This post was written by Grady Winston, who is a writer, designer and internet development guru from the Midwest.
Chicago is known for its stuffed-crust pizza, Polish food and hot dogs, but there’s more to Chicago’s food scene than kielbasa. Among the most popular things to do in Chicago is eating ethnic foods from nearly every region of the world, including award-winning French cuisine from innovative and traditional chefs. Following are three French restaurants sure to please palates:
3 Fabulous French Restaurants in Chicago
Café des Architectes
The Café des Architectes is located in the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower on East Chestnut Street, near Connors Park. The menu at Café des Architectes features standard fare such as crepes, club sandwiches and duck, but it also surprises with inventive dishes like sorghum-braised beef short ribs, served with blood orange and buttermilk funnel cake. Desserts and cheese plates should not to be missed. Breakfast and lunch prices range from $9 for small plates to $28 for full lunch entrees. Dinner entrees are under $30. Pre fixe menus are also available. Hours may vary, so call ahead before you go.
Kiki’s French Bistro
Kiki’s French Bistro is a rustic, romantic, Michelin-rated restaurant that’s been consistently wowing locals and visitors for years. After decades working in the restaurant business in his native Eastern France, owner Georges “Kiki” Cuisance became well known in Chicago as the sommelier at Maxim’s. Menu items include classic bistro dishes such as escargot, frog legs, coq au vin and beef bourguignon. Desserts at Kiki’s are decadently French and include crepes Suzette and creme brulee. Guests can expect to pay around $50 per person with appetizers and dessert. A full selection of wines is available, and Kiki’s happy to help you make the perfect pairing.
Kiki’s French Bistro hosts a variety of events that make the restaurant more than just a place to eat. An in-house culinary tour through the regional foods of France, and a Mardi Gras celebration featuring Cajun and Creole cuisine are two recent favorites.
Diners looking for a hipper, funkier French experience will enjoy La Sardine, located across from Harpo Studios on Carpenter Street. Don’t let the mismatched plates and tomato-colored walls fool you; La Sardine serves serious French fare for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. This is a popular restaurant in a busy section of downtown Chicago and reservations and highly encouraged.
In addition to the regular menu, La Sardine also maintains a changing weekly menu and daily specials. Dishes include warm lobster salad, braised oxtail, a charcuterie platter with country pate, sweetbreads and the much-loved bistro standard, flat iron steak. The food is reasonably priced and diners can expect to pay around $30 for a three-course lunch and around $40 for dinner, excluding drinks.
Hot dogs and pizzas are staples in the culinary culture of Chicago; locals have their favorites and visitors should enjoy them as part of their overall travel experience. But man can’t live on pizza alone! When it’s time to enjoy a full dining experience and you want to visit one of Chicago’s many award-winning restaurants, stop in at Kiki’s, La Sardine or Cafe des Architectes for some of the best French cooking this side of the Seine.