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Guide - Restaurants - French


615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661 312-377-2002

Description: WEST LOOP. Clean lines, a 48-foot stainless steel bar, and an abundance of blond-wood communal tables make Avec an open, inviting space. Choose from over 120 varieties of wine, all served carafina-style ­ the price of a glass fetches approximately one-third of a bottle. A tantalizing selection of small plates can be ordered for sharing, including pan-seared prawns with garlic, leeks, and red chilies. Large plates are rich with flavor and texture and include wood-fired pizza with sardines and arugula or housemade tagliatelle with asparagus, artichokes, and fresh ricotta. Reservations are not accepted, so come early to avoid the inevitable crowd.
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840 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 312-944-8400

Description: GOLD COAST. Serving affordable French cuisine with local and regionally sourced ingredients in a traditional French bistro setting, Bistronomic is the brainchild of acclaimed chef Martial Noguier. Enjoy such classic dishes as steak frites, Ahi tuna tartare, glazed short ribs, and chicken liver mousse. On weekends Bistronomic serves a popular brunch featuring dishes such as homemade country pate, brioche French toast, eggs Benedict, and quiche Lorraine.
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Bistrot Margot

1437 N Wells Ave, Chicago, IL 60610 312-587-3660

Description: OLD TOWN. Bistrot Margot is a charming French bistro with decor that resembles a turn of the century Parisian hotel, replete with gilded mirrors, starched linens, and velvet upholstry. The menu is classic and superbly executed with notable entree items such as pan-roasted N.Y. strip, creamy linguini tossed with jumbo shrimp, clams, and spinach, and basil-roasted chicken served with pommes frites. Large wine list, some available by the glass. Live jazz entertains weekend diners.
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Bistrot Zinc

1131 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610 312-337-1131

Description: GOLD COAST. A neighborhood French cafe, Bistrot Zinc is hard to miss with its bright red exterior. Inside, you'll find all the classic bistro elements, including tile floors, tin ceilings, and, naturally, a zinc bar and tables. Chef Tim Kirker, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, serves a varied menu, including such items as butternut squash risotto with fried sage, grilled salmon with spinach-fennel sauté, and coq au vin with buttered egg noodles.
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Café des Architectes

20 E Chestnut St, Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, Chicago, IL 60611 312-324-4063

Description: MAGNIFICENT MILE. Enjoy contemporary French cuisine rooted in fresh and local ingredients at Cafe des Architectes. Executive Chef Greg Biggers utilizes sustainable and organic products whenever possible to create a menu that changes seasonally. Executive Pastry Chef Meg Galus shares this vision, carefully selecting the best ingredients for her elegant and refined desserts. This stylish restaurant offers dramatic interiors by Pierre-Yves Rochon, featuring vibrant colors, sprawling banquettes and dynamic lighting fixtures. This bright and sophisticated room serves as the perfect backdrop for the inventive cuisine, top-notch service and the savoir faire that makes Café des Architectes a top dining destination in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. Chicago magazine, 3 stars, 2011, Crain's Chicago Business, "Best Restaurants for Business, 2010"
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Chez Joël

1119 W Taylor St, Chicago, IL 60607 312-226-6479

Description: LITTLE ITALY. Chez Joel offers diners a comfortable interior dining room as well as a lovely garden area for dining during warm weather. The restaurant's decor features warm yellow walls and colorful artwork. The menu offers daily specials as well as traditional French fare that excels in quality, taste, and presentation. Try the bouillabaisse, the duck confit, one of the many salads, or the traditional steak frites.
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Chez Moi

2100 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614 773-871-2100

Description: LINCOLN PARK. Stepping into this easygoing bistro is like visiting a friend's comfortable home in the French countryside. The ambiance is casual, and a laid-back, welcoming nature prevails. Well-prepared food includes soups, salads, poultry, beef, and vegetables. Try succulent roast duck, coq au vin, or steak au poivre for a sampling of the chef's skills.
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Cyrano's Farm Kitchen

546 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610 312-467-0546

Description: RIVER NORTH. This restaurant and wine bar is owned and operated by a husband and wife duo, chef Didier Durand and wine authority Jamie Pellar. The bistro is welcoming and comfortable and features live music on weekend nights. The menu is traditional French cuisine with a few innovations for luck. The lunch menu offers speedy service and a fixed price three course meal. House specialties include the rotisserie chicken and several select regional French wines.
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440 S LaSalle St, Chicago Stock Exchange, 40th fl, Chicago, IL 60605 312-663-8920

Description: THE LOOP. Aptly named, this superior French Country restaurant sits 40 stories above Chicago. Reputed chef Jean Joho brings a taste of Alsace to the cuisine, providing it a simple sensuality. A representative entree sandwiches a disc of wild hare between fried potato and a soft quail egg. Other options include roasted chestnut soup, wild mushroom consommé, potato-crusted halibut, and venison filet. The wine list holds its own next to the menu's world-class selections. EL: Brown Line to LaSalle/Van Buren
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Kiki's Bistro

