Where to Go For the Best French Food in Boston

By Eric Twardzik
01/27/2023
Deuxave / Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Late Cambridge resident Julia Child would be proud: Boston’s French culinary scene is booming. Maybe it has something to do with The French Chef’s lasting legacy—or the abundance of local chefs in Boston with haute culinary chops. Whether you’re planning your next tasting-menu splurge or a morning croissant run, you’ll be well served by the options below.

Credit: Chris McIntosh

Located on historic Beacon Hill and across from beautiful Boston Common, fine-dining doyenne Barbara Lynch’s flagship restaurant No. 9 Park is refined, regionally inspired French cuisine with Italian influence. From a la carte offerings to a six-course chef’s tasting menu, there are a variety of ways to enjoy this fine-dining destination. When we’re not feeling a full-on splurge, we love to drop in on the bustling cocktail bar for a Palmyra—a refreshingly easy-to-love cocktail made with vodka, lime juice, and mint—and a few dishes like signature Prune Stuffed Gnocchi with foie gras, or prime Steak Tartare. This is also an ideal spot for that fancy business lunch and romantic dinner.

Café Sauvage

Credit: Chris McIntosh

A 2021-newcomer to the Back Bay, Cafe Sauvage is a Parisian-style bistro inspired by the multicultural capital city you’ll find in France today. Owned by a married couple who lived in the 12th arrondissement before emigrating to the states and working at French restaurants in Boston, Cafe Sauvage knows its way around the likes of Roasted Chicken and Steak Frites. But the menu also delves into diverse influences, such as the couscous-and-chickpea Tajine with tomato, almond, and apricot confit. Cafe Sauvage gets creative with a cordials license behind the stylish bar, with drinks such as Chateau Rouge, a prosecco-topped sparkler of citrus vodka and bissap juice; and the Sauvage Espresso ‘Tini with spiced rum. By day, it’s a cafe with croissants and other pastries, sandwiches such as Banh Mi, and a full brunch menu every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Commonwealth Avenue, with its grand homes and tree-lined, European-style mall, befits an upscale French restaurant with strong special-occasion vibes and a manuscript-sized wine list—and Deuxave delivers on all counts. The Back Bay bistro boasts never-had-it-better iterations of classics like the 9 Hour French Onion Soup with Comté cheese and a bone marrow crouton, and Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras paired with a red currant purée to cut through the buttery richness. Chef Chris Coombs isn’t afraid to color outside the lines, either. His house-made Tagliatelle “Bolognaise” with veal, pancetta, beef, and a thick dollop of mozzarella shouldn’t be missed (even if it’s not technically French).

Coquette

Coquette, a Seaport hotel bar, is a dreamy, contemporary adaptation of 18th century Paris that any Francophile will adore. In a stone and soft-hued space with a four-sided bar designed by Boston restaurant group COJE (creators of such seductive spots as Yvonne’s and Mariel), enjoy the finer things like a tall tour de fruits de mer of oysters, shrimp, and more matched with a bubbly blanc de blancs, or a round of Basque Gin & Tonic (sherry, grapefruit, rosemary) to add to a frites-accompanied feast of Prime Porterhouse or Tuna au Poivre. Rousing cocktails like the cognac-based Espresso Martini make liberal use of French spirits, while brasserie dishes such as Duck Chichons, a pâté of whipped duck confit with piquillo pepper jelly and toasted baguette, commingle Spanish and southern French cuisines. 

Ma Maison

Ma Maison | Credit: Chris McIntosh

This old-school French bistro is on a cozy corner in Beacon Hill, but it might as well be Paris in 1950. Stroll over to Ma Maison for an intimate atmosphere and dishes by acclaimed French chef Jacky Robert that have stood the test of time. Think luscious Country Pȃté, buttery Escargots imported from Burgundy, fortifying French Onion Soup, and crave-worthy versions of classic dishes like Coq au Vin and Duck Magret a l’Orange. In other words: This is the spot to go to satisfy your craving for Frogs Legs Provencales. With white tablecloths and a robust wine list, this small spot is romantic, but Ma Maison is also fit for a casual dinner, lunch, or weekend brunch. The time-honored traditions continue to impress as Ma Maison collects the accolades.

Menton

Menton Boston

Fort Point fine dining destination Menton isn’t strictly French: Its namesake, a French town by the Italian border, reflects the hybrid culinary inspiration. But restaurateur Barbara Lynch has perfected the Franco-Italian mashup with dishes like Fennel Maltagliati with a dry-aged duck ragù and golden raisins, and Monkfish Cassoulet with parsnip. There’s a nightly, four-course prix-fixe menu or splurge on a seven- to eight-course Chef’s Whim tasting menu for a culinary experience without comparison. The wine pairing is optional but hard to pass up, as the diverse wine program—which juxtaposes French, Italian, and Austrian labels with American newcomers—is one of the city’s finest.

Troquet on South

Credit: Chris McIntosh

Begin dinner at Troquet on South the way you would in France, with fresh-baked rolls and luscious, local butter by way of the Bread & Butter Basket. Bubbly and oysters are also a superb first move at this bistro, which is located near South Station in downtown Boston’s Leather District. While you enjoy your opening course, peruse the hefty book of wines; owner-sommelier Chris Campbell has curated a deep cellar which has earned national recognition. For dinner? Petite Steak Frites with roasted garlic butter and vincotto, or brown-buttery Pan-Seared Scallops may rightfully entice, but don’t let the required 45-minute prep time deter you from ordering the Hudson Valley Duck Breast—the signature dish is très bien.

Updated by Jacqueline Cain. Emily Millian contributed reporting.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Sign up for our weekly newsletters for curated guides, can't-miss dishes, restaurant recommendations, and more.

Enter Email