French cuisine has long ruled the culinary world as the epitome of refinement, but, until recently, Atlanta’s dining scene was lacking when it came to French food. Thanks to newcomers that have opened in the past year, it’s clear that Atlanta is saying oui to French cuisine. To get you in a French state of mind, we’ve rounded up the quintessential French dishes for you to try.
At West Midtown’s new AIX, opt for the flavorful white shrimp Provençal with garlic, lemon, Pernod, thyme, butter and potatoes.
Coq Au Vin, Bistro Niko
This glitzy Buckhead restaurant has been satisfying our need for French fare since 2009. After starting with a basket of gougères (Gruyere cheese puffs), move on to the coq au vin. Rustic in its roots, the dish at Bistro Niko is rich with chicken braised in red wine, mushrooms, pearl onions and steamed potatoes. 3344 Peachtree Road, 404.261.6456
Steak Frites, The Brasserie at Bazati
Situated on the BeltLine, The Brasserie at Bazati is stunning with window-lined walls and soaring ceilings. Despite its modern locale, the ambiance hearkens back to Parisian brasseries of the 1920s with a carefully curated cocktail list that includes classics like kir royale and French 75. Of its entree offerings, the standout is the steak frites. True to form, the dish features seared hanger steak topped with maître d’hôtel butter, served alongside crispy fries. 550 Somerset Terrace NE, Ste. 102, 404.795.8342
Escargot, Le Bilboquet
The essential hors d’oeuvre, what is a French restaurant without escargot? While some restaurants put their own twist on the dish, Le Bilboquet keeps it traditional by preparing it the way you’ll find it in the Burgundy region. This means a simple yet delicious sauce of garlic, butter and herbs. Don’t forget to dunk your bread into the bubbling sauce and wash it down with a glass of Brimoncourt rosé. The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, 404.869.9944
Shrimp Provençal, AIX
AIX and its sister wine bar, Tin Tin, are essentially a love letter from chef-partner Nick Leahy to the Provence region. A reservation at either spot is like being transported to the rustic region. The dining experience is anything but rustic, though, with Leahy applying a refined touch to his menu. Although the shrimp Provençal is a starter, it’s not to be missed. French with a Southern twist, the dish features Georgia white shrimp and potatoes in a light sauce of garlic, lemon, Pernod, thyme and butter. 956 Brady Ave. NW, Ste. 100, 770.838.3501
Fluke Meunière, Tiny Lou’s
Julia Child once called sole meunière one of the most exciting meals of her life, so what French restaurant in America wouldn’t have it (or some variation of it) on their menu? At Hotel Clermont’s chic restaurant, chef Jeb Aldrich approaches the dish with a seasonal touch. Instead of sole, the fish is fluke from the Carolinas, and in addition to a rich butter sauce, it’s served with a flourish of seasonal produce like fennel, bok choy and apples. 789 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, 470.485.0085
Photography by: andrew thomas lee