By Diana Lichtenstein || Onion Dip Columnist

Photo courtesy of Open Table.

A few weeks ago, my friends and I wanted to find a fun dinner spot in downtown Lancaster to celebrate the end of Module 1. The module was tiring and we needed to get dressed up, enjoy good food, and commiserate about how we are not looking forward to the next module. I did some research and found C’est La Vie. At first, I was confused because I had never heard of or seen this place in my life. Unbeknownst to me, this French bistro is placed right next to Central Market. The menu sounded delicious, so I booked a reservation. 

Upon arrival, we were floored by the ambiance. The tables outside were nicely lit and it radiated a real European feel. I realized this was the closest thing to going abroad I was going to get for a while. The staff immediately seated us graciously. Our table was large and round and had a heating lamp, a necessity in this weather. Our waiter was kind enough to hand out blankets (which in retrospect was kind of strange) to those who were cold. 

After the blankets were handed out, we ordered our food. I chose the Sweet Soppressata pie, which has tomato sauce, mozzarella, hot honey, and garlic. It is very similar to Luca’s Piccante pizza (in the best way). The hot honey was life-changing. One of my friends got the salmon salad accompanied with a refreshing and acidic strawberry vinaigrette. She gave it high praise and had no complaints. I also shared the roasted cauliflower hors d’oeuvre with the table, which was perfectly simple. My other friends ordered the chicken caesar salad, the margarita pizza and the steak. They all looked super tasty, and my friend gave a particularly good review of the steak, noting that the mashed potatoes and carrots complemented the meat perfectly. 

One aspect of C’est La Vie that I particularly loved was the menu item names, many of which were odes to our surroundings. For example, one of the pizzas was called the “Central Market Pizza.” The drink menu (for those 21 and older) looked scrumptious, following the same pattern, as all of the cocktails were named after streets downtown: “The King and Queen,” “The Lemon Street,” and “18 North Market.” That trend in the menu was a small touch, but it made a great impression on us. 

We were all pretty full after this satisfying meal, but then we remembered there is always a second stomach ready for dessert. We opted for the gluten-free brownie (with a vanilla glaze), which was a big crowd-pleaser. C’est La Vie proves that Lancaster is an undoubtedly good and underrated food city that has a seemingly endless number of hole-in-the-wall joints. This dinner was the perfect end to Module 1. All-in-all, I would recommend C’est La Vie and would like to go again….very soon. 

Junior Diana Lichtenstein is an Onion Dip Columnist. Her email is