Best French restaurants in London

Find your perfect French restaurant in London with SquareMeal, offering a handpicked guide to the very best French restaurants in London to suit all tastes and budgets. French food is one of the most highly respected cuisines in the world, with many legendary chefs hailing from France, and can either be wonderfully rustic or beautifully elegant. Each region of France brings something to the table, from the sunny Mediterranean dishes of the Southern coast to the rich, rustic flavours of the more rural regions, with each area taking full advantage of its local produce.

Posted on 31 July 2018

Best French restaurants in London

London is simply full to the brim with great French restaurants, all featured here in Square Meal’s complete list of  the best French restaurants in London. Visit classic French bistros and brasseries in London, with their rustic style menus full of classic French dishes or perhaps sample one of London’s best fine dining French restaurants where high end French cuisine is served in beautiful surroundings. If you really fancy the crème de la crème amongst French restaurants in the capital, London is lucky enough to boast some of the finest French restaurants in the world, ranging from 1 Michelin star right up to 3 Michelin stars.

Every one of the French restaurants featured in Square Meal’s list of London’s top French restaurants have been tried and tested by food critics and our own customers so check out the reviews and book a table online with Square Meal today.

Every one of the French restaurants featured in Square Meal’s list of London’s top French restaurants have been tried and tested by food critics and our own customers so check out the reviews and book a table online with Square Meal today. As well as the restaurants on this page, we have listings including Covent Garden, Mayfair, Soho and The City. Each Square Meal listing features an independent review, as well as reviews from diners, together with unique special offers such as free drinks and discounts.


Frenchie Covent Garden

Frenchie Covent Garden

£50 - £79
French

16 Henrietta Street, London, WC2E 8QH

‘Frenchie’ was the nickname Jamie Oliver affectionately pinned on Nantes-born Gregory Marchand when he was head chef at Fifteen – although it’s hard to spot many Gallic references amid the bare brick walls, low-hanging light bulbs, swish green leather and marble counters of this “cool but chic” spot run by a staff brimming with effusive charm. Marchand’s truly modern, eclectic menu is also more Blighty than Brittany: clotted cream with irresistible bacon and maple syrup scones; Keen’s Cheddar accompanying ‘cauliflower’ mushrooms and ceps in vin jaune; plump Cornish cod partnered by wild rice and bean ragoût – even a roasted Brussels sprout canapé. Sharing plates have been wisely jettisoned, although the cooking retains its irresistibly inventive flair – witness sea bream tartare buried in pear, yuzu and quinoa, just-cooked trout with courgettes and smoky merguez sausage or blushing honey-roast duck breast partnered by miso aubergine, hazelnuts and plum sauce. For afters, try chocolate and malt with coffee sauce and meringue. Frenchie’s plush bar serves up sophisticated but inventive cocktails, while sommelier Bastien Ferreri curates a list of quirky, affordable wines. Finally, the open kitchen downstairs is all fire and energy – we love it for private dining.

More about Frenchie Covent Garden

Book now

Petit Pois Bistro

Petit Pois Bistro

£30 - £49
French

9 Hoxton Square, London, N1 6NU

Located above its basement sibling Happiness Forgets (one of London’s best bars), this sweet French bistro overlooks Hoxton Square. Come here to pretend you’re in a leafy Parisian square: either inside amid bare-brick walls and wooden flooring, or outside on the patio. Hipsters give the place a fun buzz, sipping on-point drinks (cocktails, a well-edited wine list, some choice spirits). A concise menu of French-leaning dishes – French onion soup, sole meunière – is offered for lunch and dinner, while snacks such as oysters or croque monsieur are available throughout the day. Our well-balanced starter of beetroot, Bleu d’Auvergne, walnuts and horseradish arrives delicately assembled on toast. To follow, tender duck confit is offset by sweet-onion purée and creamy gratin dauphinois – if you’re having a bad day, this dish will set everything right. For dessert, chocolate mousse is spooned from a big bowl by the waiter. Like its vegetable namesake, Petit Pois is small yet well-rounded: a great addition to the area.

