While some might not regard Atlanta as a true foodie city, there are few cuisines you won't find around the metropolitan area. In fact, there are plenty of exquisite French restaurants and bakeries throughout the city.
The Best French Cuisine in Atlanta
The French take great pride in their influence on the culinary world, and these are the places to taste it for yourself.
The outdoor patio at Le Bilboquet instantly transports diners to a sidewalk cafe in France. Everything from the blue velvet banquets to the pewter bar counter feels very Parisian. The menus all focus on simply prepared French food made with the finest ingredients. The brunch menu has a little-seen treat, les crepes Suzette. The classic crepes get a sugary crunch from caramelized orange juice and Grand Marnier.
At lunch, go for les escargots de Bourgogne, succulent snails in pools of garlic parsley butter with a garlicky baguette for sopping up every last drop. The seared salmon with lentil salad and beurre blanc is the perfect summer dinner. All three of these dishes pair beautifully with a glass of the house Côtes de Provence rose.
Executive Chef Gary Donlick showcases his French training and fine-tuned technique at Bistro Niko in Buckhead. The modern French fare is paired with an extensive wine list (is it even a French meal without wine?!) in an attractive and spacious setting. Start the meal with classic French favorites like crisp duck leg confit, mussels swimming in white wine, garlic, cream, cold-smoked salmon rillettes and the charcuterie plate.
The trout amandine comes from Georgia mountain streams and is served with toasted almonds, French green beans, and a lemon olive oil emulsion. Those looking for a heartier meal should order the coq au vin or the steak au poivre, eight ounces of pepper-coated beef tenderloin with sautéed spinach and brandied creamy mushrooms. The apple tarte or the tarte au citron are both refreshing ways to end the meal.
Originally named Petite Auberge, Petite Violette has provided Atlanta with French specialties for more than 40 years. The on-site olive oil tasting room and the retail shop get visitors in the door, but the perfectly prepared cuisine is what keeps them coming back. The salade Nicoise is the perfect lunch choice during the heat of the Atlanta summer. The tuna is seared rare on a bed of field greens with artichokes, red pepper, hardboiled eggs and potatoes with a pear vinaigrette.
The best dinner menu item for summer is the Coquille St. Jacque; fresh jumbo diver scallops are pan-seared with beurre blanc and served with spinach, whipped potatoes and just a touch of hollandaise. Sip a glass of the Pouilly fuisse with the salad and the Puligny Montrachet with the scallops.
Cafe Alsace opened more than 20 years ago in Decatur and quickly became a favorite neighborhood spot. Chef Benedict Cooper is originally from Alsace, and for years, he's brought dishes from the region (as well as other French favorites) to Atlanta. The classic quiche Lorraine or quiche du jour are great options for when you're feeling brunchy.
Chef Cooper also whips up incredible versions of traditional beef wellington, chicken cordon bleu and ratatouille en croute. A particularly masterful dish is the butterfly trout en papillote stuffed with crab, fennel root and apple. The side of potato gratin is the savory icing on the cake.
Near Ansley Park, Atmosphere Restaurant is about as close to a quaint, Parisian bistro as you can get in Midtown. Housed in a small cottage with ample outdoor space, this restaurant makes some of the most meticulously prepared French food in town. Start your meal with either the homemade rabbit paté or the selection of imported cheeses.
For entrees, consider the duck confit with wild mushroom ravioli and French beans in a truffled red wine reduction or the mussels cooked with shallots, white wine, rich cream and a healthy amount of garlic. Vegetarians should go for the broccoli and cheddar quiche because the flakey, tender crust is absolutely dreamy. Finish the meal with the profiteroles served with vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate.
Tiny Lou's is a happening French-American brasserie below the Hotel Clermont. Not only are the dishes comforting and well prepared, but they're also painstakingly plated and artfully served. Start with the succulent gulf shrimp in a lemon caper sauce or with the salmon rillettes prepared with crème fraîche and chèvre.
The pan-seared diver scallops are not to be missed, and the Berkshire pork chop served over an English pea velouté with bleu cheese, and a ramp fingerling potato salad will fill you right up. There are five signature cocktails available and three zero-proof options for those abstaining. The small but mighty wine list is made up exclusively of French vintages.