Happy Bastille Day! In honor of France’s independence day, we thought we would highlight our favorite French dishes. These traditional French meals are sure to please even the most discerning of Frenchmen.
1 398’s Escargot
There are not a lot of places that serve snails in San Francisco, but you can find them at 398. The recently opened airy bistro, on the corner of Geary and Mason downtown, make one of the best escargots we’ve ever tasted. The snails are served in a classic escargot dish and each one sits in a generous pool of garlic and parsley butter. You will want a lot of bread to mop up the snail juices and the finger-licking good buttery green sauce. Pair with a glass of Rosé from Cotes de Provence or a cocktail. We’re huge fans of the Pine-Aperol Spritz and the Peter Rabbit, a potent mezcal and chartreuse number.
398 Geary Street San Francisco, CA 94102
2 Gamine French Onion Soup
Walk into Gamine on Union Street in Cow Hollow and you instantly feel as if you have been transported to a cozy cafe in the middle of Paris. The staff is all French, the interior decorated with warm yellows and reds and the vibe is relaxed, but festive. Start your meal off with Gamine’s Onion Soup Gratinée. It’s one of the most scrumptious soups around. It comes in a small crock with a thick layer of broiled browned cheese on top. The broth is rich and savory and packed with strings of sweet, caramelized onions. If it’s a chilly foggy night in SF, this soup is a must order.
2223 Union Street San Francisco, CA 94123
3 Absinthe’s Coq au Vin
Chicken cooked in red wine, or coq au vin, as it’s referred to, is one of France’s most well known main courses. It’s been on the menu at Absinthe for as long as we can remember and it’s downright delicious. Mary’s chicken is braised in a red Burgundy sauce with bacon, root vegetables, and mushrooms. A pig’s foot adds flavor and its natural gelatin gives the sauce a thick consistency. The chicken is sautéed before being braised, so it has a seared crispy skin.
398 Hayes Street San Francisco, CA 94102
4 Chez Maman Moules
There are two locations of Chez Maman in SF: one in Potrero Hill and another in Hayes Valley. Both offer up hearty bowls of the city’s most delightful mussels. Diners can choose from four different types of mussels. There’s provencale with tomato, basil, garlic, bell peppers, olives and cream; Thai with lemon grass, garlic, cilantro, and coconut milk; Mariniere with garlic, white wine, lemon and parsley; and poulette with shallots, bacon, white wine, and cream. Note that French fries don’t automatically come with the dish. Of course they recommended for the quintessential French moules experience and Chez Maman’s come with a smooth aioli.
401 Gough Street San Francisco, CA 94102
5 Cafe Claude Steak Frites
Cafe Claude is the restaurant that launched Franck Le Clerc’s French eatery empire. Located on the alley known as Claude Lane, Cafe Claude is a charming cafe that channels the old world feeling of Paris. There’s live music sometimes and it’s always bustling and a great place to pull up a chair and order a glass of red and a plate of steak and French fries. Cafe Claude’s steak frites consist of a flat iron steak with bone marrow butter, port-shallot sauce, and a mountain of crispy fries.
7 Claude Lane San Francisco, CA 94108