Omnivore - Ooh la la, it's Cabbagetown

"It's like Paris. No, it's like Charleston," my dining companion said.

It's Cabbagetown, for God's sake.

But it's true. The view of brightly painted row houses across the street from Carroll Street Cafe (208 Carroll St., 404-577-2700) does look a lot like Charleston, S.C. But dining on the sidewalk in front of the old cafe building itself feels very Parisian.

The cafe, owned by the same folks who own Apres Diem, serves inexpensive sandwiches and pasta dishes, along with some more substantial entrees, including specials. I ate leg of lamb with mashed potatoes and mixed veggies (at left) last week, while my companion had the N.Y. strip steak topped with blue cheese.

The restaurant is also serving a menu of tapas these days. Coffee drinks are first-class. (They use Lavazza espresso.) Try a Cabbageccino — a cap with brown sugar.

Warning: The traffic and parking on Carroll Street are daunting. I hate driving the two-way street that is always reduced to one lane of traffic because of parked cars. But I have never failed to find a parking spot, either on the street or in the lot half a block north of the cafe.

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