Where to Go For the Best French Food in Boston

By Eric Twardzik
12/06/2021

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.

Deuxave Boston

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).

Cafe Madeleine | Where to Find the Best Bakeries in Boston

Not everything that makes French food a delight comes from the kitchen of a bistro or bouchon. To explore the best of what France has to offer, a trip to a proper pâtisserie is required. Fortunately, Boston features a top-notch French bakery of its own: Cafe Madeleine. The biggest draw to this South End favorite are the flaky, buttery croissants—and the Gruyère-stuffed Ham and Cheese Croissant is almost a meal in itself. Once you’ve had it for lunch, treat yourself to a creamy Éclair or the day’s artistic fruit tart that’s almost too pretty to eat.

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. Approach it a la carte to enjoy dishes like Foie Gras Torchon, Beef Tartare with chorizo XO, or Tagliatelle with A5 wagyu sugo and Parmigiano Reggiano. 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

Troquet on South

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.

Grand Tour

Grand Tour Restaurant

This Newbury Street spot has all the trappings of a Parisian bistro: The right look, down to the blue-striped umbrellas shading the street patio; and the right mix of decadent charcuterie boards, veggie-forward small plates, and artful entrées. There’s just one thing: This is the Back Bay, not some French arrondissement. In the way that Parisian bistros draw visitors into their world through local ingredients and wine, so too does Grand Tour, the second effort of Select Oyster Bar chef-owner Michael Serpa. To pair with an all-American wine-by-the-glass list, Maine Mussels are steamed in a white-wine broth bolstered with local leeks and fennel, and caviar service is supplied by Duxbury’s Island Creek.

Updated by Jacqueline Cain

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