clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
seafood tower
The royal plateau at Royal Boucherie in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood
Royal Boucherie [official photo]

Philly’s 11 Essential French Restaurants

For when a steak frites, bouillabaisse, or escargot craving hits

View as Map
The royal plateau at Royal Boucherie in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood
| Royal Boucherie [official photo]

Back in 1970, when Philadelphia was a much different place, a young Georges Perrier opened Le Bec-Fin and put the City of Brotherly Love on the map as a French food destination in the U.S. Today, Philly’s food scene is celebrated for many reasons, and Perrier’s legacy lives on in a collection of quality French restaurants that range from bistros to fine-dining destinations. Get ready to tear apart a baguette and drink some vin rouge. Here are Philly’s essential French restaurants.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

June BYOB

Copy Link

This new East Passyunk Avenue BYOB from Christina Cusack and chef Richard Cusack, who worked at Le Bec-Fin, Parc, and Le Cheri, serves a seasonal menu of photogenic French dishes. Make sure to order something served table-side with flair, like whole fish filleted in the dining room or a Scottish grouse pressed in an antique French duck press.

gold-rimmed plate with seafood stew June [Facebook]

Chef Pierre Calmels, who honed his craft under Daniel Boulud and Georges Perrier, serves an elegant, rotating tasting menu ($125) full of classic French ingredients at his Bella Vista BYOB Bibou. Dishes include a soufflé that changes weekly and is never repeated.

Kait Privitera

Beau Monde

Copy Link

Every city needs a great crepe place and Beau Monde is Philly’s. At the sunny corner bistro, downstairs from bar/club L’Etage, crepes are available for lunch, brunch, and dinner with options ranging from smoked salmon, poached eggs, and artichokes to beef bourguignon with blue cheese. Or go sweet with a combo of fruit, chocolate, and gelato.

Bistrot La Minette

Copy Link

The Philly spot that feels the most like a true French bistro is chef Peter Woosley’s charming La Minette in Queen Village. The escargot is a must-order: nine Burgundy snails in garlic herb butter, each in its own ramekin with an individual crouton. The rest of the menu is full of French ingredients and preparations, including haricots vert, mustard-braised rabbit, and foie gras terrine.

bistrot La Minette [official photo]

The Good King Tavern

Copy Link

In true French bistro style, the menu at Bella Vista corner spot Good King Tavern changes daily, with specials written on a chalkboard, including a duck of the day. Upstairs at the new Le Caveau, from the same owners, find French wines and French hot dogs.

cast iron of raclette with pile of charcuterie and greens Good King Tavern [official photo]

Forsythia

Copy Link

At his new Old City restaurant Forsythia, chef Chris Kearse creates modern French fare. Don’t skip his take on pommes anna. Forsythia also boasts a solid wine list featuring primarily French producers, with a few locally made bottles included for good measure.

Lexy Pierce

Royal Boucherie

Copy Link

Top Chef winner Nick Elmi’s lively, candlelit Old City brasserie is known for its raw bar, charcuterie, and steak au poivre (and its $2 lunchtime martinis). If the weather is warm, ask for a table on the hidden second-floor deck.

a crowded, dimly lit upscale bar with a tin ceiling Royal Boucherie [official photo]

Caribou Cafe

Copy Link

For more than 25 years, Caribou Cafe has been repping Paris on Walnut Street. The atmospheric spot has high ceilings, a long bar, antique mirrors, and large doors that open out onto the street for al fresco dining. Bistro fare is the specialty, including French onion soup, frisée salad, a croque monsieur, and crepes.

Philly’s most popular French spot is a bit Paris, a bit Disney World, by way of Stephen Starr. The interior, with its brass fixtures, glowy lights, and cloudy mirrors, was inspired by the Belle Epoque period and the menu covers all the greatest hits of bistro fare, including onion soup, escargots, steak frites, towering seafood platters, baguettes, trout amandine, and beef bourguignon. Set right on Rittenhouse Square, Parc is also known for its sidewalk tables that face the park.

Townsend

Copy Link

Chef Townsend Wentz’s eponymous restaurant has won high praise for its refined take on French techniques and dishes. The menu at Townsend, which recently relocated from East Passyunk Avenue to Center City, includes foie gras mousse, sweetbreads, and escargot in a red wine sauce. The restaurant also has an excellent wine list.

