Dinner at Raoul’s. Photo by OK McCausland for Resy

GuidesNew York

The Resy Guide for When You’re Craving French Food in New York


This week on Resy we’re exploring the many facets of French restaurants in New York. We unpack why New York has always been obsessed with them. We ruminate on the timeless joy they bring. We help you get a table at Frenchette. We tell you where you should go to drink French wine. We’ve got a soft spot for a classic Midtown bistro. And we’ve got a list of French restaurants for every occasion.


Long gone are the days where French restaurants in the city equated to jacketed waiters and white tablecloths — although New York will never disavow haute cuisine, no matter how many pundits have declared fine dining is dead. Today, we’re seeing a proper rebirth of what French restaurants can be, from the quintessential brasserie to the exciting neobistro. So, if you’re saving French restaurants solely for the purpose of fancy, splurge-worthy occasions, we must inform you: You are missing out on some of the city’s most exciting dining experiences.

There is the perfect French restaurant for date night, for kids, for when you’re hungover, and everything in between, and we have them all listed here for you. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the excellent French restaurants here — we admit there will be many we’ll have missed — so, take this as a trusted resource of sorts, a list of places the Resy Editorial team has come to love and patronize over the years. As they say, bon appétit.

For when you want to people-watch …

Make a Resy at Raoul’s. The Soho institution dreamt up by two Alsatian brothers in the 70’s still draws a sceney crowd, but it also has the knack to make anyone who walks in feel like a million bucks. Order one of the best burgers in the city — only available at the bar on weeknights or during brunch — or the steak au poivre, the de facto signature. Pro tip: For the burger, it helps to show up early.

See also: Le Dive, or what may be the sceniest of scenes on the outskirts of Chinatown, a cool-kid hangout that manages to perfectly recreate the look of France’s bars-tabacs.


For when it’s so cold out, you’d almost rather stay in …

Brave it all for M. Wells. Trust us, this French Canadian steakhouse — a lofty, cozy hideaway in Long Island City — is the perfect cure to wind tunnels and gloomy days, with a stacked roster of decadent and reimagined bistro fare that changes with the seasons. It also has one of the best French onion soups in town; a non-negotiable if it’s on the menu.

See also: The proper Greenpoint gem that is Le Fond, which requires a 24-hour advanced notice if you want their impeccable $30 cheese fondue (you do). Otherwise, the $58 four-course prix fixe ($48 for vegetarians) is something to behold.


Photo courtesy of L’Express
Photo courtesy of L’Express

For when you’re hungry after a late night out …

Ditch the dollar slice and get yourself to L’Express. The vaunted Gramercy bistro closes at an unheard of (these days) 4 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night, offering the full scale of French classics to late-night revelers. Sure, it’s not a kebab stuffed with fries in Paris, but the possibility of eating escargots and frog legs in persillade at 3:30 a.m. is anything if not thrilling.


For when you want a casual weeknight dinner with the crew …

The best answer is Bar Bête. We cannot stress how much of the menu you’ll want to order, so yes, the absolute move is to go with a group and get it all. The dining room is sleek, the service is thoughtful, the bathroom is tiled, and the food and wine, simply next level — this is as close as one gets to the sort of bistronomy fare Paris excels at (under no circumstances are you to overlook ordering the rabbit and lobster sausage if it’s on the menu).


Photo courtesy of Quatorze
Photo courtesy of Quatorze

For when there are kids involved …

Let Nice Matin take care of you. The all-day Upper West Side bistro is a staple for families for a reason: friendly staff, an always satisfying menu, and a perfect location on West 79th in between Hudson River Park, the Museum of Natural History, and Central Park, should you need to tire out the kids before or after your meal …

See also: Just a bit further uptown, head to Café du Soleil for its especially kid-friendly menu (crêpe au Nutella, anyone?). If you’re on the other side of the park, however, know that Quatorze is the Upper East Side’s perennial go-to.


For when it’s time to brunch …

Secure a Resy at Chez Ma Tante. Yes, those pancakes are something else, but you shouldn’t overlook the other wildly tasty offerings brunch provides: pigs’ head terrine with a sunny side up, quiche, boudin noir, and a perfect croque monsieur, all of which are more than acceptable companions to your mimosa and bloody Mary.

