Everyone loves a French girl, that iconic epitome of breezy elegance. Bastille Day, France’s Fête nationale, is July 14, and makes for a perfect excuse to live la vie Française—if only for a day. Slip on your best heels and get your sophisticated self to one of these splurge-y spots to raise a glass to everything chic.
At Augustine, the latest brasserie from Keith McNally, everything the restaurateur has become known for—atmosphere, vintage Parisian decor, flattering golden lighting—is executed even better than before. Get any of the richly flavorful steaks, or the burger, served with Comte and cooked onions plus a shot of bourbon on the side.
Augustine, 5 Beekman St., New York, NY USA +1 212 375 0010
Holding three Michelin stars and generally acknowledged to be one of NYC’s top restaurants, Le Bernardin is a veritable shrine to seafood. The cooking incorporates diverse international influences, but its globetrotting chef, Eric Ripert, couldn’t possibly be more French.
Le Bernardin, 155 W. 51st St., New York, NY USA +1 212 554 1515
Daniel may get all the glory, but we prefer its sister restaurant, Cafe Boulud, also from chef Daniel Boulud. It’s less stuffy than Daniel and more timelessly chic, with fantastic food and a supremely elegant adjacent bar, Bar Pleiades, at which to grab an aperitif or a nightcap.
Cafe Boulud, 20 E. 76th St., New York, NY USA +1 212 772 2600
At Le Coq Rico, a paragon of all things poultry (even many of the cocktails incorporate egg whites) and a sister to a bistro by the same name in Paris, Alsatian chef Antoine Westermann uses nearly exclusively heritage birds, humanely raised. Pastry chef Matthieu Simon’s ile flottante dessert is not to be missed.
Le Coq Rico, 30 E. 20th St., New York, NY USA +1 212 267 7426
Le Coucou represents a return to classic French dining in a room that’s elegant but not at all stuffy: taper candles and white tablecloths, but with a prevailing sense of whimsy. It’s perfect for a killer date or a special occasion, and don’t miss the quenelle de brochet in lobster sauce or the stunning three-dish “tout le lapin.”
Le Coucou, 138 Lafayette St., New York, NY USA +1 212 271 4252
It’s the birthplace of the cronut, yes, but Dominique Ansel Bakery has many other amazing pastries and other French treats on offer as well. Try the DKA—Ansel’s perfected version of a kouign amann, a buttery, layered Breton pastry that’s recently taken New York City by storm, or the Paris-NY, the bakery’s twist on the classic Paris-Brest, with a choux dough and a chocolate, caramel and peanut butter filling.
Dominique Ansel Bakery, 189 Spring St., New York, NY USA +1 212 219 2773
Alsatian chef Gabriel Kreuther reigned over the kitchen at The Modern for nearly a decade, earning it a Michelin star, before opening this eponymous restaurant—which instantly earned a star of its own. We love the tarts flambees available only in the more casual (but still lovely) bar room. After your meal, don’t forget to stop by its chocolate shop next door to pick up some delectable pastries, macarons, or chocolates.
Gabriel Kreuther, 41 W. 42nd St., New York, NY USA +1 212 257 5826
La Grenouille, the remaining bastion of NYC’s midcentury haute cuisine boom, has been dazzling diners for more than a half-century with elegance and flowers—as well as classic French dishes like frogs’ legs and Dover sole.
La Grenouille, 3 E. 52nd St., New York, NY USA +1 212 752 1495
Channeling a grand Parisian café, Lafayette is a perfect choice for breakfast or brunch, when sunlight floods the spacious room through its enormous windows. It’s an ideal spot to linger over a croque madame and a latte, then grab an eclair at the bakery up front to keep the French vibes going.
Lafayette, 380 Lafayette St., New York, NY USA +1 212 533 3000
Equal parts wine bar and restaurant, Rebelle has excellent (and Michelin-starred) food, courtesy of a chef that worked in Paris under Daniel Rose (see Le Coucou, above). If you’re into grower Champagnes, you’ll agree its wine list is among the best in town—and what better beverage with which to toast Bastille Day?
Rebelle, 218 Bowery, New York, NY USA +1 917 639 3880