France is renowned for many things—its language, iconic tourist attractions, shopping scene, and of course, food. In fact, French cuisine even earned a spot on UNESCO’s World Intangible Heritage.
For many tourists, their introduction to French dishes is made through haute cuisine and fine dining. While there’s nothing wrong with them, some of the must-try French food is best served at hole-in-the-wall restaurants and unassuming food stalls in the streets.
To guide you on your foodie trip to France, here’s a list of the 9 must-try French dishes and places—both fancy and affordable—where you can find them!
9 Mouthwatering French Dishes to Try When Visiting France
1. Boeuf bourguignon
Are you up for some typical French food? Try the boeuf bourguignon or beef burgundy.
This traditional French dish hails from Burgundy in eastern France, hence the name. It is a beef stew braised in red wine and beef broth. It is typically flavored with seasoned vegetables such as carrots, mushrooms, and pearl onions.
You can find one of the tastiest boeuf bourguignon at the Parisian restaurant, Le Cabanon De La Butte. Enjoy the fresh dish and the beautiful view of Paris while you’re there!
Cassoulet is a rich casserole made from white beans, pork skin, and meat. Traditionally, the meat used is pork or duck but it can also be a goose, mutton, or sausages. It is a staple food in many French homes, especially during colder months.
The name of this French dish comes from the traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, where it’s usually baked in.
For one of the best-tasting cassoulets in France, head over to La Fontaine de Mars. Aside from the cassoulets, the restaurant also serves specialty dishes from southern France.
Escargots, or snails in English, might be a strange dish for most tourists, but in France, they are a popular delicacy.
This unique French dish is typically served in their shells that are paired with garlic and butter. Flavor-wise, they taste like most clams and oysters but with a richer flavor.
If you’re looking for an affordable place to taste these snails, dine in at Le Cabanon De La Butte.
4. Confit de canard
Confit de canard is a must-try French dish made from duck, although some chefs also use goose or pork. The duck meat is marinated in salt, garlic, and thyme for around 36 hours and then slow-cooked (confit) at low temperatures.
This tasty French dish is usually served with roasted potatoes and garlic on the side. It can easily be found all over France. However, to taste an authentic version, you should visit the Gascony region where this dish originated.
For those who are in Paris, though, you can still try the confit de canard served at Chef René Restaurant. It is highly recommended by locals.
5. Chocolate soufflé
The French also prepares some of the best desserts around the world. A staple dessert on international menus today is the chocolate soufflé.
The word “soufflé” means “to blow” and as the name suggests, it is a light, airy dessert with a crispy crust. Inside, it is filled with creamy chocolate that oozes out with every bite.
Check out Le Soufflé restaurant in Paris to satisfy your cravings. Aside from their classic chocolate soufflé, you can also order savory ones.
Flamiche is not your typical sweet French dessert. Its name comes from the Flemish word which means “cake” and originated from northern France.
This savory dish is characterized by a puff pastry crust filled with cream and leeks. Some variations are made of cheese and vegetables for a richer taste.
A classic restaurant that serves this French dish is La Flamiche in Paris. It even offers special menus with wine, so visit this restaurant if you want to try the typical French dining experience.
Another popular French dessert is macarons. Originally, these small meringues filled with ganaches are fairly unknown until supreme patissier Pierre Hermé reinvented these.
In his version, he added different flavors like lemon, orange, lychee, rose, and raspberry that compliment French taste buds. Today, you can find this French pastry served around the world but nothing beats Parisian macarons.
Try Pierre Hermé’s macarons yourself on his several restaurants situated in Paris. You’ll surely keep coming back for more!
You may know ratatouille from the Disney movie with the same name. But this French dish has long been iconic in France.
Ratatouille is a French stew that originated in Provence. It is made of vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper) that are fried in a shallow pan and then layered in a casserole dish. For the final cooking touch, it is baked in an oven. It can be served as a side dish, appetizer, or main course.
Most restaurants in France serve ratatouille on their menus. However, one of the most praised restaurants is the Chez Janou in Paris as they cook this French dish in a traditional way.
9. Steak Frites
Do not leave France without tasting this quintessential French dish!
It simply means “steak and fries” in French. And while this cuisine is pretty straightforward, it’s still a must-try especially when you’re visiting Paris.
You can easily find steak frites on every French bistrot menu. But for the best dining experience, head over to Le Relais de l’Entrecôte. This bistrot only serves steak frites made with unique ingredients (green salad with walnuts, secret sauce, tender beef tenderloin, and homemade fries).
The French, without a doubt, excel at creating tasty food using simple ingredients. It tells a lot about their history and culture. So, whether you want to get to know the country more or simply satisfy your cravings, don’t forget to try these 9 French dishes when visiting France!
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