By: Andrew Silverstein

France is a country that does not mess around when it comes to food.  Case in point, go to any culinary school in the U.S. and take note of the methods and techniques they teach.  It's a near-fact that almost all of them originated in France.  From creamy sauces to delectable pastries and seemingly everything between, French cuisine is a varied grouping of delicious tastes and textures perfect for a night of romantic, quality dining.  Here's five of what we think are the best French restaurants in St. Petersburg.

Chateau France - Described as "the most romantic restaurant in Tampa Bay", Chateau France will do you right if you're looking for a night of romance and out-of-this-world French cuisine.  Winning accolades from the likes of the New York Times, ABC, Citysearch, and more, the menu at Chateau is a journey in classic French flavors.  Enjoy entrees like Poulet Marie Therese - chicken breast prepared with peppercorn, garlic, and herbs - or Wild Seabass la Mode with rose wine sauce.

St. Pete Brasserie - St. Pete Brasserie is a newer addition to St. Pete's french restaurant scene, but don't be fooled, this place does it like they've been in the game for years.  The Brasserie is constantly praised as one of the best, not French, but overall restaurants in St. Pete.  The atmosphere is casual, but the food is anything but.  Menu highlights include Steak Frites Du Juor with steak and delectable French fries, the Brasserie Burger with brie, sautéed mushrooms, onions, and truffle oil aioli, and Seafood Paella with shrimp, calamari, mussels, and chorizo.

La Cote Basque - La Cote Basque is a quaint, cozy, French eatery in Gulfport, about 10 minutes south of Downtown St. Petersburg.  Serving up classic, French cuisine to Gulfport locals and visitors alike for over 30 years, La Cote Basque knows what they're doing when it comes to delectable French cuisine.  Sample on authentic French classics like Strasbourg goose liver pate, veal crepes, salmon grilled in sherry bisque, and chicken cordon bleu.

The Melting Pot - There's no other place like the Melting Pot in St. Pete.  Bring a date or some friends and enjoy a fondue experience loaded with the freshest meats, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables around.  This is a social dining experience to the fullest with everyone sharing different pots of fondue and sampling some amazing creations.  Cheesecake bites in milk chocolate fondue?  To die for.  Other treats like spinach and artichoke cheese fondue, steak, chicken, and seafood fondue are out of this world as well.

Cassis American Brasserie - Cassis is St. Pete's newest addition in the French restaurant game and they are definitely not disappointing.  This mega-eatery boasts a full menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare as well as a full bakery right there on site.  The moderately-priced menu boasts an assortment of French and American inspired comfort foods including brunch like brioche French toast, and evening meals including peppered New York strip steak, duck confit, and rainbow trout.

For us, these are the best French restaurants in St. Pete, but that's just us.  Get out, explore this awesome, vibrant city and discover your favorites today!