When thinking of French food, many people immediately think of rich, heavy dishes like coq au vin or Beef Bourguignon. But French cuisine is much more than that.
Sure, there are some hearty dishes that are perfect for a cold winter’s day. But there are also lighter fare such as salads and seafood dishes that are perfect for a spring or summer meal.
And while France is known for its fine dining, there are plenty of casual eateries where you can get a delicious meal without spending a fortune.
So whether you’re looking for an upscale dining experience or a casual meal, you’ll be able to find it in France.
The History of French Cuisine
French cuisine has a long and rich history. Some of the earliest evidence of French culinary traditions date back to the 9th century, when early French chefs began to develop their own unique style of cooking.
By the 14th century, French cuisine had evolved into a more refined and sophisticated style that was influenced by both Italian and Spanish cuisine.
Over the centuries, French cuisine has continued to evolve and change. New ingredients and cooking techniques have been introduced from other cultures, making French cuisine one of the most diverse and interesting in the world.
Today, French chefs are still innovating and creating new dishes that are enjoyed by people all over the world.
25 Best Traditional and Modern French Foods
There are many traditional French dishes that are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Some of the most popular dishes include coq au vin, ratatouille, and bouillabaisse.
Modern French cuisine has taken traditional dishes and given them a twist, making them more exciting and flavorful than ever before.
Here are 25 best traditional and modern French foods which you can try while visiting France or to make them yourself at home:
1. Salmon En Papillote
Salmon en papillote is a classic French dish in which the fish is cooked in a parchment paper pouch. This method of cooking allows the salmon to retain its moisture and flavor, making it a perfect option for a healthy and delicious meal.
To prepare salmon en papillote, start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then, Cut two pieces of parchment paper into heart shapes and place them on a baking sheet. Next, evenly divide 1/2 pound of thinly sliced salmon between the two hearts.
Top the salmon with 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
Finally, fold the parchment paper over the salmon to form packets and bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
2. Coq au vin: One Most Popular French Food
Coq au vin is a French food made with chicken, wine, and vegetables. The chicken is usually braised in red wine and served with mushrooms, onions, and bacon.
This dish is typically made with a rooster or older chicken, as they have more flavor. Coq au vin can be traced back to the Roman Empire, where it was known as “pullum in vino,” or “chicken in wine.”
This dish is popular in the Burgundy region of France and is often served during special occasions. While it takes some time to prepare, coq au vin is relatively easy to make.
There are many variations of this dish, so feel free to experiment with different ingredients. Bon appetit!
There are few things more French than ratatouille. This dish, typically made with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and garlic, is a staple of Provençal cuisine. It’s perfect for a summer meal, served either hot or cold.
Ratatouille is believed to have originated in the 18th century in the Niçoise town of Nice. It was originally a poor man’s dish, made with whatever vegetables were on hand. Today, it remains a popular dish among both the rich and the poor.
While ratatouille is typically made with summer vegetables, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy it year-round. Just use whatever vegetables are in season. Ratatouille is a versatile dish that can be served as a side or as a main course.
4. Bouillabaisse: One of the most popular French foods
Bouillabaisse is a quintessential French seafood dish that originates from the Mediterranean port city of Marseille.
This flavorful soup is typically made with a variety of seafood such as lobster, shrimp, and fish, and is simmered in a broth seasoned with garlic, fennel, and saffron.
Bouillabaisse is often served with crusty bread and rouille, a mayonnaise-like sauce made with garlic, chili peppers, and olive oil.
5. Boeuf Bourguignon
Boeuf bourguignon is a French food that is typically made with beef, red wine, and mushrooms. The dish is often served with potatoes or other vegetables.
Boeuf bourguignon is usually a hearty, warming meal that is perfect for cold weather.
6. Quiche Lorraine
Quiche Lorraine is one of the best French foods. It is a savory custard pie made with eggs, cream, and bacon. The dish originated in the Lorraine region of France, and it is named after the city of Nancy.
Quiche Lorraine is a delicious and easy to make dish. It can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The recipe is simple: eggs, cream, and bacon are combined and baked in a pie crust. The result is a rich and flavorful custard pie that is perfect for any occasion.
If you are looking for a new recipe to try, Quiche Lorraine is a great option. It is sure to please everyone at the table.
7. Potatoes Dauphinoise: One of the most delicious French foods
There’s no doubt that potatoes are one of the most versatile and beloved ingredients in the world.
But when it comes to French cuisine, there’s one potato dish that stands out above the rest: Potatoes Dauphinoise.
This dish is made with thinly sliced potatoes that are layered in a baking dish with cream and garlic.
The result is a rich, flavorful, and absolutely delicious side dish that pairs perfectly with just about anything.
