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Sliced medium rare steak, a bone, and fries, on a plate.
Capitol Hill’s Bateau is a cutting-edge French steakhouse, chef and owner Renee Erickson’s coup de grâce.
Bill Addison/Eater

11 Phenomenal French Restaurants in Seattle

Where to enjoy the cheese, charcuterie, steak frites, wine, and everything else that makes French cuisine so influential

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Capitol Hill’s Bateau is a cutting-edge French steakhouse, chef and owner Renee Erickson’s coup de grâce.
| Bill Addison/Eater

French gastronomy has long been considered the pinnacle of culinary excellence in the West, and Seattle has a remarkable selection of dining options for those seeking a taste of the outsized Gallic influence. Many of the city’s best bakeries are French, as well, and deserve to be visited without further delay. Here now, though, is a guide to the finest French cafes, bistros, and restaurants in Seattle.

Map points are listed geographically, not ranked by preference. What’s your favorite French restaurant? Show it some love in the comments or email us about it.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Gainsbourg

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A dark, moody gastropub nestled in Greenwood’s liveliest section, Gainsbourg is a refreshing entry to the French food scene, with a long bar, a small, open cooking area, solid cocktails, and an exceptional cheesecake. Particularly appetizing on the savory side are the French dip with a silky au jus sauce and the classic Gainsbourger, featuring a massive beef patty blended with a taste of lamb.

Bastille Cafe and Bar

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One of the more visually striking restaurants on the list, Bastille is an even-toned balance of Art Nouveau and industrial design, complete with exposed brick, concrete pillars, and mood lighting. The design keeps on giving, too: A narrow corridor at the back of the main dining room opens up to a massive, sophisticated room, a lovely place to spend an evening. And the food is distinctively French, featuring classics such as the open-faced croque madame and steak frites.

Boat Street Kitchen

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Tucked behind a row of work lofts on Western Ave., this Belltown beauty focused primarily on brunch and lunch along with weekend dinners is easy to miss but worth seeking out. Boat Street’s ambiance is simple, bright and appealing, the food impeccable, featuring such wonders as delicately poached eggs Benedict drizzled with hollandaise, pillowy soft honey biscuits, and a bread pudding soaked in melted butter that consistently delivers.

Le Caviste

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The first thing people may notice at Le Caviste is that there is no printed menu, as everything is scrawled across chalkboards on the back wall, just as it might be done in France — thankfully it’s just as easy to ask for help from staff as it is to try to read through the lists. Though it’s known primarily as a top-notch bistrot à vins (wine bar), Le Caviste offers a charcuterie selection that’s second to none. The typical selection features everything from salted meats to fresh fish and scallops to a tantalizing steak tartare, perfect with ultra-crusty bread.

Le Pichet

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Situated at the fringe of Pike Place Market’s hustle and bustle, Le Pichet, or “The Pitcher,” is widely considered Seattle’s quintessential French eatery. The older, slightly more sophisticated sibling of Cafe Presse is the archetypical Parisian bistro, known for its signature charcuterie (the terrine of duck liver, pork, and green peppercorns is a particular highlight), oeuf plats broiled with ham and gruyere, classic French decor, and, of course, the perfect roast chicken, which takes an hour to prepare.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Cafe Campagne

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Post Alley’s Cafe Campagne is well-regarded for its dedication to traditional Parisian fare and warm ambiance. Locally supplied due to its position in Pike Place Market, the restaurant mixes Northwest ingredients with classic preparations to great effect with items like the crispy duck leg confit and pan-roasted chicken smothered in a savory jus sauce.

Place Pigalle

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In Paris, Place Pigalle has a raunchy reputation, thanks in part to the infamous Moulin Rouge. Seattle’s Place Pigalle is less risqué, yet offers its own peculiar vibe, and includes the inventive gastronomy that the Pigalle area is known for in today’s Paris. Tucked neatly behind Pike Place Market’s famous fish throwers with a view of Puget Sound, this place greets diners with vintage decor and old world charm and seals the deal with dishes like steamed mussels with bacon.

Marmite

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Marmite may be a relative newcomer to the Seattle area food scene, but owners Bruce and Sara Naftaly aren’t — they owned this city’s pioneering French restaurant, Le Gourmand, for 27 years before closing in 2012. Imagine the delight in 2016, then, that accompanied the opening of their new venture dedicated to a French cooking pot (not a British yeast extract). The impressive interior possesses a woodsy, almost outdoor aesthetic, which fits the couple’s dedication to Pacific Northwest ingredients. In particular, his various takes on mussels always come in a soul-stirring broth.

Jenise Silva for Eater

As chic as a Parisian corner-bistro and as meaty as the best whole-animal butcher shops, this cutting-edge Capitol Hill steakhouse is award-winning chef Renee Erickson’s coup de grâce. As Eater’s roving critic, Bill Addison, marveled, “When the few nightly orders of New York strips and rib-eyes are gone, they’re gone, and diners must explore lesser-known cuts that are as intensely pleasurable and often more affordable,” like the aptly named velvet (taken from the cow’s heel and enriched with bone marrow butter). This is “a steakhouse that should change the way America thinks about one of its most codified dining experiences,” he wrote when naming Bateau one of the country’s essential restaurants.

Bill Addison/Eater

Café Presse

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Café Presse is the epitome of casual, unassuming French dining in Seattle, and its long hours (7 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily) make it welcoming to all. Though firmly rooted on Capitol Hill, the cozy establishment has an endearing European vibe, particularly whenever a football match comes on TV (which seems to be quite often). The croque monsieur is a tasty, filling brunch item, but for an even more traditional French experience, the steak frites is served juicy, tender, and topped with a creamy walnut-garlic-parsley aillade.

