Explore the Flavors of France at Seattle's Best Restaurants



Do you love French food? Bien sur! We do too, and that's why we dedicate ourselves to finding the best places to enjoy French cuisine here 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 like the downtown zone near Pike Place Market, 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 by global flavors. And of course 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!



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Boat Street Café & Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Boat Street Cafe & Kitchen


 

This charming eatery offers French-style bistro food–lunch, brunch, dinner, cooking classes, private events and catering, too. Note that the venue now only serves happy hour and prix-fixe dinners on Friday, Saturday and Monday evenings. Although it's popular throughout the week at lunchtime, the cafe has a terrific weekend brunch that's well-attended and well worth the trek. Among the dishes you'll find: wonderful egg casseroles, French toast, eggs benedict (with homemade hollandaise), smoked trout, a spicy morning torte and other treats, including a choice of pastries. The warm atmosphere is an ideal place to relax, the service is excellent, and the patio is a perfect spot on warm, summer days.


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Downtown


 

A mainstay in the Pike Place Market for more than thirty years, Maximilien is a romantic and charming French restaurant with spectacular patio views. Owner-operated since 1997, Maximilien boasts the old-world charm of any romantic hideaway in Paris (with a Northwest twist). From inside or on the patio, enjoy a panoramic view that takes in Puget Sound, Elliott Bay, West Seattle and the Olympic Mountains. Antique mirrors cover most of the walls to make this romantic view sublime from any seat in the house. The chefs at Maximilien cook using local ingredients and French techniques. The result? A delectable, seasonally-changing menu highlighted by such signatures as the wonderful "Duck Confit."


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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 upon 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 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.


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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 delectable options from baguette sandwiches and French onion soup to cod filet, crispy duck leg and vegetarian Raclette. (Be sure to save room for decadent desserts, too!) Weekends at Café Presse mean soccer matches featuring teams from America, Europe and around the globe in the bar up front.


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Waterfront
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.


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Downtown
RN74
Photo courtesy of RN74


 

Locals and visitors alike flock to RN74, Michael Mina's downtown outpost, known for its "creative, modern, yet simple interpretations of regional French cuisine." In the chic lounge area, visitors enjoy delectable treats like duck fat fries, bacon-flavored popcorn, jazzed-up deviled eggs, sliders and beef skewers. Main dishes include locally-sourced, seasonal highlights like house-aged steaks, vegetables from local organic farms and Puget Sound seafood (like Michael Mina's Ahi Tuna Tartare). But perhaps, most importantly, patrons return for RN74's extensive wine list that highlights the Burgundy region of France plus boutique wine producers from Washington and Oregon. In addition to pouring at least 40 wines by the glass (priced from $6-$32) and 1,300-plus wines by the bottle, RN74 features Champagne and sparkling wine from around the world.


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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. The 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.


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An intimate standout at Pike Place Market, this restaurant beckons you to spend romantic time with someone special. Whether you dine outdoors or inside 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.


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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 gruyére 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 that don't disappoint. Save room for tiramisu profiteroles or the créme brûlée of the month!


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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 its crystal chandelier and Art Deco sconces, proves the ideal spot for cocktails before or after your meal.


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Meet 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...  More About Corinne

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