If you’re looking for a new potato recipe to try, Potatoes Dauphinoise is definitely worth a shot. Trust us, your taste buds will thank you!
8. Crepes Suzette
The classic French crepe is a thin pancake, usually made with wheat flour, milk, and eggs. The batter is cooked in a special pan or on a griddle, and then the crepes are often served with a sweet filling such as fruit, chocolate, or sugar.
Crepes Suzette is a variation of the classic French crepe that is made with orange juice, Grand Marnier, and butter. The crepes are soaked in the sauce and then flambéed with cognac before being served.
If you’re looking for a truly decadent French treat, look no further than Crepes Suzette. These rich and flavorful crepes are sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate.
9. Salade Landaise
When most people think of French food, they think of things like escargot, foie gras, and croissants. But there are plenty of other delicious French dishes out there too – like salade landaise.
Salade landaise is a salad that originates from the southwestern region of France known as Occitanie.
It typically includes ingredients like eggs, potatoes, bacon, and duck or goose gizzard. Some versions also include green beans or tomatoes.
The salad is usually dressed with a vinaigrette made with vinegar, oil, and herbs like thyme and parsley.
If you’re looking for a hearty dish to enjoy on a cold winter day (or any day), then be sure to give salade landaise a try!
10. Duck Pâté En Croûte
Duck Pâté En Croûte is a classic French dish that is perfect for a special occasion. The duck is first seared and then roasted, before being wrapped in a flaky pastry crust.
The result is a juicy and flavorful bird that is sure to impress your guests. Serve with a simple green salad and some crusty bread for a truly memorable meal.
Surely, it’s considered as one of the best French foods you should try today.
11. Butternut Squash Boulangère
The butternut squash boulangère is a classic French dish that is perfect for the fall and winter months.
This dish is made with thinly sliced potatoes, onions, and butternut squash, and is typically baked in the oven with beef or chicken stock.
The end result is a flavorful, hearty, and comforting dish that will warm you up on even the coldest of days.
12. Financier: Surely one of the best French foods
A financier is a French almond cake that is light, airy, and moist. It is made with ground almonds, egg whites, and confectioners’ sugar.
The cake is usually baked in a rectangular mold and then cut into small squares or bars.
Financiers are believed to have originated in the city of Lyon in the 19th century. They were originally made with hazelnuts instead of almonds.
The name “financier” comes from the shape of the mold in which they are baked, which resembles a gold ingot or bar.
Today, financiers are popular all over France and can be found in many bakeries and cafes. They make an excellent dessert or snack and can be enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea.
A terrine is a type of French dish that is typically made with pork, but can also be made with other meats like veal, poultry, or even fish.
It is a dish that dates back to the 18th century and was originally created as a way to preserve meat.
The meat is usually ground up and mixed with spices and other ingredients, then cooked in a mold before being served.
A terrine can be served cold or hot, and is often accompanied by pickled vegetables or a salad.
14. Chocolate Mousse
There are few French foods as classic, or as delicious, as chocolate mousse. This rich, chocolatey dessert is the perfect way to end a meal. And while it may seem complicated to make, it’s actually quite simple.
Here’s what you’ll need to make chocolate mousse:
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
To start, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until they’re light and fluffy. Then, add in the cocoa powder and vanilla extract and mix until everything is combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until everything is combined.
15. Soupe De Poissons
Soupe de poissons, also known as fish soup, is a French dish that typically features a variety of seafood in a tomato-based broth. It is often served with bread and cheese on the side.
This soup is said to originate from the Provence region of France, where fishermen would make use of whatever fish they had caught that day. Over time, the dish evolved to include a variety of seafood, including shellfish and squid.
While there are many different recipes for soupe de poissons, the dish typically includes some combination of fish stock, tomatoes, white wine, garlic, herbs (such as thyme or parsley), and various types of seafood. It is often garnished with croutons or crostini before serving.
16. Meuniére: One of the best French foods you should try
Meunière is a classic French dish that is simple to make and absolutely delicious. This dish is typically made with fish, but can be made with chicken or pork as well.
The key to making this dish is to get the perfect sear on your protein, and then to finish it off with a rich, buttery sauce.
Serve this dish with some steamed vegetables and a nice glass of white wine, and you’ll have a meal that feels truly luxurious.
17. Chicken Confit
French cuisine is world-renowned for its rich, decadent dishes. But what about the more simple, humble foods that make up the bulk of the French diet? One of these is chicken confit, a dish made by slow-cooking chicken in its own fat.
Chicken confit is a dish that originated in southwestern France. It was originally created as a way to preserve meat before the advent of refrigeration.
The chicken is first rubbed with salt and spices, then cooked slowly in its own fat. This process seals in the flavor and moisture, resulting in a succulent, fall-off-the-bone dish.
