French Restaurants in Des Moines

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With Chloe Bistrot, French-born chef and owner Laurent Gabriel has transformed an unassuming storefront in Laurelhurst into an elegant eatery seemingly plucked straight from Paris. Inside, cherry-red upholstery, dark chestnut walls, and polished tabletops puts guests into a Parisian state of mind even before they glimpse the menu of classic French fare. Diners can begin with escargot in garlic and parsley butter before moving onto steamed mussels in a tomato, garlic, and fresh thyme broth. An extensive wine list, meanwhile, pulls together varietals culled from across the French countryside, while authentic desserts like tarte tatin rival those found in any French bakery or left carelessly on any French windowsill.

3515 NE 45th St

Place Pigalle: A User’s Guide

French Cuisine | Pike Place Market | Puget Sound Views | Intimate Seating

Sample Menu

  • Cocktail: Mariana, made with vodka, Mandarine Napoléon, Campari, and fresh lime
  • Appetizer: octopus with housemade lavender-and-fennel sausage, preserved lemon, tomatoes, spinach, and garlic
  • Entree: bouillabaisse provençale with seasonal fish, Dungeness crab, clams, mussels, prawns, saffron-tomato broth, and crostini rouille

Where to Sit: Day or night, find a window seat, or—better yet—grab a table outside to take in the epitomic Seattle sights.

When to Go: The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, or you can stop in for a glass of wine or cocktail at the bar.

While You’re Waiting

  • Take in the views of the bright ferris wheel, glimmering Elliott Bay, and Olympic Mountain.
  • Glance through the 11-page list of regional and international reserve wines, from champagnes to sherries.

Inside Tips

  • Don’t skip the cocktails. Bartenders squeeze fresh orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon juice for house drinks, such as the Tuscan Lemon Drop with fresh lemon and vanilla-citrus liquor, and classics like a Hemingway Daiquiri or Corpse Reviver #2.
  • Silence your cell. Fellow diners will appreciate it, and the staff will expect it.

Fun Fact: Place Pigalle is named after the red-light district in Paris. Years before it became a fine-dining institution in 1982, it served as a bordello (masked as an inn), a biker hangout, and then a gathering place for artists and travelers.

Vocab Lesson
Dungeness crab: West Coast crab with a slightly sweeter taste than snow or king crabs.
Bouillabaisse: a Provençal fish stew originating in Marseille, typically made with several types of fish and shellfish and served with rouille on grilled bread.
Rouille: a creamy sauce blended with olive oil, breadcrumbs, and saffron.

81 Pike St

Cafe Campagne: A User’s Guide

French Comfort Food | Award-Winning Fries | House-Made Charcuterie | Popular Brunch Spot | 30 Wines

Sample Menu

  • Brunch: scrambled eggs with fresh herbs and pork sausage
  • Lunch: croque monsieur
  • Dinner: crispy duck-leg confit
  • Dessert: homemade ice cream

Where to Sit: Ask for a table on the terrace, where patrons can look out on all the bustling activity of Pike Place Market.

When to Go: Try happy hour, which occurs from 4–6 p.m. Monday–Friday.

While You’re Waiting: Grab a seat at the long, wooden bar. Bartenders mix cocktails and pour 30 wines by the glass.

Inside Tips

  • Mark your calendar. Every year, the café hosts Drink Pink, a party with wine tastings and hor d'oeuvres. French accents are optional.
  • If you can’t find something on the wine list, bring your own bottle for a small corkage fee. Cafe Campagne is cool with this, as long as they don’t offer the same wine.

Press and Praise

  • The Stranger says “Cafe Campagne makes you feel like everything’s all right, especially at weekend brunch.”
  • Eater readers put the café on their list of Top 8 French Fries in Seattle.

Vocab Lesson
Croque-monsieur: originated in French cafés, this pressed sandwich is filled with ham, gruyère, and béchamel. (A fried egg turns it into a croque-madame.)
Confit: a French term used to describe food that has been cooked in oil, syrup, or—in the case of some meat—its own fat, and then preserved.

