’s on your path, you may want to give it a go! Both locations take reservations by calling them directly or by using OpenTable and both have the prix fixe option for either lunch or dinner. If any of the entrees on the prix fixe menu beckons you, it’s a great value. But if you do it, order the “Crepe au Crabe” in addition!
|1430 High St, Williamsburg, VA 23188 United States|
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