155 West 51st Street
New York NY 10019
This is the ultimate French restaurant – where the quality matches the hype. Not only did it win Zagat’s Best Food award for eight years, but non-food critics alike also sing the restaurant’s praises. Yes, the tasting menu might cost approximately three weeks of your grocery budget, but Eric Ripert’s seafood genius – particularly the charred octopus with fermented black bean and pear sauce – makes it worth the crazy expense. Stick around for the Chocolate-Peanut caramel tart with Meyer lemon puree and praline-citrus sorbet, and you may just reach nirvana.
411 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10016
15 John St
New York, NY 10038
The lunch menus vary slightly from location to location, but the focus is the same: affordable French bistro fare. It’s true that a certain celebrity chef used to hang his hat here, but the menu has hardly changed since his epic rise to fame. The reason people come here: the famous Les Halles steak frites et salade, cooked to your specification with some of the salty-crispest frites you’ll ever eat. Vive la révolution!
La Bonne Soupe
No, the name doesn’t mean “good soup” – even though there is plenty of that. La Bonne Soupe means the good life with wealth, health and happiness. We will take that – especially if you add in their delicious steak frites and yummy Croque Monsieur. Also, don’t miss the Lamb and Goat Cheese Burger—it’s spectacular.
Francois Payard Bakery
116 W Houston St
New York, NY 10012
Francois Payard has made a name for himself as one of the best pastry chefs in the world, but did you know his bakery also serves a fabulous lunch? Nothing is over $10, and most sandwiches are actually in the $8 range (with one hitting $8.50 and one bottoming at $6.50). Of course, as any visitor to Francois Payard Bakery knows, that is just what you eat first to seem like a normal lunch, before you dive headfirst into all of the wonderful pastries on display. Cookies, cakes, eclair… c’est une pâtisserie très merveilleux, oui?
Yes, 26 is the number of seats at this restaurant. Described as intimate and warm, this spot is known for its friendly service and very reasonable prices. Decorated with delectable hues of cranberry and chocolate, 26 Seats prepares an especially delicious Bouillabaisse and a very nice Filet de Sole.
Have kids? You can’t go wrong with a French restaurant that has both Eggs en Meurette and Lucky Charms on the menu. A trendy parental gathering place with great selections for kids, The Landmarc also has an extensive wine list (there’s even a selection of half bottles).
211 DeKalb Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Chez Oskar is Le Funky French Bistro, with a children’s menu that includes Mashed Potato Vulcano. (What kid doesn’t want a volcano of mashed potatoes?) The waiters give out crayons to keep the kids occupied while you are waiting for your savory Veal Blanquette or tender hanger steak. This is an especially great stop before you attend something at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
92 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Laurent Manrique’s French casual seafood restaurant is located on the second floor of the Carlton Hotel. Although it still has a couple of kinks to work out (i.e. the music bleed from the bar downstairs), the food is outstanding. The three-tiered Plateau Royale, bursting with tartars and unusual choices like langoustine, is definitely a seafood-lover’s dream come true.
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