17 Best Restaurants For French Onion Soup In NYC, Ranked

Soup is truly a universal food. Cuisines around the world have their unique varieties of warm and comforting broth-based concoctions, from ramen to Italian wedding soup. But nothing is quite as decadent and rich as a bowl of French onion soup (soupe à l'oignon gratinée as it is called in France). French onion soup recipes typically include a meat-based broth (traditionally beef) flavored with herbs, onions that have been caramelized in butter, croutons made from yesterday's bread, and topped with a layer of gruyère cheese. Often wine and sherry are also added.

The origin of this famous French soup is hard to trace though one legend claims it was created by King Louis XV when he returned famished from a day of hunting and found only onions, butter, and champagne in the kitchen. However it began, it has been used as a late-night hangover cure for hundreds of years. Today, it's still a hearty soup for a late dinner, and where better to enjoy it than the city that never sleeps. New York City is home to some of the best French restaurants in America, many of which unsurprisingly serve this classic soup. From tucked-away spots in Brooklyn to popular destinations in Manhattan, let's take a closer look at the best restaurants in NYC to dig into some French onion soup.

17. Red Hook Tavern

Located in the waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook in Brooklyn, where there's no shortage of charming seafood spots, Red Hook Tavern will have you feeling like you stepped into a different time. Owned by Billy Durney of Hometown Bar-B-Que, this spot was created as a tribute to the NYC taverns of the past. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with a homey vibe and classic dishes that range from burgers and fish and chips to oysters and shrimp cocktails.

The most popular item on the menu may be the $29 Dry Aged Red Hook Tavern Burger, but this is undoubtedly the perfect ambiance to enjoy a cozy cup of French onion soup. With a commitment to high-quality ingredients, it isn't surprising that this is one of the best French onion soups in the city. Topped with an overflowing gooey layer of Austrian gruyère, it's an $18 decadent treat that's totally worth it.

16. Tartine

Tartine has been around since 1992, one of the few French bistros in the West Village that popped up in that decade that is still around. Located at the corner of West 4th Street and West 11th Street, this small but charming casual spot serves classic French food with specifically a focus on the seaside region of Brittany, which is apparent from the maritime-themed art that hangs in the dining room. There's limited seating indoors, and they don't take reservations, so you can likely expect a line during prime lunch and dinner hours. However, when the weather isn't inclement, there is outdoor seating as well.

The bowl of French onion soup here is certainly a classic-tasting one. And at $12, it's a reasonably priced one as well. Tartine is also a BYOB restaurant, so feel free to bring your favorite French bottle to sip alongside the cheesy and crusty goodness.

15. Le Grainne Cafe

Housed in one of the oldest buildings in Chelsea that dates back to 1832, Le Grainne Cafe is family-owned and has been serving traditional French food since 1994. The tin ceilings and tin walls, romantic lighting, and rattan bistro chairs in the dining room exude a Parisian vibe that will have you feeling transported to the heart of France.

Opened every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, patrons adore their crêpes salées and crêpes sucrées, but of course, it's their famous gratinée à L'Oignon, or French onion soup, that is truly irresistible. Priced at $14, it hits the mark with components that are essential to make French onion soup delightful, like flavorful beef broth, perfectly caramelized onions, and topped with pieces of a crusty baguette and gooey gruyère cheese. It's hard to imagine anything more charming than enjoying a bowl at one of the sidewalk tables in Chelsea on a crisp Autumn day.

14. Maison Pickle

Owned by Jacob Hadjigeorgis of Jacob's Pickles, a pickle-focused Southern cuisine restaurant with several locations in the city, Maison Pickle is more focused on effortlessly cool American food with apparent French inspiration throughout the menu. Located on the Upper West Side, it's first and foremost a French Dip spot. The beef sandwich, which isn't French at all but rather American, which comes with a side of beef broth for dipping, is their specialty. But before diving straight into the sandwiches, first sample the flavorful beef broth in the French onion soup. The $14 bowl is served with a toasted baguette, and like any good French onion soup, it's loaded with overflowing gruyère cheese.

The cocktails here are also their specialty, and they have plenty of fun options to choose from, including ones based on the zodiac signs. So if you're looking for a place to get a great bowl of French onion soup that's outside of the ordinary, beyond the usual bistro, then Maison Pickle is worth a try.

13. Bar Tabac

Cobble Hill in Brooklyn is full of quaint shops, picturesque streets lined with brownstones, and inviting cafes. Amongst those cafes is Bar Tabac, located on a corner on Smith Street. Embellished in wood and warm colors and emanating an overall old-school French tavern vibe, with a vintage bar decorated with antiques, Bar Tabac serves expected but reliably delicious bistro food. So it isn't surprising the menu includes the tried and true treat that is French onion soup. What makes this $14 Onion Soup gratinée stand out is its use of Porto, a Portuguese fortified wine, in the recipe.

