French Restaurants in Houston

A colleague at work asked me yesterday for some French restaurant recommendations in Houston, and I thought why not turn it into a post.

There are several styles of French dining from less formal cafes and bistros to bouchons and brasseries up to formal Michelin star type establishments. All come with different price points and should be categorized as such. We have only been to a few of these places but plan to dine at as many as possible!

I won’t critique the food because France ruined me on taste for all cuisines. When it comes down to it, the US culture cannot compete with the local, multi-generational expertise the French have from the bottom up with their inputs and outputs no matter the quality of the chef **gets off soap box**.

Inside the Loop

Artisans (formal).  Simply put this is the most traditional French fine dining experience we’ve had in the city. The rooster logo and exposed brick as you walk in make you feel like, yep I’m in the right place. Especially so if you splurge and go for the chef’s tasting menu. Worth the time! It has been our favorite French meal to date.

Brasserie 19 (formal) does not seem to me to try to be a brasserie in the true sense and that name mismatch kind of turns me off. Still, we need to go and try the food, and I hear it has a great selection of French wines. That’s cause enough!

Etoile (formal) right outside 610, but I’ll count it. I like that they have a traditional and seasonal dinner menu. Found this one doing research for the post so this one will be one to try and see how it stacks up!

Brasserie Max and Julie (brasserie/formal) always gets rave reviews from folks. They serve cassoulet, and I need to try it and be mentally taken back to Carcassonne where I ate the best meal I ever had, period. Next on the list to visit!

Au Petit Paris (bistro). It has a great ambiance with the metropolitain train sign above the front door and is dark and cozy. This place gives you a sense of being in a Parisian bistro en amour at night, so the name fits!

L’Olivier (bouchon/brasserie) reminded me of a new wave crossed with Lyonnais bouchon in decor and ambiance. Nice little patio outside and a lot of the staples.

Cafe Rebelais (cafe/bistro) seems to be a Creole/French hybrid, but looking at their cheese menu alone makes us want to have a few glasses of wine with a hearty cheese plate.

Common Bond (patisserie) might have the best croissant I’ve tried outside of France, but could use more butter like they all could!

Outside the Loop/Other Links

We haven’t made the drive outside the loop to visit any of the well-regarded French restaurants yet, but the following links should help both inside and out.

Top 10 Bistros

Best Houston French Restos 2014

Gayot Top 10 Houston French Restos

Zagat Houston French Restos

Bon Appetit!


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