French Restaurants in San Francisco


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  • Chouquet's
    Chef Laurent Guillaume, who has helped open hotels and restaurants in Paris, brings years of culinary expertise to Chouquet’s menu and adorns time-tested continental fare with surprising New World elements. Attentive servers emerge from the kitchen carrying escargot and niçoise salads, cruising past sleek stools at a bar accented by swirls of natural wood grain and designed by Dominique Maxime Genauzeau. On the patio, diners soak up the sun or choose least-favorite clouds for a sky writer to edit out. The dining room's sand-hued walls and burnt-orange accents resound with the sounds of glasses clinking together, bearing more than 70 wines from Europe, South America, and the Pacific Northwest and a rotating selection of draft beers from France and the United States.
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    2500 Washington St
    San Francisco, CA US
  • Crepe Temptations
    Crepe Temptations By the Numbers 2 awards for Best Crepes as voted by readers of Bay Area A-List in 2013 and 2014 50 sweet and savory crepes on the menu 3 types of crepe batter: original, chocolate, or green tea Infinite (seemingly) number of topping combinations possible when ordering a custom crepe 1-minute walk to the N-Judah line at 31st Street 12 a.m. closing time on weekends
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    2575 Judah Street
    San Francisco, CA US
  • Le Central Bistro
    Le Central Bistro: A User’s Guide City’s Oldest Bistro | French Comfort Food | Signature Cassoulet | Quaint Atmosphere Sample Menu Appetizer: fried tofu sprinkled with bonito flakes Sushi: Mexican roll flavored with tempura sweet potato, crab meat, avocado, baked scallop, mozzarella cheese, and chili pepper Entree: chicken katsu curry with locally sourced natural chicken and organic greens Dessert: black sesame mochi ice cream Where to Sit: at the sushi bar to get a front-row seat when chefs prepare your food, or in the garden dining room amid hanging kimonos, obi, and hand fans. Vibe: bright and airy, with exposed brick walls that compliment rich red hues and traditional Japanese art work. Hanging paper lanterns complete the Asian-inspired look, illuminating wall-length booths. Sample Menu Appetizer: escargots de bourgogne—snails with garlic butter and Pernod Specialty: cassoulet—white bean stew with duck confit, Toulouse sausage, and lamb Entree: rack of lamb persillé Dessert: crème brulee Fun Facts Le Central Bistro opened in 1974, a year that, according to the restaurant, makes it the oldest French bistro in San Francisco. The restaurant’s signature cassoulet, a slow-cooked stew, owes its rich flavor to a unique cooking process: the previous day’s remnants are used as the base for the next batch. Currently, Le Central Bistro’s cassoulet has been cooking for over 14,000 days. Where to Sit: at a white-spread table or at the brass-topped bar, which was shipped overseas from France. Inside Tip The bistro is a popular spot for power lunches, so try making a reservation for dinner to avoid the crowds. Vocab Lesson 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. Tarte tatin: an upside-down French dessert that features fruit—usually apples—caramelized in butter and sugar. While You’re in the Neighborhood Before: Browse vintage jewelry and fine furnishings at Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry (309 Sutter St.) After: Sip on inventive cocktails, such as the Rye Maple Fizz, at the liquor-focused bar Rickhouse (246 Kearny St.).
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    453 Bush St
    San Francisco, CA US
  • Cafe De La Presse
    Café de la Presse: A User’s Guide French Bistro Cuisine | Vintage Parisian Atmosphere | International Newsstand | Sunny Outdoor Patio Sample Menu Breakfast: omelette au fromage et aux herbes, or omelet with goat cheese and herbs Dinner: confit de canard maison, or confit of duck leg made with “Hudson Valley” Mallard Dessert: a selection of fine artisan cheeses with garnish What to drink: the café’s own signature rosé wine blend (part parelleda, part cabernet sauvignon) The Vibe: The atmosphere echoes back to a Parisian bistro from the 1930s—with a horseshoe-shaped bar, vintage posters, and period light fixtures that hang over TVs playing archival news features and movies. Where to Sit: On the sunny outdoor patio, where the corner of Grant Avenue and Bush Street almost seems like Paris. While You’re Waiting: Browse the newsstand. Café de la Presse stocks and sells more than 200 foreign magazines and newspapers, including many French titles. Press and Praise Summing up what makes the café great, Huffington Post says “The menu (lunch and dinner) is small, but features dishes of great complexity and taste. The wine list is large, mostly French, all excellent.” SFGate calls this “the cornerstone of what many regard as our own little French Quarter…” Vocab Lesson 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: Take home a kite, parafoil, or windwheel from Chinatown Kite Shop, which has been putting things in the sky since 1969. After: Works from LEGO, Nike, and others fill the more than 20 exhibits at the Autodesk Gallery (One Market Street). If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Dig into the coq au vin at Café Claude (7 Claude Lane).
