French restaurants have a reputation for great food, rich sauces — and pricey menus. But these bistros deliver delicious cuisine without leaving you eating baguettes and butter for the rest of the month. So next time you’re craving something à la française, leave the high prices overseas and head here.
Rouge et Blanc
48 Macdougal St.
The French-Vietnamese tapas menu at Rouge et Blanc is perfect for sharing, especially on date night. It may sound weird, but the fried Brussels sprouts ($9) are nutty, spicy and completely addicting. Make those $9 go even further on Tuesday to Sunday from 5:30-7 p.m., with The Aperitif, which includes a glass of wine and a choice of three appetizers. They offer an extensive French wine list starting at $39, and if you’re unsure about which one to choose, just ask Tom the owner to help you. He knows wine!
The only way you could get more French is if you were actually in a bistro on Rue de Rivoli. This restaurant is a step back in time, with live piano music seven days a week (and no cover charge). There are many ways to dine affordably and deliciously at La Mediterranée every day of the week: Score $5 cocktails and wines from noon-8 p.m., a two-course lunch for $19.95 until 4 p.m., or a $42 prix-fixe dinner menu. And for the very early and very late diners, stop by 4-6:45 p.m. or 9:30-10:30 p.m. for a $29.95 prix-fixe deal.
790 Eighth Ave.
If you're headed to a Theater District show, stop by this bistro. From 3-6 p.m. and 10 p.m.-close Sunday through Friday, embrace $5 beers, $7 wine, and 30 percent off well drinks; make a meal of the $5-$9 bar snacks. For dinner, try the burger ($15) or a pizzette ($13). They open the sidewalk windows in nice weather, so you can relax and watch the world go by.
Monica DiNatale is a Deals Expert and Author of “365 Guide New York City,” a treasure trove of restaurant deals and bar specials in New York. Monica has been featured as the Dining Expert for PIX 11and Good Day New York and has hosted segments for The New York Chocolate Show and The New York City Craft Beer Week Festivals. “365 Guide New York City” is available in paperback and e-book.