The Best French Restaurants in Midtown West NYC

Pre- or post-theater, brunch or dinner, upscale or casual, French food fits any occasion. Indulge in a best-of-the-best tasting menu, grab some wine and escargots before a show, or enjoy a casual weekend brunch at one of these eight exceptional French restaurants in the Theatre District and Hell’s Kitchen.

Le Privé

Le Prive


Le Privé is the neighborhood bistro you’ll never want to leave. With a refined yet unfussy atmosphere, the food stays top-quality at brunch or dinner. Savor escargots in parsley butter in garlic, and share a bottle of wine among friends, whether you’re inside under the chandeliers or in the spacious backyard. At brunch, expect updated French comfort food like beignets and Falafel Benedict. 626 10th Ave., 212-837-2795,


Iconic chef Alain Ducasse brings Paris’ Benoit across the Atlantic at this West 55th Street bistro. Sit at the wine bar for a taste of French wine country, or enjoy a leisurely dinner of foie gras terrine and king salmon with vegetables and Béarnaise. Don’t miss out on the house’s incredible dessert menu, with Gallic treats like Tarte Tatin and Baba L’Armagnac. There’s also an affordable Chef’s Tasting Menu on hand, suited for pre-theater diners and foodies alike. 60 W. 55th St., 646-943-7373,

Le Bernardin

Eric Ripert


Widely considered one of the top restaurants in the city, Le Bernardin needs no introduction. Still, we’ll say Eric Ripert and Maguy Le Coze’s three-Michelin-star-winning effort on West 51st has earned its icon status through many years of elegant, boundary-pushing, and consistently delicious food—particularly seafood. Make reservations far in advance for one of these precious tables, and be prepared for an expensive tab, but know you’ll be treated to a world-class experience from the moment you walk in the door. 155 W. 51st St., 212-554-1515,

Per Se

Per Se


Thomas Keller’s Per Se has also attained a coveted three Michelin stars from its perch over Columbus Circle. Indulge in top-flight tasting menus of nine courses in the main dining room (with a plant-based menu available), or take a five-course meal in the Per Se Salon. These unique daily creations never repeat ingredients across courses and feature dishes like oysters with pearl tapioca and caviar and 100-day-aged ribeye with glazed sunchokes. 10 Columbus Cir., 4th Fl., 212-823-9335,

Gabriel Kreuther

Located across the street from Bryant Park, Gabriel Kreuther marries the chef’s Alsatian background with New York refinement. Like the other fine-dining spots on this list, this elite French restaurant is divided into a formal dining room and a more relaxed bar/lounge. Either way, you’ll get two-Michelin-starred cuisine, whether from an exquisitely crafted tasting menu presented on unique serving pieces, the a la carte bar menu featuring several tarte flambées, or a new Pre-Theater menu. 41 W. 42nd St., 212-257-5826,

Chez Josephine

Josephine Baker is the patron saint of this jazzy 42nd Street spot. Tuck in to pan-seared scallops with Champagne sauce with a creme brulee finish while live music accompanies your meal. Pre-theater diners can also have a prix fixe menu of three courses such as prosciutto-wrapped figs, mussels marinières with pommes frites, and pears poached in red wine before their big show. 414 W. 42nd St., 212-594-1925,

Chez Napoleon

Pay homage to the diminutive French general at Chez Napoleon, which came to Hell’s Kitchen in 1960. Try classic French dishes like vichyssoise, soupe a l’oignon, boeuf bourguignon, and coq au vin at this quirky and authentic spot. And if you’re planning on souffle for dessert, make sure you order it with your dinner—it takes an hour to cook! 365 W. 50th St., 212-265-6980,

DB Bistro Moderne 

DB Bistro Moderne


Among the top players in New York’s French dining scene is, undisputedly, Daniel Boulud. Try the chef’s take on a French bistro at this bustling location near Times Square and the Broadway theatres. The restaurant site boasts in starting the gourmet burger trend with its foie-gras-containing patties, which you can enjoy with pommes frites and a signature whiskey drink like the Rendezvous Sour with rye and chartreuse. The lunch pre fixe menu is also worth a mention, offering two courses for just $39. 55 W. 44th St., 212-391-2400,

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About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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