Le Plat du Jour | The Best French Restaurants in Melbourne
Vive la France
With Bastille Day just around the bend – July 14 – we thought we’d pay homage to all-things French in our fair city. We owe a lot to our French friends in terms of the culinary arts. Sommeliers, maître d’s, chefs – even the word restaurant is French. In fact, the very structure of how we dine out comes from eighteenth-century France. That’s all before getting to the delicious food this iconic cuisine has given us all. Where would we be without coq au vin, beef bourguignon, soufflé and crème brûlée? Not happy, that’s for sure. Hence our inspiration for this article on the best French restaurants in Melbourne.
Thankfully for us, there is an abundance of French restaurants in Melbourne serving all these gastronomic delights. Some keep things traditional, while others mix it up with some innovative influences – and we are here for it all. So, journey with us through the brasseries and bistros as we give you our guide to the best French restaurants in Melbourne.
Best French restaurants in Melbourne
Garçon Paris Steakhouse
Located in arguably the most Parisian street in Melbourne, Garçon Paris Steakhouse pays homage to the grandeur of classic French bistros. The menu is a refreshing take on traditional dishes and the results is très magnifique. The signature dish here is the steak frites. It’s a grilled pasture-fed Great Southern Angus porterhouse served with a bottomless supply of frites, salad and Cafe de Paris butter. There are 80’s-inspired murals, bold graphics, bar seating and a formal dining room. This is essential French dining in Melbourne.
What: Signature steak frites.When:Lunch: Mon – Fri: 12 – 2:30pmHappy Hour: Mon – Sat: 4 – 6pmDinner: Mon – Sat: 6pm til lateWhere: 6 Alfred Place, Melbourne CBD 3000
Serving Melburnians French cuisine since 1986, France Soir is the kind of place you visit once and instantly become a regular. There are cabinets displaying freshly shucked oysters, cheese and other delicacies, an enticing wall holding the restaurant’s vast wine collection and cosy tables perfect for intimate dining. From the menu, you’ll find French staples including fillet de boeuf, magret de canard, and lapin du joir. A toast to all-things French, France Soir is no doubt one of the very best French restaurants in Melbourne.
What: Côte de veau Normande veal chops with mushrooms, cream & Calvados.When: Mon – Sun: Midday – MidnightWhere: 11-13 Toorak Road, South Yarra, Melbourne 3141
French Wine Cafe
Doubling as both quaint patisserie and bistro restaurant, French Wine Cafe is a taste of France that goes down like a full-bodied bottle of Bordeaux. Situated on St Kilda Road within The Blackman Hotel right by Fawkner Park, it’s casual with plenty of natural light and is ideal for breakfast, a long lunch or dinner. Transport yourself to Paris by relaxing over a charcuterie platter and a glass of wine or fresh coffee and croissants, all while watching the world go by. It’s a delight. You’ll want to get in early though, as it closes relatively early at the weekend.
What: Coq au vin braised with red wine & mushrooms.When: Mon – Fri: 6:30am – 10pm; Sat – Sun: 6:30am – 5pmWhere: 452 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004
Hell of the North
We’ve spoken about Hell of the North before here, and we’re still very much obsessed with it. It’s a classic French bistro with a distinctive Melbourne influence. So you’ll get brass and blackened steel – key bistro features – alongside wooden furnishings with an industrial edge. We’d describe the menu as mostly French, but there are few wildcards thrown in for good measure to keep things interesting. The same goes for the wine list. While it features predominantly French wines, you will also find local drops from Margaret River and the Yarra alongside other European heavyweights like Rheinhessen and Tuscany.
What: Pork Loin with sauce Diablè and baby turnips.When: Wed – Fri: 5pm til late; Sat – Sun: 12pm til lateWhere: 135 Greeves Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne 3065
Paris Go Bistro
One of the best French restaurants in Melbourne, Paris Go Bistro is traditional, elegant and completely brilliant. The menu features dishes made with handpicked ingredients of very high quality, while the service is professional and seamless. The team here are experts when it comes to French haute cuisine, and the experience is honestly one that will have you googling flights to France straight after. No kidding – we’re speaking from experience here. Oh, and you can also BYO wine and Champagne. Find out more about it here.
What: Confit leg and roasted breast in a port, redcurrant & wild baby fig sauce.When:Lunch: Wed – Fri: 12 – 3pm; Sat – Sun: Group bookings onlyDinner: Mon – Sun: 6 – 11pmWhere: 116 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, Melbourne 3053
The French Brasserie
With the trademark French decor, an impressive menu and a wine list that will set your heart fluttering, The French Brasserie is the pièce de résistance of French restaurants in Melbourne. It’s a narrow space with high – really high – ceilings, wine on display that resembles art and dishes presented perfectly. Expect meat-heavy options in true French style alongside fish and poultry, as well as a dessert menu that simply must be worked through. The atmosphere is relaxed yet buzzing and the service is exceptional which complements the creative menu perfectly. A must for Melbourne Francophiles.
What: Marseille famous Bouillabaisse of John Dory, monkfish, Cloudy Bay clams, local mussels, fennel, saffron potatoes & rouille.When:Lunch: Mon – Fri: 12 – 3pmDinner: Mon – Sat: 6pm til lateWhere: 2 Malthouse Lane, Melbourne 3000