Recent French-influenced openings and mainstays are subtly taking the Charleston restaurant scene by storm. Bistros, brasseries, cafes, cocktail bars, and pastry shops are popping up all over the city. With French cuisine setting the gold standard for technique and preparation, these 11 spots are worth a try — no matter the occasion.Read More
Find a Bit of France in These 11 Lowcountry Destinations
The best examples of French cuisine in Charleston
La Bonne Franquette
The couple behind Christophe Artisan Chocolatier, Carly and Christophe Paume, opened all-day French cafe LaBonne Franquette. The quaint West Ashley restaurant serves traditional French fare, like quiche, croque monsieur, moules frites, beef tartare, escargot, and more. If the weather is nice, sit on the cheery pink and orange patio.
Breezy French restaurant Maison highlights the precision and craft of chef Vandy Vanderwarker (formerly of the Ordinary). The menu adds seasonal touches to dishes like steak tartare, mussels bourride, and dry-aged duck. The plating here is beautiful enough to give pause on any Instagram feed. For a deal, customers should stop in for the $5 champagne happy hour and stay for dinner.
Bistronomy By Nico
Spring Street spot Bistronomy By Nico offers Parisian fare with an Asian twist. For example, the chic bistro serves a bouillabaisse, but it’s in a coconut broth with udon noodles. There’s also coq au vin with a tamarind jus and duck confit ramen. It’s something a little different than the classic French menus around town.
Find a daily handwritten menu at small Charleston classic Chez Nous. Chef Jill Mathias is known for her beautiful plating, and her menu keeps diners guessing as she aims to provide guests with a one-of-a-kind experience.
Felix Cocktails et Cuisine
This vibrant cocktail bar stays busy on Upper King. The vibe is casual yet classy, as small plates like lobster deviled eggs and French onion soup are served alongside creative cocktails and wine. Felix is a fun place to meet a friend or a date for a drink and quick bites.
39 Rue De Jean
A long-time Charleston favorite, the expansive menu at 39 Rue de Jean presents the classics, like steak frites and mussels pistou. Open since 2001, this bistro continues to be a reliable source of French comfort foods.
Gaulart & Maliclet
Also known as Fast & French, Gaulart & Maliclet serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily in a laid-back setting. Expect satisfying soups, croque monsieurs, and daily specials that come with a free glass of house wine.
The owners of long-standing bakery Macaroon Boutique, Fabrice Rizzo and Fabienne Docco, run Le Chambertin for lunch Wednesday through Sunday. The petite cafe sits just off Broad Street and serves a daily lunch, along with coffee, pastries, breads, and imported goods from France. The couple says they wanted it to feel like dining in a small shop nestled in Burgundy.
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Brasserie La Banque
Broad Street restaurant Brasserie La Banque offers classic French fare in a stunning space. Look forclassics like foie gras torchon, poulet rouge, bouillabaisse, steak frites, and dry-aged duck. Be sure to order a side of fries with everything.
French-trained chef Nico Romo uses a powerful wood-fired oven to create classics like scallops gratin. Shareable raw plates are the other hallmark at Nico, as a dozen different kinds of oysters are carefully selected and served with the abductor muscle on to preserve freshness.
Ville Sainte Bistro
“Feels like you’re in France” is a common refrain from visitors to Ville Sainte Bistro in Mount Pleasant. Chef Carole Robert picks traditional dishes from around the country, like frog’s legs, flounder maison, and shrimp provencal.