Dallas' Best French Restaurants for a Romantic Date Night
By Denise Brandenberg
Dallas Local Expert
At 10Best, we're always on the lookout for Dallas's best restaurants, and while we appreciate places that have a broad culinary range, we can't help but adore restaurants that specialize in a given cuisine. Dallas residents and visitors are lucky - as Big D features a wide selection of French restaurants perfect for any craving or budget. When we're in the mood for French food in Dallas, we head to Old Warsaw Restaurant - a reader favorite - or we count on L'Ancestral Restaurant's solid track record and consistently great dishes.
Want to impress a special date? Let's face it - French food is sure to set the mood! Take her to The French Room, one of the most beautiful restaurants in town! If you're more in the mood to relax with friends over mussels and frites, head on over to Toulouse Cafe and Bar in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood where you can sit on the patio and dine on Brussels-inspired French cuisine.
If you're on a budget, you can get your French cuisine fix at lunchtime at Lavendou Bistro Provencal in North Dallas. You'll find these places - and any of the restaurants on our list - to be fantastic options for French cuisine, and if you're looking to concentrate your efforts, start with the vibrant Uptown and Downtown areas.
Dallas visitors who want an elegant, yet cozy and romantic meal should go to Boulevardier in the Bishop Arts District. This French bistro-themed restaurant has it all - a cool, comfy vibe, affordable wine and delicious food. Start off with oysters on the half shell or one of many tantalizing salads. Then prepare to be impressed by the hearty, yet healthy entree course, which may include steak and frites or fresh, seasonal fish. Some of the other most popular menu offerings include the crawfish beignets, escargots tartine, foie gras, moulard duck and gnocchi a la parisienne. Basically, no matter what you're in the mood for, this place has got it all. ((214) 942-1828)
9 Toulouse Cafe and Bar
If you're in Dallas while the weather is pleasant (most of the year!), then you'll want to dine al fresco - and there's no better place to do this than at Toulouse Cafe and Bar. This one-of-a-kind cafe is located in the trendy Knox-Henderson neighborhood, right next to the Katy Trail. The owner grew up in Brussels, which inspired his vision of the perfect French-influenced Belgian cafe - complete with mussels and frites. In fact, there are five different flavors of mussels at this rare restaurant. Some of the other most popular menu items there include cheese plates, French cheese pastry puffs, braised short ribs, crispy duck legs confit, and foie gras. End your meal with one of the decadent desserts, such as souffles, creme brulee, or simple beignets & coffee. ((214) 520-8999)
8 Cadot Restaurant
This classic French restaurant in North Dallas truly shines! It features a decor that combines modern minimalist elements - i.e. white linens and dim lighting - infused with French Country touches, making it a perfect background for a romantic dinner. Some of the most popular menu items include the iceberg wedge starter, escargot, mussels, veal scallopini with lemon butter and capers, crispy sweetbreads, braised short ribs and ahi tuna. Cadot has an extensive French wine list and a delicious artisanal cheese platter. End your decadent meal with the panna cotta or the apricot ravioli and Texas goat cheese with orange reduction and chocolate sauce. (972-267-5700)
7 St. Martin's Wine Bistro
This local mainstay might feature a slightly shabby-around-the-edges elegance, but regulars agree that its appealing French-American cuisine is just as strong today as it was when St. Martin's opened in 1977. Diners will be relaxed and put in the romantic mood with live piano music. Begin your meal with signature champagne and brie soup, a creamy treat with an effervescent touch. Choose from entrees like roast duck with apricots and currants, or seared veal in a lemon-caper beurre blanc. Desserts are many and varied -- opt for a classic vanilla creme brulee or a raspberry sorbet drizzled with white chocolate liqueur. (214-826-0940)
6 Dining Room at the Hotel St. Germain
This romantic, historic mansion, awash in spectacular antiques, serves exceptional French cuisine. Meals are seven-course gourmet affairs that take advantage of the finest meats and produce. Consider, for example, beef tenderloin with roasted artichokes and fingerling potatoes or pan-seared sea scallops with lobster sauce and caviar. Candles adorn tables, and dinner service is comprised of antique crystal and china. A charming outdoor courtyard is visible from the dining room, and a Parisian-style champagne bar can be found in the parlor. Jackets are required for men. On special occasions, such as Valentine's Day, reservations are recommended, and you'll even get your name imprinted on the menu! (214-871-2516)
