If you’re looking for the best French restaurants in Austin, you’re in luck, because we happen to be blessed with a handful of amazing ones. I love these restaurants because they either embody the quintessential French bistros or brasseries, or because they embrace the traditional cooking techniques that makes French food some of the best in the world. Whether you’re wanting some paté and some great cheese, or more complicated yet delectable dishes like escargot, perfectly cooked sweet breads, or delicate bone marrow, these restaurants will not disappoint.
Le Politique is the latest restaurant in New Waterloo’s portfolio, and it may just be my favorite one. The decor is absolutely stunning, the food is fantastic, and for many people it may not just be their favorite French restaurant in Austin, it may be their favorite restaurant period (at least favorite new restaurant). They have a fabulous raw bar where you can enjoy fresh shucked oysters, caviar, shrimp, lobster, and crab, as well as french classics such as french onion soup, escargot, croque madame, tartines, and steak frites.
A small, casual French bistro tucked away just off the hustle and bustle of the world-famous Sixth street, it “beckons to couples for romance, to friends for conversation, and to gourmands for good food..”-Austin American Statesman. It’s open for lunch and dinner, and they offer a three-course prix-fixe dinner menu that includes delicacies such as soupe du jour or paté maison, bavette aux échalotes (grilled Texas wagyu beef flank•Pernod butter•fried shallots) or truite aux champignons (roasted ruby trout•tarragon cream•oyster mushrooms), and desserts like Crème caramel, Mousse au chocolat, or Brie (how French!)
Toulouse Cafe and Bar
Toulouse Café and Bar is reminiscent of a Parisian Café and is owned by the Lombardi Family restaurant group, which also owns Taverna. They offer seasonal menus that hit the spot, and create a cozy ambiance with an extensive wine list and made from scratch desserts. They’re located at the Domain Northside and is the perfect cafe to pop into for a glass of wine and snack in between shopping.
If you’re a fan of French comfort foods & boozy craft cocktails (and Absinthe!), then a trip to Péché should be in your future. It’s smack in the middle of downtown just off 4th street in the warehouse district, which makes for a great place to hit up before a night on the town. They have a fabulous Happy Hour, with specials all day Sunday & Monday, and Tuesday through Friday from 4pm-7pm, and you can expect $5 cocktails and 1/2 off food items with asterisk (*) on the bar menu. Their daily specials are posted on their Facebook page, and you can expect some pretty delicious food including classic French onion soup, steak tartare, PEI mussels with habanero and coconut brodo (one of my favorites!), duck confit, rabbit fricassee, and so much more.
This lovely French bistro serves beautifully simple food sourcing organic and local ingredients and happens to be vegetarian friendly. The highlight of this bistro (aside from serving fresh, lighter French fare) is their tartines, the open-faced sandwiches, and they’re served on freshly baked whole wheat bread with butter. They offer more hearty fare after 5 pm on their dinner menu, you can expect to enjoy mushroom crepes, seared ahi tuna steak, ratatouille, coq au vin blanc, and bouillabaisse. They have two locations: one on East 11th street, and the other in Westlake off Bee Caves Road.
Last on this list of my favorite French restaurants in Austin, but most certainly not least, is Justine’s Brasserie. This restaurant, located deep off East 5th street, is the Moulin Rouge of the French restaurants in Austin, and the East side may as well be Montmartre. While the other French restaurants in Austin personify the simple yet detailed and refined French esthetic, Justine’s Brasserie is unapologetically chic and rowdy, with phenomenal food. I love their racy website, and they know how to throw a boisterous party. Make sure to follow them on Instagram to stay up to date on specials and events that they have coming up. One of my most memorable dinners there was sitting outside on their intimate patio, and dining next to the only and only Robert Plant (squeal!).
If you have a big sweet tooth and love French macarons, you can check out this post that I did to satisfy that craving. If you have any other recommendations for excellent French restaurants in Austin, feel free to share your thoughts on my latest Instagram post. If you’re a Francophile like me, make sure to check out my Paris City Guide as well.
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