More about Petit Pois Bistro

Book now

Little Social

Little Social

£30 - £49
French

5 Pollen St, Mayfair, W1S 1NE

“I can’t contain how happy I am when I eat here,” says a fan of this Jason Atherton restaurant, which is both little and sociable – note its size, noise levels and richly convivial French-skewed dishes. The proximity of big boy Pollen Street Social across the road might cast this “refreshing small gem” in the role of plucky upstart, but Atherton’s trademark polish and “immaculate” detailing are evident throughout – from the charming well-drilled staff and design with a purpose (think French fantasy with a knowing London wink) to the finely rendered seasonal food. Just as customers must speak up rather than murmur, the kitchen revels in flavours with presence – perhaps meaty roasted ceps with garlicky smoked almond butter on toasted brioche, côte de porc or roast cod with girolles, celeriac purée and jus gras. Steaks and burgers try to steal the limelight, tarte Tatin is now the default dessert for twosomes, and cannily chosen wines neatly sidestep the obvious.

More about Little Social

Book now

Boulestin

Boulestin

£30 - £49
French

5 St James' Street, London, SW1A 1EF

Inspired by the eponymous French restaurateur, Boulestin is Gallic to its bones, but keen to demonstrate a wider perspective. After 10 minutes amid its striking interior (all black-and-white tiles, muted swish and lovely aromas), you’re unlikely to go for quinoa salad over oeuf en gelée, but the option is there; likewise, miso-blackened cod challenges the likes of artichoke risotto with girolles and baby leeks or ballottine of chicken with pea purée. Earlier on, breakfast is so popular that they continue the brunch theme on weekday afternoons with huevos rancheros or bacon and egg brioche. “Very accommodating” service begins at the booking stage, and a French-dominated wine list scores with a decent choice by the glass and ‘pot’. Outside, the little patio is, apparently, the site of the last duel to have been fought in England, though these days the main rivalry is for a table.

More about Boulestin

Book now

Noizé

Noizé

£30 - £49
French

39 Whitfield Street, London, W1T 2SF

It’s a brave restaurateur who would take over a site as garlanded as what used to be Dabbous but having been co-owner, manager and sommelier of Pied à Terre, Mathieu Germond has built up a loyal following in Fitzrovia and beyond. The place is unrecognisable from its former life, not only in looks – the raw industrialism of Dabbous has been smoothed over with a lick of turquoise paint and an upholstering of red and grey velvet – but on the menu, with former Pied à Terre chef Ed Dutton cooking classic French bistro food, but executed with a finesse several notches of sophistication higher. Warm cheese gougères are thickly stuffed with strong Cheddar, glazed sweetbreads come with a liberal scattering of bosky morels, beautifully cooked scallops sit under thinly sliced cauliflower and, best of all, there’s  a superb plateful of meltingly soft suckling pig belly with crisp crackling and silky, tarragon-infused pomme purée. Steep prices are generally worth it, although a terrine of foie gras, leek and pork simply advertised as ‘foie gras’ on the menu seemed disingenuous. Otherwise, this place is a charmer – Germond even nipped round to Pied à Terre to fetch some crackers for our plate of well-chosen cheese. Noizé, incidentally, is the name of a village in the Loire where Germond’s grandparents owned a farm, and the sparkling Vouvray is just one of the excellent Loire Valley wines on a list that can be sampled in the basement bar. 

More about Noizé

Book now

Club Gascon

Club Gascon

£50 - £79
French
One michelin star
£50 - £79

57 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9DS

Famous as one of the best places to eat duck and foie gras since opening in 1998, Club Gascon is moving with the low-waste and sustainable times, re-opening from a refurb with a ‘Garden’ section of the menu featuring six veg-focused starters and mains. Rest assured, however, that if slow-cooked egg with plankton, seaweed and bitter leaves doesn’t float your boat, all things duck still form the core of the menu – and are far and away the best things to eat here, foie gras especially: a smooth-as-butter terrine served with banyuls, fig and Argan oil to start or, spectacularly, served with a Bailey’s and mandarin sauce for pudding, beguilingly sweet and savoury; thick lobes of pan-fried foie gras sitting under a shell crammed with razor clams is another flavour bomb. Non-ducky options such as roasted sturgeon with leeks, bone marrow and Craster sauce, and roast grouse with popcorn, Guinness and oyster sauce seemed less appealingly individual and more fine-dining-by-numbers, but a kitchen that excels with pudding ensures things end on a high note, from a pre-dessert variation on prunes and Armagnac that left us wanting much, much more to a ‘millionaire’ dessert made from 72% Colombian chocolate with black olive, lemon gel and thyme ice cream, so rich it demanded to be savoured slowly. Eye-opening wine matching remains a strength, while the restaurant’s new look has a timeless modernity that should last for another 20 years. 

