Where to Eat Fabulous French Food around Boston

From traditional mainstays to saucy little bistros, these are the French spots around Boston with that je ne sais quoi.

Overhead view of steamed mussels in a yellow broth with a side of fries.

Batifol’s moules frites. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

French fare is famously difficult to perfect—fortunately, though, Boston’s most talented chefs are up to the task. Whether you’re looking for a no-fuss bistro serving coastal classics or a decadent multi-course extravaganza that doesn’t skimp on the butter, here you’ll find something to please any Francophile. And unlike your guilty-pleasure binge of Emily in Paris, these restaurants won’t make you feel embarrassed in front of your French friends.

See also: Here’s Where to Find the Best Bakeries in Boston Right Now (which includes French stunners Michette, Colette Bakery—no relation to the restaurant Colette below—and more)

This guide was last updated in February 2024; stay tuned for periodic updates.

Aquitaine Boston

Aquitaine Boston. / Photo Izzy Berdan


Best of Boston winner, 2013

This restaurant from longtime Boston restaurateur Seth Woods may be named after the region in southwestern France that happens to be home to wine destination Bordeaux, but Aquitaine is a thoroughly Parisian bistro. Low lighting, burgundy booths, tiled floors, and namesake printed dinnerware make the South End spot quite chic—as does the seasonal outdoor patio, where you can nibble on an assortment of fromage with a glass of cabernet franc while people-watching under the shade of a striped umbrella. Wherever you take a seat, including at Aquitaine’s suburban location in Chestnut Hill, treat yourself to a hearty meal of filet au poivre with cognac crème.

569 Tremont St., South End, Boston, 617-424-8577, aquitaineboston.com.

Charcuterie and cheese boards sit on a round copper table with a bottle and glass of red wine.

Charcuterie and cheese boards at Batifol. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal


Greater Boston’s French restaurant scene is mainly concentrated in the South End and Back Bay, so it was a delight when Petit Robert Bistro owner Loic Le Garrec opened Batifol across the river in Cambridge in late 2022. The “true Parisian brasserie,” as he described it at the time, is full of date-night coziness, from the curved subway-tile wall to the plush teal banquettes. (The sweet and fun cocktail list doesn’t hurt.) On the menu: beautifully plated spins on traditional French dishes, from savory coq au vin with wine-braised mushrooms, served over a tangle of fresh fettuccine, to steamed moules frites studded with house-made andouille sausage.

291 Third St., Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-945-0345, batifolcambridge.com.

The second-floor dining room at Bistro du Midi. / Courtesy photo

Bistro du Midi

This Back Bay Provençal-inspired staple perched above the Public Garden may encourage you to sit up a little straighter and double check the buttons on your shirt. Yet, with one swift swoop of a silver table crumber, Bistro du Midi gently brushes aside haughty French waitstaff stereotypes. With their approachable demeanor and eagerness to discuss chef Robert Sisca’s “New England-inspired” French seafood dishes, these pros provide all-star service to match the stellar menu. Expect to feast on foie gras and bouillabaisse in the elegant upstairs dining room, or visit the more relaxed downstairs space to lunch on moules frites while sipping on Sancerre.

272 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-279-8000, bistrodumidi.com.

Café Sauvage

Since opening Café Sauvage in 2021, wife-and-husband duo Anaïs and Antoine Lambert have aimed to present Parisian dining through a multicultural lens, which means you’ll find dishes such as glazed eggplant with burrata, chimichurri, pomegranate seeds, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil, or mussels in a coconut milk-based curry. The intimate restaurant also serves up a killer espresso martini, not to mention excellent mocktails. Swing by on the last Wednesday of each month for a prix fixe dinner that doubles as an immersion into French language.

25 Massachusetts Ave., Back Bay, Boston, 857-277-0075, cafesauvage.com.

Colette. / Courtesy photo


One more Cambridge option! This energetic wine bistro—sibling to Frenchie in the South End (see below)—livens up Porter Square with decadent brunch (Black Forest waffle or caramel French toast, anyone?); a dinner menu full of traditional French options, including plenty of seafood; and an extensive wine and spirits selection. Come for the salon-inspired vibes—the restaurant is named for French author/journalist/actress/photographer/etc. Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette—and stay for the delicate duck confit and mushroom vol au vent, garlicky escargot, and cheesy butternut squash risotto.

1924 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, colette1924.com.


Best of Boston winner, 2014 and 2017

At the corner of Commonwealth Ave. and Mass. Ave. sits a sleek, modern French restaurant and lounge that draws stylish crowds and even wines and dines the city’s top chefs. Perfect for a fourth or fifth date—you know, when things are getting more serious—Deuxave offers just the right sultry setting and seasonal dishes by chef Christopher Coombs to help seal the deal. Things may get a little steamy once the nine-hour French onion soup arrives, but the pastry team knows how to keep things cool with a coconut and citrus panna cotta to round off the night.

 371 Commonwealth Ave., Back Bay, Boston, 617-517-5915, deuxave.com.

Sliced steak in a brown sauce sits on a plate with fries and greens on a dark wooden table.

Steak frites at DW French. / Photo by Emily Kan

DW French

Chef and restaurateur Douglass Williams tends to get associated with Italian food thanks to his trio of pasta-filled restaurants, Mida, plus a Hub Hall pizza joint. But he’s also been enamored with French cuisine for years—and worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris—so it’s no surprise that his 2023 French debut in Boston is already a hit. Whether you visit the classy-but-approachable brasserie for the steak frites deal or any old night out, you’ll find plenty to enjoy on the menu, which is packed with recognizable classics. We’re quite fond of the French onion soup, and we hope you’ll save room for the luxurious chocolate pot de crème for dessert.

