Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma


Café des Artistes is the perfect dining destination for either a group of friends or a romantic dinner for two. Located in the heart of Fallbrook, its colorful, artistic décor succinctly captures the essence of its contemporary bistro cuisine.

After nearly seven years in business, what’s unique about Café des Artistes is its ability to continually revitalize its dining themes.

It’s no surprise that restaurants, such as Café des Artistes, have felt the effects of the harsh economic tide. However, for owner Michael Calvanese, this challenge has fueled imaginative dining ideas for his bistro.

“It’s been a struggle,” Calvanese said. “Across the board, our products like dairy, coffee and organic foods have gone up. But in this economy, I don’t see how I can pass these price increases on to our customers.”

Calvanese has refused to increase his prices for the last couple of years and has absorbed the 10- to 15-percent product cost increase. He has remained sensitive to the economic needs of his clientele.

Finding local growers of quality produce and vegetables has been key, as well as locating bakeries that are able to allure his diners with their pastry delights.

One weekend a month, vegetarian eaters can dine on a special dish, Calvanese said. Recently, Café des Artistes introduced an eggplant parmesan dish for the weekend.

The eggplant was locally grown by Tito and Connie Sanchez, whose farm is located in De Luz. The couple also prepared the savory dish for diners.

In the near future, aficionados of Italian fare will enjoy vegetarian lasagna.

“My customers also talked to me about offering a lighter dinner menu, so two weeks ago, we kicked off our Bistro Nights program,” Calvanese said.

Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., diners can peruse a lighter alternative menu. Some scrumptious items include a cheese plate with brie, bruschetta and bread with either soup or salad; a Greek plate with stuffed grape leaves, olives, hummus and pita; quiche with soup or salad; and a Mediterranean salad with shrimp or chicken.

Succulent Kobe beef, grilled ahi tuna, and portobello mushroom sliders are also on the Bistro Nights menu.

The world is filled with international fare options. Bistro Nights offer the opportunity for local residents to expand their knowledge of cuisine.

These culinary treats are reasonably priced, with entrée choices ranging from $8 to $13. For a small additional cost, international wine flights with three wine samplings can also be part of this exceptional dining experience.

Calvanese said he has been finding more creative ways to cut back without compromising the three things which make his bistro so appealing.

“A customer measures a restaurant on three things: ambience, service and quality of food,” Calvanese said. “All these three ingredients need to come together and we have done this for the last seven years.”

Anyone who dines at Café des Artistes, Calvanese says, knows he or she will enjoy fresh, organic and preservative-free food. The sodium content in their entrees is also carefully monitored.

“We are the healthy alternative to dining,” he said. “If it’s not something I would eat, then I won’t serve it here.”

Likewise, Café des Artistes is the premier destination for private parties. Its personalized menu can be tailored to any theme or type of fare. Because it’s located within the popular Art Center of Fallbrook, private parties are allowed access to browse the latest exhibit.

And its soda fountain, only one of two left in San Diego County, is always a big hit for people of any age.

Over the years, Calvanese has been fortunate to have dedicated employees who understand the necessity of placing his customers first. “We go out of our way to please our clients,” he said, “and I really want to thank our customers who have been so loyal to me for the last seven years.”

To learn more about Café des Artistes, catering and the hosting of the monthly Fallbrook Writer’s Read, call (760) 728-3350 or visit

The bistro is located at 103 South Main at Alvarado Street.


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