Do you love French food? Bien sur! That's a no-brainer; we do too, and that's why we dedicate ourselves to finding the best places to enjoy French cuisine in Seattle. We've diligently scouted out the top eateries, and we've listened to our readers and their reviews of Seattle restaurants. We share the places that get great buzz, like Café Campagne, and we showcase the ones that have proven themselves over time, like Le Gourmand. We also point out good neighborhoods for French restaurants in the Seattle - Downtown area, for instance. When the craving hits, we'll make sure you get your fix! French food in Seattle means fresh baguettes, quiches, soups, tartes, steaks, seafood and the decadent desserts we've all come to expect, but it also means fusion dishes inspired but the flavors of the globe. Mais oui, extensive wine lists complement each food menu, and creative cocktails also make for excellent pairings in this modern age, too. All of these restaurants feature decor elements and ambiences that effectively reflect the romantic air of France—some whisk diners away to intimate Parisian eateries, perfect for a date night or a quiet spot in which to celebrate special occasions, while other venues have the feel of a bustling French cafe on a weekend morning. Either way, you will enjoy. La vie est belle!
10 Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge
Toulouse Petit Kitchen and Lounge has been earning accolades almost since it opened. The ornate and filigreed interior of the space is just the beginning of a dining experience built on the food, style and attitude of New Orleans' French Quarter. Offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining, the restaurant has a voluminous menu encompassing Italian, Spanish and French-countryside and coastal-Mediterranean cuisine, along with a full slate of affordable American-style Ppime steakhouse selections, traditional Northwest seafood and a multitude of house-made charcuterie and small-plate offerings. And as you might expect from a spot that takes its cues from the French Quarter, Toulouse is renowned for its happy hour, including the one timed perfectly for a leisurely and extended brunch. (2064329069)
9 Cafe Presse
This charming spot on South Capitol Hill near Seattle University (open since 2007) offers full coffee service featuring Caffe Vita coffee, house-made pastries, affordable French wines, a full bar open daily until 2 a.m., a newsstand of various magazines and newspapers and a menu of "casual Parisian café classics." Patrons feast on options from baguette sandwiches and French onion soup to cod filet, crispy duck leg and vegetarian Raclette. Weekends at Café Presse mean soccer matches featuring teams from America, Europe and around the globe in the bar up front. Café Presse is open every day from 7am til 2am. (206.709.7674)
Hidden behind massive shade trees in Madison Valley is a unique restaurant owned and run by French Chef Thierry Rautureau. The establishment serves three different prix fixe menus: an eight-course, a five-course and a vegetarian. Rautureau uses only the freshest ingredients to create memorable dishes and serves portions that allow you to savor everything without feeling overwhelmed. Each day, the menus, inspired by time-tested culinary traditions and preparations, offer new and tempting choices. Reservations for weekend evenings should be made well in advance! Try the Discovery Menu for $65, a Menu Dégustation for $99,and a Grand Menu Dégustation for $145. (A Vegetarian Menu Dégustation for $85 is available, too.) The chef is passionate about sourcing ingredients that are local, sustainable, organic and seasonal. (206-325-7442)
7 Le Pichet
The skill in preparation that you'll find at this French bistro is practically awe-inspiring. From homemade sausages to a golden roast chicken, everything is provided the utmost care and given a light, capable touch. As a result, flavors shine through, offering diners the essence of the food. The rich country-style pâté is exceptional and makes for a wonderful appetizer, as do the oysters, dressed with a zesty sauce of muscadet wine and shallots. Other specialties include grilled sturgeon, boudin blanc sausage, and a substantial portion of onion soup. Open throughout the day, the eatery welcomes diners with savory traditional fare and a substantial serving of casual charm. (206-256-1499)
6 La Bete
