These French Bistros Delight With Fine Dining in Westchester

Here’s where to go for steak frites and cassoulet if you can’t quite make it to Paris.

Whether you’re in the mood for a quick ham and cheese crêpe, weeknight coq au vin, or an elevated tasting menu worthy of a Michelin star, you’ll find it in Westchester. The county is home to a bounty of French restaurants, from the modern to the more old fashioned, and at all price points. Along with steak frites (offered at almost all these eateries), the common denominator is deliciousness.

For Two Restaurants in One:

La Bastide by Andrea Calstier and Cenadou Bistrot

North Salem

Cenadou Bistrot
Photo by Alex Staniloff
Cenadou Bistrot menu
Photo by Alex Staniloff

In France, the best restaurants are in the countryside, say Andrea Calstier, 29, and Elena Oliver, 28, the husband-and-wife co-owners of two new restaurants in the same building. “It’s very special to go to a region and visit a chef who really wants you to feel at home,” says Oliver, who serves as the general manager for both spots. “It’s a really full experience.”

The côte de boeuf at Cenadou Bistrot
The côte de boeuf at Cenadou Bistrot. Photo by Alex Staniloff.

At La Bastide (which offers fine dining downstairs), experience an elevated, innovative, and modern four- to six-course tasting menu worthy of multiple Michelin stars. Immersed in the comfortable, stylish, and intimate dining room, watch Chef Calstier and his small team prepare show-stopping dishes like Maine lobster with wild rice, orange blossom, and sauce coraline; and veal short loin with mushroom, sweetbreads, and veal jus cappuccino. Every detail, from the olive oil-topped quenelles of butter to the ceramic serving pieces, is pure perfection. Meanwhile, more informal Cenadou (on the main level), offers authentic and soulful versions of Provencal classics, like baked sea bass (with saffron potatoes, grilled fennel, and preserved tomato sauce vierge), steak frites, and ile flottante (a dessert of meringue floating in crème anglaise).

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Cenadou Bistrot
Photo by Andre Castier

Whichever you choose, you’ll experience Oliver’s hospitality, professionalism, and exquisite taste and Calstier’s intelligence, creativity, and expert culinary technique. After growing up in Marseilles, he honed his craft cooking at several Michelin-starred restaurants in France, then Daniel Boulud and Papilles in New York City (he and Oliver ran the latter from 2018 to 2022). Along with a focus on seasonal ingredients, Calstier should be recognized for his masterful sauces. “Sauce is the link between ingredients and what makes a good dish a great dish,” he says. And great his dishes are — both Martha Stewart and Daniel Boulud are fans. So are we, in spades.

If the South of France Is Your Happy Place:

Le Provencal Bistro

Mamaroneck

Le Provencal Bistro
Photo courtesy of Le Provencal Bistro

“People say they feel like they’ve stepped into France when they come in,” says co-owner Henri Nasto, who moved to the US at age 18 and bought the restaurant in 2018. The décor is French country, featuring lemon-yellow walls, a gold phone, and an antique clock. Meanwhile, the Southern French fare is equally authentic, with classic bistro dishes (like steak frites, coq au vin, and escargots) along with Mediterranean French favorites, such as sautéed shrimp Provencal (with white beans and broccoli rabe) and Provencal onion tart. “We make all our sauces and stocks from scratch using classical French technique — no shortcuts,” Nasto says. He recommends trying the lobster bisque, house-made foie gras, beef bourguignon, duck confit, and salmon.

Le Provencal Bistro menu
Photo courtesy of Le Provencal Bistro

If You’re Craving Stylish Comfort:

Micheline

Scarsdale

Classic steak au poivre at Micheline
Classic steak au poivre at Micheline. Photo by Eric Medsker.

“I wanted the restaurant to be everyday but special, like a day-to-night dress,” says its warm and personable owner, Jonathan Aubrey. He nailed it: Opened in September 2023, the elevated bistro is both sophisticated and welcoming. The space is lofty, with a prominent zinc-topped bar, coffered ceiling, banquettes, café chairs, and wide-plank wood floors. Meanwhile, the menu includes a balance of well-executed, generously portioned classics (steak au poivre, French onion soup, and crave-worthy fries with aioli) and the more innovative (lemon-cured mackerel on toast with sauce tartare mousseline and cured egg yolk; and the unforgettably delicious buttermilk-fried confit chicken thigh with Bavarian mustard sauce and Roquefort). Dessert is similarly refined: Try a fruit galette with the house-made ice cream or bittersweet chocolate fondant. “Our menu changes all the time,” says Aubrey, justifying frequent visits to this stellar new spot.