The sweet and savory dish makes a great accompaniment to the steak frites and pairs nicely with their biodynamic wines by the glass. The buzzing outdoor sidewalk seating and live music six times a week certainly make it a lively neighborhood joint to get your French onion soup fix.

12. Little Prince

Located in Soho on Prince Street, the folks behind the restaurant have labeled it as a "bistro non-classique." While owner-chef Paul Denamiel's other restaurant Le Rivage is upscale French comfort cuisine with a traditional ambiance, Little Prince aims to be more laid back and modern with a touch of effortless Parisian style. With a charming exterior and an interior with white brick walls and photographs hanging of French and non-French legends alike, such as Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin and Prince, the environment is sleek and contemporary.

The French onion soup here has a touch of cognac, and the cheese on top gets browned to perfection. However, priced at $18, it is a touch on the expensive side. Afterward, if you find yourself longing for even more French onion flavor, order the French Onion Soup Burger, which is loaded with caramelized onions and gruyère and is a customer favorite.

11. Boucherie

Boucherie aims to be a timeless establishment that serves authentic traditional French cuisine in a setting that will make you feel like you've stepped in from a Parisian boulevard. The main location, La Grande Boucherie, is a massive dining space on West 53rd Street that seats over 500, including the year-round outdoor seating area. The space, designed in the Art Nouveau style, truly is a grand place to dine. The restaurant also has several other locations, including one in the West Village, one in Union Square, and a "Petite Boucherie" on Christopher Street.

The soup à l'oignon is a very traditional recipe topped with croutons and gruyère, of course. At $22, though, it's one of the priciest ones on the list. That being said, its classic flavor that will have you feeling transported. Plus, the soup makes an excellent appetizer before digging into heartier dishes. Boucherie is also one of the best places to get a filet mignon in town, so if you're also a steak fan, you can get the best of both.

10. Cafe Luxembourg

If you decide to get your French onion soup fix at Cafe Luxembourg, you'll be slurping on rich broth at one of the most classic restaurants in Manhattan. Located on the Upper West Side, Cafe Luxembourg has been around since 1983, and it can be best described as coyly famous. It was once a favorite of celebrities like Calvin Klein, Warren Beatty, and Lorne Michaels and was the location of a dinner scene in the '80s rom-com "When Harry Met Sally." But for all its claims to fame, it isn't touristy and, in fact, has remained largely unchanged since the 1980s.

The menu is French-focused with bistro classics like croque monsieur and shrimp cocktail, but you'll also find unexpected oddities like buffalo chicken dumplings and fish and chips. It goes without saying that the $18 French onion soup here is an absolute classic, with perfectly sweet and savory onions and plenty of crusty bread on top.

9. Cafe Triskell

For this next one, we're taking a trip to the borough of Queens. Located in Astoria, Cafe Triskell is owned by French chef Phillipe Fallait who hails from Brittany, the Celtic northwestern region of France. Fallait's Cafe Triskell's speciality is buckwheat crêpes, an homage to his Breton roots. Opened in 2007, this small but casual spot may look unassuming, but the food is authentic and memorable.

The French Onion soup here is rich and extra cheesy with layers of both aged gruyère and Swiss cheese. At $10, this is not only one of the most affordable French onion soups you can find in the city, but it's also one of the best. Pair it with any of their savory crepes or opt for other bistro classics like escargot and mussels with rench fries. For dessert, there are also plenty of sweet crêpes as well. Both the prices and the quaint ambiance will have you feeling like you're at an actual European cafe.

8. Benoit New York

If you want to truly visit a Parisian restaurant without flying to Paris, Benoit will fulfill that longing. Located in Midtown Manhattan, this is the American location of the Michelin-starred restaurant now owned by Alain Ducasse that has been in Paris since 1912. The white exterior with a bright blue owning and charming bistro chairs on the sidewalk make this a distinguishable, eye-catching dining destination.

The chef uses a homemade beef broth made from oxtails as the base of the French onion soup here. Blended with the sweet, caramelized onions, this creates a deeply rich soup layered with flavors. The $18 typical portion comes in a soup crock and makes an excellent appetizer after hors d'oeuvres like marinated mussels and before diving into the mains like roasted duck or steak tartare. And, of course, there is a well-curated list of French wines to pair with the dishes. At Benoit, you'll be immersed in a true French fine dining experience.

7. Chez Moi

Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn is a street loaded with a variety of businesses, from vintage and antique stores to coffee shops and an array of cafes. Amongst them is Chez Moi, a cozy French restaurant that is oh so très chic. Blink, and you might miss it when walking down the street, but once inside, the brick-lined interior and shaded wall sconces make for a memorable romantic yet laid-back dining experience. The menu includes bistro classics and more adventurous options like crispy frog legs with spicy honey.

Start with the French onion soup for a reasonable $12, and you'll instantly be impressed. And to drink, Chez Moi suggests pairing the Domaine De La Colline Chinon with the dish. "The bright cherry/raspberry/strawberry fruit picks up on the onion's sweetness while the soft granitic element of the terroir works beautifully with the soup's rustic nature," the restaurant explained in a Facebook post. And after you've had your fill of French flavors, check out their underground Marie Antoinette-themed bar, Le Boudoir.