5 Rush Patisserie
Located in North Oak Cliff, Rush Patisserie is a pastry boutique and cake salon. Some of the most popular treats there include the macaroons, eclairs and croissants. The macaroons there are technically perfect - crispy shells with gooey, moist centers - and they come in a wide variety of flavors, including champagne, mocha, vanilla bean, chocolate, raspberry, strawberry and pistachio. The decor is a French-inspired shabby chic, and it is a very cozy bakery to enjoy a pastry and coffee. Rush Patisserie also creates the "un-cupcake" - a miniature cake in a jar that comes in several flavors including wedding cake and caramel macchiato. ((214) 749-4040)
4 L'Ancestral Restaurant
"Classic" best describes L' Ancestral. For more than 15 years this intimate French restaurant in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood has stayed true to form. The dining room is intimate -- 19 tables -- and the food is pure. Diners can enjoy savory escargot as a starter and a peppery steak au poivre as an entree. The Floating Island, a meringue and caramel treat set in a pool of creme anglaise, is a popular dessert selection. The clientele consists of discriminating regulars and curious tourists. L'Ancestral is great for a business lunch or a quiet romantic evening. Reservations and smart casual attire recommended. (214-528-1081)
3 Lavendou Bistro Provencal
A Proven--al bistro exists in Dallas, and it rests within the charming walls of Lavendou Bistro Provencal. This quaint eatery offers a splendid menu of Country French cuisine. Diners can savor delicious homemade breads and try starters like pastries stuffed with sauteed wild mushrooms. Some of the best entrees there include roasted duck with cherries, and tenderloin with cognac-laced cream. Don't even consider leaving without trying one of the delicious creme brulees, as well! Lavendou also has one of the best French wine lists in town, and the waitstaff is very helpful assisting with selections. If you're in the mood for French cuisine during the day, Lavendou has a three-course lunch option as well. (972-248-1911)
Softly hued, elegant fabrics and furnishings adorn this dining room, where patrons enjoy outstanding selections from well-conceived prix fixe and tasting menus. Start with Hudson Valley foie gras or Malpeque oysters with black pepper mignonette, and then choose from amazing meat and fish dishes like Icelandic Arctic char, bacon-wrapped Arkansas rabbit, or roasted filet of beef with truffled potato puree. End your decadent meal with the mouth-watering chocolate souffle. The wine list includes options by the glass and half-bottle, and the waitstaff will even give you recommendations of dessert and wine pairings. With its well-earned 4-star rating, local and national publications can't offer enough praise for Bijoux's cuisine and dining experience. (214-350-6100)
1 The French Room
Along with opulent decor, The French Room offers an aesthetically and gastronomically exceptional experience. The restaurant boasts a magical baroque ambiance -- gilded ceilings, ornate columns, overhead murals, and crystal chandeliers. Diners are transported to France in this beautiful spot! The menu, just as decadent, showcases entrees like white miso-marinated Icelandic halibut, seared quail breast, and New Zealand venison chops. Some of the most popular appetizers here include foie gras and crab cake. The elegant restaurant is also renowned for sumptuous desserts like a roasted apple napoleon and flourless chocolate cake. The staff is very attentive and helpful, so you won't feel intimidated to try new things. (214-742-8200)
About Denise Brandenberg
Born and raised in Dallas, Denise Brandenberg has been a self-proclaimed “Dallas Ambassador” for out-of-town friends and colleagues for years. Denise started her career as an advertising agency copywriter, recruiter, and manager of online forums for an international meeting planning association. She ventured off on her own a few years ago, to start an adventurous career as a freelance writer and marketing consultant. Denise’s other work can be found at Global Road Warrior, USA Today, Chron.com, The Motley Fool, LovetoKnow, The Meeting Professional, and several other online publications.
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