The French restaurants NYC has to offer its visitors are many and varied. This brief guide will help you get to know some of the best French restaurants NYC is home to. These three top picks offer a romantic pre-theatre spot, a celebrity studded brasserie, and an effortlessly chic bistro. From Midtown to SoHo to the West Village/Meatpacking area, these French restaurants NYC locals flock to have got it all covered.
Midtown Area Pick
414 W.42nd Street
Conveniently located in the theatre district, Chez Josephine is perhaps the best of the French restaurants NYC is home to for a pre-Broadway bite. You can depend on Chez Josephine to offer up classic, high-end French dishes like Escargot, and Duck a l’Orange, but what really makes Chez Josephine stand out from the other French restaurants NYC denizens flock to in droves is the creative and innovative approach to food here. There are always a few surprising twists like Chinese ravioli, or a lemon shrimp risotto, to let you know that although the atmosphere, the clientele, and the bulk of the menu may feel straight-up Parisian, you’re definitely in New York City. Run by the adopted son of the famous dancer Josephine Baker, Chez Josephine is adorned in the style of a posh 1930s club that calls her heyday to mind. The top-caliber live jazz piano during every meal, including the stellar and surprisingly affordable Sunday brunch, adds to the glamour, and the red velvet walls and intimate lighting make this one of the most romantic French restaurants NYC can offer.
SoHo Area Pick
80 Spring Street
Of all the city’s French restaurants, NYC celebrities are most likely to show up at Balthazar. Although the prices aren’t exclusive (dinner entrees range from $16-30), the chic atmosphere, great food, and fashionable location attract a clientele made up largely of Manhattan’s “beautiful people.” Balthazar features tin walls, luxe booths, and large, antique mirrors that create a classic brasserie feeling. Although many of the French restaurants NYC is home to are most exciting during the dinner rush, when the clamor of plates and voices captures the excitement of urban energy, Balthazar is best at an off-peak time, when you can linger and have the run of the place. Among the French restaurants NYC is home to, Balthazar is noteworthy for the fact that it doesn’t close during the day, but serves continuously from as early as 7:30am to at least midnight, and as late as 2:00am depending on the day of the week. For a luxurious feeling start to your day, stop by in the morning for the surprisingly reasonable brunch.
West Village/Meatpacking Area Pick
9 Ninth Avenue at Little W. 12th
Pastis is the younger, more casual sibling of Balthazar. Both are owned by Keith McNally, an established star of the local gourmet scene, and the owner of a several American and French restaurants NYC scenesters flock to. Pastis is a bistro-style restaurant that offers open air seating during the summer, when diners can enjoy the prime people-watching opportunities that the meatpacking district affords. Although the food at Pastis is less sophisticated than some of the other French restaurants NYC offers visitors, the location on a cobblestone street, the shabby-chic province-inspired dÃ?Â©cor, and the largely European clientele make Pastis quite a special spot. Ideal for lingering over a late afternoon latte and snack that turns into early evening cocktails. Several similar bistro-style eateries line this block, but Pastis is the best for a casual meal.