It's not tricky to live so Frenchy, so chic in Melbourne. Degas is splashed on the walls of our gallery, the Taste Champagne festival is on its way and you don't have to stroll too far to find a buttery pastry. Plus, if you squint hard enough, the Arts Centre spire could just double for that other iconic tower. As Bastille Day approaches, there's even more of an excuse to explore our list of the latest and greatest French restaurants in Melbourne.
A friend of mine likens Lune's ham and gruyere croissant to a "religious experience." Totally worth the queues and potentially braving the lines again for round two. The New York Times agrees, recently hinting the croissants here could be the world's best. If you can't bear to miss out, attempt to secure a ticket (you'll need to be speedy) to the "Lune Lab" where you'll be in for a three-course pasty degustation.
All you can eat French Fries. If that's not enough to lure you into Entrecote's South Yarra outpost the leafy views from the balcony or the primo poodle-watching from the terrace should sweeten the deal. Sometimes you just need to split a bottle of Mumm, a porterhouse steak and Entrecote (ironic) chi chi vibe to make life seem pretty close to parfait.
Pardon My French Creperie
Cute name, delectable crepes! Due to their popularity, Pardon My French moved from a South Melbourne Market stall to a permanent cafe at the Paris end of Chapel Street. For the sweet-tooths they brought with them the likes of their Nutella, Cinnamon Doughnut and PB&J-filled crepes. It's a cute little date spot that's handily open late.
Chef Philippe Mouchel has just taken over the former Brooks of Melbourne site—happily hidden underneath the Paris end of Collins Street—to create the newest French hotspot in Melbourne. The basement space now features shards of natural light, white linen and walls sprouting leafy greens. The resulting bistro, Philippe, features a classically French menu of dishes like crispy-skin roast chicken anointed with truffles (they need two days prior-warning), escargot and four types of steak if you include the new-fangled tartare.
This bar and bistro—named for the garden of Luxembourg in Paris, not Luxembourg the country—is the perfect place in which to ponder your next trip to France over caviar-laden potato skins. Come 'Le Cinq a Sept' (Luxembourg's daily happy hour from five to seven) I wish many a half-price oyster and budget-friendly Spritz upon you.
Le Petit Gateau
Chef Pierrick Boyer is Insta-famous for his cake creations (his adorable Jack Russell terriers and penchant for expensive watches probably help, too). You can drool over the high-gloss tarts and oozing chocolate on his feed and then taste them in real life at Le Petit Gateau. Just say oui to LPG's signature cake combo of brownie, praline, passionfruit custard, and chocolate mousse.
Another new addition to Melbourne's Parisian scene is international chef Gontran Cherrier's Collingwood bakery and cafe. Alongside traditional croissants and baguettes are some surprises: bacon and eggs on a squid ink buns, miso rye bread, and choux pastry spiked with lemon myrtle. Be there early for the Brulee French Toast.
Continue the wining after a trip to Kirk's by climbing upstairs to the marvellous French Saloon. The space has a laid-back Euro style in both decor and vibe designed for long, lazy afternoons chewing the fat (perhaps debate the wisdom of painting your ceilings at home bright red) over rich cassoulet and glasses of Lillet Blanc. And do check out their gorgeous little balcony if the weather's fine.
My most Francophilic friend visits La Niche when the urge to up stumps and fly to Paris takes hold. The coffee shop packs many charms into its cosy space (you can spread your legs in the courtyard if need be). They do all-day comfort food from cheesy Croque Monsieur sandwiches, to tender confit duck to happy-making potato tartiflette. You'll likely find some smooth live blues, folk or pop music and the odd art show here too. Order a latte (or an absinthe) and pretend you're in Montmartre.
Want more of the best French restaurants in Melbourne? Here's one we prepared earlier!
Image credit: Philippe