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    352 Grant Ave
    San Francisco, CA US
  • Garcon
    Garçon!: A User’s Guide French Bistro Cuisine | Rotating Wine List | Locally Sourced Ingredients| Parisian Decor | Daily-Changing Prix Fixe Menu Sample Menu Appetizer: oysters with pink peppercorn mignonette Entree: coq au vin Dessert: beignets and an espresso-hazelnut milkshake Drink: Wake up Call cocktail made with cucumber, lime, vodka, gin, and green chartreuse The Ingredients: Executive Chef Arthur Wall hunts down the freshest in-season and local ingredients he can find, including oysters and cheeses. The everchanging selection of available items inspires Mr. Wall to constantly update his menu, as well as prepare a new prix fixe offering every day. When to Go: On Tuesday, when the restaurant lets patrons bring in bottles of wine with no corkage fee. Inside Tips Ask your server about his or her favorite new wine; the globe-spanning list of bottles changes regularly Don’t plan on stopping by to cure the beginning-of-the-workweek blues—it’s closed on Mondays. If you’re planning a special event or 20-person ouija-board session, ask about reserving the private lounge. Vibe: Paul Reidinger of the San Francisco Bay Guardian wrote “Garçon! might be one of the most Parisian-looking restaurants in the city, with its vintage Dubonnet posters and individual lamps on each table.” Vocab Lesson Coq au vin: Traditional french dish of chicken cooked in red wine. While You’re in the Neighborhood Before: Take in the aromas of more than 400 herbs, essential oils, and flower essences at The Scarlet Sage Herb Company (1173 Valencia St). After: See some live theatre at The Marsh (1062 Valencia St). If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Gaspar Brasserie (185 Sutter St), where you can dine on French cuisine beneath a crystal chandalier.
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    1101 Valencia St
    San Francisco, CA US
  • Fleur De Sel
    Fleur De Sel: A User’s Guide French Deli | Prepared Meals To-Go | Popular Quinoa Salads | Corporate Catering Sample Menu Breakfast: ham-and-cheese croissant Lunch Box: prosciutto sandwich, chilled gazpacho, and fresh-baked cookies Dinner: housemade butternut-squash ravioli Meet Chef-Owner Stephane Gregoire Worked alongside Gordon Ramsay at Harveys in London Former chef at Ritz-Carlton dining room in Atlanta Former chef at Chapeau Bistro and the Aqua restaurant group At Fleur de Sel, Chef Gregoire prides himself on producing fresh, seasonal meals Where to Sit: Snag one of the few counter seats, or join the majority of the crowd and take your meal to-go. When to Go: lunchtime during the workweek (it’s closed on weekends). Because everything is prepackaged, the line tends to move quickly. Inside Tips Diners consistently rave about the seasonal quinoa salads. One iteration features sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, and ricotta cheese on a bed of baby arugula. Stop in after 4 p.m. on a Friday for 50% off whatever food’s leftover from lunch. The corporate catering menu is huge and features plenty of options for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. The restaurant uses compostable containers, cutlery, plates, cups, and napkins. Vocab Lesson Macaron: a colorful, sandwich-like pastry made of almond flour and egg whites; it’s usually filled with fruit preserves or flavored creams. Steak au poivre: steak seared in a crust of cracked peppercorns, leaving it rare to medium-rare inside. While You’re in the Neighborhood: Take a break from the office with a leisurely stroll along the San Francisco Bay Trail.
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    308 Kearny St
    San Francisco, CA US

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