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.