Best French restaurants in Austin
Beautifully tiled floors, a raw bar flush with oysters, a kitchen that serves golden roasted chicken and a selection of French wines galore—Le Politique has officially become the most stylish Parisian restaurant to hit Austin. Chef Derek Salkin's menu comes straight out of the traditional brasserie playbook, from a creamy gnocchi à la Parisienne to perfectly cooked steak frites. (When asked which sauce you would like—béarnaise, bordelaise or au poivre—say all of them.) After polishing off a few glasses of wine, treat yourself to one of pastry chef Alyssa Hulstone's impeccable desserts, like the otherworldly coffee crêpe cake. Who needs a Paris vacation when we have the real thing in our own backyard?
While the rest of Austin grows aggressively around it, Chez Nous has been quietly tucked away off of 6th street for the better part of 35 years. Step inside the intimate space and you’ll feel transported to the French countryside. The menu offers traditional French classics, from a pate of the day to veal, duck confit to seared scallops. As you’d expect, the wine menu is extensive and servers are well-versed in how to pair. Opt for the prix-fixe meal if you know what’s good for you: at $34.50 for three courses, it’s an incredible deal. Highlights include the salade Lyonnaise, the roasted black drum with saffron cream, lamb sausage with apricot and, for dessert, the creme caramel.
Find Fabi + Rosi in the most adorable house on a little side street off of Lake Austin Boulevard. While their menu is technically modern European, the menu is heavily French influenced. It’s also one of the most elegant spots to dine in Austin, with huge windows, low-slung banquettes and tea lights in hanging glass orbs. Their boards are beautiful (and $10 during happy hour), though you’ll also want to try the escargot, duck and the black pepper ice cream with peaches.
Most people know about épicerie’s brunch, but it's their Wednesday through Saturday breakfast menu that earns it a spot on our list. Trust us when we say that there is no better way to start your day than with pour-over coffee and artfully-presented breakfast in this crisp and welcoming space. The French-American cafe has a highly Instagram-able cured salmon toast with cream cheese, capers, dill and radishes served alongside cucumber salad and soft-boiled farm egg that serves as a nice departure from heavier fare.
There is nothing quite like French brasserie Justine’s. It possesses a level of chic so unattainable by most that it almost feels like performance art. Artists, musicians, movers and shakers all flock to the East Side haunt, where LA, Marfa and Austin influences have melded into a new culture of cool. The venue’s wine list is full of picks described with flowery adjectives like “sanguine,” “midnight,” and “electric.” While basking in the warm sound of actual vinyl playing in the background, order their steak tartare and moules frites, two of the crowd favorites. And make sure there are at least two crème brûlées to share.
You'd better like potatoes if you're dining at Bonhomie. The French eatery on Burnet has an entire section of pommes rosti, crispy shredded potatoes that are topped with lox or foie gras or caviar—or, simply, bacon, eggs and cheese. There are other classic dishes, too: a croque monsieur, a rotisserie chicken, steak bavette and cassoulet. For brunch, pancakes are topped with fresh pears and shaved ham—ooh la la.
Prove to your date that you have great taste (and that you are the bon vivant you claimed to be on your Tinder profile) by treating them to an evening at Péché. Located in Austin’s Warehouse District, Péché serves classic French fare with a nod to 19th-century New Orleans via a dim, chandelier-lit space and a pre-Prohibition-inspired cocktail menu with a considerable absinthe selection. Forget tiny plates: Péché’s generous portions mean everything is shareable. We personally love the pommes frites, Prince Edward Island mussels in a habanero coconut broth, and the butternut squash ravioli in an aromatic sage cream sauce.
Build your own sweet and savory crepes at this adorable food trailer on South First. Choose from a wide variety of add-ins—runny eggs, creamy goat cheese, caramelized onions, salty bacon—or go sweet with caramel butter, cinnamon and sugar. Can’t make a decision? Get one of their combos with both. Pro-tip: They also have gluten-free options.
Belly up at this gastropub on Guadalupe serving an impressive number of craft brews alongside French-inspired fare. Start with a daily selection of fromage with house pickles, go light with a salade verte and then dig right into their Pascal burger. The medium rare patty, creamy Camembert and caramelized onions are held together by a perfectly firm bun that comes with thin, herb-tossed frites and a tiny jar of aioli. Brunch here is lovely as well, with items like Jambon Beurre and a Duck Reuben with housemade duck pastrami.
Find this unassuming blue trailer off of South Lamar serving galettes and French tacos. The owner is French through and through, and creatively fuses French and Texan cuisines using only farm fresh ingredients and herbs grown around the trailer (there are plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans). Build your own galette or taco with everything from vegan cheese to smoked brisket, queso to avocado. The fact that it’s BYOB makes it that much sweeter.
The French pastries that owner Soraiya Nagree and pastry chef Lezlie Mills Gibbs create daily are mind-blowingly good. From morning buns (sugary croissant curled around layers of orange zest) to the cro-brio (a croissant and brioche hybrid, their take on the overhyped cronut) and the best chocolate croissant in Austin, La Patisserie’s talented bakers are killing it. Don’t forget to taste the ever delicious, signature macarons when visiting.
This stylish, approachable campus-area spot is both a bakery and cafe, where the air smells of freshly baked bread and the baguettes served alongside their mussels are some of the best in the city. The menu isn’t all French—there are nods to Italian and American fare—but the omelettes, steak au poivre and daily specials are on point. Find half priced wine, beer and cider on Wednesday through Sunday and half priced mussels on Sunday from 5 to 10pm.
This French bistro mini-chain does a remarkable job of emulating Parisian cafes with its sidewalk cane-back chairs, warmly lit atmosphere and surprising old world appeal—not to mention a length wine list. This won’t be a light evening; the foie gras, duck confit, and dover sole meuniere (along with a smattering of decadent desserts) aren’t to be missed. And for the aficionado, the special is half off French wine on Wednesday.
Stop in for a giant cup of coffee, a butter croissant and Belgian waffles topped with fruit and Vermont maple syrup. The atmosphere of the European bistro is cozy and encourages chatting with neighbors at one of the few communal tables. The eatery also offers light, fresh options for those of us who struggle with the typical eat-everything-while-being-healthy. Keep it simple with Greek yogurt or homemade granola with fresh berries. The best news of all? Breakfast is served all day!