Orson Welles once drunkenly stumbled through a television commercial extolling the virtues of Paul Masson’s California champagne inspired by the same excellence that goes into crafting French champagne. Likewise, Chicago may not be Paris, but there are still many exquisite French restaurants in the city that every foodie should try. You can find anything from restaurants steeped in French history to more modern fare pushing the boundaries of French cuisine. Here’s a list of our top 5 favorites in the Chicago area.
Best French restaurants in Chicago
# 1 Les Nomades
Les Nomades is the cream of the crop for Chicago French restaurants. Located inside a Streeterville town house filled with flowers, Les Nomades is the definition of elegant. The delicious food is the product of Roland Liccioni and is delightfully paired with the restaurant’s esteemed wine list. Be warned, Les Nomades is quite pricey, but certainly worth a trip.
Chef and owner Michael Lachowicz provides a modern twist on classic French cuisine. Michael is a place perfect for French food initiates looking to get an upscale experience without having to feel embarrassed. The weight staff is quite helpful and the prices aren’t as astronomical at this Winnetka restaurant.
Located in Lockport, the prix fixe restaurant is perfect for anyone looking for a classic French experience. The attractive, older building lends the place quite a bit of charm, which is backed up by the excellent food and service. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back to a different era when dining at Tallgrass.
Though in Streeterville and as expensive as Les Nomades, Tru is a different beast entirely. Backed by Chef Anthony Martin, this New French restaurant offers a bold reimagining of French food. Chef Martin’s tasting menus and superb wine list are both unique to Tru. Gentlemen will need to wear a jacket if they wish to dine in this modern-minimalist establishment.
Oceanique can be found further North in Evanston. Like Tru, the restaurant is focused on New French cuisine, though its storefront appearance will be better suited to people looking for a place that’s impressive, but less expensive and not as upscale. As the name implies, Oceanique specializes in their delicious fish dishes. They also have an expertly-chosen wine list as well.