See also: The lovely Le Garage in Bushwick, helmed by a mother-and-daughter duo, which makes a mighty tasty pineapple French toast (don’t knock it till you try it).


The dining room at Mimi in Greenwich Village, New York.
Photo by Lucia Bell Epstein, courtesy of Mimi
The dining room at Mimi in Greenwich Village, New York.
Photo by Lucia Bell Epstein, courtesy of Mimi

For when it’s date night …

Head to Mimi in Greenwich Village. The seductive space — small, cushy, and intimate — hits all the right notes without feeling over the top, with its marble-accented bar, dim lighting, and closely knit tables for two. The menu changes frequently, but you can always expect elegant renditions of rustic French food (don’t skip the rabbit sausage with pomme purée), and a killer digestif and wine list to boot.

See also: King in Soho, which never ever disappoints and always feels special with its chic interior, market-driven plates, and carefully picked wines.


For when you’re scheduling a glitzy power lunch …

There’s no better place than La Mercerie. Set inside the stunning Soho design mecca that is the Roman and Williams Guild (where, FYI, everything from the napkin holder to the plates are for sale), the all-day restaurant is overseen by celebrated Parisian chef Marie-Aude Rose, whose kitchen team elevates infinitely simple dishes, like crêpe complète, Niçoise salad, and gratin dauphinois.

See also: Balthazar, of course. And if you can’t seem to get a table, here’s how. Definitely check out Le Rock, too (Bonus: It’s now open on Saturdays finally!).


Photo by Dan Ahn, courtesy of Lysée
Photo by Dan Ahn, courtesy of Lysée

For when you’re craving something sweet …

Make a Resy for Lysée’s tearoom. Korean-born chef Eunji Lee is a master of French pâtisserie (she trained under Cédric Grolet in Paris, after all) and her resulting Korea-meets-France creations are nothing short of edible art (see here for a sampling of her hits). Do save room for the kouign-amann, an impossibly buttery and laminated viennoiserie that Lysée absolutely crushes.


For when you want to celebrate with a group …

Kindly request one of the booths at Le Crocodile. The Wythe’s hotel restaurant sits pretty in its perpetually buzzing dining room, and the infinitely shareable menu of pâtés and seafood makes it ideal for groups. But you should truly go for the family-style prix fixe ($105 a person), a generous picking of Le Croc’s greatest hits, from the exceptional roast chicken to the sticky banana date pudding, a mountain of frites included.

See also: Daniel Boulud’s ode to his hometown of Lyon, Le Gratin, for the seafood tower and the pleasure of sitting in one of the city’s most beautiful dining rooms.


Photo by Daniel Krieger, courtesy of Le Bernardin
Photo by Daniel Krieger, courtesy of Le Bernardin

For when you want to splurge, just the two of you …

Save it all for a meal at Le Bernardin. The fine dining destination from chef Eric Ripert and owner Maguy Le Coze has consistently topped New York’s Michelin guide with three stars for the past 16 years, and it’s in no small part due to the kitchen magic Ripert imparts to seafood, paired with a next-level wine list curated by his longtime collaborator, master sommelier Aldo Sohm.


For when you’re in search of the perfect patio …

Make a beeline for the Meatpacking District and Pastis’ outdoor setup. Laid out on the cobblestoned stretch of Gansevoort, the patio packs as much energy and buzz as its subway-tiled dining room, and remains a de facto spot for a leisurely lunch or brunch — get the steak sandwich if you know what’s good for you.

See also: The seasonal rooftop at Bar Blondeau with its unbeatable Manhattan skyline views, shareable plates, and large-format cocktails.


Photo courtesy of Deux Chats
Photo courtesy of Deux Chats

For when you just want drinks …

Head to the very pretty Deux Chats under the Williamsburg bridge. This cocktail bar on a slight Belle Époque bend (see the green bar, distressed mirrors, et al) is the place for cocktails, and by cocktails, we mean martinis  — there are no less than six variations on the menu. Do soak them up with some of the excellent seafood platters and bites on offer.

See also: If it’s wine you’re seeking, trust in the La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels cellars, and this complete guide to the New York restaurants and bars with stellar French wine lists.


Noëmie Carrant is Resy’s senior writer who was born and raised in Paris but now calls New York home. Follow her on Instagram. Follow Resy on Instagram and Twitter, too.