A Taste of Monte Cristo Arrives at Albany’s New Downtown Spot

camilles bistro
Image courtesy of Camille's Bistro / Facebook

Albany has introduced a fresh dining spot, bringing the allure of a French bistro as detailed by the Albany Democrat-Herald.

Strategically located on First Avenue, sunlit yellow canopies grace the pedestrian path, harmonizing with the restaurant's window accents and its vibrant French press coffee pot.

Camille’s Bistro now occupies the space that once housed a prominent burger outlet. Earlier in the year, First Burger, known for being highlighted as 2014's top burger spot by the Oregonians, closed its doors. It was initiated by Matt and Janelle Bennett, the creators of Sybaris Bistro, but went through various ownerships before finally shutting down. The present Camille's Bistro, located at 210 First Ave. W, offers a variety of salads, sandwiches, soups, and even has a burger special.

Camille Romania, the owner, drew her inspiration from her tenure at various French bistros. Her professional journey covers time spent at notable venues like King Estate Winery in Eugene and La Provence Boulangerie and Patisserie in Lake Oswego and Beaverton.

The menu is diverse, featuring the Monte Cristo sandwich, a French onion soup reminiscent of culinary icon Julia Child, and an eggs benedict variant that's served on freshly baked croissants instead of the usual English muffins. Adult patrons can also explore a comprehensive bar selection.

Taking on her own restaurant, given her penchant for perfection, was a significant step for Romania. Her commitment to the establishment can be seen in her daily routines. She starts her day early to prepare the bistro for its 7 a.m. opening and wraps up with cleaning and other chores. There have been instances where her personal and professional lives intertwined, such as when she had to use her personal stash of sesame oil for the bistro.

Having spent eight years at Brick & Mortar Café, coupled with associations with Gamberetti’s and living above Sweet Red Bistro, Romania is deeply rooted in Albany's dining scene. The community's warm reception has been evident.

Romania has always been passionate about food, a trait not inherited but developed from her experiences. She recognized the depth and beauty of culinary arts and aimed to create a welcoming, family-centric bistro. Her vision is clear: she intends her establishment to complement, not compete with, existing eateries in the area. With Albany's limited dining choices, she aspires to bring a unique touch to the breakfast and lunch scene.

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Tyler James, founder of That Oregon Life, is a true Oregon native whose love for his state runs deep. Since the inception of the blog in 2013, his unbridled passion for outdoor adventures and the natural beauty of Oregon has been the cornerstone of his work. As a father to two beautiful children, Tyler is always in pursuit of new experiences to enrich his family’s life. He curates content that not only reflects his adventures but also encourages others to set out and create precious memories in the majestic landscapes of Oregon. Tyler's vision and guidance are integral to his role as publisher and editor, shaping the blog into a source of inspiration for exploring the wonders of Oregon.