900 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60610 312-335-5454

Description: RIVER NORTH. Imagine French countryside combined with state of the art culinary skills. The menu and wine list are contemporary versions of wonderful French classics, including grilled rabbit sausage flavored with garlic and rosemary, escargots, and the soft, buttery, and award-winning brûlées and lemon tarts.
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La Sardine

111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607 312-421-2800

Description: WEST LOOP. The sister restaurant to the more formal Le Bouchon, La Sardine is a warmer version of classic French cuisine. Dark wood and brass replace crystal and soft color while the open, bustling kitchen beckons with culinary treasures. Choose from rotisserie meats and game, grilled steak with pommes frites, or leek with bacon tart. Surprisingly affordable.
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Le Colonial

937 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611 312-255-0088

Description: GOLD COAST. This restaurant combines French and Vietnamese cuisines to glorious effect. Evoking images of French-occupied Saigon, the interior is full of stylish bamboo accents, photographs, banana trees, and rattan furnishings. An upscale crowd turns out for dishes such as seared whole red snapper with chile peppers and garlic, chicken breast in coconut curry, or grilled purée of shrimp with angel hair. You can't go wrong with anything on the lengthy, well-rounded menu, and the wine list offers plenty of French classics. EL: Red line to Chicago/State
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Le Petit Paris

260 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60611 312-787-8260

Description: STREETERVILLE. A bit off the beaten path, Le Petit Paris, located in Dewitt Place Apartment complex in Streeterville, is well worth seeking out for fans of French cuisine. A classic bistro atmosphere complete with white linen tablecloths, Le Petit Paris offers up favorite dishes such as steak tartare with pommes frites, beef bourguignon, and duck with orange and Grand Marnier sauce. For dessert, try the homemade bread pudding with caramel topping, or a glass of port. Bon appetit!
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Les Nomades

222 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611 312-649-9010

Description: STREETERVILLE. Les Nomades is quintessentially formal and quintessentially French. Quiet, murmuring table conversation, peppered with "mmms" and "aahs," adds to the refined atmosphere. The downstairs dining area is white, crisp and professional, whereas the cozier upstairs venue features wood paneling and a comforting fireplace. Signature dishes include almond-crusted foie gras and roasted monkfish. Civilized dining at its best.
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Mon Ami Gabi

2300 N Lincoln Park W, Belden-Stratford Hotel, Chicago, IL 60614 773-348-8886

Description: LINCOLN PARK. Translated literally as "My Friend Gabi," this bistro à la Paris is a delightful find for wonderfully prepared French cuisine. Enjoy scallops dusted with Parmesan and escargot to swoon for! Mon Ami Gabi also gives a new infusion to what French onion soup should be. Of particular interest is the wine cart, which is wheeled by an expert waitperson, and offers tastes and wines by the glass with an explanation of the virtues of which best goes with what.
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800 N Michigan Ave, Park Hyatt Chicago, 7th floor, Chicago, IL 60610 312-239-4030

Description: MAGNIFICENT MILE. This restaurant offers an impressive view of the city as well as an upscale, elegant environment. Start off with peeky toe crab salad or a scallop tart. Next, order monkfish brochette, wild striped bass, or even the always-enticing veal strip loin. A full bar offers a vast array of wines and liquors. For added glamour, experience the romance of outdoor terrace dining by candlelight when the weather's pleasant.
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Paris Club

59 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-595-0800

Description: RIVER NORTH. Collaboration between restaurateurs RJ & Jerrod Melman and acclaimed chef Joho resulted in the Paris Club. There is an emphasis on small plates to be shared in this casual setting without a white tablecloth in sight. French favorites and tapas-style offerings happily share the same menu. A nice selection of craft beers complement the wine list which is neatly divided between French and US reds and whites.
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Pump Room

1301 N State Pkwy, PUBLIC Chicago Hotel, Chicago, IL 60610 312-229-6740

Description: GOLD COAST. The Pump Room is one of this city's legendary restaurants. Dine on fine Limoges china under the sparkle of crystal chandeliers and enjoy the contemporary American cuisine turned out by the Pump Room's award-winning chef.
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361 W Chestnut St, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Chicago, IL 60610 312-873-2032

Description: RIVER NORTH. Technique is the hands-on classroom/restaurant of students at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts of Chicago. As such, it offers great value since guests allow themselves to be a test audience for students-in-learning. No worries, though ­ meals are uniformly well-received by diners. So, give yourself over to the experience and find out just how well students take to their educations with dishes like sautéed striped bass, roasted red potatoes, Thai pork, an asparagus stir-fry, and chilled pear ginger soup. The menu also features a prix fixe lunch that includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert.
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676 St. Clair St, Chicago, IL 60611 312-202-0001

Description: STREETERVILLE. An evening at Tru presents posh dining in elegant, simple surroundings. The bar serves over a dozen varieties of champagne by the glass, perfect for priming the palate. Expect to spend at least two hours at a dinner that constantly elevates your tastes. Multi-course tasting menus may include salmon mousse with chilled tomato soup, tender veal with artichokes in a lush Napoleon, and lobster prepared three ways: lobster bisque, lobster mushrooms, and lobster salad. A sommelier is on hand to assist with wine selections, and service is unparalleled.
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