Steak Delight: Discovering the Perfect Cooked Steak in France

Have you ever wondered how to order a steak in France cooked to your liking? Well, fear not! It’s easier than you might think. Whether you’re fluent in French or struggle with the language, every French server understands the universal language of steak. The only challenge arises when they ask, “Quelle cuisson, votre steak?”- How would you like your steak cooked?

Here’s where it gets interesting. While North American and UK steakhouse terms like medium-rare, medium, or well-done don’t directly translate into traditional restaurant French, fear not, I’ve got you covered! I’ll guide you through the lexicon of steak doneness in France, ensuring you get your steak just the way you like it.

A Lexicon for Ordering Your Steak in France


If you crave a seriously rare steak, your choice is “bleu.” This extraordinary delicacy is seared on the outside, leaving the inside almost raw. When you cut into it, the steak will generously release its juicy goodness onto your plate.


For a rare steak that’s just a touch more cooked than “bleu,” opt for “saignant.” While it still retains its tenderness, it won’t be as bloody. In North America and the UK, this would still be considered a very rare steak.

À Point

Now, in the French kitchen, “à point” refers to perfectly cooked food, not just steaks! Contrary to what guidebooks may say, “à point” doesn’t solely mean medium-rare. In France, it encompasses the majority’s preference for rare-to-medium-rare steaks, leaning more towards rare. Trust me; this is how the French like their steaks – perfectly cooked.

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Entre à Point et Bien Cuit

For those who crave a medium-rare steak, closer to medium, order it “entre à point et bien cuit.” This clever phrase means “between well-cooked and à point” and will get you a steak that’s more reminiscent of a US or UK medium-rare.

Bien Cuit

If you prefer a well-done steak, go for “bien cuit.” In France, this term will result in a medium-to-well-done steak, with a hint of pink in the center. Perfect if you enjoy a thoroughly cooked steak that’s still flavorful.

Très Bien Cuit

Now, here’s an interesting one. While not commonly used in French kitchens, “très bien cuit” signifies an extremely well-done steak. It’s more of an invented term, but experienced servers will understand your request. Just keep in mind that the French consider this to be an overcooked steak, so be prepared for some questions or raised eyebrows.

So, armed with this lexicon, you’ll confidently order your steak to perfection, regardless of your French speaking skills. Just remember, when it comes to enjoying a great steak, language barriers mean nothing!

The French Kitchen’s Take on the Perfect Steak

Now that you know the secrets of ordering the perfect steak in France let’s dive a bit deeper into the cooking methods behind each level of doneness. Choosing the right degree of doneness can significantly impact the taste and texture of your steak.

A “bleu” steak is for the adventurous, with its raw-like tenderness and quick searing on the grill or in the pan. It’s an experience that will definitely satisfy your steak cravings.

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For those who desire a slightly more cooked steak, “saignant” is the answer. It retains its juiciness and tenderness but is cooked a little longer than “bleu.” Just be prepared for a bit less bleeding onto your plate.

Now, the much-talked-about “à point” is the pinnacle of perfectly cooked food – not just for steaks, but for anything you order in France. While guidebooks may describe it as medium-rare, the reality is that most French people actually prefer their steaks closer to rare. So, when ordering a “steak à point,” you’ll be treated to a rare-to-medium-rare masterpiece.

But what if you’re craving a medium-rare steak, closer to medium? Fear not, my steak-loving friend! Just order your steak “entre à point et bien cuit,” and you’ll have a US or UK medium-rare steak that satisfies your taste buds.

For those who treasure a well-done steak, “bien cuit” is your go-to phrase. While it won’t retain any pink in the center, it still promises a juicy, flavorful experience that’s thoroughly cooked to perfection.

And finally, for the daring souls who relish an overdone steak, asking for “très bien cuit” will generally do the trick. Although not a common term, servers in the know will understand your request, but beware of some raised eyebrows from the more traditional French diners.


Ordering a steak in France requires no more than a few key French phrases. Armed with the lexicon I’ve provided, you can confidently communicate your desired level of doneness to any French server. Remember, the French have mastered the art of cooking steaks to perfection, and their passion for culinary excellence shines through in every bite. So, whether you prefer it bleu, saignant, à point, or anything in between, immerse yourself in the French steak experience and let your taste buds savor the perfection that awaits. Bon appétit!

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For more information about the fascinating world of French cuisine and other culinary adventures, visit Hook’d Up Bar and Grill.