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Wine, cheese, baguettes, croissants, maybe even some escargot if you’re brave. You don’t have to travel to the City of Lights to try the fine dining of France. New York City is home to some of the best in cuisine around the world, and that includes all things French. Check out the five best French restaurants in NYC.
1. Le Bernardin by Eric Ripert
Some of New York City’s best French dining is at Le Bernardin by Eric Ripert. The restaurant opened in 1986 by Paris siblings and chefs Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze, after the success of their Paris restaurant. Chef Eric Ripert joined the team in 1994, heading the kitchen. The restaurant has not dropped from its four-star rating by the New York Times since its opening over 30 years ago, making it the only restaurant to have a consistently high rating for such a long amount of time.
The restaurant was founded around the idea of simple, yet well-cooked plates of fish, so naturally, the best dish you could order at Le Bernardin is fish. The food at Le Bernardin is mostly seafood with both French and Asian influences. The Dining Room at Le Bernardin offers a first course, where you can choose from “almost raw” plates like caviar or barely touched” dishes like lobster or calamari. For the main course, try the poached halibut or the pan-roasted monkfish.
2. Jean-Georges Restaurant
Another one of New York City’s best French restaurants in Jean-Georges Restaurant, by Chef Jean-George Vongerichten. The sleek, modern, NYC restaurant sits right above Central Park, offering guests an unforgettable experience of top-quality French cuisine. The restaurant opened in 1997 as one of Jean-Georges restaurant empire. The Central Park site has four stars by the New York Times, as well as two Michelin stars. With a menu that changes with the seasons and dishes inspired by classic French, American, and Asian cuisine, it’s easy to see why the restaurant has gained critical acclaim since its opening over 20 years ago.
The menu features prix fixe three-course meals as well as six-course tasting menus. The lunch menu offers two-course meals, while the dessert menu is always incredible. The best dishes are arguably the signature dishes, offered during the dinner menu. There is a dress code to enter the restaurant, so keep that in mind when booking your reservation.
3. Restaurant Daniel
Chef Daniel Boulud’s French fine dining experience, Restaurant Daniel, opened in 1993, giving restaurant goers a taste of true French cuisine in one of the top NYC restaurants. The restaurant is located in the elegant Mayfair Hotel on Park Avenue, in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The restaurant today is well known for its seasonal flavors, French cuisine, excellent meats, seafood, and fresh produce, as well as a great selection of French wines. The prix fixe menu features various meals to choose from, all so good that it makes choosing hard. The first course offers seriole, caviar, celery root puree, among other plates. Second-course dishes include Foie Gras, Truffle Blanche, and salmon, to name a few. For third course meals, choose from dishes like Grouse, pan-seared bluefin tuna, or roasted veal tenderloin. Desserts include classic French pastries like Millefeuille, as well as tons of sweet, chocolatey or fruity treats.
4. Le Coucou
A New York Classic that brings the flavors of France right to your doorstep. Chef Daniel Rose’s Le Coucou opened its doors to NYC as a collaboration with famed restaurateur Stephen Starr. Daniel Rose was made famous from his restaurants in Paris — La Bourse et Vie and Spring in Paris — and Le Coucou, his first restaurant stateside. This restaurant is easily one of the best French restaurants in the Big Apple, offering guests haute cuisine straight from Paris.
Le Coucou’s breakfast menu features classic French pastries like croissants and pain au chocolat, as well as smoked salmon, omelets, and French pancakes. For lunch, choose from entrees like oysters or caviar, then choose a main dish, ranging from grilled duckling to bavette steak. Le Coucou’s dinner menu includes unique Hors d’Oeuvres, like oysters or leeks, mouthwatering Gourmandises, including fried veal or lobster and scallop stuffed cabbage, and the exquisite Poissons et Viandes, such as fermented daikon, rabbit, Catalan style pigeon, and more.
5. Buvette Gastrotheque
The new Buvette is the charming French restaurant you need in your life. Opened in 2011 in the West Village by Chef Jody Williams, Buvette is described as “part restaurant, part cafe, and part bar.” Check out the small plates offered at Buvette. Popular dishes include the waffles and grilled cheeses, the coq au vin, steak tartare, and more. The brunch at Buvette is to die for, so if you’re a fan of that in special time between breakfast and lunch, Buvette is the absolute place to be. Lunch at Buvette is perfect for authentic fresh food without sitting down for a three-course meal, while dinner features mouthwatering, authentic French plates at an affordable price. Portion sizes are generally decent, so you can be sure to enjoy all the food without being too stuffed for dessert. Buvette’s menu features farm to table, fresh produce every day, from local New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts farms.