3 Best French Restaurants in Charlotte
Duck confit at Waxhaw’s Le Cochon d’Or.
The No. 1 restaurant on our most recent Best New Restaurants list, Aix en Provence has continued to impress. The size of the restaurant—it seats about 40 guests—allows a level of control that you won’t find in bigger dining rooms. At least one of the restaurant’s owners, Patrick Garrivier or Bryan St. Clair, interacts with diners each night, keeping a close eye on the tables. In the kitchen, chef Nicholas Tarnate serves French countryside classics, meaning the menu also draws inspiration from nearby Italy and Spain, as well. Expect classics such as cassoulet, rich pastas, and paella, each equally delicious, making this menu a tough one to choose from. Each dish during menu development has to pass the palate of Garrivier, who grew up in France and worked for renowned French-born New York chef Daniel Boulud. The owners announced the opening of a second restaurant, Le Cochon D’Or, in Waxhaw this winter, taking over the former Heritage Food & Drink space. 545 Providence Rd., Ste. B, 704-332-1886.
“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world,” sings Eddy Glaudin as he glides his fingers along a keyboard in the Waxhaw dining room. The French restaurant, opened by Patrick Garrivier (whose Aix en Provence restaurant was on our list of Best New Restaurants in 2017), took over the intimate space after chef Paul Verica closed Heritage. Garrivier’s menu takes diners to the regions of Burgundy, Lyon, and Alsace with seasonal dishes such as Boudin Blanc, foie gras, and triggerfish with escargots. A wonderful world, indeed. 201 W. South Main St., Waxhaw, 704-256-5382.
French food had a moment this year, especially if the crowds at uptown’s La Belle Helene tell us anything. There’s a lot to take in at LBH: the massive, bull’s-eye chandeliers hanging above, the rotisserie chickens twirling gently on a spit, the bartenders pouring the gin-based South Side cocktail. But there’s even more to eat; try a mix of pour commencer and plats from its Parisian menu, piloted by chef Michael Rouleau. 300 S. Tryon St., Ste. 100, 704-969-2550.