These New York City Restaurants Have a Certain 'Je Ne Sais Quoi'

Once upon a time, in a mid-century New York City of yore, the only “good” restaurants were French restaurants. Namedropping with an exceptional French accent meant that you knew what fine dining was in New York City. America's ample agricultural resources were being replaced by industrialized factories and farming initiatives at breakneck speed. Young American chefs looked to the Old Country as a guide on what to eat, where to go and how to eat it. Fussy dishes like sole a la meuniere and lobster thermidor were the height of chic, and rich, buttery sauces were the name of the game.

While these heavy-hitting classics do still retain some luster, there is much more to French food than meets the lobster press. Fortunately, new world French cooking has reinvented French fare in these Etats Unis, coupling impeccable technique with bold flavors, local products and fresh seafood straight from the Atlantic. Now, at tables across New York City, chefs serve French cuisine with different degrees of American accents. From Eric Ripert's tireless pursuit of perfection at Le Bernardin, to La Grenouille's decades of elevating the old guard, New York has no shortage of delightful French dining at every price point.

Bon appetit!

La Sirene is an unassuming place. In fact, the chef himself describes it as a "hole in the wall." Don't let that hold you back in any way. The focus is on French Southern homemade styles and quality ingredients, also known as Cuisine Bourgeoise....  Read More

Sirio Maccioni developed his first taste for the New York restaurant business in the 1960s as a maitre d'hotel. In 1974, Sirio opened what was destined to become a New York landmark: "the circus" or Le Cirque. An established New York City...  Read More

La Bonne Soupe

On an unremarkable Midtown block, bi-level La Bonne Soupe provides classic bistro fare and a peaceful respite from the chain restaurants and camera-toting crowds that is modern-day Times Square. A low-key crowd of neighborhood regulars, homesick...  Read More

Old-school in all the right ways, La Grenouille is an institution that has outlasted real estate shifts, economic collapses and the birth of so-called "high-low" cuisine. But, hey: plus les choses changent, plus elles restent les mêmes. Since...  Read More

Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongrichten has a culinary empire that spans the globe, but his eponymous restaurant connected to the Upper West Side's tony Trump Hotel remains a gold standard for the chef's subtly Asian-inflected, French haute...  Read More


For over a decade, the boisterous David Bouley has been turning heads (and emptying wallets) at this expense account-worthy, New French treasure in TriBeCa. The Connecticut native trained at some of the world's best kitchens in both New York and...  Read More

Opened in 1986 by Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze, this award-winning restaurant is a respite from the Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park crowds in Manhattan's Midtown East. The menu focuses on seafood-centric, high-end French fare, all the work of...  Read More

Alain Ducasse is a world traveller and it is explicitly expressed in the fact that he likes to open French restaurants in places other than France, such as Tokyo and Osaka. Of course, the original Benoit is in Paris, over 100 years old with...  Read More

A stunning brasserie with buzz to spare, Balthazar is perennially packed with a well-heeled, see-and-be-seen crowd that spans investment bankers, media moguls and, more often than not, an oversized-sunglass-wearing celebrity or four. The...  Read More

Upper East Side

This Central Park stunner is still sparkling after all these years. First opened in 1993, the fine dining institution has introduced impeccable French fare courtesy of Michelin mainstay Daniel Boulud to two decades of Upper East Side diners. The...  Read More


Meet Courtney Sunday

Courtney Sunday has lived in England, Switzerland, Canada and the US, finding her way into the professions of freelance writing and yoga teaching in between travel opportunities. She learned...  More About Courtney

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