New York City French Dining with 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, to Benoit's cassoulet in winter, or neighborhood favorites like La Mirabelle and La Bonne Soupe, New York has no shortage of delightful French dining at every price point.

Bon appetit!


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Tucked amid brownstones in the Sutton Place The Gallic charm begins the moment the accented wait staff greets you in this picturesque three story townhouse, nothing could seem more urban or more French. Owner-chef Pascal Petiteau specializes in...  Read More


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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


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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


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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


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La Mirabelle often appears at the top of lists of most loved neighborhood restaurants. Unstuffy, honest and gentle, its patrons have been returning for decades. Annick Le Douaron, a transplanted Breton, brought her love of bistro fare, fresh...  Read More


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Something exciting has happened at that iconic bistro, Benoit. Alain Ducasse is a world traveller and it is explicitly expressed in the fact that he likes to open French restaurants outside of France, such as Tokyo and Osaka. Of course, the...  Read More


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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


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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


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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. Since then, Le Cirque has moved...  Read More


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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


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Meet Maria Lisella

No matter how many countries Maria Lisella has visited (62), this native New Yorker finds the world at her doorstep in amazing Queens where its residents speak 138 languages.

Maria writes...  More About Maria

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