Everyone loves treating themselves to a fancy meal once in a while! A warm atmosphere, the clink of wine glasses, and the soft laughter of friends sharing is something special that never gets old. For a particularly memorable meal, French cuisine is a sophisticated choice sure to impress colleagues, excite friends, and interest even the most stoic of dates. If you’re looking for a slice of Paris, look no further. We gathered up our favorite French restaurants in NYC that will give you an authentic European experience.
1. Balthazar, SoHo
If you’re seeking an intimate Parisian atmosphere, look no further than Balthazar, which provides the perfect setting for your next evening out. With an expansive dining room of dark wood, warm lights, and mirrored walls that open the space even more, this is the ideal location for whatever the occasion is! Their menu specializes in lighter French fare including fresh seafood and shellfish, making it inviting for anyone with pescatarian dietary needs. Be sure to check out their bakery though too which is constantly cheffing up mouthwatering breads and French pastries that you can take for the road!
Where: 80 Spring St
2. Le Bernardin, Midtown
One of the most famous French restaurants in NYC, and one that is proudly Michelin-starred, is Le Bernardin. Le Bernardin was opened in 1986 by French immigrant siblings Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze and has been serving authentic dishes ever since. Originally, the restaurant served one thing and one thing only: fish. In fact they’ve mastered their craft so much that they’ve earned not one but three Michelin Stars. To indulge in the full experience, stop by this seafood restaurant today and see what all the buzz is about!
Where: 155 W 51st St
3. Buvette, West Village
Buvette is one restaurant that lives up to its name’s meaning, “dedicated to the enjoyment of eating and drinking.” This is more than just a simple restaurant or eatery, though, being inspired by European traditions that honor history, craft and design. With story, place, and delight as the three guiding principles here, sitting down to share some savory fromages or charcuterie with friends or family can easily turn into an all-day event. For an extra splash of life with your brunch, their specialty bibonade is a refreshing must-sip treat.
Where: 42 Grove St
4. Le Coucou, SoHo
Le Coucou is a romantic and intimate atmospheric restaurant that is the product of executive chef Daniel Rose. After mastering the art of French cuisine, Rose brings his knowledge to this NYC restaurant that’s full of white-linen tables, dimly lit candles, and washed brick walls. Their menu is notably French and serves a variety of seafood prepared to perfection. We recommend anything, but their lobster in particular is otherworldly. This spot is certainly upscale so be sure to dress appropriately when you arrive!
Where: 138 Lafayette St
5. Daniel, UES
The Daniel is a massive French restaurant with multiple spaces and one of the truest “fine dining” experiences in the city. The restaurant opened up in 1993 and is spearheaded by a trio of Michelin-approved chefs. Choose between the main dining room, the bar, the lounge, or their private areas (The Skybox or The Bellecour Room) depending on your occasion and dive right into the menu! Their offerings are constantly rotating and they have a 7-course meal you can choose from too. We must admit that this spot is quite fancy (and expensive), but it’s true to its roots and utterly mouthwatering. Don’t forget to taste test one of their famous champagnes and ask questions to their world class servers.
Where: 60 E 65th St
6. La Sirène, SoHo & UWS
One of the most progressive French restaurants in NYC, La Sirène combines classic tastes with modern methods for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. With a menu specializing in vegetarian and vegan dietary needs, La Sirène is an establishment that shows care for its customers. They serve a range of unique flavors, with one dish so delicious that a special note lovingly advises, “Don’t take it if you can’t bear it” with a smiley emoji. Plus, their menu does a great job of explaining the components of every meal, so you’ll be able to understand find a dish that suits your craving!
Where: 558 Broome St
7. Le Parisien, Midtown East
The go-to neighborhood bistro in Murray Hill is Le Parisien, which combines classic French tastes with a lively modern atmosphere. You can come and chat with friends over prix fixe brunch served with coffee and french fries, or settle in for dinner with coworkers and clients over exquisite fish and chicken dishes. Plus, with a well-curated list of French wines, each meal can be customized with perfectly paired drinks to enhance any course. If you need help deciding what to try on a first trip here, their steak frites, escargot, and moules marinieres are some of our favorites.
Where: 163 E 33rd St
8. Endswell Bar and Bistro, Brooklyn
Endswell Bar and Bistro is the perfect place to hang out in for hours at a time, all while dining and sipping on French drinks. Known for creative cocktails and community vibes, this get-together spot has all the French flavor you crave, yet a chill atmosphere with a “no rules” attitude. One of the best snacks to share with all your favorite people is their famous fromage board, which is both vegetarian friendly and changes by the week. For dinner, you’ll find some heartier selections here as well, including (veggie) burgers and shrimp mac and cheese, all made in a French-American fusion style filled with flavor.
Where: 773 Fulton St, Brooklyn
9. Lafayette Grand Café & Bakery, NoHo
What doubles as a grand cafe and bakery, Lafayette serves authentic French bistro food that you can’t find anywhere else. The restaurants boasts a main dining room, bakery, and two private dining suites, all complete with mahogany floors, gorgeous murals, towering arched windows and blue-tiled columns that give European aesthetic. They have a range of tasty entrees from chicken to oysters that are sure to satisfy anyone. Lafayette is also on the pricier side but the portions are great and the staff is very friendly! We highly recommend.
Where: 380 Lafayette St
10. Frenchette, Tribeca
For a true surprise, head to Frenchette where their menu is constantly changing every day! Serving up French bistro classics, their meals can consist of things like roasted chicken, escargot, tortellini, smoked eel and everything else in between. The reason we love this spot so much is their dedication to the craft and flavor of their signature dishes. Every ingredient is prepared with care and you’ll always be left wondering why you didn’t order more. They also have a decent drinks menu (with natural wine!) to pair along with your meal. We can’t lie when we say the meals here have some of the richest flavors in the city.
Where: 241 W Broadway
11. Amelie, West Village & UWS
Doubling as a wine bar, our first pick serves some of the most affordable yet delectable French cuisines. Amelie is open and welcoming to all parties, catering to all palates with prices that keep the experience not just affordable, but enticing. You can enjoy a brunch with friends by pairing salads and sandwiches with specialty cocktails, or indulge in a “prix fixe” dinner for you and at least five others. Plus, with euro-chic design, sensual lighting, and some of the best music you’ll find in the city, Amelie is the type of fine establishment you’ll be content settling into for a few hours.
West Village – 22 W 8th St
UWS – 566 Amsterdam Ave
12. Jean-Georges, UWS
Located in the Trump International Hotel is Jean-Georges, a two time Michelin-starred French eatery with gorgeous views of Central Park. Everything in this restaurant is done with purpose, from the layout and atmosphere to the food itself. With a focus on “blending French, American, and Asian influences,” this restaurant does a great job of offering variety to diners. As opposed to many French restaurants in NYC with a fixed menu, Jean-Georges allows visitors to be themselves and choose what they really want to eat. This space is truly luxurious and you’re able to notice it the second you step foot in the doors.
Where: 1 Central Park West
13. La Grande Boucherie, Midtown
With locations in West Village, Union Square, and Midtown, La Grande Boucherie is one of the best French restaurants in NYC for anyone seeking the finest foods served with classic French Joie de Vivre. Here you’ll find options ranging from French cuisine classics to timeless bistro favorites, with a vast selection of dry-aged steaks to please even the pickiest of diners. Not to mention, Boucherie also has one of the most unique cocktail menus in the city, with a selection of absinthe-based drinks that will have you and your friends feeling otherworldly.
Where: 145 W 53rd St (Midtown)
14. Lucien, East Village
Lucien is one of our favorite NYC French restaurants in terms of affordability. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, this East Village hangout is worth your consideration. Their entree menu is separated into “Sea, Land, Air” categories, consisting of French classics like escargots de bourgogne, moules mariniére traditionnelle, and Marseille-style bouillabaisse. They also have a delicious dessert menu to round off your meal and have a massive wine list too. This bistro is ideal for so many reasons!
Where: 14 1st Avenue
15. Le Pavillon, Midtown
Le Pavillon is another project from the same chef as the Daniel restaurant, Daniel Boulud. Named after a French restaurant that originated at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the history and authenticity of this French/New York crossover is very evident. This Michelin-starred restaurant sits in One World Vanderbilt and offers a rotating menu focused on seasonality and fresh ingredients. Typical meals are three courses, but you can also do a six-course meal. They claim themselves as “vegetable-forward and seafood-centric” but there’s something for everyone.
Where: One Vanderbilt Ave