Chicken confit can be served on its own or used as an ingredient in other dishes. It pairs well with roasted potatoes or greens, and can be shredded and added to salads or sandwiches.
18. Spring Vegetable Stew
There are few things more comforting than a hearty stew on a cold day. And while there are many different variations of this classic dish, our favorite has to be the French version.
Loaded with fresh vegetables and plenty of flavor, this stew is the perfect way to welcome spring.
To make our version of this dish, we start by sautéing onions, garlic, and leeks in a bit of olive oil.
Then we add in carrots, potatoes, and turnips and let them cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.
Next, we add in some green beans and peas and let the whole mixture simmer until everything is cooked through.
Finally, we season it with salt and pepper to taste and serve it up hot with some crusty bread on the side.
This stew is the perfect meal for a chilly spring day.
19. Escargot: One of modern French foods to try
Escargot is a French dish consisting of cooked land snails. It is usually served as an appetizer or main course. The dish is often considered a delicacy, and it can be found in restaurants all over the world.
There are many different ways to prepare escargot, but the most common method is to bake them in a garlic-butter sauce.
This gives the snails a rich and savory flavor that is sure to please any palate. Escargot can also be served with a variety of other sauces, such as tomato or cream sauce.
If you are looking for a unique and delicious way to impress your guests, then look no further than escargot. This classic French dish is sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
20. Deviled Eggs With Crab
Deviled eggs are a classic French dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer or main course. There are many ways to make deviled eggs, but this recipe features crab for a unique twist.
To make these deviled eggs, start by boiling the eggs until they are hard-boiled. Then, carefully remove the shells and cut the eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks into a bowl and set aside the egg whites.
To the bowl of egg yolks, add mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt. Mash the yolks with a fork until they are smooth and well-combined. Then, fold in cooked crab meat.
Spoon or pipe the mixture into the egg whites. You can garnish them with fresh parsley or chives before serving.
A Croque-Monsieur is a savory French dish made of ham and cheese on bread, with a béchamel sauce. It is usually served hot, sometimes with a fried egg on top.
This classic French dish is perfect for a quick lunch or snack. The combination of salty ham and cheesy goodness is sure to satisfy any appetite. For an extra touch of decadence, try adding a fried egg on top. Bon appetit!
22. Lentil Salad With Pork Belly
Lentil salad is a popular dish in France and is often made with pork belly. This dish is a great way to use up leftover pork and is perfect for a light lunch or dinner. The salad can be served warm or cold and is best when the lentils are slightly al dente.
To make the salad, simply cook the lentils in water or stock until they are tender. Then, add in any desired vegetables, such as diced carrots, celery, and onions. Finally, top with crumbled bacon or pancetta and a drizzle of your favorite vinaigrette.
23. Poulet Basquaise: Classic and one of the tasty French foods
Poulet Basquaise is a classic French dish that features chicken cooked in a tomato and pepper sauce.
It’s a simple dish to prepare, but the resulting flavors are complex and delicious. Serve this dish with some crusty bread and a glass of red wine for a perfect evening meal.
Crépes are a type of very thin pancake that originates from France. They are made from a variety of different flours, but the most common is wheat flour.
Crépes can be either savory or sweet, and are often served with a variety of fillings. Common savory fillings include ham and cheese, while popular sweet toppings include sugar, chocolate, and fruit.
Crépes are typically cooked on a special griddle called a crepe pan, which has slightly raised sides to prevent the crepes from sticking. Once cooked, the crepes are usually rolled or folded into various shapes.
While they may take some practice to perfect, making crepes at home is relatively easy and only requires a few simple ingredients. So why not give them a try?
A tartiflette is a traditional French dish from the Haute-Savoie region of France. It is made with potatoes, onions, bacon, and reblochon cheese. The dish is baked in a special ceramic dish called a tatin dish.
The origins of the tartiflette are unknown, but it is thought to date back to the 19th century. The name “tartiflette” comes from the word “tarte”, which means pie in French. It is likely that the dish was originally made with leftover potatoes and cheese that were baked in a pie crust.
The tartiflette became popular in the 20th century, when ski resorts in the Alps started serving it as a hearty meal for skiers. Today, it is still a popular dish in mountain resorts and is often served with a green salad and baguette.
Wrapping Up: Best French Foods to Try!
Those are just a few of the many traditional and modern French foods that are sure to please any palate. So next time you’re in France, be sure to try at least one (or all) of these delicious dishes!
Those French cuisines are simply some of the best in the world. From classic dishes like coq au vin and ratatouille to newer creations like foie gras and truffles, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
And while French food may have a reputation for being rich and heavy, there are plenty of lighter options available as well.
So whether you’re looking for a gourmet meal or a simple snack, be sure to give French cuisine a try – you won’t be disappointed.