Lunch at Fast & French/Gaulart et Maliclet Cafe in Charleston, SC

When we heard about this place, we couldn’t believe our luck. Cheap, delicious French food in Charleston, SC? Fast & French (also known as Gaulart & Maliclet Cafe Restaurant) delivers affordable and tasty French and North African food from a tiny storefront on Broad Street near the shopping district of downtown Charleston. Every day, there’s a lunch special for $8.95; every night there’s a dinner special for $15-$16. Thursday nights are chef’s choice fondue specials. All specials include a glass of French wine or iced tea. If you want a beer, you’ve got to pay an extra dollar.

We stumbled in for lunch and found the place pretty packed. It was a tight squeeze to get back to our seats — a tiny bench jammed against a column at a communal table already filled with six other diners. I am not a fan of communal tables, but I get the point — to keep the food affordable, they need to jam in as many people as possible. I just didn’t feel like sharing an awkward conversation with our tablemates, like the two couples next to us (overheard: Maine is a socialist republic). So we just sat there, feeling rude and self-consciously talking to each other until our food arrived and gave us something to do.

I had the lunch special: saucisson, French cheese, green olive tapenade, carrot ginger soup, fresh fruit, bread, and a glass of white wine. For $8.95. Paul had a half croque monsieur, split pea soup, and a glass of white wine for about $10. This is how I like to eat lunch. It was the perfect amount of food, not so much that you weren’t hungry for dinner in a few hours. All delicious. I want to try everything on their menu. I want to pack this place up and take it with me to wherever I end up living.

Exiting, Paul almost brained himself on the fireplace mantel. You’ve got to stay sharp here — don’t have too many glasses of that French wine.

My lunch special.
My lunch special.
Paul's lunch.
Paul's lunch. At this point, I was too hungry to take focused pictures.
The interior.
The interior.

2 thoughts on “Lunch at Fast & French/Gaulart et Maliclet Cafe in Charleston, SC”

  • It’s totally my fault that I’m behind on your blog – my parents moved to Charleston about a year ago and we’ve been exploring the fantastic city ever since. Great history, architecture, art, music, beach, food, it’s literally the most perfect city in the world. Well, the US at least. I’m sorry I didn’t get to you before you visited to give you suggestions/my parents guest quarters, but looks like you found one of my favorites already at Fast & French!  If you head back that direction, let me know. And we’re in the Washington DC area so let us know if you’re making it this far north!  Happy trails…

    • Amy, I’m jealous that you have a regular excuse to get away to Charleston! We hope to make a DC visit later in the year…

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