There’s an excellence and attention to detail in French cuisine that is unparalleled in the world of food. Everything from the fresh ingredients to the exacting preparation, beautiful presentation and perfect service makes the French style the very epitome of fine dining. Great food town that it is, Seattle has a plethora of excellent French bistros for every budget.
Cafe Campagne – 1600 Post Alley
Some of the longest-running French restaurants in Seattle are downtown in the market district. While it’s tempting to aim for one of the fancier eateries at Pike Place, the much more laid-back Cafe Campagne is a local favorite. Located at the Pike Street opening of Post Alley, the cozy cafe is the more relaxed sister venue to Campagne Restaurant. Executive Chef Daisley Gordon keeps Cafe Campagne’s menu fresh and simple. It’s a perfect spot for a leisurely déjeuner, especially with a slice of the Quiche du Jour, green salad, fresh-squeezed juice and a latte. The menu is full of locally-grown and organic products, much of which is purchased just a few steps away at the market itself.
Le Pichet – 1933 1st Avenue
Just down the street from Cafe Campagne, one of its former chefs has his own take on classic French cuisine. Jim Drohman left Campagne’s kitchen to team up with wine expert Joanne Herron to open Le Pichet in 2000. Whereas the Campagne restaurants focus on Southern French dishes, Le Pichet trots around the country a bit more, depending on the season. The cool autumn and winter months often find Alsatian delights like house-made sausage from the region’s German influence, while spring and summer invite the bounty of coastal French seafood. Count yourself fortunate if you happen to visit Le Pichet when their Steak Frites are on the menu. The paté cognac pan sauce is among the finest flavors in all of Seattle.
Le Gourmand– 425 NW Market Street
But if you’re looking for that iconic French service, the place to go is Le Gourmand in Ballard. Husband and wife Bruce and Sarah Naftaly not only run the restaurant, they also helm its kitchen. They aim for 100% local ingredients and they excel at their prix fixe menus that provide the classic, multi-course dinner that has long been associated with the French table experience. Their spring menu features innovative combinations like their gourmet salads with edible flowers and foraged greens – and their mouthwatering Lavendar-smoked Poussin (chicken stewed with fresh, in-season vegeatables).
Between 28th and 29th Avenue on Madison, there’s a veritable garden of French bistros blooming. There are haute cuisine stalwarts like Rover’s, which uses traditional French flavors to enhance seasonal Pacific Northwest ingredients (try the Pacific Sole with Leek Fondue, Roasted Beets and Persillade), and easy-going cafes like Voilà! Bistro. The beautiful Lake Washington surroundings are just as much a part of dining in this neighborhood as the food itself. It’s the best of France and the Pacific Northwest combined – including delectable classics like Coq Au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon.
As with everything, finding great French food is worth a little exploration. These are excellent places to start, but are by no means the only places to find top-tier Cuisine Francaise in the city. Explore them on the map below, and add your own as you eat your way through Paris in Seattle. Bon appétit and happy hunting!
View Best French Restaurants in Seattle in a larger map
Experience the best of France in the Pacific Northwest on The Local Dish: