New York City has some of the best food in the world due to the diverse selection of restaurants here. The city has everything from Ethiopian to Japanese cuisine, all of which are prepared by expert chefs who are masters of their crafts. Many of them hail from the countries their recipes come from ensuring that folks only get the most authentic experiences when they choose to dine at their restaurants.
Out of all of the different cuisines, French cuisine has one of the major footholds in NYC, and is offered by high-end bistros which are some of the best restaurants in the city. These bistros feature both French classics and modern marvels. In our guide, we will cover the best French restaurants in the city, and possibly the world.
Best French Restaurants in Manhattan
View this post on Instagram
Le Coucou ($$$$)
Led by head chef Daniel Rose, this place is so fancy that they have a dress code: dress your best for a fancy night out. They have a ton of French classics like tartare de boeuf, filet basquaise, and bar noir á la sétoise. This place has a subtle and classy ambiance that makes for an extremely romantic evening. Perfect for special occasions, this place also serves specialty cocktails alongside an extensive wine list to round out an already elegant evening. If you’re seeking a quiet evening with powerful flavors, this is the place to go.
Famous in the NYC dining world, Balthazar offers an authentic French experience for those who come here. The restaurant first opened in 1997 and specializes in French seafood dishes that include ingredients like oysters, king salmon, and lobster. In fact, they are one of the only restaurants in the city that delivers caviar straight to your front door. For patrons who dislike seafood, don’t worry, the restaurant also offers a ton of other delicious pastries, pasta, and chicken dishes that will leave your mouth salivating. Based on reviews, one of their most popular dishes is their dry-aged côte de boeuf. This dish is meant to be shared, but we’ve seen several brave souls’ attempts to tackle it on their own. Folks who come here to eat can expect a lively dining experience.
Le Rivage ($$)
This restaurant is a bit more lowkey than other places offering French cuisine and has a homey and comfortable atmosphere. The exposed red brick walls and elegant private dining rooms are perfect for casual hangouts or a romantic date night. Le Rivage is an extremely popular addition to restaurant row, especially with the live music they have playing on special occasions. Due its close proximity to the Theater District, Le Rivage is also a popular destination for diners either before or after theater performances. They have several á la carte options, but the real deal here are the prix fixe menus. They even have rather impressive holiday menus, especially for Christmas and Thanksgiving. This is a very cozy, yet theatrical, space.
La Grenouille ($$$$)
Opened in 1962 by husband and wife duo Charles and Gisèle Masson, La Grenouille was the go-to French restaurant for celebrities like John Wayne, Sophia Loren, Johnny Carson, and many more. The restaurant offers various menus here, but their best one is their Live Jazz Night Menu, a $75 minimum á la carte experience featuring items like grilled salmon salad, split pea soup, and baked little neck clams. This place also has a daily dinner special, along with traditional French cuisine options like frog legs, filet mignon, and whitefish quenelles. It’s a classy experience with delicious food, so visit today and try the foods that made David Bowie a regular.
La Grande Boucherie ($$$$)
Following the philosophy of joie de vivre – the joy of life – this establishment is so popular that they decided to publish a cookbook. This bistro has fascinating décor, with dark wooden tables surrounded by white tile walls. The food might be French, but the interior is all NYC. Speaking of the food, they have a ton of menus, including one for brunch, lunch, dinner, pre-theater performances, breakfast, and even a late lunch menu. They have an extensive wine menu, and many of these great selections come directly from France. This place is an all around great pick for a meal.
Buvette New York ($$$)
This cozy place specializes in small plates that are meant to be shared amongst friends and family. They offer a great many options for brunch, lunch, and dinner too. One of their most creative dishes is their waffle sandwich, which comes with bacon, eggs, and gruyere cheese between two buttermilk waffles. If you’re seeking a more traditional French meal, they have meals like escargot, steak tartare, and cassoulet. This restaurant has several locations worldwide, and all of them are of great quality. However, the New York location is the only one with that special waffle sandwich we know and love.
This upscale establishment is bright and comfortable, with a ton of classic French meals and specialty items with a modern flair. Considered one of the best brunches in the city, this place serves beef tartare, an octopus roll, and a ton of specialty cocktails along with a huge wine list. They also have an extensive lunch and dinner menu, and head chef, Alberto Marcolongo, has recently revamped the menu to reflect that modern New Yorker’s palate. They also offer private dining experiences, where guests can sit in a beautifully decorated room while enjoying a meal with limited company rather than the whole city.
Best French Restaurants in Brooklyn
View this post on Instagram
Known as a French comfort food restaurant, this place has a Brooklyn vibe that guests just can’t get enough of. With ample outdoor seating, and three separate rooms to dine in, you have a variety of atmospheres to choose from while enjoying your meal. The bistro is very modern, the dining room is fancy, and the wine bar is for those seeking a very intimate experience. Opened in 2003, this place has a great menu that features things like tuna tartare, black sea bass, and magret de canard. Their brunch menu is equally impressive. Diners can enjoy a 2 hour bottomless brunch for just $42 per person.
Le Fond ($$)
Located in Greenpoint, this place is a cute spot that will get you addicted to French cuisine. Le Fond offers a four course menu for just $58. The menu changes daily, but rest assured, you can always expect the menu to be full of delicious options that will get you excited for the next course. They even have a wine flight for dessert, which will make your tastebuds sing as you try each one. Their wine menu includes some rarer bottles of wine, and you can order them by the glass or by the bottle. The desserts and the pastries here are top-notch too, especially their macarons.
