Although French cuisine may not be the first genre of choice in a dining landscape so heavily influenced by Latin culture, there's a surprisingly large number of memorable Parisian-style dining experiences adored by local palates craving French fare.
The French know no bounds when it comes to the expression of love. It goes beyond words and intriguing language, past physical touch and deep understanding, and into the kitchen, where they’re known for creating savory splendors fueled by passion and inspired by their homeland. Simply linger at one of Miami’s best French restaurants, and you’ll discover meticulously thought-out menus, traditionally prepared dishes — some with adventurous interpretations — rich wine lists, divine service, and traces of romance, with each maintaining a certain je ne sais quoi.
Go tête-à-tête with Pascal Oudin’s pursuit of French perfection at his Coral Gables eatery Pascal’s on Ponce, or relish in elevated French cuisine accented by flavors of the American market at Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne. From icons to newbies and a mix of everything in between, here are the top spots to get your baguettes, steak-frites, duck confit, and escargots à la bourguignonne in Miami right now. Bon appétit!
You’ve probably heard of what happens at Bagatelle’s boisterous brunch, overflowing with bubbly and waiters dressed in an array of wild costumes, but there’s no denying the food is refined. Join the fashionable crowd and grab a seat at a massive booth with a group of friends and delight yourselves in brunch favorites such as homemade French toast ($18) with fresh berries, Chantilly cream, and Nutella, and the Bagatelle burger ($33), which comes with bacon, grilled corn, a fried egg, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and jalapeño mayo on a sirloin burger sandwiched between two brioche buns. For dinner, share the charcuterie board ($39), filled with various cured meats selected by the chef, and then go for the whole farm-raised truffled chicken. Champagne is a must, especially if you want to see Superwoman deliver it to you.
9. Le Bouchon du Grove
This intimate, pint-size neighborhood bistro nestled in the heart of Coconut Grove feels like home. Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, locals queue up for chef Christian Ville’s traditional Parisian fare, with refined dishes such as red-wine beef stew ($28.50), duck leg confit ($27.50), and chicken fricassee ($27.50) at the forefront. Don't miss desserts sure to satisfy your sweet tooth, including caramelized apple pie and vanilla crème brûlée.
8. Frenchie’s Diner
An incredible ode to classic American diners — complete with black-and-white checkerboard flooring and retro furnishings — Frenchie’s Diner takes guests back to the USA's 1950s heyday, when hearty meals came with camaraderie and a comfortable setting. The plates here, though, are authentic French staples, from croque-monsieur to steak tartare, and worth experiencing despite the spot's limited operating hours. Frenchie’s is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 6 to 10 p.m. for dinner.
7. Pascal’s on Ponce
Chef Pascal Oudin, of his namesake Coral Gables restaurant, takes a no-frills approach to French cooking, using local ingredients and classic French techniques. Stark-white linens over sturdy wooden tables and minimal artwork hung inside the intimate eatery complement the simplicity of his bistro and dinner menus. Sixteen years after the restaurant's opening, the diver sea scallops ($42.90) topped with beef short rib, young fennel, carrot Vichy, and fava beans remain a hit, as does the bittersweet chocolate soufflé with chocolate ganache ($17) for dessert.
6. La Fresa Francesa Petit Café
A quaint French bistro found in the most unlikely of places, La Fresa Francesa Petit Café is Hialeah’s hidden gem. Diners are invited to experience exquisite French fare with a Miami twist. Cue “A Cubano in Paris.” For $9.50, freshly baked buttery buns, smeared with Dijon mustard, hold tender braised pork, melted Gruyère cheese, and pickled onions. Favorite classic creations include sweet and savory buckwheat crepes, foie gras, braised lamb shank, and guava bellinis.
5. Le Zoo
With a menu that boasts dishes such as steak-frites, trout almondine, onion soup, and escargots, Le Zoo may seem like any other French bistro. But rest assured you’re dining in the midst of famed restaurateur Stephen Starr, who elevates such standards and creates an enticing dining experience at his 200-seat Bal Harbour brasserie. Starr shines brightly with his plats du jour and vibrant dishes reminiscent of the Mediterranean, along with Le Zoo’s lush interior and impeccable service.
4. DB Bistro Moderne
Remaining true to its name, chef Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne features fine ingredients that combine to create French bistro classics with unforgettable modern American flavors. Located in downtown’s JW Marriott Marquis, this classy, Miami-chic hot spot offers a menu full of showstoppers, such as the Original DB Burger ($35). A Parmesan bun sandwiches a juicy sirloin burger packed with braised short rib, foie gras, and black truffle and comes flanked by crisp pommes frites. The dessert list runs as deep as the flavors — highlights include bonbons, macarons, cheesecake, and arroz con leche.
3. Le Provençal Restaurant
Everything tastes fresh at chef Jean-Pierre Terrou and president and manager France Guillou’s Miracle Mile establishment, featuring some of the finest Southern French cuisine in town. The decor is light and airy, with blue accents throughout. Enjoy a relaxed yet elegant dinner on the front patio as you dine on Le Provençal's $39 prix fixe that rotates monthly. August's menu lists starters that include pork and duck terrine with rustic bread or chilled tomato and basil soup. The next round brings standouts such as braised lamb shank and grilled salmon fillet, while dessert includes a choice of meringue with vanilla ice cream or mango mousse with an almond cookie.
2. Palme d’Or
Simply put: Palme d'Or is the ultimate over-the-top French restaurant. It's the very definition of fine dining. It's the cream of the crop. It's what the French call très magnifique. Elegant, high-quality cuisine matches the Old-World grandeur of the legendary Biltmore, which means don't forget your wallet. Stick around for the chef’s multiple-course prix-fixe experience, or take your pick from a lengthy list of Parisian-inspired entrées that range from fresh seafood to premium meats. Pair the expensive fare with selections from Palme’s award-winning wine list, and indulge in memorable les douceurs for a sweet ending.
Bask in a Mediterranean oasis without leaving Miami. At Marion — a breezy Brickell brasserie, bakery, oyster bar, and market — shop for or dine on artisanal delights, gourmet dishes, locally sourced produce, and a variety of pastries. An open vintage brass-clad kitchen, led by seasoned chef Jean Paul Lourdes, turns out wide-ranging meals from land and sea. Go for the whole organic rotisserie chicken ($42) smothered in savory lemon glaze and twirled to perfection, and wash it down with a glass from Marion’s famed beverage and wine list. In true French fashion, leave room for dessert. The tiramisus and tartes won’t disappoint.