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French Restaurants – Raoul’s NYC

Sometimes it’s our job to remind you of just what great restaurants we have in NYC. Case in point: Raoul’s. This isn’t a new restaurant (it’s been around since the 1970s).  But with the nightly wait to score a table, even with the expanded capacity of outdoor dining, you would think it is. Here’s the review to remind you why Raoul’s should always be on your Soho list.

The Overview

This restaurant has been around since the 70s, and there’s a reason why.  Raoul’s survived the riots, bar brawls that literally tore apart their furniture, the gentrification of Soho and the riots again.  Oh, and a pandemic.  Raoul’s is one of the city gems that may just have gotten better with time.  It’s also one of the reasons New York’s restaurant scene is so special.

The Atmosphere

The interiors of Raoul’s are so authentically Parisian, they outdo even some of the French bistros in France.  The setting is dark, sexy and exactly where you want to have that classic late night New York meal. It’s an honest French bistro when it comes down to it.  Raoul’s is a great 2nd or 3rd date spot.

They did up their outdoor dining with a proper covered structure on Prince Street, which added at least 20 comfortable tables.  Clearly though there was demand, as the line to get a table is always packed.  Brunch is where to be al fresco and dinner is best inside.

Raoul's Beignets

The Food

They’re not getting a Michelin star at Raoul’s anytime soon, but food is always a solid. It’s as classic French fare as it gets, but the execution is on point.  The crab beignets, which are bite size fried bits, are a favorite on the list. On a recent visit, we were happy to see the simple artichoke vinaigrette back on the menu.  You could easily eat two orders of the artichoke guilt-free.

The classicism of their food is showcased with the most simple salads.   The Boston lettuce with shaved radish has the perfect dressing that’s challenging to replicate at home.  The frisee with lardons and a poached farm egg is made their own with pistachios.  They don’t skimp on the quality of ingredients at Raoul’s.

Raoul's Frisee Salad

If you’re craving a steak frites, this is where to come, and order some extra au poivre sauce.  The moules frites (see the frites theme) also hits the spot for classic French fare.  They have a newer item – the Socca Crepe with a zucchini fondue and green tomato, that is perfect to share as a starter.  Or if you’re vegetarian then it’s a satisfying main.

No matter what path you take for dinner, all roads lead to the profiteroles.  They just do this right; no more, no less.  There’s also no judgement if on a weekend you come and just order the profiteroles at Raoul’s.

The Service 

While the hosts may give off a slight Parisian vibe (just enough to make it authentic) at times, the servers are attentive and knowledgeable.  We will say that service at Raoul’s is head and shoulder above what you typically get in France.

Overall:  7/10

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