1391 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, 617-865-9900, dwfrench.com.

Frenchie Wine Bistro

Frenchie Wine Bistro. / Photo by Brian Samuels


Come for the crêpes and croque-monsieurs in the morning, then find yourself sipping an apéritif before a dinner of duck magret à l’orange at this easy-going South End wine bar. Unsurprisingly, the Parisian-inspired bistro boasts an utterly French menu complete with classics such as coq au vin and steak frites. While you may be tempted to find a perch at the glittering white marble bar, aim for a spot in Frenchie’s glass-enclosed conservatory lit by twinkling bistro lights and pretend you just picked the rose on your table straight from the gardens of your own château.

 560 Tremont St., South End, Boston, 857-233-5941, frenchieboston.com.

La Voile

Best of Boston winner, 2015

Something about dining outdoors on a Newbury Street patio, with all the people-watching it entails, feels very French. Enter La Voile (“the sail”), a Back Bay staple—with a Brookline sibling, too—with deep roots in Cannes. The food doesn’t stray far from tradition, and that’s a beautiful thing, especially when it comes to favorites like the buttery Dover sole meunière or the duo of foie gras preparations. We’re longtime fans of lunch service at the Back Bay location, too, which adds a couple casual sandwiches to the mix.

261 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-587-4200; 1627 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-277-1260; lavoilerestaurants.com.

Ma Maison

Best of Boston winner, 2022

Celebrity chef Jacky Robert moved from France to Boston in the ’70s to help his uncle open the late, legendary Maison Robert. Eventually, though, this fusion-cooking pioneer and Maîtres Cuisiniers de France (Master Chefs of France) inductee spawned his own culinary revolution—first in San Francisco, then back in Boston where he opened multiple locations of Petit Robert Bistro. He’s since moved on from those restaurants, and now you’ll find him at Ma Maison, his most traditional and personal dining room. Adorned with silver trays, wine bottles, and white tablecloths, the homey Beacon Hill charmer is the picture-perfect setting to dine on beef bourguignon, frog legs, and other classics.

 272 Cambridge St., Beacon Hill, Boston, 617-725-8855, mamaisonboston.com.


Like Batifol (see above), Marseille is a relative newcomer from an experienced team—another piece of the Petit Robert Bistro empire. Billing itself as a “modern French” restaurant, Marseille pokes around the Mediterranean for broader inspiration, punctuating its classic French dishes with options such as a vegetable tagine with chickpeas, couscous, roasted carrots, honey harissa, and lime yogurt, or a za’atar-seasoned rotisserie chicken, or hearty shakshuka during brunch service. Frequent wine dinners keep things festive, highlighting exemplary winemaking regions in France and beyond.

560 Harrison Ave., South End, Boston, 857-277-0366, marseilleboston.com.

Dover sole meunière at Mistral

Dover sole meunière at Mistral. / Courtesy photo


The first—and arguably most famous—Jamie Mammano production under the Columbus Hospitality Group umbrella has been serving some of Boston’s finest French-Mediterranean cuisine since 1997. Named for the wind that blows through the South of France, Mistral helped move the center of buzz in Boston’s dining scene to the Back Bay-South End borderline when it opened. Since then, the whole city has exploded—yet Mistral remains en vogue thanks to its delicate balancing of flavors. See the robust dried cherry gastrique drizzled over seared foie gras or the warm, buttery lemon caper sauce poured over delicate dover sole. A single meal may max out much of your rainy-day fund, but c’est la vie.

223 Columbus Ave., South End, Boston, 617-867-9300, mistralbistro.com.

Petit Robert Bistro

Best of Boston winner, 2007

If you ignore the peek-a-boo view of the Prudential Center behind the church across the street, you can almost imagine that this South End bistro is parked right by Notre-Dame. Petit Robert is the perfect place to live out your French fantasy—and contemplate which Parisian arrondissement would suit you best—while digging into foie de veau Lyonnaise topped with caramelized onions or plump butternut squash ravioli in sage cream with fragrant toasted hazelnuts. Church bells will ring as you raise a glass of Sauvignon Blanc to your adventurous (and very well-fed) alter-ego. 

480 Columbus Ave., South End, Boston, 617-867-0600, petitrobertbistro.com.

A duck dish at Rochambeau. / Courtesy photo


You might roll your eyes at the ultra-trendy influencers who flock to this Back Bay spot just to snap selfies over glasses of rosé. But try not to hold that against Rochambeau, which delivers—and at a reasonable price point—on fine French-inspired food served with a side of flash. There’s certainly frisky energy to the place, starting with the Art Nouveau-inspired architecture and mid-century modern millennial pink chairs. Bring a crowd, pop some bubbly, order lots of hors d’oeuvres, and dive into some Parisian truffle gnocchi and crispy pommes frites accordingly. Looking for something meatier? Head to the first-floor dining room, which transformed into the “Steak Room” in early 2024, exclusively serving a prix fixe menu centered around steak frites.

 900 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-247-0400, rochambeauboston.com. 

Troquet on South

When this cozy French-New American bistro moved from its Boylston Street location to a much roomier space in the Leather District, Bostonians breathed a collective sigh of relief. Now everyone has the space to lean into a laissez-faire mindset and order as much wine as they please off owner-sommelier Chris Campbell’s award-winning list. Besides the magnifique beverage options, Troquet on South offers new takes on French staples with dishes like pan-seared branzino with mussels and green curry or a melt-in-your-mouth ribeye with potatoes Robuchon. If you want the full royal treatment, opt for the five- or seven-course tasting menu, which is bound to satisfy.

107 South St., Leather District, Boston, 617-695-9463, troquetboston.com.