French Bistro Favourites: 8 Classic Recipes You Can Make at Home

French Bistro Favourites: 8 Classic Recipes You Can Make at Home

French bistros are known for their charming ambiance, warm hospitality, and, of course, their mouthwatering cuisine. Here, we present eight of the best but simple French bistro dishes that will tantalise your taste buds and leave you craving for more. Bon appetit!

French Onion Soup

French onion soup

The soup is topped with bread and cheese, then broiled until the cheese is melted and bubbly – Paola Westbeek

French onion soup is a classic French dish made with caramelised onions, beef broth, and bread topped with melted cheese. It’s a hearty and comforting soup perfect for chilly days. The dish originated as a simple peasant dish made from onions, stale bread, and water, but modern versions are of course more elevated. The key to making French onion soup is patience as the onions need to be cooked low and slow so that they sweeten and turn a rich brown caramel colour without burning. The soup is traditionally made with beef stock, but vegetarian versions can also be made using vegetable stock.

Croque Monsieur

Croque monsieur with salad

Croque Monsieur is a hot ham and cheese sandwich, done the French way – Marie-Laure Fréchet

A Croque Monsieur is a classic French bistro sandwich made with ham and cheese. The name comes from the French words “croquer” meaning “to bite” and “monsieur” meaning “mister.” The sandwich is traditionally made with ham and sliced cheese between slices of pain de mie, which is a type of white bread. The bread is then topped with grated cheese and slightly salted and peppered, before being baked in an oven or fried in a frying pan. The sandwich may sometimes be browned by grilling after being dipped in beaten egg. Gruyère is the traditional cheese used, but Comté or Emmental cheese can also be used. Some brasseries also add béchamel sauce to the sandwich. Croque Monsieur is a popular dish in French bistros and cafes and is often served as a quick snack.

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine is a popular dish in French bistros and cafes and is often served for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner

This classic French savoury tart originated in the Lorraine region of France, and it consists of a flaky pastry crust filled with a savoury egg custard, bacon or ham and cheese. The dish may also include cheese, caramelised onions and other fillings. This recipe makes use of feta for a unique twist to a classic dish. Originally, a quiche Lorraine was baked with a bread-dough case similar to that now used for pissaladières and pizzas, but in modern versions, shortcrust or puff pastry is generally used.

Niçoise Salad

Salad nicoise with eggs and tomatoes

Capture the taste of sunshine in a bowl with a salad Nicoise

Salad Nicoise is a classic French salad that originated in the city of Nice in the Provence region of France. The salad is typically made with a variety of raw vegetables, including tomatoes, green beans, and onions, as well as hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives and anchovy filets. Other common ingredients include tuna (canned or fresh), garlic, capers and artichoke hearts. The salad is typically dressed with olive oil and a lemon vinaigrette. This particular recipe comes from former Nice mayor and food enthusiast Jacques Médecin.

Croque Madame

Croque madame

Pop a fried egg on top of your sandwich to transform it into a croque madame

If you thought we forgot to mention the glorious Croque Madame, fear not! It’s made with the same ingredients as the Croque Monsieur, but with the addition of a fried or poached egg on top. It might sound simple but it really adds to the taste and further elevates a quick snack, try it out and see!

Steak Frites

Steak with chips

Steak frites is a popular dish in French brasseries

Steak frites is typically made with beef steak and deep-fried potatoes, also known as pommes frites or les frites. There are various ways of preparing this dish with different cuts of beef, seasonings, and sauces. The most classic cuts of beef used for steak frites are New York strip steak or ribeye, but other cuts of steak can also be used. The dish is often served with various sauces, such as béarnaise sauce or garlic aioli. Steak frites is a simple yet delicious dish that has become a French classic due to its popularity in brasseries and cafes, and it’s often considered Belgium’s national dish. This particular recipe is paired with a mushroom and wild blueberry sauce…


Ratatouille in a red dish

Ratatouille is one of France’s most famous dishes

Ratatouille is a French Provençal dish of stewed vegetables that originated in Nice and is sometimes referred to as ratatouille Niçoise. The preparation and cooking methods for ratatouille can vary, but the general process involves stewing the vegetables together until they are tender and the flavours have combined. Ratatouille can be served as a main dish, a side dish, or even as a topping for pasta or crostini. It is a versatile and delicious dish that showcases the flavours of fresh summer vegetables.

Moules Frites

Mussels with chips

Moules frites is a classic dish that consists of mussels and chips – James Martin

The mussels are typically steamed in a flavourful broth made with white wine, butter and shallots, creating a delicious and aromatic base for the dish. They’re then served with a side of crispy chips, which complement the mussels perfectly with their saltiness. The mussels are arranged in a large bowl or pot, and the broth is poured over them. The dish is often garnished with fresh herbs, such as parsley, and served with a side of Dijon mayonnaise for dipping the fries. Pair these moules marinières from chef James Martin with your favourite thin or thick cut crisps and voila, you’re transported to a French port town in summer!

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Taste of France is a celebration of French cuisine in all its forms. Savour local produce in characterful markets, tour France in search of new foodie experiences and enjoy classic French food, wine and recipes.

Lead photo credit : Pixabay

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