French Louie ($$)
Named after the French Canadian legend Louis Seymour, this establishment is all about having fun for a reasonable price. This place has a ton of menus, each with delicious options for just about any palate you could imagine. Their á la carte menu features oysters, chicken liver paté, and even steak tartare. They have a separate wine menu for drinks by the glass and by the bottle. Best of all, they love to host large parties and events in their dining room or outdoor garden. These events have separate menus depending on the time of day, but all of them feature delicious foods that your entire party will love.
Chez Oskar ($$)
Chez Oskar does not just offer its patrons delicious food, it is also one of the restaurants with grand plans to keep NYC’s outdoor dining culture permanently going. The team at Chez Oskar has worked hard to improve their outdoor space with décor and various heating elements for winter dining and wants to keep it as long as they can. If you are interested in helping out with their mission, they include info on their website about how to make NYC outdoor dining permanent. Their guests agree with them, though their opinions might be influenced by the restaurant’s delicious food. They have some French favorites like chicken au jus, bourguignon, and a special risotto of the day. They also have a ton of specialty cocktails, rare wines and liquors, and delicious desserts. Some are even gluten-free!
This farm-to-table French restaurant is one of Brooklyn’s best, and has an ever-changing seasonal menu. They have several dinner and takeout options, including their whole chicken dinner package, which comes with two sides and a baguette for $85. For those aiming to dine in, they also have an extensive brunch menu that features spicy pork belly, duck hash, or an omelette au jambon et fromage. L’Antagoniste has a ton of drinks and a fun atmosphere that makes this a very popular spot any time of day. This is a Brooklyn gem you don’t want to miss.
Best French Restaurants in Queens
View this post on Instagram
Tournesol is a part of the diverse Queens culinary experience. It’s a popular brunch spot with classics like croque monsieur, quiche, and croissant sandwiches. On top of their popular brunch selections, Tournesol offers daily special appetizer options to be shared with your entire table. Beyond brunch and daily specials, you can also stop by for dinner! Their dinner menu is delicious and any entrée can pair well with a wine from their extensive wine list. Diners who come here can expect a mouthwatering meal paired with a great ambiance and outdoor seating. It’s a beautiful atmosphere that has drawn local residents to come back again and again, so come check them out!
La Baraka ($$)
This cozy French/Northern African restaurant combines two amazing cuisines together into one. Located in Little Neck, this establishment has been serving patrons since the 1970s, and was one of the first restaurants in NYC to serve couscous! Some of the best menu items here include quiche lorraine, filet au poivre, and sole aux fruit de mer. The seafood and meat dishes leave guests stuffed and happy and get people addicted to this amazing place. This will become your go-to place for French and North African cuisine, especially if you have a special occasion to celebrate. They even have mardi gras events and are open for birthdays.
Bliss 46 Bistro ($$)
Bliss 46 Bistro’s large, yet delicious, portions of French comfort food for diners in Sunnyside, Queens. This space isn’t fussy, and prides itself on its relaxing atmosphere. They have hundreds of great reviews on Yelp and Google. Better yet, you can order large plates of food at an affordable price. For example, you can get a plate full of mussels for just $7, and their brunch omelets are only $10. They have a ton of seafood, meat, and sides to eat meaning everyone will be happy when dining here.
Best French Restaurant in The Bronx
View this post on Instagram
This restaurant’s unique fusion of French and Mexican foods is a match made in heaven. Maisonetta is one of the few places in the South Bronx that offers French cuisine to diners making them a favorite in the area. Their food is a combination of flavors and pairs perfectly with the wine that they offer. Better yet, Masionetta is located right on the water, so you can enjoy an amazing view of Manhattan and the river while you savor your meal. Come check this place out and have your mind blown.
Best French Restaurant in Staten Island
View this post on Instagram
Taverna Restaurant ($$)
This Mediterranean restaurant features French, Italian, and some Spanish cuisines. Their seafood menu is huge, and their raw bar is about as French as it gets, with oysters, clams, and lobster aplenty. They also have some great risotto options and a huge wine list with a little something for everyone. This is a Staten Island gem that can be found right on the water, which means you can enjoy your meal while also enjoying a great view of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the bay. See what it’s all about here!
Crepes du Nord ($$)
This is the first restaurant on our list that specializes in crepes, specifically made-to-order crepes that uses organic ingredients sourced straight from local farms. Every crepe order can be customized to the consumer’s request – they offer gluten-free options for their crepes. You can purchase both sweet crepes with toppings like strawberries, nutella, and apples, and savory crepes with toppings like ham, chicken, and cheese. Given the focus on desserts, this restaurant sells mostly a ton of hot and cold drinks that will pair well with a crepe. They are mostly coffee-related beverages, but they do have some tea and sodas. While this place isn’t the best for a full meal, it’s great for a quick treat, especially on a nice day. It’s one of the many Staten Island restaurants that deserves a second glance.
French cuisine is relatively easy to find in NYC, and the restaurants that feature dishes from this cuisine are some of the best in the world. The chefs have studied all over the world, the décor is classy, and the combination of classic dishes and modern sensibilities will leave any guest feeling satisfied. Many people think that French restaurants are too upscale and fancy, but there are plenty of places that have affordable dishes just waiting to be enjoyed. These restaurants are extremely popular, so make sure to make a reservation and get dolled up for a nice night on the town.