Best for Duck Lovers:

Bistro de Ville

Scarsdale

Bistro De Ville
Courtesy of Bistro De Ville

Fun is always on the menu at this bustling jewel box of a bistro from the team behind the Farmer & the Fish restaurants (farmerandthefish.com). Along with a convivial and sophisticated art deco-inspired atmosphere (with hand-painted goose feathers on the walls and a zinc-topped bar), you’ll find stellar and generously portioned renditions of the expected (like moules frites and boeuf bourguignon) and the less expected (like duck a l’orange, with crisp-skinned breast and confit). “We wanted to be a classic bistro and also bring something new to the table,” says Kevin O’Neill, one of the partner-owners. Don’t miss the meltingly tender duck liver mousse, sweet and juicy mussels in a buttery Sauvignon blanc broth, and steak frites. For dessert, go for the family-style chocolate mousse (or souffle, if it’s available as a special). Insider tip: if you’re a fan of poutine, visit on Monday nights, for their rendition featuring duck-fat fries, Gruyère, and duck-skin cracklings.

Bistro De Ville menu
Courtesy of Bistro De Ville
Bistro De Ville appetizer
Courtesy of Bistro De Ville

If You’re a Classicist:

Brasserie Le Steak

Larchmont

For 24 years, Bistro Le Steak, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, served bistro classics to regulars, including Mayor Bloomberg. After the pandemic, the family-owned restaurant changed its name to Brasserie Le Steak and moved to Westchester, opening in May 2022. “We have a reputation to uphold from our Manhattan years,” says owner Nicki Jakupi. The brasserie serves sirloin, ribeye, filet, steak frites, and burgers (try the house-made steak sauce, featuring Dijon mustard, white wine, tarragon, garlic, and shallots). However, it’s also known for its macadamia nut-crusted chicken with poached-pear salsa, shrimp St. Tropez (with tomato, artichokes, and basil), mussels, escargots, and frog legs. All the desserts, including lemon tart, crème brûlée, and chocolate mousse, are house made.

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Brasserie Le Steak
Photo by Andre Baranowski

For Barbecue Along With Bistro Fare:

Le Jardin du Roi

Chappaqua

“Some people say the only thing French about the place is the name,” says friendly and welcoming co-owner Joe Quartararo. “We have an identity crisis, but it works.” When the neighborhood institution opened in 2001, it was a bona fide French bistro — and still serves French classics, like cassoulet, Niçoise salad, steak frites, and boeuf bourguignon. But, over the years, the casual spot has adapted to its clientele, he says. During the 2008 financial crisis, when “everyone was cutting back,” they added American comfort-food dishes, such as meatloaf and burgers. After co-owner Cristiaan Lorson became an ace on the barbecue circuit, they introduced barbecue, later starting a barbecue truck, BBQ du Roi. “A restaurant is only 50 percent the food,” says Quartararo. “The other 50 percent is the hospitality and making people feel at home. We want everyone [to feel this] — from the guy who works at the post office to President Clinton,” he says.

Burgers and other comfort foods are on Le Jardin’s menu in addition to French classics.
Burgers and other comfort foods are on Le Jardin’s menu in addition to French classics. Photo courtesy of Le Jardin Duroi.

For a Quick Bite:

Petite Bretagne

Mamaroneck

“This is a restaurant on a human scale,” says owner Pierre-Yves Miton, who grew up in the Brittany region of France. “We offer a simple cuisine.” Think: sandwiches made on award-winning baguette (jambon beurre is the bestseller), sweet and savory crêpes, salads, pastries, and coffee drinks. After dining in or picking up food to go, peruse the grocery section for French cheese, chocolate, and more.

Petite Bretagne
Photo courtesy of Petite Bretagne

For Liveliness and Theme Nights:

Encore Bistro Francais

Larchmont

Encore Bistro menu
Photo courtesy of Encore Bistro

Twenty-four years ago, David Masliah, originally from Lyon, opened this casual, authentic French spot in Larchmont’s bustling downtown. Featuring bright yellow walls, tin ceiling tiles, and bold vintage prints, it offers a “lively bistro vibe when busy and a very romantic feel on slower days,” he says. Expect classic fare, such as steak frites, cassoulet, sweetbread, croque monsieur, and house-made fries. And, for a unique experience, visit on theme nights: Monday (for crêpes), Tuesday (mussels), and Wednesday (melted cheese in winter and tartare in summer). The $20 three-choice, three-course lunch menu (available Monday through Saturday) is a major draw, says Masliah.

Encore Bistro
Courtesy of Encore Bistro

From Burgers to Beluga: A Profile of…

Thomas Burke

Chef and Partner at Le Poisson by Chef Thomas Burke (formerly La Crémaillère)
Bedford

When Thomas Burke was in the seventh grade, his teacher told him something he’d never forget: “You’re a class clown. If you don’t get your act together, you’ll be flipping burgers for the rest of your life.” While her advice didn’t resonate at the time, it eventually inspired him to change the trajectory of his life.

