There’s no denying that across the world French food is one of, if not the most, highly regarded cuisines around. A number of the most legendary chefs in history hail from France, which has deservedly given its food the status it has today. Famed for its big, bold flavours, its use of rich ingredients, and of course its elegance, there are very few places around nowadays where you can’t find some form of French food. You may wonder whether a beef bourguignon or a tarte tatin ever tastes as good outside of France as the real thing. However, dishes like these have now been replicated so much, that it’s not difficult to find an authentic version thousands of miles away from France.
Dubai has one of the most diverse restaurant scenes there is and that includes a number of fantastic French restaurants. Coming in all shapes sizes, and price ranges, if you know where to look, you’ll find everything in Dubai from French-inspired fine dining establishments, to back street bistros and loud brasseries. What’s more, thanks to its reputation within the restaurant industry as a city, some of the biggest names in French cookery have started opening spots in Dubai.
The issue with Dubai being such a large city, is that it’s almost impossible to know where to start when you’re looking for a particular type of restaurant. How can you know whether a French restaurant is going to serve good quality, authentic food, or greasy rubbish? Well we’ve taken the stress out of it for you by putting together a guide below to the best French restaurants Dubai has to offer. From small French cafés serving amazing patisserie, to classy spots all about haute cuisine, you can be sure that all of these will have you ooh la la-ing.
Pierre's bistro & bar
What: There are just a handful of chefs around who have held three Michelin stars at some point in their career, and Pierre Gagnaire is one of them. Renowned for his French fusion style of cookery, his Dubai restaurant features a menu packed full of luxurious dishes such as a poached egg topped with caviar. Pierre's bistro & bar's interiors are as lavish as they are eccentric, with flashes of pink in every direction you look.
Where: Promenade Level, Festival City
What: If you’re wanting to try some French food which displays some real cookery skill, Bagatelle could be just the place. The luxurious dining room is decked out with velvet sofas, and is the ideal place to enjoy indulgent dishes on the menu such as poached lobster and foie gras terrine. Or, if you feel like going all out, why not try the whole truffle roasted chicken?
Where: The Fairmont,Sheikh Zayed Road
What: Based over at the Emirates Golf Club, the menu at Carine is all about French Mediterranean flavours, courtesy of local chef Izu Ani. The spacious dining room at Carine features floor-to-ceiling windows and also leads out onto a stunning terrace overlooking the golf course. Expect dishes on the menu such as onion tart, smoked salmon tartare, and salt baked seabass. Carine also offers a full breakfast menu as well if you want to start your day French-style.
Where: Emirates Golf Club, Off Sheikh Zayed Road
Entrecote Café de Paris
What: Famous for its incredible butter sauce which was invented in 1930 by patron chef Boubier, Café de Paris began its life in Geneva and has now come all the way over to Dubai. Just like at the original restaurant, there is only one option on the menu at this outpost in Dubai Mall and it’s an entrecote steak with green salad, French fries and the famous sauce flown all the way over from Geneva. You may be wondering what the big deal is, but many have said this is some of the best steak in the whole of Dubai, and we think it’s well worth a visit.
Where: The Dubai Mall, Lower Ground
What: Most famous for its original New York outpost, which has now been serving top notch French food with an Italian twist for over 40 years. La Cirque's Dubai restaurant is suitably classy given its location inside a five-star hotel, and looks out over a gorgeous terrace. Food-wise there's everything from showstopping breakfasts and afternoon teas, to contemporary dishes which will wow the taste buds.
Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Gate Village
What: Perhaps one of the things which the French are most famous for when it comes to food is their incredible patisserie and pastry skills, and that is just what La Farine is all about. Translating literally as ‘flour’ in French, this French-style café-cum-bakery not only offer a number of amazing cakes and sweet treats but also make their own baguettes – perfect for lunches.