La Bete is an intimate neighborhood restaurant in Seattle's bustling Capitol Hill area. Here, chefs "combine old-world ideals and simplicity with modern esthetics and sensibilities." The venue features an open kitchen, where guests sit at a 22-foot natural slab bar and watch the staff prepare dishes like marinated olives or chicken liver mousse (for starters) and entrees like mussels, pork cheek goulash, homemade potato gnocchi and quail with rice waffle and Brussels sprouts. The venue also offers artisinal, hand-crafted cocktails and good music as the background soundtrack. This is the perfect spot for a romantic date night on the town or a lengthy Sunday lunch with friends or family. ((206) 329-4047)
5 Café Campagne
If you can't get a reservation for lunch or dinner at Campagne and still want to experience the award-winning, bistro-style restaurant, then try the café for brunch. You can't go wrong, and you can visit the Market while in the area. A quintessential Parisian decor provides a delightful backdrop for a fine morning meal, including freshly squeezed orange juice and steaming coffee. Try French toast made with brioche and bourbon egg batter or a fluffy omelet stuffed with potatoes and laced with rosemary.The restaurant also places emphasis on beverage pairings, and an extensive wine menu offers a wide array, most varietals sold by the glass or by the bottle. (206-728-2233)
4 611 Supreme Creperie & Cafe
Owner and chef Margaret Edwins opened the venue in 1997 as a crêperie serving options ranging from traditional to Breton buckwheat "crepes de sarrasin." This cozy red-brick eatery is ideal for people on a budget, especially if Sunday brunch is on the slate. As the name no doubt hints, homemade crêpes are the stars (many local rags regard these as the "best in town"), and the skilled chef stuffs them with everything from salmon, ham, and Gruyere cheese to scallions, potatoes, and sautéed veggies. Friendly, Parisian-esque service and a comfortable lounge make this an easy fave of Capitol Hill's young, hip crowd. (206-328-0292)
3 Place Pigalle
An intimate standout at Pike Place Market, this restaurant beckons you to spend romantic time with someone special. Whether you dine outdoors or in, the warm, inviting French bistro, find spectacular views. Indoor tables boast lovely window vistas, and in summer months, a summer patio overlooks market architecture, Elliot Bay and the majestic Olympic Mountains. Fish that have been fresh-caught that very day, maybe even that very hour, grace the menu, along with briny mussels and a rich onion soup crusted with gruyere. Place Pigalle's strong points include delicious seasonal menus that combine local ingredients with a variety of culinary traditions. (206-624-1756)
2 Brasserie Margaux
Filled with rich wood accents, snowy white tablecloths, and elegant table settings, this restaurant in the Belltown neighborhood offers Northwest-influenced French classics in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. Start with the soup du jour; French onion soup, rich with caramelized onions and gruyère cheese, is a comforting favorite. A grilled sea scallop brochette, served over warm chorizo-potato salad, and a giant mushroom ravioli with white truffle cream are indicative of the menu's breadth. Traditional dishes like coq au vin, beef bourguignonne, and steak frites arrive with delicious sides and don't disappoint. Save room for tiramisu profiteroles or the crème brûlée of the month! (206-777-1990)
1 Bastille Cafe and Bar
Get transported to a Parisian cafe with charming, authentic decor like 19th-century sconces from a church in the French countryside, a clock that once hung in a Paris metro station and a host stand that once serviced a small French hotel. The food is equally delightful; try main dishes like moules frites, steak frites, the fish of the day, ricotta Cavatelli and the roasted half chicken with Dijon dumpling, black trumpet mushroom and Brussels sprout gratin. The Back Bar, the self-proclaimed "sexiest place in town" with a crystal chandelier and Art Deco sconces, is the ideal spot for cocktails before or after your meal. (206.453.5014)
About Corinne Whiting
Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's backpacked around Australia, taught English in Argentina and explored (so far!) countries from Cambodia and Egypt to Turkey and China.
Corinne served as associate editor at Where magazine for five years; as a freelancer, she now writes for publications like National Geographic Traveler and Amtrak's Arrive. Here in the lovely Northwest, she's attempting to debunk the rain myths, up her coffee and live music quotient and find her Zen near/on the water.
Read more about Corinne Whiting here.
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