Rewind to his birth in 1993, after which he was on a self-described downward path. Until the sixth grade, he lived in Hastings-On-Hudson with a family member who struggled with addiction. This was a difficult time, and he later moved to live with another relative. However, due to this guardian’s 80-hour workweeks, Burke spent most of his time outside school with friends.

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Thomas Burke in his happy place: Le Poisson’s kitchen
Thomas Burke in his happy place: Le Poisson’s kitchen. Photo courtesy of Le Poisson by Chef Thomas Burke.

At 14, Burke got a job as a busboy at a local restaurant and began to act out in school. As a high school sophomore, he was expelled for a full year. During this time, Burke continued working at restaurants and eventually earned his diploma via night school. At age 17, while he was flipping burgers at a diner, Burke remembered his teacher’s words, and decided to “never work at a restaurant that served burgers again.”

Instead, he pursued cooking at the highest level, working for and learning from culinary luminaries at Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City and California. From Thomas Keller at The French Laundry (where he began as a commis, taking out the trash and peeling vegetables), he absorbed an attention to detail. Meanwhile, Nancy Oakes at Boulevard taught him to “put love into your food”; Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin to “keep it simple”; and Dan Barber at Blue Hill at Stone Barns to focus on hyper-local, seasonal ingredients.

If only his former seventh grade teacher could see him now.
If only his former seventh grade teacher could see him now. Photo courtesy of Le Poisson by Chef Thomas Burke.

After a few years, Burke became an executive chef for the first time, opening a hotel-restaurant in Rhinebeck for famed chef, Charlie Palmer. Segueing to personal-chef work during the pandemic, he next became executive chef and CEO at La Crémaillère, leading its reopening. After two successful years, Burke was rewarded with the ultimate opportunity: to become a partner and open a new fine-dining restaurant of his own conception in the same space.

At Le Poisson by Chef Thomas Burke, launched this past March, Burke serves “seafood-forward, fine-dining French” fare. Inspired by Chef Ripert, he lets the seafood shine, using no more than three or four main ingredients per plate. “I love to cook seafood because I feel there is nowhere to hide,” he says. “The ingredients need to be of the highest quality, and the technique spot on.”

To Step Back in Time:

Saint George

Hastings-on-Hudson

Confit duck leg with frisée and cherries
Confit duck leg with frisée and cherries. Photos by Tiffany Keegan @breakfastattiffany.
Saint George
Photos by Tiffany Keegan @breakfastattiffany.

“We’re not trying to be clever, show off, or reinvent the wheel,” says Chris Vergara, chef and co-owner, of this bistro serving textbook-perfect classics. “The menu, wines, cocktails, and décor would all make sense a hundred years ago and will a hundred years from now.” Housed in an 1895 building, the intimate dining room features original tin walls and ceilings, vintage chairs, and an original 19th-century bar. Although the food is seriously good, the vibe is light-hearted, convivial, and casual: Saint George was named for Vergara’s pet rabbit, George. Start with the house-made pâté (with duck, pork, and pistachio), escargots with a buttery parsley sauce, and terrine de foie gras (a frequent special). Then, segue to the gnocchi Parisienne (made with cheese and potato), coq au vin, steak au poivre, and poulet frites. Don’t skip the pommes frites: “we’re often told they’re the best anyone has ever had,” Vergara says.

wine menu
Photos by Tiffany Keegan @breakfastattiffany.
Poached salmon and leek in a caviar beurre blanc.
Poached salmon and leek in a caviar beurre blanc. Photos by Tiffany Keegan @breakfastattiffany.

For a New American Spin:

Café Deux

Harrison

The bar at Café Deux
The bar at Café Deux. Courtesy of Cafe Deux.

Comfort is the focus at this open-all-day neighborhood spot near the Metro-North. Open since March 2023, it serves French standards (steak frites, brioche French toast, and escargots); American standbys (Wagyu beef and vegetarian burgers); and innovative dishes (tuna sashimi noodles and a cauliflower roast, featuring brandied prunes, citrus yogurt, chickpeas, mint, and cilantro). The menu is “inspired by traditional French and reimagined American comfort food that allows for global influence,” say the co-owners, sisters Charlotte Denoyer and Carrie Denoyer. Finish with their house-made chocolate cups (also sold through their chocolate company, Cupped Desserts), black and white souffle (available on Tuesday through Thursday nights), or chocolate caramel parfait. Don’t miss the seasonal craft cocktails and occasional cocktail classes.

Escargots with parsley, garlic, and baguette
Escargots with parsley, garlic, and baguette. Courtesy of Cafe Deux.

Dina Cheney is a lifestyle writer for numerous publications and brands, such as Good Housekeeping, Bankrate, and Nike, and has authored six cookbooks, including The New Milks.

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