France is home to some of the world’s most revered wine regions, and it’s the birthplace of countless foundational cooking techniques. So it’s no surprise that many American restaurateurs look to this country for inspiration when crafting ambitious concepts. These 12 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning brasseries, bistros and fine-dining rooms have successfully transported classic French dining experiences, with top wines and authentic dishes. The destinations in this guide are just a small sampling of the more than 350 Restaurant Award winners serving French cuisine across the country.
To check out more wine-and-food destinations around the world, see Wine Spectator’s nearly 3,800 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 100 Grand Award recipients worldwide that hold our highest honor.
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Wine list selections 3,600
Wine strengths With a cellar display in the middle of the dining room, Addison makes wine the literal and figurative center of the guest experience. Managed by wine director Rafael Sanchez, the selections excel in a number of regions; Burgundy is the biggest strength, followed by California, the Rhône, Bordeaux, Italy, Champagne and Germany.
Cuisine The wine list is designed to complement chef William Bradley’s tasting menus of four courses for $110 or 10 courses for $250, and wine pairings are available. Options for the four-course menu change seasonally, but dishes such as asparagus with smoked egg mousse and bouillabaisse are listed for spring. Chef Bradley takes full control for the 10-course menu, which changes more frequently and lends an element of surprise.
Assortment of sizes At Addison, you’ll find wine options for any occasion, whether you want a small taste of something special or you’re looking to go big with a magnum. The robust by-the-glass section of about 70 labels covers many of the world’s top wine regions, followed by seven pages of half-bottles. On the other end of the spectrum, there are nearly 100 large-format labels.
Coastal escape A hallmark of the encompassing Fairmont Grand Mar is its 18-hole Grand Golf Club, but even if you’re not a fan of the sport, there’s plenty to fall in love with here. The resort is set on a 400-acre property just 5 miles from the ocean, and the Mediterranean-meets-Southern-California vibe provides a tranquil backdrop for superior wine service.
Wine list selections 3,940
Built with love Husband-and-wife owners Lysielle and Jacques Cariot share a passion for wine that’s guided the program since they opened Bleu Provence in 1999. It’s now a magnet for wine lovers with one of the best cellar collections in the city.
Wine strengths Jacques serves as wine director for the program, which shows great breadth and depth in France. Selections are strong across a range of regions, from Burgundy, Bordeaux and the Rhône to Champagne, Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon and Corsica. California is another top strength, and Italy is also well-represented.
Cuisine Lysielle helms the kitchen, crafting a Provençal-inspired menu of specialties like sautéed frog legs with garlic and parsley jus, moules-frites and duck-leg confit.
A bottle for any budget Pricing on the wine list is moderate overall, and a deeper dive reveals a broad range of options. There’s an abundance of bottles under $100 and nearly 40 wines by the glass, but you’ll also find trophy labels from producers such as Sine Qua Non and Jean-Louis Chave.
Wine list selections 2,000
Manhattan landmark Daniel opened in 1993 and earned its first Grand Award in 2002. Since then, namesake chef Daniel Boulud has built an international culinary empire that features five Best of Award of Excellence winners.
Wine strengths Overseen by wine director Daniel Johnnes, the list is an exceptional showcase of France’s premier regions. Designated sections for certain benchmark producers are filled with lengthy verticals; for example, two dozen vintages of Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Margaux going back to the 1950s.
Personal ties The abundance of wines from Burgundy and the Rhône are meant to honor Boulud’s birthplace of Saint-Pierre-de-Chandieu, a commune in the city of Lyon that’s located near those regions.
Cuisine This historic restaurant is the ideal setting for experiencing chef Boulud’s celebrated French fare. The prix-fixe menu of four courses costs $158, with wine pairings for an additional $82, or premier wine pairings for an additional $142. There’s also a seven-course tasting menu for $250 (with wine pairings starting at an extra $135), featuring signature items like Dover sole and broiled squab breast.
JOËL ROBUCHON RESTAURANT
A restaurant as grand as its namesake chef
MGM Grand Hotel, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, Nev.
Open for dinner, daily
Wine list selections 1,890
Wine strengths The focus of the restaurant’s coveted wine collection is Burgundy and classified-growth Bordeaux, but it also excels in California, Champagne and the Rhône. Managed by wine director Michael Rone, the list is filled with collectibles from Château Lafite Rothschild, François Raveneau and more.