More about Club Gascon

Book now

Blanchette Soho

Blanchette Soho

French

9 D'Arblay Street, London, W1F 8DR

This quirky slice of rural France offers twists on the classics in a homely setting featuring cottage furniture and flamboyant pastoral scenes painted on tiled walls. Meanwhile, the private dining room downstairs takes it to another level, with its murals depicting a jungle scene. The mid-priced menu offers a range of seasonal small plates peppered with European influences: smoked mussels are paired with black pudding and artichoke purée; a combo of monkfish and pumpkin sparkles with buttery flavours, undercut by the zing of sun-dried tomatoes, while carnivores might veer towards braised lamb shoulder with anchovy, rosemary and soubise sauce. A varied selection of French charcuterie and cheese invites a wine-focused visit, supported by a carefully curated Gallic list that makes room for some Spanish and Italian tipples. It's all very amiable and charming, right down to the cow-shaped milk jugs. With a couple of street tables and a front window that can be opened completely, Blanchette was built for languorous summery days.

More about Blanchette Soho

Book now

Bleeding Heart Restaurant

Bleeding Heart Restaurant

£50 - £79
French
Under £30

Bleeding Heart Yard, EC1N 8SJ

The name references a murder hereabouts back in the 16th century, but there’s nothing gruesome about this glorious cellar restaurant – often described as one of London’s more romantic dining destinations. A series of subterranean rooms shows off bare-bricks and earthy colours, with flickering candles and real fires upping the mood – “I wouldn’t have it any other way”, notes a fan. The menu seduces with gently modern interpretations of French and European classics – think paupiette of smoked salmon enriched with Dorset crab and parsley sauce, “outstanding” steak tartare or pumpkin and butternut squash ravioli enriched with herby butter sauce. It’s a measure of the kitchen’s confidence that it can work its way through wild mushroom risotto, lemon sole meunière and côte de boeuf, before ending on a triumphantly patriotic note with crème brûlée and nougat glacé. The winning wine list is a bumper tome with classy French connections – the perfect accompaniment to something ripe from the monumental cheese trolley. In short, a “truly traditional” dining experience.  

More about Bleeding Heart Restaurant

Book now

Bistro Vadouvan

Bistro Vadouvan

£30 - £49
French

30 Brewhouse Lane, London, SW15 2JX

It may boast Indian owners (including the guy behind Hammersmith’s Potli), but don’t be fooled: Bistro Vadouvan deals in classic French dishes masterfully elevated with Middle Eastern and Asian spice. The room gives nothing away – electric-blue banquettes, a big open kitchen and quarry-tile flooring are welcoming yet unspectacular. However, from the first dish, we sat up and paid attention. Our steak tartare ranked among the most original we’ve had – adroitly seasoned chopped steak with diced spring onion and pickled chilli, layered on soft slivers of aubergine and topped with crunchy sliced almonds. Chef Durga Misra worked at Brasserie Chavot (RIP) and it shows in dishes such as soft brill with prawn ravioli in an umami-packed coconut broth, a creation that wouldn’t look out of place in a swanky West End destination. For dessert, we recommend Bistro Vadouvan’s pitch-perfect île flottante with candied nuts and caramel sauce. Excellent brunch and alfresco tables astride the river complete a tremendous package – “finally Putney Wharf has somewhere worth visiting”, cheers a fan.

More about Bistro Vadouvan

Book now

Primeur

Primeur

£30 - £49
French

116 Petherton Road, London, N5 2RT

A converted 1930s garage in residential Stoke Newington provides the unlikely setting for this French-inspired neighbourhood favourite. Large concertina doors open on to the street in summer, encouraging punters to venture outside. Inside, all is dimly lit, cosy utilitarianism, with a large communal table and benches running alongside the open kitchen. Top-quality, seasonal ingredients are used to simple, stunning effect. A handful of daily dishes are written on the blackboard: perhaps a fresh, zesty plateful of squid, lemon, capers and parsley, or clams in a rich wine, garlic and parsley sauce – perfect for mopping up with sourdough. To follow, rare yet tender grouse with stuffing and a creamy bread sauce might provide a late-summer treat. All entries on the ever-changing wine list (also chalked up) are available by the glass. Nearby competition is sparse, so Primeur is frequently packed: it looks primed for success.

