We owe a lot of our culinary terms to the French. Chefs, sommeliers and maître d’s? All français. The same goes for the front- and back-of-house structures of modern restaurants, which originated in eighteenth-century Paris.

As for French food itself, it often springs to mind when picturing restaurants and dining. Almost every chef started off training in classical French cooking, and for good reason: Gallic gastronomic techniques are the cornerstone of modern cookery. Melbourne has no shortage of excellent French restaurants worth your time. From brasseries and bistros, to bastions of both haute and nouvelle cuisine, here’s our selection.

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Bar Margaux

Walk down the nondescript staircase and let your eyes adjust. There’s no natural light at this bistro – that’s why it’s so easy to lose track of time.

Basement 111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

France Soir

This is about as French as a brasserie can be.

11 Toorak Road, South Yarra

Hell of the North

Elegant French food in a heritage-listed bluestone building.

135 Greeves Street, Fitzroy


Classic-but-contemporary dishes from Melbourne’s French-cuisine master.

115-117 Collins Street, Melbourne
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L'Hôtel Gitan

A gastro pub with fine-dining flair by the family Reymond.

32 Commercial Road, Prahran
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Bistro Gitan

Experience a variety of (mostly French) tastes and textures at Bistro Gitan, the Reymond family restaurant.

52 Toorak Road West, South Yarra
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Bon Ap'

A bistro all about bringing contemporary French dining to Melbourne.

193 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
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French Saloon Bar & Bistro

A very French city spot where you can snack and drink for hours on a balcony.

Level 1 46 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
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Bistro Guillaume

French dining from renowned chef Guillaume Brahimi.

Shop 7 Crown Complex 8 Whiteman, Southbank
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A local Richmond favourite.

175 Swan Street, Richmond

Entrecôte South Yarra

Steak frites and not much more. Also in the CBD.

133 Domain Road, South Yarra

The French Brasserie

A dependable brasserie serving French classics to the suited and booted.

2 Malthouse Lane, Melbourne