With its casual diner vibe, Gabi, from the team behind Bistrot La Minette, is a new kind of French restaurant for Philly. The all-day cafe on North Broad serves French favorites like onion soup, niçoise salad, tartare, steak frites, and duck confit. Head here during brunch service for brioche French toast or a croque madame.

June BYOB

gold-rimmed plate with seafood stew June [Facebook]

This new East Passyunk Avenue BYOB from Christina Cusack and chef Richard Cusack, who worked at Le Bec-Fin, Parc, and Le Cheri, serves a seasonal menu of photogenic French dishes. Make sure to order something served table-side with flair, like whole fish filleted in the dining room or a Scottish grouse pressed in an antique French duck press.

gold-rimmed plate with seafood stew June [Facebook]

Bibou

Kait Privitera

Chef Pierre Calmels, who honed his craft under Daniel Boulud and Georges Perrier, serves an elegant, rotating tasting menu ($125) full of classic French ingredients at his Bella Vista BYOB Bibou. Dishes include a soufflé that changes weekly and is never repeated.

Kait Privitera

Beau Monde

Every city needs a great crepe place and Beau Monde is Philly’s. At the sunny corner bistro, downstairs from bar/club L’Etage, crepes are available for lunch, brunch, and dinner with options ranging from smoked salmon, poached eggs, and artichokes to beef bourguignon with blue cheese. Or go sweet with a combo of fruit, chocolate, and gelato.

Bistrot La Minette

bistrot La Minette [official photo]

The Philly spot that feels the most like a true French bistro is chef Peter Woosley’s charming La Minette in Queen Village. The escargot is a must-order: nine Burgundy snails in garlic herb butter, each in its own ramekin with an individual crouton. The rest of the menu is full of French ingredients and preparations, including haricots vert, mustard-braised rabbit, and foie gras terrine.

bistrot La Minette [official photo]

The Good King Tavern

cast iron of raclette with pile of charcuterie and greens Good King Tavern [official photo]

In true French bistro style, the menu at Bella Vista corner spot Good King Tavern changes daily, with specials written on a chalkboard, including a duck of the day. Upstairs at the new Le Caveau, from the same owners, find French wines and French hot dogs.

cast iron of raclette with pile of charcuterie and greens Good King Tavern [official photo]

Forsythia

Lexy Pierce

At his new Old City restaurant Forsythia, chef Chris Kearse creates modern French fare. Don’t skip his take on pommes anna. Forsythia also boasts a solid wine list featuring primarily French producers, with a few locally made bottles included for good measure.

Lexy Pierce

Royal Boucherie

a crowded, dimly lit upscale bar with a tin ceiling Royal Boucherie [official photo]

Top Chef winner Nick Elmi’s lively, candlelit Old City brasserie is known for its raw bar, charcuterie, and steak au poivre (and its $2 lunchtime martinis). If the weather is warm, ask for a table on the hidden second-floor deck.

a crowded, dimly lit upscale bar with a tin ceiling Royal Boucherie [official photo]

Caribou Cafe

For more than 25 years, Caribou Cafe has been repping Paris on Walnut Street. The atmospheric spot has high ceilings, a long bar, antique mirrors, and large doors that open out onto the street for al fresco dining. Bistro fare is the specialty, including French onion soup, frisée salad, a croque monsieur, and crepes.

Parc

Philly’s most popular French spot is a bit Paris, a bit Disney World, by way of Stephen Starr. The interior, with its brass fixtures, glowy lights, and cloudy mirrors, was inspired by the Belle Epoque period and the menu covers all the greatest hits of bistro fare, including onion soup, escargots, steak frites, towering seafood platters, baguettes, trout amandine, and beef bourguignon. Set right on Rittenhouse Square, Parc is also known for its sidewalk tables that face the park.

Townsend

Chef Townsend Wentz’s eponymous restaurant has won high praise for its refined take on French techniques and dishes. The menu at Townsend, which recently relocated from East Passyunk Avenue to Center City, includes foie gras mousse, sweetbreads, and escargot in a red wine sauce. The restaurant also has an excellent wine list.

Gabi

With its casual diner vibe, Gabi, from the team behind Bistrot La Minette, is a new kind of French restaurant for Philly. The all-day cafe on North Broad serves French favorites like onion soup, niçoise salad, tartare, steak frites, and duck confit. Head here during brunch service for brioche French toast or a croque madame.

Related Maps