French Restaurants in Madison

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A Toute Heure: A User's Guide

New American | French Influences | Local Ingredients | Rotating Seasonal Menus | Monthly Brunch

Sample Menu

  • Starter: creamy roast-garlic soup with cherry-tomato pesto and basil oil
  • Small bite: beer-battered cod with red-and-yellow beet chips
  • Entree: grilled vintage Missouri steak with frites and garlic-saffron aioli
  • Dessert: toffee-apple cake with apple-cider ice cream

    When to Go: If it's dinner you're after, then any day Tuesday through Saturday will do. Fans of brunch, however, should mark their calendars for the last Sunday of every month from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. That's the only time that the restaurant serves up its mega-popular à la carte brunch menu, which features favorites such as freshly squeezed juices and housemade french pastries.



    While You're Waiting

    • Soak up the charming atmosphere. A reporter for the New York Times even raved that "[d]ays, even weeks after visits to A Toute Heure, I'm still smiling. I'm enamored of its small, sweet dining room…" This bright, airy space is located in a restored 1930s home with views overlooking Centennial Village.
    • A Toute Heure prides itself on being eco-friendly, so do your part by recycling the same dinner conversation from the night before.

    Inside Tips

    • The cuisine is wine-friendly and the restaurant is BYOB, so pick up a bottle of chardonnay or syrah before dinner.
    • If you want to capture some of the restaurant's fresh, hyper-seasonal flavors at home, sign up for MarketBox, a farm-share program curated by A Toute Heure's chefs. Participants receive a box overflowing with the best fruits, vegetables, and artisanal products that local farmers have to offer.
    • Reservations are recommended, especially for Saturday dinner and brunch.

      While You're in the Neighborhood
      Before: Purge all your pent-up tension and stress with a relaxing Swedish massage at Flic Spa (2 South Avenue W.).

      After: If, by some chance, you saved room for dessert, treat yourself to a scoop of premium handmade ice cream at Vanilla Bean Creamery (22 North Avenue W.).

232 Centennial Ave
Cranford,
NJ
US

The chefs at Crepe N Grill serve both sweet and savory crepes, thin pancakes crowned with fresh ingredients such as honey-cinnamon apples or braised pork. Freshly blended fruit smoothies, lattes, and cappuccinos from the espresso bar pair up with crisp salads, soups, and paninis.

14 Turntable Jct
Flemington,
NJ
US

Paradou takes its name from a village in the southern French countryside, and the provincial influence is apparent in nearly every aspect of the restaurant. No matter what it is serving, the bistro-style eatery celebrates Provençal cuisine with a notable lack of pretention. This isn’t to say that the seasonal menus are unrefined, though. Chef Kfir Ben Ari creates a handful of dishes that experiment with foie gras, including a reimagined gravlax that features foie gras cured in sugar cane, sea salt, and fennel leaves. However, the majority of the menu tempts diners with hearty, provincial classics such as short ribs braised in red wine, cast-iron-roasted duck breast, and bouillabaisse stew. The wine list complements this cuisine, offering more than 40 French wines by the bottle as well as the glass. The wine selection even influences the restaurant’s decor. Bottle-lined shelves reach from the floor to the ceiling along the restaurant’s back wall, and the tables and bar are built using repurposed French wine crates. Beyond the intimately sized dining room’s whitewashed brick walls and rustic, wooden floorboards, a short walk leads to the covered garden area, which seats outdoorsy guests year-round.

8 Little West 12th St
New York,
NY
US

La Bouche Cafe feels distinctly European. From the sunny white patio tables to the pearl-strung chandeliers, everything in the cafe evokes an afternoon spent in a duchess's tea room sipping Earl Grey and asking questions about the constitutional monarchy. At La Bouche, diners can also sip tea, pairing cups with specialty crepes. Each thin pancake is filled with a choice of fruit, bananas slathered in Nutella, or even cuts of smoked salmon that add a savory note to the famous French dish. Only the slightly heavier end of the menu, chefs toss salads with fresh fruits and vegetables, and prepare sandwiches such as the croque monsieur piled with pear, ham, and Swiss cheese.

103 Garden St.
Hoboken,
NJ
US

Crepes on Columbus fills its namesake dish—thin, made-to-order pancakes—with sweet and savory ingredients, imbuing each bite with Franco-Spanish flavors. The quaint café’s crepes adapt to any appetite, brimming with rich infusions such as nutella and strawberries or roasted chicken and ratatouille, and serve as emergency head coverings during freak downpours of jams and preserves. The friendly wait staff serves both breakfast and dinner all day, comingling omelets, juicy cuts of meat, and seafood on tabletops, sided with desserts and smoothies.

990 Columbus Ave.
New York,
NY
US

In describing their restaurant as a ?contemporary Parisian bistro,? the staff at Cantine Parisienne commits to juxtaposition, which they cleverly carry out both on the menu and in the dining room?s decor. Traditional French dishes such as cod filet and veal escalope are made alongside New York classics such as club sandwiches and homemade cheesecake. Breakfasts take buffet form with flourishes including organic egg dishes and fresh fruit salad, while handcrafted cocktails and boutique French wines carry a sense of refinement.

Outside the kitchen, the space is designed to take advantage of another Parisian pastime: people watching. Twenty-foot open windows stretch to the high ceiling, allowing natural light to spill atop chrome accents and white-marble tables. Along with the latter, blue and red chairs complete the colors of the French flag and add vibrancy to the room.

40 Kenmare Street
New York,
NY
US