10 Best Restaurants to Eat Delicious French Cuisine in Chicago

When you think of indulging in the finest cuisine, there’s nothing quite like the exquisite flavors of French gastronomy. If you’re in the Windy City, you’re in luck! Chicago, known for its diverse culinary scene, is home to some of the most delectable French restaurants in the U.S. From cozy bistros to elegant establishments, we’ve curated a list of the 10 best French restaurants you absolutely must visit in Chicago.

Brindille:

Location: Nestled in River North at 534 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654.

Specialty: While it offers a full menu of refined Parisian dishes, it’s particularly known for its stunning desserts and comprehensive French wine list.

Ambiance: Features a sleek, sophisticated interior that reflects the elegance of Paris, making it ideal for an intimate date night.

Recommendation: Opt for the “Duck a l’Orange” or “Dover Sole Meunière,” and definitely save room for dessert; the “Chocolate Tarte” is a local favorite.

Le Bouchon:

Location: Located in the vibrant Bucktown neighborhood at 1958 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647.

Specialty: Classic French bistro fare is the star here, with an emphasis on Lyon-style cuisine.

Ambiance: Offers a lively, authentic Parisian bistro vibe with its crowded tables, chalkboard menu, and vintage posters.

Recommendation: You can’t go wrong with “Escargot,” “Coq au Vin,” or their famous “Lyonnaise Salad.” The environment is casual, so feel free to dress comfortably.

Bistronomic:

Location: A local favorite situated in the Gold Coast at 840 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611.

Specialty: Offers modern takes on classic bistro fare, using locally-sourced ingredients to create mouthwatering dishes.

Ambiance: Features a warm, inviting atmosphere with contemporary decor, making it perfect for both casual and special meals.

Recommendation: Try the “Housemade Foie Gras,” any of their seasonal dishes, or the delectable “Bistronomic Burger.” Their menu changes with the seasons, reflecting the freshest available produce.

Café des Architectes:

Location: Located in the upscale Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile at 20 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60611.

Specialty: This chic restaurant prides itself on its seasonal menu of innovative French cuisine.

Ambiance: The interior is sleek and colorful, offering a modern, upscale dining experience that mirrors the sophistication of its location.

Recommendation: The “Seared Scallops” and “Beef Bourguignon” are highly recommended. Don’t skip the dessert; the “Valrhona Chocolate Cake” is a must-try.

Mon Ami Gabi:

Location: Positioned right in Lincoln Park at 2300 N Lincoln Park W, Chicago, IL 60614.

Specialty: This bistro is celebrated for its classic French fare, especially the steak frites and a broad selection of wines.

Ambiance: With its warm lighting, mirrored bar, and vintage feel, it offers an authentic Parisian bistro atmosphere.

Recommendation: The “Onion Soup Au Gratin” followed by any of their steaks are must-tries. Their “Profiteroles” with hot fudge sauce are a delightful finale.

La Crêperie:

Location: This cozy spot is situated at 2845 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657, in the Lakeview neighborhood.

Specialty: As the name suggests, it specializes in crepes, both savory and sweet, providing the best of Brittany’s traditional fare.

Ambiance: Casual and intimate with a true bohemian French feel, it’s perfect for a relaxed, delicious meal.

Recommendation: The “La Complete” crepe is a savory delight, and you can’t leave without trying the “La Suzette” crepe, a dessert classic.

Cafe Marie-Jeanne:

Location: This casual, yet trendy spot is found in Humboldt Park, at 1001 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60622.

Specialty: Cafe Marie-Jeanne provides a unique blend of classic French and American café culture, with a diverse menu ranging from breakfast to dinner, including an array of charcuterie.

Ambiance: The atmosphere is relaxed with a touch of hip elegance, featuring an open, airy space with plenty of natural light, perfect for a laid-back brunch or a leisurely dinner.

Recommendation: The “Smoked Fish Platter” is a delightful start, followed by the “Duck Frites.” Don’t miss out on their selection of natural wines.

Le Colonial:

Location: Situated in the Gold Coast at 57 E Oak St, Chicago, IL 60611, just off the Magnificent Mile.

Specialty: Le Colonial offers a distinctive menu that features French-Vietnamese cuisine, emphasizing fresh seafood, meats, and vegetables.

Ambiance: The restaurant transports you to another era, specifically French colonial Southeast Asia in the 1920s, with exotic decor, lush tropical plants, and ceiling fans stirring a gentle breeze.

Recommendation: Begin with the “Cha Gio” (crispy spring rolls), savor the “Ca Song” (tuna tartare), and enjoy the “Suon Nuong Xa” (lemongrass pork chop).

Marchesa:

Location: Nestled in River North at 535 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654.

Specialty: Marchesa offers European cuisine, with a focus on French, Spanish, and Italian dishes. The menu is rich with luxurious ingredients and artistic presentations.

Ambiance: Sophisticated and romantic, the interior features opulent European-inspired decor, with various unique dining spaces, including a champagne bar and a cozy cave.

Recommendation: The “Lobster Agnolotti” is divine, and the “Bouillabaisse” is rich in flavor. Pair your meal with a selection from their extensive wine list.

Les Nomades:

Location: Located in a charming, vintage brownstone building in Streeterville at 222 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611.

Specialty: Known for its contemporary French cuisine, Les Nomades offers a seasonal menu featuring the finest ingredients, presented with flair and complexity.

Ambiance: Upscale and exclusive, it boasts an elegant dining room with fireplaces and artwork, creating a perfect setting for a luxurious, intimate dining experience.

Recommendation: Opt for the four-course menu to experience a range of flavors, particularly the “Roasted Duck Breast” and “Wild Striped Bass.” The “Soufflé” is a must for dessert.

Conclusion:

French cuisine is synonymous with culinary excellence, and your journey through Chicago’s best French eateries promises an unforgettable experience of sumptuous flavors, elegant ambiances, and impeccable service. As you plan your next gastronomic adventure, these 10 French establishments should undoubtedly top your list. Bon appétit!

FAQ:

Q: Do I need to make reservations at these French restaurants in Chicago?

A: Most high-end restaurants, especially those listed, tend to be busy, and it’s recommended to make reservations to ensure you secure a table, particularly on weekends or special occasions.

Q: Can these restaurants cater to dietary restrictions?

A: Many of these restaurants offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. However, it’s always best to check with the restaurant directly if you have specific dietary needs.

Q: Is French cuisine in Chicago comparable to that in France?

A: Many of Chicago’s French restaurants are helmed by renowned chefs, some of whom are from France, and they strive to maintain the authenticity of flavors. While the experience might not be identical, it’s certainly reflective of genuine French cuisine.

Remember, always check the latest online reviews and ensure the restaurants are still operational before planning your visit. Enjoy your culinary journey through Chicago’s best French establishments!

Leave a Comment