More about Primeur

Book now

Claude Bosi at Bibendum

Claude Bosi at Bibendum

French
Two michelin stars
£50 - £79

Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6RD

The latest iteration of iconic Michelin House unites two legends of the London restaurant scene: Bibendum’s co-founder Sir Terence Conran and chef Claude Bosi (formerly of two-Michelin-starred Hibiscus). Here in Chelsea, Bosi’s cooking is a little more relaxed, although the style is definitely more Hibiscus than Bibendum – witness clever amuse-bouches of pissaladière fashioned into lifelike ‘olives’ or eggshells filled with mushroom duxelles, coconut foam and curry powder. However, you’ll also encounter whopping stalks of intensely flavoured green and white asparagus, chicken that tastes of a life well lived and, best of all, a Staub pan brimming with chunky, funky tripe and cuttlefish gratin, plus hefty slices of pig’s ear and ham cake on the side: simple dishes elevated to the sublime by a kitchen versed in skilful technique. Prices are as unremittingly high as ever, although a set lunch and Sunday roasts are an attempt to make this special-occasion destination work for locals as well. But Bibendum’s food is only half the story: few dining rooms in London give such unremitting life-affirming pleasure, especially when the light is streaming through those famous stained-glass depictions of the Michelin man.        

More about Claude Bosi at Bibendum

Book now

Pétrus

Pétrus

Over £80
French
One michelin star

1 Kinnerton Street, London, SW1X 8EA

High expectations are matched by high standards at this Michelin-starred outpost of the Gordon Ramsay empire – a thickly carpeted, richly hued room with long skirted tables, sound-baffling furry walls and a huge circular wine store stacked with the titular Ch. Pétrus (and much, much more). Menus come topped and tailed with a panoply of dainty extras intended to supplement and complement “faultless” standouts such as seared curried scallop atop an umami-rich savoury sabayon with braised kombu and bacon, big-flavoured Herdwick lamb with beetroot and black garlic or fillet of Brixham turbot with pickled clams, samphire and lemongrass – all perfectly cooked and “meticulously presented” in the grand Ramsay manner. To finish, don’t miss the seasonal quince tart with poached rhubarb and ginger ice cream or the genius take on Black Forest gateau involving a light kirsch mousse, a dark cherry sorbet and more besides – although the small but interesting cheese selection is also worth a sniff. Those wanting the ultimate Pétrus experience should consider booking the eight-seater chef’s table in front of the kitchen – just brace yourself for a serious bill.  

More about Pétrus

Book now

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

Over £80
French
Two michelin stars

The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, London, W1K 2AL

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught is the legendary hotel’s flagship restaurant and it continues to live up to its two-Michelin-starred credentials, with effortlessly efficient staff overseeing the cosseting wood-panelled dining room. The food bears all the hallmarks of Darroze’s signature style – artisan ingredients, beautiful presentation and pinpoint cooking with subtle eclectic nuances. Flavours and textures sing throughout, from the soft folds of Bayonne ham delivered as an appetiser to sweet strawberries topped with fragrant basil and olive-oil Chantilly for dessert. Elsewhere, grouse carries North African ras-el-hanout spicing balanced by the sweetness of dates, and velvety cubes of Wagyu beef are served with crispy puffs of potato laced with truffle for a thoroughly decadent take on steak-frites. Wine pairings chosen by a team of talented sommeliers make Hélène Darroze at The Connaught an oenophile’s delight, and there’s a huge selection of vintage bottles from top producers on the pricey list. 