6. Cafe d'Alsace

Opened since 2006, Cafe d'Alsace, located in the Upper East Side is committed to serving the best Alsatian cuisine in Manhattan. Alsace, a region in France that borders Germany is known for its cuisine that melds both cultures with dishes like choucroute garnie. The chef, Philippe Roussel, hails from France and is heavily inspired by food from this particular region.

At Cafe d'Alsace, the soupe à l'oignon gratinée is topped with an extra toasty layer of aged gruyère and "country" bread. Priced at $16, it's a crowd favorite with a heap of glowing reviews online. Not only is this spot known for its authentic and flavorful cuisine, it's also a destination for beer lovers. On staff is a beer sommelier who curates the beer list, which includes over 130 rare, artisanal, and small-batch brews that you likely haven't had anywhere else, several of which, like a dark lager, would pair nicely with the soup.

5. L'Express

Located in Gramercy Park, L'Express is a Lyonnaise bouchon. A popular type of restaurant in Lyon, a bouchon is a family-owned casual bistro serving rustic local cuisine. Once upon a time L'Express was opened 24 hours a day and gained quite the reputation as the best late-night French food around. Sadly, the restaurant can no longer claim the "ouvert 24 hrs" still written on the building; they close at 11 p.m. most days but do still stay open until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

So if you're ever out partying late on a weekend, enjoy French onion soup the way it was originally intended: as a late-night hangover cure. The $14 onion soup gratinée here is famous and loved by locals and tourists alike, with many claiming it's the best one they've ever had. Also on the menu: some of the best mashed potatoes you can get in the city.

4. Le Charlot

Le Charlot opened in 1995 and has the feel of an established New York bistro. The tables are close together and covered in white tablecloths. The servers, who wear traditional uniforms, bring baskets of bread and butter while you wait for the traditional French fare like steak au poivre or beef bourguignon to be made. Yet for all its old-school charm, there isn't an ounce of stuffiness, and it feels like a place you can truly relax and sip a glass of wine and enjoy a comforting bowl of French onion soup.

Located on the Upper East Side, it's the perfect place to grab lunch after a stroll through Central Park, and the lovely sidewalk seating is ideal for a warm meal on a crisp day. The $23 bowl of onion soup here may be on the pricier side, but it's one of the most decadently rich ones you'll ever have.

3. Balthazar

The iconic Balthazar is arguably the most famous and certainly one of the best French restaurants in New York City. It opened in 1997 in Soho and has become an iconic institution in the neighborhood ever since. A tried and true spot for New Yorkers, it's also become a tourist destination as well. In a world where everything is constantly changing and in a city where many restaurants' fate is uncertain, Balthazar is a dependable constant with a menu that has hardly changed since it first opened its doors. It's a place where you can always get your favorite.

One of those favorites is, unsurprisingly, the onion soup gratinée. The French Onion soup, made with delicately sweet slow-cooked onions, deeply flavorful beef broth, and perfectly toasty and gooey cheese, is one of the most popular items on the menu, so much so that it's been reported that the restaurant goes through a minimum of 15 gallons a day.

2. Manny's Bistro

Located in the Upper West Side, Manny's Bistro is a newer addition to the neighborhood that feels like it's been around forever. That may be because the owner, Manny Colon, was the general manager of the previous restaurant in the building, Bistro Cassis, for 15 years before it closed during the pandemic, which made the transition to opening his own restaurant in the spot seem effortless. With Manny's Bistro, he has elegantly blended New York and Parisian culture, creating a timelessly romantic ambiance.

When ordering the $17 soupe à l'oignon, expect the gruyère to have a deeply browned layer of crust on top that, once broken through with a spoon, will reveal the saporous broth and soaked croutons. If there was ever a place in New York City to truly indulge in a French meal and order the classics, it's here. So go ahead and order the escargot and the gâteau de crabe along with the soup and then move on to the very popular Trout Almondine. It just might end up being the best meal you've had in a while.

1. Le Bonne Soupe

Le Bonne Soupe has been a Midtown Manhattan staple for 50 years. Opened in 1973, the restaurant is a local favorite. The menu is composed of simple, timeless bistro food. The cozy interior is modern and relaxed, complete with the most charming petite patio and balcony seating.

The $17 French onion soup is the star of the menu and has been from the start. Even though the restaurant is under different ownership than the original founders, the new owner agreed that the onion soup recipe would remain untouched. This quite possibly makes it the oldest French onion soup recipe still being served in the city. And if not the oldest, we're declaring it the best for its unbeatable depth of flavor. Fair warning: it oozes with so much gooey gruyère that it might get a little messy to eat. But it's worth it. The fact that La Bonne Soupe has been around for so long is a testament to how reliably delicious it is.