Your insider’s guide to French food in NYC

New York - Jennifer Bourne - My French Life™new York is full of restaurants, delis and grocery stores. But the food you so easily find at your local supermarket or butcher in France can be a rare treasure in such a multicultural city.

Not to worry, we’ve got the insider info on the best French food and restaurants in the city.

The food is what I miss the most from France, after my family and friends. Food is an essential part of French culture and goes well beyond the actual meal. It’s a way to share quality time with friends and family. A dinner at a restaurant that lasts less than two hours would shock many French purists, as well as a grocery store that doesn’t sell fresh baguettes and affordable blue cheese.

Fresh French produce

Finding French food in New York can be hard as it is not sold at every corner. You might have to go out of your neighborhood and pay the price. A few grocery stores sell French food in different neighborhoods.

Are you craving French cookies, fruit syrup, mustard and pickles? Head to the Upper East Side to visit Marche du Sud, a small store that also have a bakery counter, a bar and an outside patio.

New York - Jennifer Bourne - Photo by You as a Machine - My French Life™

Want to prepare a good couscous and other Mediterranean meals? Sahadi’s in Brooklyn is where you want to shop.

Dean and Deluca (several locations) and Murray’s cheese shop (Greenwich Village and Grand Central) are always good spots for a wide variety of cheese. For fresh bread and croissants, try Ceci-Cela or Balthazar Bakery in the Village.

As of French wines, most liquor stores carry a decent selection. Don’t forget also to check your around-the-corner deli as they might sell your favorite French cookies or Nutella!

Dining out… French style

I will avoid the obvious, over-the-top and fancy choices that make people think that French food is only served in the smallest portions. My favorite restaurants are the kind of places where you feel like your grandma is cooking, or that you just entered a typical Parisian bistro.

Go to Pastis for their onion soup and kir rosé, to French Roast (open daily 24 hours!) for their selection of cheese and delicious puree, or to L’Express for their charcuterie plate and traditional steak au poivre.

New York - Jennifer Bourne - Photo by NWong  - My French Life™

Grainne Café is my place of choice for a lunch or brunch next to the High Line with delicious croque-monsieur and other crêpes.

To test more good spots, don’t miss French Restaurant Week, usually held in the summer.

What are your favorite places in New York to shop for French delicacies and dine out? Do you cook a lot of French meals when you stay home? Join the conversation in the comments box below or on twitter: @MaVieFrancaise & @NYC_Jen.

Image credits
1. French Roast at dusk, by See-ming Lee via Flickr.
2. French pastries, by You as a Machine via Flickr.
3. Roasted Bone Marrow, by N Wong via Flickr.

About the Contributor

Jennifer Bourne

Born and raised in France, I became a New Yorker at heart when I moved to the US. Social media and online research are my specialties. Movies and TV series are my conversation starters. While I try to make the best out of my New York life, I stay in constant research of all things French. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.

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  1. Esme Wakefield Sep 30, 2013 at 8:43 AM - Reply

    This is my favourite kind of post on MyFrenchLife®. Food!
    Whenever I go to a big (enough) English city I always look out for French food shops. Unfortunately, there aren’t many outside London in the UK. A shame when we are so close to l’Hexagone.

  2. Alex Mottershead Oct 1, 2013 at 6:39 AM - Reply

    Agreed Esme – I love these kinds of posts!

    Jennifer – you’re lucky that you have come across so many authentic French places! In my hometown of Manchester I think the French restaurants have lost some of their …je ne sais quoi, and adhere to the stereotype of what English tourists think French food is – this, sadly, isn’t always a good thing.

  3. Jennifer Bourne Oct 2, 2013 at 12:44 AM - Reply

    Alex, you can also find French places in NY that are too over the top and don’t reflect the true french food or French restaurants atmosphere so i tried not to list those! But yes we still have good French places here!

    • Amandine Sevestre Oct 4, 2013 at 11:40 PM - Reply

      Love the Grainne Café ! Good and honest French food with a reasonable price. Unfortunately, French food often equals expensive bills… Any recommendations about Wine bars ?

  4. Guillaume M Jul 18, 2014 at 4:33 AM - Reply

    Match 65 (on Madison and… 65) and Benoit (midtown) are very good ! I’m suprised you didn’t mention Lucien (in the east village, on first and first). It is like the most famous French restaurant for “cool” people (over 45) here in NYC. And what about L’Odeon ?
    Regarding croissants and stuff, there is also Kayser now in the Upper East Side (3rd Av/73rd st), and Citarella is pretty good for “french/european” products. I know it is italian, but Di Palo (right at the corner of mott and grand st) sells amazing saucisson !

    PS: I never found the real french bistrot, yet, here. but we are not in France, aren’t we ?

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