French Connections

Bistro Versailles, Greenwich

339 Greenwich Avenue; 203-661-6634

A chic new interpretation of the Greenwich Avenue classic, this lively spot is popular for lunch and dinner bistro standards. Since it’s open all day, Bistro V makes a cozy pre- or post-shopping meeting place for coffee and pastries or a glass of wine. While you’re here, be sure to pick up something sweet from the authentic patisserie to bring home. Cakes and tarts are made daily on the premises; favorites include the Opera Cake, The Trio and the Montmarte.   

Must order:  The escargot, duck confit, beef tartare and poached salmon.

Deals: For $17.50, enjoy the lunch prix fixe of soup and entrée or entrée and dessert. On Wednesday nights, enjoy mussels, hand-cut French fries and a carafe of wine for $28.

L’escale, Greenwich

500 Steamboat Road, 203-661-4600

This elegant waterfront restaurant overlooking Indian Harbor serves as a prime location for people watching and yacht watching, as many boat owners like to sail here from all over Long Island Sound, tie up to the dock and enjoy drinks and a meal. With its South-of-France flavor, l’escale is set inside the luxe Delamar Hotel. A hotspot for drinks and appetizers in the lounge-y bar, there’s a reason the signature cocktail, with vodka, berries, elderflower liquor, lichee and lime is called “How to Marry a Millionaire.”

Must order: Oysters, tuna tartare, bouillbaise, Scottish salmon and grilled double lamb chops

Deals: Watch for specials with the gift certificates; in the past, l’escale has offered a $100 bonus with the purchase of a $500 gift certificate. Also don’t miss the prix fixe lunch and special wine dinners.

Meli-Melo, Greenwich

362 Greenwich Avenue, 203-629-6153

This casual café with its bright yellow exterior and art-studded walls is filled almost any time of day with shoppers and locals popping in for a quick bite. It’s not a place to linger or to have a private conversation—tables are set close together—but the consistently good French classics like the soups and crepes keep regulars hooked.  

Must order: French onion soup, Fish provencal soup with garlic crouton, raclette crepes, duck spring roll crepes, crepes suzette, homemade dulce de leche ice cream.

Deals: You can bring your own wine and there’s no corkage fee at this BYO spot.

Le Penguin, Greenwich

61 Lewis Street, 203-717-1200

In the colorful space with orange grasscloth walls, cobalt blue accents, and a martini-swilling penguin mascot, owner Antoine Blech presides over the dinner-party-like atmosphere. Le Penguin turns out faithful versions of French favorites, such as steak frites and pate de campagne in a seriously social setting; you may overhear your neighbor’s conversation but that’s part of the fun. Bring some friends and get involved—lingering over wine is encouraged.

Must order: Frisee aux Lardon, Salade de’archicauts, Moules Frites, Filet au Poivre, Ile Flottante dessert

Deals: Check out the nightly specials on the blackboard

Watch for the sister restaurant, Le Fat Poodle, opening soon in Old Greenwich

Thomas Henkelmann, Greenwich

420 Field Point Road, 203-869-7500

The most upscale, award-winning French restaurant in our area, this seriously romantic spot set in a historic boutique luxury inn in Belle Haven (recently named the top hotel in New England by Conde Nast Traveler) is choice real estate for celebratory meals. In the summer, the porch provides the ideal setting for a drink, overlooking the garden-like grounds.

Must order: Seared foie gras, Dover sole with scallops, Grenadin of veal with lobster risotto, crispy Long Island duck, Vacherin

Deals: While a meal here will set you back quite a bit, some people don’t realize you can come just for a cocktail. Toasting with a glass of champagne at the inside bar is plenty festive.

La Bretagne, Stamford

2010 West Main Street, 203-324-9539

A place where time stands still, this old-school restaurant just over the Stamford border offers a peaceful setting to indulge in timeless French delicacies. Though the restaurant tends to draw a more mature crowd, the food appeals to all ages.   

Must order: Cassolette de escargots, vichyssoise glace, coq au vin, rack of lamb

Deals: A prix fixe lunch with hors d’oeuvres, entrée and coffee or tea is a substantial meal for $24.

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