Where: JW Marriott Marquis, Sheikh Zayed Road
STAY by Yannick Alléno
What: Another restaurant under the guidance of a chef who holds three Michelin stars, STAY by Yannick Alléno is based within luxury beach resort The Palm. Offering an innovative menu, which features a number of familiar French flavours lifted by modern techniques, STAY also gives diners the choice of a tasting menu. Dishes here change often based on seasonal availability of ingredients.
Where: West Crescent, Palm Jumeirah
La Cantine du Faubourg
What: French restaurants in Dubai don’t come much cooler than La Cantine du Faubourg. The slick design and upbeat ambience give this spot a real buzz. As if that weren’t enough, the food is also particularly delightful. Highlights on the French-led menu include pan seared foie gras with a spiced date chutney, as well as traditional escargots coming lathered in garlic. This is a great spot to come with a group of friends when you’re not looking for somewhere overly formal.
Where: Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road
LPM (La Petite Maison)
What: There are now offshoots of La Petite Maison in various different continents but that doesn't stop Dubai's LPM, which can be found in the financial district, from being packed to the rafters most evenings. Book in advance to enjoy dishes such as duck with orange sauce, and coquelet with confit lemon, served up with hefty sides of dauphinoise potatoes and green beans.
Where: Gate Village No. 8, DIFC
What: Based in The Dubai Mall, Angelina is predominantly a Parisian-style café and tearoom, and has been decorated appropriately both on the outside an in. However, if you're looking for a casual French lunch, Angelina also offers a wonderful range of traditional croques and quiches, as well as a short menu of more substantial dishes such as lamb chops. If you can, you should try to leave space for one of Angelina's indulgent pastries and desserts, most of which come topped with some type of cream.
Where: Unit GF016 , The Dubai Mall, Fashion Avenue, Financial Center Road
BQ French kitchen & bar
What: Aiming to evoke the feeling of being in a classic french bistro, BQ French kitchen and bar has an air of sophistication to it while also serving hearty dishes that you can't fail to enjoy. Starters might include a classic French onion soup with Gruyere toast, while larger dishes on offer range from corn fed baby chicken with mushroom sauce and asparagus, to a wagyu beef burger.
Where: Sheikh Zayed Road Level 1, Habtoor Palace, Al Habtoor City
Bleu Blanc Oysters and Grill
What: Designed to have the feel of a French farmhouse, with a rustic touches a-plenty, Bleu Blanc is an ultra-chic French restaurant owned by Michelin-starred US chef David Myers. His menu covers a lot of ground, from simple dishes like bouillabaisse, to a number of meaty dishes cooked over the restaurant's wood-fired grill. The seafood on offer here is particularly worth trying, with a selection of oysters available too.
Where: Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Business Bay
La Serre bistro & boulangerie
What: Decked out from top to bottom in white, La Serre's elegant dining room is the perfect spot to sit an enjoy the French-inspired menu on offer. Head down here for a traditional French breakfast or a mid-morning crepe, and make sure to try the beautifully fresh bread. If you're looking for something a little more major, then La Serre's restaurant menu covers everything from truffle-topped risotto, to frog legs.
Where: Vida Downtown, Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard
What: If you're looking for something a bit different from your classic French brasserie, or fine-dining vibe in Dubai, Publique offers a very fun alternative. Designed to resemble an alpine lodge of sorts, Publique's menu will transport you to the Alps with cheese and charcuterie a plenty. Go for the fondue which comes with a selection of beef cold cuts, and be sure to order a few cocktails on the side as well.
Where: Level 1, Souk Madinat Jumeirah
Couqley French bistro & bar
What: It would be hard not to know that you were inside a French bistro at Couqley French bistro & bar thanks to the classic décor; think exposed brickwork, red leather banquettes and gingham cushions. The food menu is just as traditional and features everything from a trio of tartares and baked truffle brie en croute for starters, to seabass en papillote and a raclette burger for mains.
Where: Mövenpick Hotel, Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Craving a bit of red meat? Check out our guide to the best steak restaurants in Dubai