62 Traditional French Dishes and Desserts

Fancy some French cuisine? French food is known for being one of the best in the world. Each of France 18 regions offers a wide variety of delicious traditional French dishes and desserts. When eating at a French restaurant, you may choose to go for a Menu Tradition or Découverte, a Formule or À la carte. Ordering French meals can turn out to be quite tricky so here are the main French dishes and desserts that you might want to understand!

If you are planning to have lunch or dinner at a French restaurant, download French Translator & Dictionary + on your iPhone or Android and take the following list of classic French food with you!

Appetizer / Entrée

Accras de morue or de légumes: Spicy cod fish or vegetable fritters
Coquilles Saint-Jacques: Scallops poached with mushrooms in white wine and gratinéed
Cuisses de grenouille: Frog legs fried with garlic and herbs (parsley, thyme)
Escargots: Snails baked in their shell with parsley and garlic butter
Foie gras: Duck or goose liver prepared into pâté
Œufs en meurette: Poached eggs in red wine sauce
Pâté en croûte: Pâté in a pastry crust
Soupe à l’oignon: Onion soup with bread served gratinéed with cheese on top
Soupe au pistou: Bean soup with lots of fine-chopped basil and garlic
Terrine de porc/sanglier/lapin/lièvre/canard: Pâté made with pork/wild boar/rabbit/hare/duck

Main course / Plat principal

Aligot: Mashed potatoes with melted fresh tomme cheese
Andouillette: Sausage made with chitterlings
Baeckeoffe: Mix of sliced potatoes and onions, cubed mutton, beef, and pork marinated overnight in white wine and slow-cooked in oven
Blanquette de veau: Veal stew in white wine and crème fraîche sauce
Bœuf Bourguignon: Beef stew in red wine
Boudin aux pommes: Blood sausage made from pig’s blood and fat with apples
Bouillabaisse: Stew of mixed Mediterranean fish with tomatoes and herbs
Brandade de morue: Mashed potatoes with salt cod, garlic and chives
Carbonade: Braised beef cooked into beer with vegetable, garlic and herbs
Cassoulet: Thick stew with white kidney beans, pork sausage and preserved duck or goose
Choucroute: Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) with sausages, salt pork and potatoes
Chou farci: Cabbage stuffed with meat
Confit de canard ou d’oie: Crispy preserved duck or goose cooked in its own fat
Coq au vin: Rooster braised in red wine with lardons and mushrooms
Daube: Braised beef cooked into red wine with vegetable, garlic and herbs
Encornets farcis: Squids stuffed with sausage meat and herbs
Flammeküche: Pie with thick layer of crème fraîche, lardons and onion
Fondue Bourguignonne: Pieces of beef dipped into a fondue pot filled with hot oil
Fondue Savoyarde: Cubes of bread dipped into a fondue pot filled with cheese and white wine
Gougère: Cheese in choux bun
Gratin dauphinois: Oven potatoes with garlic and crème fraîche
Hachis Parmentier: Mashed potatoes on top of a layer of minced meat served gratinéed
Jardinière de légumes: Vegetable stew
Magret de canard au miel: Duck breast fillet served with honey sauce
Moules marinières: Mussels marinated in white wine broth with parsley and shallots
Navarin d’agneau: Lamb and vegetable stew
Pissaladière: French version of the pizza covered with onions, olive
Pot-au-feu: Vegetables and cuts of meat boiled in a savory broth
Poule au pot: Chicken stuffed with vegetables and meat boiled in a savory broth
Quenelle: Flour, butter, eggs, milk and fish mixed and poached
Quiche Lorraine: Pie with lardons and lots of cheese
Ratatouille: Vegetable stew with aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic
Ris de veau: Calf sweetbread cooked with mushrooms in a creamy sauce
Rognons de veau flambés: Veal kidneys, usually in mustard sauce, flambéed with cognac
Sole meunière: Flavour coated sole in butter sauce with capers
Tartare de bœuf: Finely chopped raw beef mixed with onions or shallots, capers, pickles, served with egg yolk
Tarte flambée: Pie with thick layer of crème fraîche, lardons and onion
Tartiflette: Potato gratin with Reblochon cheese, cream and pork
Tripes à la mode de Caen: Chitterlings cooked in cider and calvados
Tripoux: Tripe braised with herbs
Truffade: Potatoes sautéed with garlic and fresh tomme cheese

Dessert / Dessert

Clafoutis: Thick flan-like batter with fruit, traditionally black cherries
Crème brûlée: Custard topped with caramelized sugar
Crêpe Suzette: Pancake with Suzette butter served with a caramelized sugar and butter sauce, with tangerine or orange juice, flambéed with Grand Marnier or Blue Curacao
Île flottante: Stiffly beaten egg whites on cold custard, covered with caramel
Kouglof: Traditional Alsatian brioche cake with almonds
Kouign-amann: Flaky pancake with high proportion of butter
Moelleux au chocolat: Chocolate cake with melted chocolate heart
Pain perdu: Bread soaked into a milk and egg mix, then fried in butter
Profiteroles: Choux buns filled with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or pastry cream, and smothered in hot chocolate sauce
Saint-Honoré: Puff pastry base, topped with pastry cream and whipped cream, surrounded by choux buns dipped in caramelized sugar
Tarte Tatin: Upside-down apple tart served with crème fraîche

Also, remember that when the waiter asks “Quelle cuisson pour votre viande ?” (How you would like your meat?), she/he is asking how cooked you want it.
There are several options:
• Bleue: very rare (practically uncooked!)
• Saignante: rare
• À point: medium rare
• Bien cuite: well-cooked

If we missed one of your favorite French dishes or desserts, don't hesitate to email us at info@vidalingua.com to let us know.

Bon appétit !

Christine Ducos-Restagno
Lead French Linguist