I often miss my family and friends who live in France; however, rarely do I ever miss the food because I’m fortunate enough to live in NYC where there are so many French restaurants right at my fingertips.
If I happen to miss a particular dish, to satiate my craving, I usually cook it and if I don’t know how– I learn how to cook it! Take this past weekend for example. I went to visit a very good friend in Colorado and I learned how to cook Lapin a la Moutarde watching a YouTube video. You may be asking yourself “What? YouTube?” I say, why not?! I’m a visual learner, as many of us are! I do know that being French neither means I was born a cook nor does it mean that I’m slim and trim (I’ve read French Women Don’t Get Fat and trust me, I can get fat because there is temptation everywhere! I digress, so we will discuss that topic in a future blog post). What I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid to attempt cooking a French meal or dish. I truly believe homemade food is truly the best.
In France, we rarely go out; therefore, restaurants are reserved for special celebrations. Many of my students have asked me for French restaurant recommendations so I will share my favorites with you. I love all of these restaurants for different reasons all of which they cook French food well. I am excited to hear about how you enjoy these as well as any others you may recommend. Honestly, between us, the best advice I could give to anyone looking to eat French… is to learn how to cook it. The best food in France is usually found in small bistros with the reputation of home cooking. So why going out when you can simply make it at home? If, on occasions, you feel lazy or not inclined to cook (like I do sometimes), here’s a list of my must try French restaurants:
AMELIE: The wine selection by the glass is truly amazing. I highly recommend this place for anyone looking to practice their French. The staff is entirely French. Great for happy hour and delicious cheese plates.
COCOTTE: This is a little gem hidden in Soho where you can have a conversation without shouting at each other. The food is delicious and the staff is very warm and friendly. The perfect spot to relax after a day of shopping in Soho
PARDON MY FRENCH: Stop in for brunch and you will inevitably be transported to a cafe in Paris. I LOVE the outdoor garden not to mention, the waiters here are also French. One reminder: it’s cash only. There’s an ATM across the street. Did I mention the bottomless brunch?
VIN ET FLEURS: What a great spot! The décor makes you feel like you are in France. The owner is very friendly and loves when you speak to him in French. Definitely one of NYC’s best kept secrets. They have the most amazing fresh baked mini baguettes.
LE BARRATIN: I discovered this place very recently and immediately felt in love with the ambiance and atmosphere. The coq au vin is divine!! The Prix Fixe menu between 5:00-7:30 delivers a real taste of France, at a very reasonable price, particularly for NYC.
CAFÉ BOULUD: La crême de la crême ! Exquisite food, and impeccable service. It has one Michelin star (it deserves 3) and is worth every penny you will spend. I’m always looking forward to eating there. The mini madeleines are the best I’ve ever had
CAFÉ TRISKELL: One of my favorite place in Astoria. Best croque madame I’ve ever had outside of France. The crêpes are thin and crispy like the ones I’ve had in France too. The chef is from Brittany. The French onion soup is a must get especially during the winter season. Cash only!
PATES ET TRADITION: I love love this place in Williamsburg. The outside seating is great when the weather is warm and sunny. There are a few French places in Williamsburg but none as good as this one, Try the galettes with goat cheese, they’re amazing. Cash only!