When it comes to vacation spots at the top of my bucket list, France leads the pack. (And Camille’s Paris city guide makes it all the more tempting.) But truly every part of the country—from the French Alps to the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean—is full of incredible history, architecture, art, and charm. But most importantly, as I’m sure we can all agree, France boasts a beautifully diverse and distinct culture of cuisine. And while it isn’t always a walk in the park to find the taste of France in your hometown, it isn’t hard to happen upon a stand-out French restaurant in Austin.
It’s no secret that Austin has some of the best restaurants around. And, of course, as food lovers and journalists intent on uncovering the tastiest dishes and dreamiest spots in our city, we’ve visited and tested them all. But in our growing and ever-evolving city, new restaurants are popping up all the time—and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. That’s why we’re always out and about, doing our due diligence to find the restaurants, cafés, brunches, and bars that immediately transport our tastebuds to Europe. Think of this guide to the best French restaurants in Austin as a mini vacation, right at your doorstep.
Featured image by Hannah Haston.
The Best French Restaurants in Austin
When I first moved to Austin, I was surprised to discover how many places in Austin incorporate French culture into their overall vibe. And though it won’t be the same as if I’m standing in the Louvre itself eating my croissant, I’ll take what I can get until I jet off on my dream trip. Without further ado, let’s dive into our list of the best French restaurants in Austin.
Best for Late Night: Justine’s Brasserie
There’s truly no better place to go for a French-inspired late-night meal than Justine’s Brasserie. With its bordello-red walls, dreamscape lighting, and picturesque courtyard strewn with disco balls, it’s no wonder chefs like to come here for after-hours moules frites, escargots with parsley, and a thumping DJ set. It’s like being instantly teleported to a French brasserie, without leaving the East side of town.
Best for Pastries: Elizabeth Street Cafe
Although Elizabeth Street is famous for its banh mí sandwiches and noodles, they make the best croissants in town, too. The colorful cafe is quintessentially French –with patrons chatting over espresso and homemade French pastries in the sunny dining room or shady garden patio — it’s an afternoon delight like no other.
Most Instagrammable Charm: Epicerie
Épicerie is a charming and delicious neighborhood cafe for casual French-Louisiana-inspired dining and takeout gourmet treats. Its ivy-covered cottage can be easily mistaken as a residential bungalow, but one step inside and you’re transported to a chic and friendly cafe with a French-inspired menu.
Special Occasions: Lutie’s
Overlooking a breathtaking garden surrounded by a cozy-chic interior, enjoying a bite at Lutie’s is undeniably worth the wait. Everything on their menu is intriguing and enticing. From Crème Caramel to Confit Pork, these upscale French-inspired dishes do not disappoint.
Best Farm-to-Table: Foreign & Domestic
Foreign & Domestic is one of those restaurants that always has a spot on my list of favorite dining experiences. Their menu changes seasonally and reflects dishes chosen by their own chefs. Some of their best dishes with beautifully incorporated French ties are the Parisian Gnocchi and the 44 Farms Bavette Steak.
Quick Bite: Texas French Bread
Texas French Bread is an Austin favorite that’s been around since 1981, starting out as a scratch bakery and expanding to include sandwiches and brunch classics. In 2022, their main location experienced a devastating fire, but business continues to boom at their 1971 Airstream food trailer. Whether it be for breakfast, lunch, or an on-the-go snack, their croissants are always the way to go.