The Best French Restaurants In LA
Our favorite spots for steak frites, coq au vin, and more.
We owe the French a lot. They gave us the Statue of Liberty, Léa Seydoux, and the very concept of a restaurant itself. Oh, and they also figured out that baking a layer of cheese on top of soup makes it taste delicious. Yet somehow, French restaurants can have a reputation for being sleepy and predictable.
Turns out, nothing could be further from the truth—and this guide is proof. You won’t find mothball-filled dining rooms or overcooked beef bourguignon here. These are the most exciting French restaurants in LA.
Republique needs little introduction. Whether you’ve lived in LA your whole life or are just in town for a goat yoga intensive, chances are you’ve at least heard of this French restaurant on La Brea. The massive space looks like the courtyard of a church in the Burgundy countryside, and its varied menus (they’re open for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner) have everything from croque madames to a very non-French kimchi fried rice that might be the best thing on the menu. If you’re hoping to try some of their tremendous baked goods in the morning, be prepared to wait, as lines do get long.
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If some of the things you know about French food are that it’s typically rich, and it’s sometimes expensive, then you already know a lot about Pasjoli. Both of those are true at this Santa Monica spot, but that doesn’t stop us from going when we want incredible French food prepared with traditional techniques. That includes a lot of things happening tableside, like canard à la presse: a pressed duck, prepared on a little cart wheeled to your table, then juiced in an antique contraption that looks like it could be a 15th-century torture device. It’s an interactive experience that will transform any special dinner into a home run because, ultimately, you’re going to be eating some excellent duck.
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The first thing you might notice about Mr. T in Hollywood is a server walking around the dining room setting food on fire to the beat of a Jay-Z song. You’re looking at their comte and mimolette cheese flambé, which shows up in a few signature dishes at this fusion-y French spot on Sycamore St. The flaming dairy isn’t the only attraction here, but it does tell you what you need to know: Mr. T keeps it cool by sprinkling in a little Parisian attitude into everything it does. The menu melds street food with traditional French cooking, and you can watch the action in the open kitchen from seats at the counter. Drop in with a date and snack on minty-sweet tuna crudo or invite friends to crowd around a patio table for wagyu burgers, truffle mac and cheese, and chicken "mille-feuille."
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Run by the power duo behind République, this cozy, subterranean spot in the old Sotto space in Beverlywood is a traditional French bistro in every sense of the word. Unlike their other restaurants where influence is pulled from across the globe, the focus here is straight-on French homestyle cooking; simple, heavy dishes like caramelized onion tarte tatin, crusty baguettes topped with sardines, and beef short ribs served with golden potato mousseline that are so tender, you can slice through them with a butter knife. Bicyclette is indulgence of the purest variety, and sometimes that’s all you want at the end of a long week.
With a small, old fashioned dining room and a quiet front patio, there’s nothing particularly flashy about this family-run spot in Pasadena—and that’s exactly why we like it. Perle keeps things simple, providing an unfussy, romantic atmosphere and a menu filled with well-executed bistro food. Our favorite dish is the frisée Lyonnaise salad, which comes topped with bacon lardons, poached egg, chicken liver mousse crouton, and dijon vinaigrette. It’s a savory, rich salad that’s still light enough to not fill you completely up. And that’s important, because you don’t want to miss the moules-frites with soft, garlicky mussels and properly crunchy fries, and the tangy French onion soup.
If you want to eat French food, but also party late into the night, grab a booth at Gigi’s. An evening at this sceney French place in Hollywood will be filled with oysters, burgers, and delicious steak frites, but to make the most of it, we recommend showing up a little thirsty. Lounging around on their string-lit patio or intimate dining room with plushy green booths, sipping gin martinis, snacking on tartare, and listening to a table of influencers complain about how they had to wake up at 10:30am recently is the exact kind of entertainment you need after a hellish week at the office.