While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Buy a vintage poster at Old Seattle Paperworks (1514 Pike Place).
After: Catch a surprising, tongue-in-cheek production at Theater Schmeater (2125 3rd Avenue).

1600 Post Aly

The Georgian: A User’s Guide

French-Inspired Northwest Cuisine | Seasonal Ingredients | Live Jazz | Elegant Decor | Afternoon Tea Service

Sample Menu

  • First: kusshi oysters with crispy tempura and chilled tuna tartar
  • Second: dungeness crab bisque with tarragon-infused mini crab cakes
  • Third: slow-braised beef short rib with caramelized celeriac purée
  • Dessert: soufflé of the day

When to Go

  • Live jazz rings out through the stately, crystal-chandeliered dining room on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6–9 p.m.
  • After experiencing the AAA 4 Diamond–rated dinner cuisine, return for a classic afternoon tea service with finger sandwiches and housemade scones.

What to Wear: Although Frommer’s calls The Georgian “the most traditional and formal restaurant in the city,” the dress code is “smart casual,” meaning no jackets are required.

Inside Tip: Splurge on the five-course prix-fixe meal with handpicked wine pairings; it usually features fresh seafood and seasonal specialties.

Vocab Lesson
Celeriac: a root vegetable that tastes similar to celery. It’s also known as turnip-rooted celery or knob celery.
Foie gras: the fatty liver from a goose or duck that's been force-fed. The liver is then marinated in a mixture of alcohols and seasonings, and is typically baked.

411 University St

Joe Bar: A User's Guide

Coffee from Local Roasters | Crepes and Paninis | Local Artwork | Wine and Beer | Outdoor Seating

Sample Menu

  • Crepe: serrano ham, egg, and gruyere cheese
  • Panini: wine-cured salami, gruyère cheese, and roasted red peppers
  • Drink: coffee sourced from the independent Seattle roaster, Fonté

Where to Sit: When the weather is nice, try to snag a coveted outdoor table. When it's rainy, cozy up at one of the second-floor tables overlooking the rest of the café.

The Vibe: The small size of the shop makes it a popular place for quiet activities such as reading, studying, and folding leftover crepes into origami.

When to Go: Coffee and pastries such as muffins and cookies are served at all hours, but the kitchen stops making crepes and paninis earlier in the evening.

While You’re Waiting: Admire the café’s collection of artwork. It’s a result of the One-Eared Rabbit Collaborative, Joe Bar’s initiative to showcase the works of a different artist on the second Thursday of each month. Pieces can range from paintings to woodblock prints.

810 E Roy St

Le Pichet

Seated on the front patio of Le Pichet, you can almost hear the waves lapping against the shore of Elliot Bay. The café is located mere blocks from Seattle’s waterfront, which means it’s also right next door to Pike Place Market. And yet, despite their proximity to one of the world’s most renowned fish markets, owners Jim Drohman and Joanne Herron harvest most of their inspiration from a place thousands of miles away: France. Jim, for one, is accustomed to following his heart wherever it may lead. He left a career as an aeronautical engineer to learn how to cook in Paris, and brought his love for French cuisine with him when he returned back to Seattle. Joanne’s interest in France took hold much earlier in life—at the age of 19, when she first visited and fell in love with the country’s wine-producing regions. Together, the duo has been serving the Pike Place Market neighborhood for more than 10 years. Though it would feel perfectly at home on a narrow street in the Latin Quarter or perched precariously on the tip of the Eiffel Tower, Le Pichet has become a Seattle institution. And, as you might expect from its location, the menu perfectly marries French culinary techniques with the ingredients of the Pacific Northwest, resulting in delicious entrees like grilled trout with broiled Washington asparagus or grass-fed Northwest beef skirt steak with wild ramp butter, mushroom duxelles, and pommes frites.

1933 1st Ave

Des Moines Scene