When leafing through the history books, it's clear to see that we have the French to thank for many of our favourite things.
From the Impressionists to couture, film noir and fromage, coq au vin and bœuf bourguignon, here at Dish, when it comes to celebrating the Frenchiest day on the calendar – Bastille Day – it's all about the culinary offerings.
Ahead of Saturday, July 14 we decided to get a head start on festivities and taste our way up and down the country, sampling New Zealand's very best plat du jour while scouting out the local eateries that best embody that certain je ne sais quoi the French have so beautifully mastered.
So prepare your favourite cheese board and get the champagne on ice, here are our favourite French eateries bound to transport you from the dreary Kiwi winter to your favourite French locale:
Torchon French Creperie & Cafe, Elliot Stables, Auckland
If you're after: sweet and savoury crepes
This Auckland institution is nestled down Elliot Stables and has long-reigned as one of the city's favourite weekend spots. Pop in for breakfast and sample the authentic delights with your morning coffee. The Normande, pillowy crepes filled with apple, cinnamon and bacon is a sweet and salty revelation.
La Fourchette, St Heliers Bay, Auckland
If you're after: a long lunch
Consider a glass of bubbly and a moreish plate of duck liver parfait. The food menu here is plentiful while the wine list boasts an impressive selection of boutique to well-established producers. Only steps away from St Heliers Bay, La Fourchette remains one of the Eastern Bays best kept secrets.
La Cigale, Parnell, Britomart, Auckland
If you're after: a croque madame to-go
What's not to love about Auckland's favourite French food market? We suggest you get an early start on Saturday and beat the weekend brunch crowd, sampling the plentiful patisserie delights alongside your morning coffee or tea. So much cheese, so little time...
Louis Sergeant Sweet Couture, Wellington
If you're after: after-dinner sweet treats
From decorative chocolatey sweet treats to moreish macarons, the dessert menu here rivals the very best of Paris. Channel your inner Marie Antoinette and consider a treat to take home or split a dessert in-store with someone special.
Hippopotamus Restaurant at QT Museum Wellington, Wellington
if you're after: somewhere special
Whenever we're in the capital, we can't go past Hippopotamus Restaurant. The gorgeously ornate decor and plush interior further adds to the atmosphere, with a menu that pays homage to the very best of refined and classic French cuisine.
St Germain Restaurant and Bar, Christchurch
If you're after: the old favourites
One of Christchurch's favourite family-owned and operated restaurants, Saint Germain is a traditional French eatery serving a wide range of cuisine from throughout the region. Brothers Frederic and Vincent were born and raised in Brittany, providing diners with an authentic and memorable dining experience each and every time.
L'Atelier Du Fromage, Newmarket, Auckland
If you're after: a quick trip to France
Veer off Auckland's bustling Khyber Pass, and discover L'Atelier Du Fromage, the perfect one-stop French shop that's positively oozing with authenticity. Here, you'll find a little bit of everything, from the long lunch and tasting menu to a world-class cheese and charcuterie board. Celebrated chef Giles Papst dreams up flavoursome plat du jours daily, offering guests the full French experience. La Fromagerie, located right next door, sells the full portfolio of French cheese fresh off the wheel, alongside an impressive range of gourmet goods.
Maison Vauron, Newmarket, Auckland
If you're after: a special occasion or wine tasting
While you're lunching at L'Atelier, be sure to head upstairs to Maison Vauron – a deliciously authentic wine merchant that boasts the largest range of French wines in the country. Here, you'll find everything from an artisanal bottle of Armagnac to that special occasion bottle of Côtes du Rhône you've been hunting down since your last trip to the South of France. If you're looking for the perfect group activity or wine tasting, be sure to call ahead well in advance – events here have a tendency to sell out.
L'Assiette, Britomart, Auckland
If you're after: Patisserie to-go
Perfectly situated in the hub of the bustling Britomart Prencict, L'Assiette offers everything from macarons to freshly baked pastries and French onion soup. This delightful little spot is ideal for those working in the CBD or looking for a taste of France while in transit.
Paris Butter, Herne Bay, Auckland
If you're after: an intimate date night
One of our favourite Auckland eateries is Paris Butter. This charming little bistro boasts chef Nick Honeyman at its helm and a line-up of scrumptious small plates you'd expect on a truly stellar contemporary French menu. If you're making a reservation for dinner, you simply can't go past the flavoursome parmesan soup or the coq au vin. Let it be known, the freshly-baked bread basket and housemade truffle butter is a drawcard in itself.
Petit Bocal, Kingsland, Auckland
If you're after: a suburban destination
A stone's throw from Eden Park is where you'll find Petit Bocal. Sitting proudly in an otherwise suburban block, this adorable French bistro boasts all sorts of delightful offerings, fit for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We suggest you park up for the afternoon with a charcuterie platter, bottle of red and a selection of small plates – bon appetit!
Crêpes A Go Go, Ponsonby, Auckland and Te Aro, Wellington
If you're after: breakfast with a frenchy twist
We've long admired this crafty crêperie, so any excuse to savour the menu at Crêpes A Go Go is ok by us. Consider a picnic and enjoy your crêpes plein air this Friday, if you'd rather avoid the Bastille brunch crowd madness.
Le bistro des Gourmets, Parnell, Auckland
If you're after: pure charm and a cosy table
This charming little new-comer deserves a coveted spot on our list. Follow your nose up the staircase and cosy up for the evening in the assuming little local, offering the very best of French fare. The couple behind this new endeavour have nailed the atmosphere, offering guests a complete wine list, delicious line-up of terrines and a menu that changes, weekly. Our suggestion? Treat yourself to the Crepes Suzette – before they're off the menu!
French fare on the go: La Fromagerie, Farro Fresh, Moore Wilson's, Le Epicerie.
Prepare your favourite cheese board and get the champagne on ice, here are our favourite French restaurants and eateries bound to transport you from the dreary Kiwi winter to your favourite French locale.