After several years of public discourse and a semi-failed historic preservation bid, it appears that Taix—in its current form—will soon bite the dust. Now’s the time to pay your respects. The old school French spot has been in Echo Park since 1962, and though it isn’t known for serving the best French food in LA, spending a night inside the musty, chandelier-adorned dining room will definitely be a memorable one. Our favorite night here is Sunday, when they roll out their iconic Sunday Supper menu—split pea soup, salad, an entree, and sherbert—all for $25 per person.
Open since 2014, Petit Trois is an LA institution at this point. Located inside a strip mall at Highland and Melrose, this tiny French bistro is about the size of a small bedroom—if that bedroom also had a bar. It’s loud, cramped, and you’ll definitely have someone hovering near you while you eat. But after you try the chicken confit, burger, or the silky-smooth omelette, you’ll learn to love the organized chaos. If you’re looking for more space though, there’s also a large front patio or a massive second location in Sherman Oaks.
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photo credit: Jakob Layman
For anyone who lives within a half-mile radius of Beverly and Crescent Heights, Marvin is your Cheers. For anyone else, this is a French bistro with food good enough to drive across the city for, and an atmosphere that’ll make you wish you had something similar in your neighborhood. Things can get a little pricey here (most entrees are over $30), so we recommend coming in with the intention of aggressively snacking instead of throwing down for a three-course meal. Just make sure you’re snacking on all of their toasts.
Do you ever need to go out of your way for a $16 bowl of soup? If it’s the French onion soup at Lumiere, the answer is yes. The upscale brasserie on the ground floor of the Fairmont Century Plaza is an all-around solid French restaurant and a great spot for a client lunch—a major necessity in an area like Century City—but it’s the soup that’s worth ducking out of your noon meeting early to experience. Thick, luscious clumps of bread are marinating under a gooey, half-inch layer of aged gruyere—plus a light, salty onion-filled broth hiding underneath. A bowl is substantial enough to be a meal, but if you want to balance your lunch with something green, try the surprisingly hefty tuna nicoise.
Mignon, a little French wine bar right in the middle of Downtown, is the ideal place for an early date with someone you want to impress. It’s undoubtedly a romantic spot—it’s low-lit, everything is made of mahogany, and there’s a lot of wine being poured. But on top of an impressive list of mostly natural European wines, they’ve got killer daily Happy Hour from 6-8pm with $8 glasses of wine and $2 oysters, and giant charcuterie platters for only $25. And if you’re there alone, this is an excellent place to read while eating a butter and ham sandwich.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
You could argue that Oriel is just a wine bar with food, and you’d probably be right. Regardless, we’re still going out of our way to eat French onion soup and bavette steak at this laid-back Chinatown spot any chance we can get. In a tiny space underneath the elevated Gold Line tracks, Oriel feels closer to a high-design diner in Bushwick than a Downtown LA wine bar, and that’s ideal when you’re looking for a first date spot you haven’t been to a hundred times already.
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photo credit: Jakob Layman
Loupiotte in Los Feliz lets you know it’s a French cafe from the moment you walk in: the menu is printed on French comic strips, and the wine list has a huge number of French varietals. It’s a fine place to come at night for some seasonal risotto, or fregola sarda with vegetables, but our favorite time to eat here is the morning. The soft scrambled eggs with parmesan and tomato are great, as is the creamy parmesan polenta, which comes topped with a jammy egg and sautéed mushrooms.
Monsieur Marcel Bistro
Monsieur Marcel has been open for over 25 years and is one of the largest and well-known tenants at the Original Farmers Market at The Grove. The space contains several different concepts including a full gourmet grocery with its own cheese shop, a seafood market perfect for picking up fresh fish to cook at home, and a sit-down bistro. It’s certainly a great spot to hang out with a wine and cheese flight and dodge the manic afternoon crowds, but try and come to Monsieur Marcel for breakfast. Enjoying a cappuccino and a perfectly gooey quiche lorraine while watching the market come alive at 9am is something we never get tired of.