From Haute Cuisine to Casual Bistro, Chicago's French Restaurants are Tres Bien

There is lots to love about the French but especially their sense of abandon. America's French chef, Julia Child, captured the sentiment when she said, "If you're afraid of butter, use cream." Americans are coming to understand the French Paradox of eating: choose quality over quantity and indulge in buttery croissant, paté, a rich stew, a juicy glass of red and macarons. And many still hold tightly to the belief that the French produce the best food on the planet. 

French cuisine can be sophisticated or of the comforting peasant variety but it's all generally well-balanced, flavorful and composed of local and high-quality ingredients. A trip to Paris may be a little rich for most of us, so the next best place to have a mean Coquilles Saint-Jacques or Coq au Vin is at any of the authentic French eateries in Chicago. 

Celebrating 20 years in Chicago, Mon Ami Gabi offers expertly prepares French classics in warm surroundings in Lincoln Park and Chez Moi is like a holiday visit to your French uncle's place. The food and atmosphere at intimate Le Bouchon is inspired by the Rhone-Alpes region of France; Brindille is a modern model of Parisian sexiness; and Margeaux Brasserie takes culinary revelers to 1920's Paris. 

Not all blow your budget, either. Café Marie-Jeanne is casual, friendly and an affordable find for French food fans and La Sardine offers a $35 prix fixe menu - an outstanding value.   

Even though you may never have a munchie attack for tarte au pistou on a Saturday night, just remember where the almighty French fry originated. Experience frites and more at any of the c'est manifique French restaurants in Chicago. 

Lincoln Park


You'll be uttering, "Oui, oui" and "Merci" dining at "my place" or Chez Moi, Chef Dominique Tougne's comfy bistro serving delicious French food and charm. The Alsatian bistro by way of Lincoln Park offers classics from escargots fragrant with...  Read More



If you're going to create a space reminiscent of a particular time, place and spirit, 1920's Paris would be it. Margeaux Brasserie is Chef Michael Mina's "moveable feast" to double metaphor Hemingway's ode to the city of the 20's. The...  Read More

la petite folie
Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of La Petite Folie


Located in Hyde Park near the University of Chicago campus, la petite folie serves traditional, classically prepared and artfully plated French food. The quaint atmosphere belies its shopping plaza locale but the free and easy parking is a...  Read More



Café Marie-Jeanne is casual, friendly and a real find for French food fans. Choose table service or, a nice option if dining alone, is the front counter where you can dine and gaze out the window. The breakfast/brunch menu lists extensive...  Read More



A favorite of the late Julia Child and a beloved date spot for a young Barack and Michelle Obama, Le Bouchon has been a sanctuary of sumptuous French fare for a quarter of a century in Chicago. Serving lunch and dinner, the menu is in French...  Read More



The sister restaurant to the more formal Le Bouchon, La Sardine is a warmer version of classic French cuisine. Dark wood and brass replace crystal and soft color while the open, bustling kitchen beckons with culinary treasures. Choose from a...  Read More



Translated as "My Friend Gabi," this Lincoln Park bistro and steakhouse is a delightful find for expertly prepared French cuisine. Expect traditional dishes such as steak frites, Roasted chicken grand-mere onion soup au gratin and escargots with...  Read More



Everest is a romantic, high-end, French Country restaurant on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange building offering some breathtaking views of our gorgeous city. Acclaimed chef Jean Joho brings a taste of Alsace to the Midwest which...  Read More



Considered by many as the best place for French food in Chicago, Les Nomades is quintessentially formal and French - a traditional French haute cuisine dining experience. Walk into the architecturally beautiful greystone noticing the hushed...  Read More



If you've read this far, you may as well have a French lesson. Brindille, pronounced "braun-DEE", translates to "new growth" in French and Chef/Co-Owner Carrie Nahabedian has been making culinary connections since opening Michelin-starred Nana...  Read More


Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky