16 of Our Favorite French Restaurants in NYC

French cuisine has been a favorite of New Yorkers since the good people of France gifted us Lady Liberty (that would be 1886, FYI). But in the last few years, it’s largely been the same tired steak frites, mussels and chocolate soufflés showing up on every menu. No more. When it comes to French fare, there’s a renaissance of sorts happening right now. Here, 16 of the most exciting French restaurants in NYC.

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1. Frenchette

  • Address: 241 West Broadway
  • Phone: (212) 334-3883
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes

This upscale French bistro in Tribeca is, in the words of one PureWow editor, “absurdly good.” Known for its vast selection of natural wine and traditional menu with a modern twist, you definitely need a reservation at this bustling spot. Fan favorites include brouillade (a soft scrambled egg with escargot and garlic butter) and the roast chicken with puréed potatoes and maitake mushrooms (served in a Le Creuset dish because, of course). The duck frites is also outrageously delicious. Pro tip: While there’s no bad seat in the house, go as a group of four and call ahead so you can secure one of their handsome rounded leather banquette tables.

2. Majorelle

  • Address: 28 East 63rd Street
  • Phone: (212) 935-2888
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes

This jaw-droppingly beautiful restaurant tucked away on a quiet block of the Upper East Side is the kind of place that Carrie Bradshaw’s Parisian dreams were made of. Sophisticated and refined like The Lowell hotel in which it sits, Majorelle is one of the finest splurge-worthy restaurants in the city. Striking floral arrangements and top-notch service (the waiters all speak French) make this the ideal spot for a special occasion, but the elegant food will have you coming back again and again. With the addition of a new Michelin-starred chef breathing life into a seasonal menu of French Mediterranean hits (think oysters married with endives, duck liver with port wine and a grilled dover sole with haricot verts), this plush restaurant also boasts a year-round outdoor dining garden. In a word (and in the voice of Lumière from Beauty and the Beast), it’s magnifique. 

3. Dirty French

  • Address: 180 Ludlow Street
  • Phone: (212) 254-3000
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes, for parties of up to eight

It’s hard to miss this French bistro located at the Ludlow Hotel with its playful decor (including a gorgeous, broken antique French carnival mirror and plenty of neon pink roosters), but why would you want to? Featuring an international twist on French fare, menu highlights at this cool eatery include orange blossom water beignets with a side of chicory caramel sauce, poached lobster with curry aioli and Moroccan-inspired chicken and crêpes. And let’s not forget the wine. Dirty French is known for their extensive list that highlights the finest produits de France.

4. Pastis

  • Address: 52 Gansevoort Street
  • Phone: (212) 929-4844
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes, for parties of up to six

When this popular bistro closed in 2014, New Yorkers let out a collective le sigh. But happily, Pastis is back and it’s better than ever. Now in a new location just around the corner from its former Meatpacking spot, the famed French bistro can instantly transport discerning diners to Paris in a New York minute. The burger and fries are what put the O.G. restaurant on the map, and they’re still as finger-licking good as before. Nightly specials and traditional French hits round out the menu—both steak and moules frites, beef bourguignon, trout amandine and a salad niçoise that never disappoints. Whatever you choose, we recommend leaving room for the baba au rhum and the vanilla bean crème brûlée, both of which will have you scraping your plate.

5. La Mercerie

  • Address: 53 Howard Street
  • Phone: (212) 852-9097
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes

Located inside famed design mecca Roman and Williams Guild, just being surrounded by all the beautiful decor and treasures from around the globe is a unique dining experience in its own right. And while this Canal Street–adjacent cafe could rely on its looks to draw in a crowd, it doesn’t. Instead, the round-the-clock eatery serves brioches and pain au chocolat that dazzle the eyes as much as the taste buds in the morning, with savory crêpes and a velouté du jour come après-midi. There’s an aperitif menu if you’re looking for some nosh in between meals, and beef bourguignon is the star at dinner. Bon appétit.

6. La Jardinier

  • Address: 610 Lexington Ave
  • Phone: (212) 451-9211
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes

This fashionable urban garden greenhouse oasis received a Michelin star less than a year after opening (no big deal). Sample chef Alain Verzeroli’s vegetable-driven cuisine via the tasting menu or go a la carte: roasted cauliflower, an heirloom beet dish with kumquats and pearled barley risotto with mushrooms are just a few of note. On a sunny day, stop by for a midtown power lunch to see the restaurant in all its glory, bathed with sunlight that warms the sleek marble walls. Or if you’re looking to go on the cheap, check out the happy hour when elevated bar bites like short rib croque-monsieur sandwiches, crispy cheese sticks and even a crudo are all under $15 a plate.

7. French Louie

  • Address: 320 Atlantic Ave
  • Phone: (718) 935-1200
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes, for parties of five or more

This adorable Boerum Hill bistro is named for legendary Louie “French Louie” Seymour, a Canadian man who moved down the the Adirondacks in the late 1800s and who, according to the story, made quite the impression on those around him. The restaurant that now bears his name aims to honor his signature spirited good cheer with cuisine that puts an American South twist on French classics. The menu is every changing depending on the season, but we highly recommend the steak frites or the grilled fig and arugula salad. There’s also a gorgeous backyard area for anyone looking to dine al fresco.

8. Marseille

  • Address: 630 9th Ave
  • Phone: (212) 333-2323
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes

Dinner is fabulous and we can’t resist an oyster happy hour (daily from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm), but it’s the bottomless brunch that earned this Midtown joint a spot on our list. For $25 you get your pick of brunch-ready cocktails with the purchase of an entree, of which you have all the best French classics to choose from. We’re talking croque madame, salade nicoise and steak tartare, as well as plenty of modern dishes, like shakshuka, pain perdu and quinoa bowls. Be to make a reservation ahead of time, or be prepared to wait to enjoy your mimosas and oysters.

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9. Mominette

  • Address: 221 Knickerbocker Ave
  • Phone: (929) 234-2941
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes, for dinner only

Bushwick diners would do well to stop by this chic bistro (for breakfast, lunch, dinner or brunch) sometime for esargot or oysters. There’s plenty on the menu to appeal to all tastes—a classic burger, roasted Norwegian salmon, steak frites—but one PureWow editor recommends opting for the more traditional dishes to really have the best experience. “The duck confit is amazing,” she says. “And so is the French onion soup.” Mominette takes reservations only for dinner, but you still likely won’t have to wait too long for a table, even during peak hours.

10. Café Paulette

  • Address: 1 South Elliott Place
  • Phone: (718) 852-8582
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes

Natural wine and classic French fare are the name of the game at this Fort Greene eatery. There’s live jazz music every Tuesday night, and a gorgeous backyard patio you can enjoy year-round (it’s heated in winter). And while they do take reservations for breakfast, lunch and dinner, brunch reservations are only from 10 am to 11 am—after that, they’re first come, first serve. Just looking for a little something to tide you over? Check out their sister wine bar, Petite Paulette, located right next door for light bites and all the delicious French wines and cocktails.

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11. Juliette

  • Address: 135 North 5th Street
  • Phone: (718) 388-9222
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes

Juilette’s menu is an ode to simplicity, highlighting the best of French cooking with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Mixed forrest mushrooms on rosemary ciabatta, banana stuffed French toast, chicken cordon bleu, ooh la la! When the weather permits, head up to the rooftop to dine al fresco and escape the din of Williamsburg traffic (or at least be slightly more removed from it).

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12. Lucien

  • Address: 14 1st Ave
  • Phone: (212) 260-6481
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes (only by phone)

This East Village hot spot has phenomenal vibes, fabulous food and a great wine selection. It’s also a favorite of numerous celebs, like Chloe Sevigny and the Hadid sisters. The space isn’t very big, so if you don’t have a reservation you’ll likely have to wait quite awhile for a table. Reviewers highly recommend the croque monsieur, sardines, beef tartare and the French onion soup.

13. L’Express

  • Address: 249 Park Ave S
  • Phone: (212) 254-5858
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes

Places like L’Express are why NYC has a reputation as the city that never sleeps. Aome may assume the only food available at 3 am on a Wednesday would be dollar slices or bodega sandwiches, but this Lyonnaise bouchon is open 24 hours, providing you with delicious, traditional French bites whenever the craving might hit. Speaking of bites, patrons can expect both simple classics like steak au poivre or pan-roasted chicken, as well as Lyon specialties like bouillabaisse and frisée aux lardons.

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14. Le Crocodile

  • Address: 80 Wythe Ave
  • Phone: (718) 460-8004
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes

Located within the Wythe Hotel, Le Crocodile has been named one of NYC’s most romantic date night spots. And while the decor is truly gorgeous and the white jacket waiters make you feel like you’re on a luxury trip to Paris, nothing can outshine the incredible food. You really can’t go wrong ordering just about anything on the menu, but be sure to ask for wine pairing recommendations. The wine list has been carefully selected to complement the menu and the staff know exactly which duos are most likely to make your taste buds sing.

15. Raoul’s

  • Address: 180 Prince Street
  • Phone: (212) 966-3518
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes

Raoul’s is an ionic NYC staple, open since the ‘70s, that truly cannot be missed. Originally run by two brothers from Alsace, this SoHo restaurant has a personality as rich as its menu, and has long been a favorite for celebs like Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and the cast of SNL. The steak au poivre is apparently an absolute must-have, as is the burger, which is available to order only at the bar. Hot tip: If you’re making reservations, try to request a booth, as the middle tables tend to get a bit chaotic.

16. Raf’s Italian and French Bakery

  • Address: 290 Elizabeth Street
  • Phone: Not listed
  • Do They Take Reservations: Yes

Raf’s opened in early 2023, but has already developed a regular crowd of devoted fans. Nearly everything on the menu is cooked in the huge wood-burning bread oven at the back (a relic from the two Italian bakeries that used to fill the space). For those who prefer traditional French cuisine, you’ll likely be better off with another pick on this list, but those looking for a modern twist on classic flavors will surely be delighted. The leeks vinaigrette, escargot and beef tartare are all winners, and you absolutely cannot miss the freshly baked bread basket complete with hand-churned butter from the Loire.

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Dan Koday is a travel and lifestyle writer and editor with 15+ years experience creating content for your favorite websites, print publications and brands. As a native to the NYC...