Cuisine Chef Christophe De Lellis executes the sophisticated, thoroughly French dishes that comprise the available tasting menus, which vary in size and price, from three courses for $127 to nine courses for $445, with optional wine pairings.
Upholding a legacy Superstar chef Joël Robuchon died in August 2018, but his prized French cuisine lives on in his numerous international restaurants. The New York and Montreal locations of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon hold the Best of Award of Excellence, while the Hong Kong outpost holds a Grand Award for its list of 3,450 labels.
Over-the-top opulence The town house–inspired interior is adorned with rich jewel tones, marble floors and chandeliers dripping with intricate crystals. It’s a fitting atmosphere for the caliber of the dining experience and the restaurant’s location inside the famed Las Vegas hotel.
Wine list selections 2,500
Wine strengths The heavily French wine list boasts outstanding picks in Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône and Champagne, plus California and Italy. A big priority for wine director Aviram Turgeman is presenting aged wines that are ready to drink; the list has over 470 reds from the 2000 vintage or older, including Bordeaux going back to the 1920s.
Affordable offerings Older labels can reach into the thousands, but there’s no shortage of values to discover in this moderately priced wine program. Nearly every section of the list has labels in the $40 to $50 range, there are hundreds of bottles under $100, and more than 50 half-bottles are listed.
Cuisine The fare is inspired by chef Andy D’Amico and owner Simon Oren’s travels together in Nice, France. Some dishes draw influence from other Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece, but French flavors and techniques are the heart of the menu. Savor starters like escargot with tomato fondue, entrées like roasted chicken with haricots verts and grilled tuna niçoise, and specials that change daily.
Sit back and relax A hallmark of Nice Matin is its comfortable, family-friendly vibe meant for everyone, from international tourists to regulars who live down the street. It’s an approachable spot for entry-level wine discoveries that will still please the most discerning connoisseurs.
Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 500
Renowned leader For decades, chef Thomas Keller has been a major force in the United States’ French dining scene. His pioneering Napa Valley restaurant, the French Laundry, holds the Grand Award, as does his Per Se in New York. Bouchon represents one of Keller’s more purely French concepts.
Cuisine Executed by chef David Hodson, the menu is a combination of seasonal items based on local offerings and signature dishes that change with the seasons, like trout amandine and roasted leg of lamb. There are numerous options to supplement the meal, such as caviar, various cheeses and authentic sides like pommes frites and mushrooms glazed with veal jus.
Wine strengths The wine list, managed by Samantha Steinwand, is pretty evenly split between California and France, but Burgundy stands out among the carefully curated selections. Choose from more than 80 of the region’s labels, or peruse other well-represented places like Bordeaux and the Rhône.
Intentional design Just down the road from the French Laundry, Bouchon’s dining room deftly reflects the wine and food. Details that contribute to the French vibe include a traditional zinc bar, antique light fixtures and a mural by French artist Paulin Paris.
Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 950
Lasting wow factor The collaborative project between chef Daniel Rose and restaurateur Stephen Starr received an abundance of buzz when it opened in 2016, and the restaurant continues to be one of Manhattan’s top hot spots worth the splurge—if you can snag a reservation. Starr’s restaurant group owns 13 other Restaurant Award winners, including another destination in this guide, Le Diplomate.
Cuisine Rose’s dishes are diverse but share a common thread of decadence. The chef applies modern touches to traditional concepts, serving confit egg yolk with peas and ham, and fermented daikon with halibut and beurre blanc.
Wine strengths While the cuisine tends to get most of the attention, the wines are just as exceptional. France dominates wine director Charles Puglia’s list, which excels in Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhône, Champagne, Loire and Jura.
Passion project Rose was born in Chicago but spent more than a decade cooking in France. Before Le Coucou, he had never worked as a professional chef in the United States. The restaurant represents Rose’s homecoming, and with him comes the authentic influence of his time overseas. Starr has since teamed up with Rose's wife and fellow chef, Marie-Aude, for another dining venture, a café called La Mercerie.
Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 350
Authentic aesthetic Le Diplomate looks like it was plucked straight from a Parisian street corner and dropped in central Washington, D.C. Details like the awning-lined patio and tiled floors create the feeling of dining in a true French café, with food and beverage programs to match.
Wine strengths The wine list offers a well-rounded collection of French wines from the Loire, the Rhône, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Beaujolais and more. For guests seeking something different, there’s a solid number of international labels, both Old World and New.
