Where to eat French food in Melbourne

Ben and Dominique Portet

Bastille Day falls on a Saturday in 2018. What better excuse to sample one of Melbourne’s excellent French restaurants? And who better to advise on the city’s best Gallic restaurants than the oh-so-French Portet family, Yarra Valley winemakers with a grape-growing legacy dating back to 18th century France.

Ben Portet is a 10th generation vigneron at Dominique Portet Wine in Coldstream, following in the footsteps of his father Dominique, along with his uncle and grandfather. These are the places Ben and Dominique seek out for a taste of France in Melbourne:

  1. Bistro Thierry

    1. Bistro Thierry
    2. 511 Malvern Rd, Toorak, (03) 9824 0888
    3. Ben: “Great French bistro atmosphere with excellent choice of hard-to-find French wine. Staff always give you that personal French touch at the table – and it’s always packed.”
    4. Dominique: “They have THE best steak tartare in Melbourne.”
  2. Philippe

    1. Philippe
    2. 115 Collins St, Melbourne, (03) 8394 6625
    3. Ben: “To me, Philippe is the king of French cuisine in Melbourne. His cooking is delicate, refined and classical. A master.”
    4. Dominique: “I will always order his great rotisserie chicken.”
  3. France Soir

    1. France Soir
    2. 11 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, (03) 9866 8569
    3. Ben: “I’ve been going here longer longer than I can remember and I’ve never had anything except the steak frites.”
    4. Dominique: “For me, they have the most consistent steak frites. It’s an institution.”
  4. Bistro Guillaume

    1. Bistro Guillaume
    2. Crown Riverwalk, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank, (03) 9292 5777
    3. Ben: “A go-to for classical French ambience and Guillaume is a seriously talented chef.”
    4. Dominique: “For me, they always serve excellent fish dishes.”
  5. French Saloon

    1. French Saloon
    2. First Floor, 46 Hardware Lane, Melbourne, (03) 9600 2142
    3. Ben: “It’s simple French cuisine and I like the cool, rustic atmosphere and great vibe here.”
    4. Dominique: “The cuisine is delicious. So simple yet so tasty. A go-to in Melbourne’s CBD.”
  6. And furthermore…

    1. Dominique Portet
    2. 870 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream, 03 5962 5769
    3. The Portet family will have their own Bastille Day celebrations at their winery on the weekend of July 14-15, offering a three-course menu in the cellar door bistro for $65. Charcuterie and smoked Yarra Valley trout blinis will be followed by a traditional cassoulet, finishing with crème caramel or tart aux pommes. Bookings essential.
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Where to eat French food in Melbourne