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France is still regarded by many as a standard-bearer for the ultimate in good food, and London has no shortage of Gallic bistros and fancy French fine-dining restaurants. If you’re yearning for a trip to the other side of the Channel, here are 10 of the capital’s best French restaurants. Bon appétit.
A Paris outside of Paris, this heroically French bistro feels as though it has been in situ forever (although it was only established in 2011). Jaunty striped tablecloths, monochrome photos of 1960s' France and some seriously rich, lip-smacking food are all part of its Gallic appeal. A second branch is located in Smithfield.
Enjoy robust French cooking in a typical brasserie setting, with dark-green leather banquettes, tarnished mirrors and globe lighting. The sourcing may be British, but the cooking is inimitably French, with rillettes, steak tartare and îles flottantes the order of the day.
This smart, popular and relaxed café from the Galvin stable was a deserving winner of a Michelin Bib Gourmand in early 2011. The closely set tables, faultless service and resident jazz pianist all add to the bonhomie and friendly allure of the place.
The sibling restaurateurs behind French hits Racine and Le Colombier have a hit on their hands with this joint venture. Sit down to a classic Parisian brasserie-style meal amid the dining room's evocative red-and-cream decor. The two-course set-lunch menu boasts options such as cauliflower soup with tapenade croutons, and steak tartare, and the buzzing atmosphere couldn't be more Gallic.
For classic French cuisine, look no further than this famous basement dining room, which exudes comfort and formality in equal measures. Be warned: although the quality of the food and service is unquestionable, the prices are astronomical. There is no need, necessarily, to break the bank, however – the gourmet set-lunch menu is great value.
Michelin-starred chef Pierre Koffmann made a barnstorming comeback to the capital in 2010 with this fine-dining restaurant on the site of Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Café. The must-try dish? Koffman’s signature: pig’s trotter stuffed with sweetbreads and morels.
Since opening in the 1940s, Mon Plaisir's sprawling dining rooms have found favour with famous figures from General de Gaulle to stars of the stage. On the menu: border-crossing favourites such as hearty coq au vin or blush-pink entrecôte with matchstick fries – all complemented by good-quality French wines.
Truly Gallic food served with conviction and lapped up by South Kensington’s French contingent. Chef-proprietor Henry Harris serves the gutsy dishes he enjoys himself; luckily, his impeccable taste means that highlights are many, from the flavourful soupe de poissons to the rich and tender daube of beef.
The heartfelt passion of ‘les français’ for taking pleasure in food and wine is much in evidence at this cosy bistro-cum-wine-bar. Fans flock here as much for the exquisite wine list as for the ingredient-led dishes, and the loud atmosphere tends to reflect the enjoyment of the customers, and not their dissatisfaction.