Cuisine Chef Greg Lloyd’s menu is an inclusive mix of classics, opening with seafood starters, various cheeses and hors d’oeuvres like escargots and mushroom tart with truffle pecorino. Staples like duck à l’orange and beef Bourguignon fill the entrée section, in addition to daily specials.
Starr power Le Diplomate is part of Starr Restaurants, Stephen Starr’s Philadelphia-based group that owns a total of 14 Restaurant Award winners, including Le Coucou.
Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 1,300
Cuisine While the savory side of the dual concept, Bar Vivant, focuses on savory tapas plates, Pix Pâtisserie is all about French desserts. From tarte au citron and opera cake to macarons and the always impressive croquembouche, chef <a href="https://www.winespectator.com/articles/56054/Somm-Selects-Restaurant-Talk-5-Sparkling-Wines-Desserts-Pix-Patisserie">Cheryl Wakerhauser</a>’s traditional treats make for memorable pairings with the wine.
Wine strengths Wakerhauser serves as wine director as well. Her wine program has plenty of Sherry and Spanish wines to complement the tapas, but France is the star here. The list’s strongest section is Champagne, where you’ll find 30 pages of offerings that champion small houses like Vilmart and Gaston Chiquet.
High-low experience This neighborhood spot gives guests the rare opportunity to enjoy a world-class Champagne collection in a laid-back space. Settle into one of the patio seats for a glass of bubbly and a quick bite, or come with a group and take advantage of more than five-dozen large-format labels.
When in Portland For those who want to drink local, Pix Pâtisserie & Bar Vivant features a solid array of Oregon wines from producers like Eyrie and Soter.
A prominent wine authority in the Pacific Northwest
1433 Fourth Ave., Seattle, Wash.
Open for dinner, Monday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 2,450
Carrying the torch Chef Michael Mina and sommelier Rajat Parr’s original outpost of RN74, located in San Francisco, held a Grand Award until it closed in October 2017. RN74 Seattle opened in 2011 and has upheld the founding mission to serve world-class wines in a comfortable environment. Mina owns eight other Best of Award of Excellence winners: five Bourbon Steaks, two Michael Minas and Stripsteak in Las Vegas.
Wine strengths Wine director Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen oversees the wine program. France is the biggest draw here, with exceptional picks from Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhône and Champagne. The Washington and Oregon collections are similarly strong.
Helpful break-down The wine list opens with a few focused sections to make the extensive options easier to digest. There are constantly evolving sections for featured Washington and Oregon wines, and for value seekers, a seasonal section of 100 wines under $100.
Cuisine Chef Shawn Applin uses locally sourced ingredients to execute French classics like seared foie gras, beef tartare and a crudo that changes daily based on the restaurant’s latest haul of local seafood.
Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 400
Wine strengths Wine director Richard Anderson is behind the impressive wine list. It’s almost exclusively French, with the exception of some American labels, primarily highlighting Burgundy, the Rhône and Bordeaux.
Cuisine Chef Arthur Lee serves contemporary interpretations of typical dishes such as escargot, pâté and steak-frites. There’s also a selection of pastas, but even those showcase a French perspective, thanks to components like Reblochon cheese, black-truffle jus, basil pistou and truffle sabayon.
Refined romance The dining room is inspired by French brasseries, yet the concept is certainly upscale, with plush banquettes and gold, barrel-vaulted ceilings. That sense of European elegance is right at home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Seasoned team Vaucluse is part of chef Michael White’s Altamarea Group, a New York–based family of restaurants that includes Grand Award winner Ai Fiori and Best of Award of Excellence winners Marea and Ristorante Morini.
Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 320
Wine strengths Managed by wine director Marcus Garcia, the wine program is international but emphasizes France, especially Burgundy and Champagne. The California and Canada sections are excellent as well. Helpful subheadings throughout the list indicate how the wines are organized, for example, “less oaky to more oaky” for domestic Chardonnay and “young to mature” for Italian and Spanish reds.
Cuisine Chef Rob Lam’s menu opens with a section of oyster dishes titled “Pearls,” a nod to the translation of the restaurant’s name. It’s followed by appetizers like smoked-salmon toast and mains like wagyu steak with pommes au gratin and poulet roti.
Prix-fixe programs In addition to the regular à-la-carte items, Perle features special prix-fixe menus from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday. The menus change weekly and offer three courses for $36, with wine pairings for another $25. There’s also “Prime Rib Mondays,” when guests can order an appetizer, prime rib and dessert for $44.
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