L'Oursin

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This bright, lively Central District establishment has quickly gained national recognition for its pairing of low-intervention wines and nouvelle French cuisine centered around seafood (the name means “sea urchin,” after all). The cozy, inviting atmosphere is a perfect setting for visually appealing dishes, carefully arranged with an artist’s touch and just as delicious. The menu shifts, but scallops always fit the bill, whether they’re raw from Alaska and served with radishes in a charred onion and seaweed broth or pink scallops from Washington cooked simply with white wine and thyme.

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Gainsbourg

A dark, moody gastropub nestled in Greenwood’s liveliest section, Gainsbourg is a refreshing entry to the French food scene, with a long bar, a small, open cooking area, solid cocktails, and an exceptional cheesecake. Particularly appetizing on the savory side are the French dip with a silky au jus sauce and the classic Gainsbourger, featuring a massive beef patty blended with a taste of lamb.

Bastille Cafe and Bar

One of the more visually striking restaurants on the list, Bastille is an even-toned balance of Art Nouveau and industrial design, complete with exposed brick, concrete pillars, and mood lighting. The design keeps on giving, too: A narrow corridor at the back of the main dining room opens up to a massive, sophisticated room, a lovely place to spend an evening. And the food is distinctively French, featuring classics such as the open-faced croque madame and steak frites.

Boat Street Kitchen

Tucked behind a row of work lofts on Western Ave., this Belltown beauty focused primarily on brunch and lunch along with weekend dinners is easy to miss but worth seeking out. Boat Street’s ambiance is simple, bright and appealing, the food impeccable, featuring such wonders as delicately poached eggs Benedict drizzled with hollandaise, pillowy soft honey biscuits, and a bread pudding soaked in melted butter that consistently delivers.

Le Caviste

The first thing people may notice at Le Caviste is that there is no printed menu, as everything is scrawled across chalkboards on the back wall, just as it might be done in France — thankfully it’s just as easy to ask for help from staff as it is to try to read through the lists. Though it’s known primarily as a top-notch bistrot à vins (wine bar), Le Caviste offers a charcuterie selection that’s second to none. The typical selection features everything from salted meats to fresh fish and scallops to a tantalizing steak tartare, perfect with ultra-crusty bread.

Le Pichet

Jenise Silva for Eater

Situated at the fringe of Pike Place Market’s hustle and bustle, Le Pichet, or “The Pitcher,” is widely considered Seattle’s quintessential French eatery. The older, slightly more sophisticated sibling of Cafe Presse is the archetypical Parisian bistro, known for its signature charcuterie (the terrine of duck liver, pork, and green peppercorns is a particular highlight), oeuf plats broiled with ham and gruyere, classic French decor, and, of course, the perfect roast chicken, which takes an hour to prepare.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Cafe Campagne

Post Alley’s Cafe Campagne is well-regarded for its dedication to traditional Parisian fare and warm ambiance. Locally supplied due to its position in Pike Place Market, the restaurant mixes Northwest ingredients with classic preparations to great effect with items like the crispy duck leg confit and pan-roasted chicken smothered in a savory jus sauce.

Place Pigalle

In Paris, Place Pigalle has a raunchy reputation, thanks in part to the infamous Moulin Rouge. Seattle’s Place Pigalle is less risqué, yet offers its own peculiar vibe, and includes the inventive gastronomy that the Pigalle area is known for in today’s Paris. Tucked neatly behind Pike Place Market’s famous fish throwers with a view of Puget Sound, this place greets diners with vintage decor and old world charm and seals the deal with dishes like steamed mussels with bacon.

Marmite

Jenise Silva for Eater

Marmite may be a relative newcomer to the Seattle area food scene, but owners Bruce and Sara Naftaly aren’t — they owned this city’s pioneering French restaurant, Le Gourmand, for 27 years before closing in 2012. Imagine the delight in 2016, then, that accompanied the opening of their new venture dedicated to a French cooking pot (not a British yeast extract). The impressive interior possesses a woodsy, almost outdoor aesthetic, which fits the couple’s dedication to Pacific Northwest ingredients. In particular, his various takes on mussels always come in a soul-stirring broth.

Jenise Silva for Eater

Bateau

Bill Addison/Eater

As chic as a Parisian corner-bistro and as meaty as the best whole-animal butcher shops, this cutting-edge Capitol Hill steakhouse is award-winning chef Renee Erickson’s coup de grâce. As Eater’s roving critic, Bill Addison, marveled, “When the few nightly orders of New York strips and rib-eyes are gone, they’re gone, and diners must explore lesser-known cuts that are as intensely pleasurable and often more affordable,” like the aptly named velvet (taken from the cow’s heel and enriched with bone marrow butter). This is “a steakhouse that should change the way America thinks about one of its most codified dining experiences,” he wrote when naming Bateau one of the country’s essential restaurants.

Bill Addison/Eater

Café Presse

Café Presse is the epitome of casual, unassuming French dining in Seattle, and its long hours (7 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily) make it welcoming to all. Though firmly rooted on Capitol Hill, the cozy establishment has an endearing European vibe, particularly whenever a football match comes on TV (which seems to be quite often). The croque monsieur is a tasty, filling brunch item, but for an even more traditional French experience, the steak frites is served juicy, tender, and topped with a creamy walnut-garlic-parsley aillade.

L'Oursin

This bright, lively Central District establishment has quickly gained national recognition for its pairing of low-intervention wines and nouvelle French cuisine centered around seafood (the name means “sea urchin,” after all). The cozy, inviting atmosphere is a perfect setting for visually appealing dishes, carefully arranged with an artist’s touch and just as delicious. The menu shifts, but scallops always fit the bill, whether they’re raw from Alaska and served with radishes in a charred onion and seaweed broth or pink scallops from Washington cooked simply with white wine and thyme.

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