Eating out at a restaurant in France is full of potential faux pas! First, make sure you get the restaurant opening hours correct (tip: you can’t show up to eat at any old time in France!). Next, make sure to avoid the most common French language mistakes when placing your order. Finally, if you’re in the mood for a juicy steak-frites, make sure you know how to order your steak in France. Our quick guide below has you covered!
How To Order Your Steak in France: Bleu, Saignant, à Point
Knowing how to order your steak is essential for an enjoyable dining experience, so how do you explain how you want your steak ‘done’ in France? When your waiter asks you “Quelle cuisson, votre steak?” (How would you like your steak cooked?) or “Vous l’aimez comment votre steak ?” (How do you like your steak?), here’s what to say.
• Bleu – Done on a very hot grill for one minute on each side.
• Saignant – Rare. ‘Saignant’ means bloody, so expect this to be very rare. It’s cooked slightly longer on the second side than a bleu steak.
• À point – Medium-rare. Note that this is still rare by most British or American standards. This implies that a steak is cooked a little longer than a saignant one.
• Bien cuit – ‘well cooked’. This level will still often have some pinkness in the middle of the meat, so would be equivalent to ‘medium-rare’ by British or American standards. A ‘steak bien cuit’ is cooked until the juices run brown on the surface of the steak.
• Très bien cuit (!) – This isn’t technically ‘French’ but it should get you a steak that is totally cooked through!
Ordering a Duck or Lamb steak in France
Expert Tip! If you are ordering duck or lamb in France, you can also ask for ‘rosé’ which is the same as ‘à point’ or medium rare.
Getting Confident Speaking French
Speaking French can be a bit daunting, but your waiter will appreciate the effort. If you’re nervous about how your steak will be cooked, you can always explain that you would like your steak more or less bloody/pink/cooked, or even your preferred length of cooking time for steak. Be confident and talk your options through with your server. The stereotype of the snooty French waiter is a thing of the past in most establishments and most will be more than happy to help you order your steak the way you want.
Bon appétit, French food fans!
Local Life in France
From shopping at the supermarket to sending a parcel at Post Office, finding your local dechetterie to who to call in an emergency—FrenchEntrée is here to help with every aspect of day-to-day living in France. Read our Essential Reading guides for advice on living in France, visit our Shopping zone or Pets zone, or brush up your language skills with our handy learning French resources.