It doesn’t take traveling to France to experience fine French cuisine. The Golden State is home to an eclectic foodie scene, and elegant French dining is among some of the best. From delicious international wines paired with cheese to duck confit and coq au vin, get ready to satisfy your taste buds at these 10 excellent French restaurants in California.
Whether you choose to enjoy the delicious made-to-order food at home through the takeout service or in the elegant dining room of this unique French eatery, you won’t be disappointed. Allez in Diamond Springs, California, offers a great selection of local and international wines, cheeses, and bakery items that will give you the taste of France. Bringing their culinary backgrounds and knowledge of gourmet French cooking, the owners provide an upscale dining experience to hungry diners.
Created in the 1970s in the effort to provide exquisite French food in the Napa Valley area of California, The French Laundry in Yountville was birthed. Referred to as “soul-satisfying” and food that “awakens the senses” by diners, Chef Thomas Keller has mastered the art of delicious French cuisine. Foodies beware. Once you’ve tasted the food here, you’ll be hooked. Menus change daily, and no food is used more than once in a meal.
Located in Sacramento, California, site of the Gold Rush days in American history, Café Rolle is in stark contrast to the rough and tumble times of that era. The rich European influence that makes this a unique dining place have inspired dishes like the hot salmon sandwich, a delightful combination of smoked salmon and melted gruyere cheese with a dill crème fraiche, or marinated prawns flavored with garlic and other herbs on a crusty baguette or ciabatta bread. It’s heaven on earth.
You have to visit this restaurant to believe it. With a unique twist on French food, La Sen Bistro in Concord, California, talented chefs prepare traditional French foods with Vietnamese and Californian inspiration. This is like nothing you’ve tasted before! The sleek, modern industrial interior perfectly matches the personality of food served here, from the steak tartare with mustard, capers, chopped onions, and quail egg to the crab cakes served with roasted sweet potato and seasonal vegetables, and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Old meets new here and it tastes good!
Recommend time and time again by previous diners and on social media sites, Café Sparrow in historic Aptos, California, serves French cuisine with flavor, flare, and finesse. The duck and wild rice soup is to die for, and the mini crème brulee is divine. Every plate is served as a work of art, and it’s no wonder why people return to this exciting eatery over and over. Mondays are half-off on all wines.
Does the thought of melt-in-your-mouth baked brie with lavender overtones, caramelized shallots, and honey make your mouth water in anticipation? Then you need to run to Monet’s Bistro in Exeter, California, as fast as you can. Even the young ones will find something tasty on the children’s menu, like cheddar and ham crepes or cheese ravioli in a marinara or pesto cream sauce. You may even want to do dessert first when you look at that menu, choosing between a French apple tart, lavender cheesecake, or ganache chocolate cake. Every dish is made to order with three-course one-of-a-kind specials on the weekends.
Are you looking for the perfect place to take your special someone to celebrate your relationship? Consider Cuistot, one of the best special occasion destinations in the state. This French eatery is well worth the drive and the cost. Surrounded by elegance inside and outside, you’ll think you’re in a quaint bistro somewhere in France. A warm and captivating fireplace inside and amazing countryside views from the patio outside await you, and you can choose from dishes exquisitely prepared like duck breast with leg confit, mango ginger, and Madeira sauce, roasted rabbit with a French basque ragout of braised cabbage, and a mirepoix tarragon jus, or California roasted quail stuffed with shortbreads, creamy black rice in wine sauce and fresh vegetables. Everything is done well so there are no wrong choices.
Addison is a five-star restaurant located in the historic and elegant Fairmont Grand Del Mar Resort in San Diego, California. Known for superb New French cuisine and excellent wine, there is a dress code, so check the website or call the restaurant directly for more information. Reservations are easy to secure, and you’ll find any preparation for attending is well worth the effort. Your senses will experience the thrill of a food symphony from the opening prelude that might include foie gras and your favorite wine, then progress to the deeper musical surf and turf measures of smoked bacon and king crab, and finishing with a satisfying crescendo of lavender panna cotta. The food here truly is music to your mouth.
Patrons looking for a truly unique dining experience may want to consider booking a reservation at Atelier Crenn. Diners pre-pay for a seven-course seafood and vegetable meal that includes the tip. Rather pricey up front, most people say that they actually spend less than at other upscale restaurants. Dietary restrictions are honored provided there’s at least a three-dau notice, and all foods are made using seasonal ingredients from sustainable sources.