French food is full of butter, wine, cheese, and French onion soup, which means it’s pretty much the dream. French restaurants also cover all the bases, from a cute first date, to a drawn out meal with close friends, or a fancy night on the town for a special occasion. What we’re saying here is we really like French food, if you can’t tell, and we happen to know a few good spots to get it around the city.In no particular order, these are the best French restaurants in Chicago.
Because of its location in the lobby of an apartment building, Mon Ami Gabi gives you a comfortable neighborhood feel while maintaining an upscale French ambiance. It’s the kind of place you could easily see Ernest Hemingway pounding whisky at the bar, which makes you feel like you can do the same. You can also get drunk off their French onion soup.
If you’re going for the whole romantic French bistro thing, Chez Joel is the move. A small, candlelit dining room full of cliche vintage posters in the pleasant neighborhood of Little Italy. The atmosphere sets the scene for top-notch steak dishes and creative presentation. It’s a south-side secret gem for those living north of Chicago Ave.
A quaint French restaurant that is the epitome of what we want a quaint French restaurant to be. It’s small, cozy (OK, maybe a little cramped), classically decorated, and has just a big enough bar to drink and dine at if you so choose. Le Bouchon is basically the Paris of the Midwest.
If Le Bouchon is the low-key, casual French brasserie, then La Sardine is its more sophisticated grown-up sibling. We mean that literally too since both restaurants are owned by the same people. La Sardine is the nicer of the two, and it’s in a bigger space in the West Loop. It’s perfect for any Date Night or Dinner With The Parents.
Tru is known for their extensive caviar menu, and that’s kind of Tru in a nutshell. Jackets are required for guys, and “evening attire” is requested for the ladies, whatever that means. The prix fixe menu starts at $158, but that’s without wine or caviar. It’s a luxurious kind of place, but one that makes for a tasty experience if you like discussing the new Picasso you bought.
If you’re looking to make an impression on the opposite sex near Lincoln Square, look no further than Bistro Campagne. Make a serious night out of things with a serious French meal. Their lovely patio is the way to go if you can swing it, but the inside is just as cozy.
French food invokes thoughts of sophistication and class, kind of like NASCAR, but the opposite. Nowhere is that stereotype more true than at The Blanchard, the newer French restaurant adjacent to the actual Lincoln Park.
Oh you fancy, huh? Well you better be if you’re going to hit Les Nomades for dinner. But we recommend at some point you do. The restaurant is housed in a beautiful Brownstone just steps off of Michigan Avenue in Streeterville, and that high-class vibe is very present throughout a meal. It’s a prix fixe only menu that starts at $125, so you know they mean business.
Maude’s is more so a modern take on a French bistro than it is traditional French. No complaints though, because just like everything the Hogsalt Hospitality group does (Au Cheval, High Five Ramen, etc.), Maude’s has a certain edginess that makes it cool. There are plenty of standard French options and preparations, but you can also go for the appropriately titled “Almost French” dishes like French onion fondue dip.
Did you know there’s a fancy French restaurant on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange? We sh*t you not. Kind of a fitting spot for it actually, because whether the market is up or down somebody is making money off it it, and we all might as well spend our money on food. Hit up Everest for a special occasion, or if your bonus happens to be bigger than you expect.
Important information: there is really good food in Hyde Park worthy of destination dining. A10 is named after a road that runs through Italy and France, and the food is a mix of both French and Italian, which is the dream. It’ll help you ignore the fact there’s a professor in a tweed jacket dining with his econ grad students next to you.