Table of contents
- 1. L’Ardoise Bistro, the French spirit
- 2. Chez Maman, just like home
- 3. Atelier Crenn, the culinary experience
- 4. Mouth-watering, local and seasonal
- 5. Monsieur Benjamin, the minimalist bistro
- 6. Café Bastille, the soul of the Parisian café terrasse
- 7. Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, chic and simple
- 8. Le Central, the institution
- 9. Mathilde, to the tune of an accordion
- 10. One 65, from patisserie to bistronomy
Trendy and multicultural, San Francisco is a culinary journey in itself, with so many restaurants from all over the world. In the midst of this plethora, the reputation of French cuisine shines through. From down-home bistros to exceptional gourmet restaurants, I tell you more about the 10 best tables to try for foodie lovers while enjoying your vacations in San Francisco !
1. L’Ardoise Bistro, the French spirit
After years of working for other establishments, chef Clément opened his own address inspired by Parisian bistros. And I assure you, after the junk food, there’s nothing better than rediscovering the family cuisine of L’Ardoise with a coq au vin or duck confit, for example. The wine list also features a fine selection of white Bordeaux, Loire and Burgundy Pinot Noir.
151 Noe St, San Francisco, CA 94114
2. Chez Maman, just like home
Typically decorated, this establishment advocates a return to simple, family-style, seasonal cuisine, and I have the feeling that these dishes bring back all our childhood memories. Chez Maman’s atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, and the plate is reminiscent of the French countryside, thanks to a piece of brie, a glass of wine and a real baguette, crisp to perfection.
401 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102 and 1401 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94107
3. Atelier Crenn, the culinary experience
Right from the website’s home page, the tone is set. No photos, but a captivating video in reference to art and the ocean. Atelier Crenn is definitely a modern experience. With three Michelin stars, chef Dominique Crenn is an avant-gardist who dares to create daring and brilliant combinations. Accompanied by her faithful pastry chef Juan Contreras, she has invented a sensitive cuisine, because, as she likes to repeat, life is a poem.
3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123
4. Mouth-watering, local and seasonal
To find inspiration, the chef delves into her Mediterranean roots, concocting sincere cuisine using locally grown produce. Authentic and fresh, the menu is reinvented every two weeks to make the most of producers’ availability. The wine list is a reflection of Bouche, focusing on confidential appellations that are regularly unearthed.
603 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108
5. Monsieur Benjamin, the minimalist bistro
What better way to satisfy a gastronome than to enjoy an authentic egg mayonnaise, a pâté de campagne or a traditional floating island at Monsieur Benjamin? In the Hayes Valley district, not far from the Golden Gate Bridge and the Painted Ladies, I recommend this modern restaurant with its minimalist black-and-white decor.
451 Gough St, San Francisco, CA 94102
6. Café Bastille, the soul of the Parisian café terrasse
Nestled in the French Quarter, Café Bastille’s terrace opens onto a pedestrian street. Here, the owner has reproduced the old-fashioned atmosphere of an estaminet, thanks to the enamelled plaques on the walls. Charcuterie platter, croque-monsieur, moules marinières – all the classics are here to cheer up the homesick.
44 Belden Pl, San Francisco, CA 94104
7. Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, chic and simple
Whether you come for lunch or dinner, Absinthe offers two different atmospheres. Casual for lunch with red leather banquette and bistro console, chic for dinner with tables covered in white tablecloths. Beautifully decorated in an art deco style reminiscent of Parisian restaurants, the French cuisine oscillates between land and sea, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir by the bottle or glass.
398 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102
8. Le Central, the institution
Le Central, opened in 1974, boasts the distinction of being San Francisco’s oldest bistro. Within the walls of this historic brick building, the cuisine is tasty and hearty. From cassoulet simmered for hours to beef bourguignon, I invite you to discover this establishment, which boasts one of the region’s finest bars, a magnificent gleaming brass-covered counter.
453 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108
9. Mathilde, to the tune of an accordion
At Mathilde, the senses are awakened as natural cuisine takes center stage. With organic vegetables and hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, the expertise of Chef Clément, head of the aforementioned l’Ardoise restaurant, can be discovered in a braised lamb shank or simmered duck confit. The 17th-century-style wall sconces create a nostalgic atmosphere, and I can’t recommend taking a relaxing gourmet break on the patio.
315 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94107
10. One 65, from patisserie to bistronomy
To embrace the full diversity of French cuisine, One 65 is the place to go. Over several floors, multi-award-winning blue-white-and-red-collar chef Claude Le Tohic offers a different culinary experience in four distinct venues. From pastries on the first floor to French-Californian fusion cuisine upstairs, everything is homemade and accessible to all, whatever the time of day. And if, despite these top 10 French restaurants in San Francisco, you prefer hamburgers, there’s nothing more I can do for you!
165 O’Farrell St 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102