The Ayala SquareMeal’s Best Female Chefs Series: Hélène Darroze

More about Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

Book now

Tratra

Tratra

£30 - £49
French

Boundary Hotel, 2-4 Boundary Street, London, E2 7DD

The Boundary hotel has long been one of the more civilised eating options in the maelstrom around Shoreditch High Street and owner Sir Terence Conran has updated the restaurant’s French theme by installing chef Stéphane Reynaud in the kitchen. Reynaud is the charcuterie king of France, raised in a family of pig farmers in the Ardèche and now spreading the porcine gospel through his nine cookbooks (including The Book of Tripe) and his two Paris restaurants. But while terrines, charcuterie and other piggy pleasures take centre stage – from a fabulous board of deep-flavoured cold cuts to a lip-smackingly sticky plate of suckling-pig sausage with dates and mash – there’s plenty for non-meat eaters to enjoy, whether a bowl of crisply fresh crudités with classy dips or slow-braised squid and toasted peanuts that gives the meat dishes a run for their money for richness. To finish, there’s a dimpled salted caramel pudding soaking up a bowl of custard; to drink, a snappy wine list, culled on a weekly basis from the hotel’s extensive cellar and neatly divided by style. Looks-wise, the dining room is much the same as before, a long, low basement vault, with bare brick walls supporting high ceilings, furnished with natty red chairs and understandably less appealing on a bright day than the hotel’s Boundary Rooftop. The charming staff, at least, do their best to bring the sunshine.

More about Tratra

Book now

Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

£50 - £79
French

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, SW1X 7LA

Although it was lightly refurbished in early 2017, even regulars would be hard pressed to notice any changes to Bar Boulud’s wood and beige interiors. The design might be restrained, but the combination of super-flattering lighting, friendly staff and chattering diners makes this one of the capital’s buzziest dining rooms.

New York-based French chef Daniel Boulud may be a big name in global gastronomy but he’s very much in casual mode here, offering up the sort of Gallic classics that are many people’s idea of the perfect meal out. Starters of seared prawns and Burgundy snails are festooned with enough garlic to ward off a vampire, while lemon sole with grenobloise butter followed by a sweet slice of gateau basque and crème anglaise prove that this kitchen knows how to finish a dish with a fabulous sauce.

“Although it’s high end, it isn't snobby at all” say readers, so you can also pop in for a luscious croque madame with fries or one of the “mouth-watering” inch-thick BB burgers – not what you might expect from a dining room in the Mandarin Oriental. All in all, the “best fun” you can have in Knightsbridge.

More about Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Book now

The Square

The Square

Over £80
French
One michelin star

6-10 Bruton Street, London, W1J 6PU

18 months after he bought The Square from chef Philip Howard and restaurateur Nigel Platts-Martin, Marlon Abela has put his own stamp on the famous Mayfair restaurant, re-opening it following a refurb and with a new chef. Clément Leroy has spent time in the kitchens of French legends such as Guy Savoy in Paris and has presumably been tasked with winning back the second Michelin star that evaporated when Howard left. Abela has said that The Square is “a modern take on haute cuisine”, which means that butter and cream are out and umami and a light touch are in over a four course à la carte (£95) or seven-course tasting menu (£110). Thus smoked Lincolnshire eel comes with caviar, potato and watercress (superbly subtle), red mullet is treated to a delicate Asian twist with aubergine, shiitake and Sarawak pepper, saddle of lamb gets its seasoning from razor clams and seaweed butter, while the flavour of salt-baked pineapple is amplified by salted butter ice-cream. This is top-flight cooking, to be sure, underscored by a deeply impressive Franco-Italian wine list that extends to almost 2,000 bins – but there was a sense of fun lacking on our visit; as at The Square of old, this sombrely furnished space remains a restaurant better tailored to a suited clientele on expenses than food-loving diners with personal accounts.

More about The Square

Book now

Galvin La Chapelle

Galvin La Chapelle

£50 - £79
French
One michelin star

35 Spital Square, London, E1 6DY

Set in the “atmospheric” surrounds of a grandiose converted Victorian chapel, this Michelin-starred, Grade II-listed high flyer from the Galvin brothers comes complete with stone archways, iron chandeliers and awe-inspiring “ecclesiastical vaulted architecture”. As such, it provides a suitably lavish backdrop for a menu of highly worked, “expertly prepared” and intricately presented dishes culled from the lexicon of modern French cuisine – from the signature Dorset crab lasagne with creamy beurre nantais and pea shoots or pressed terrine of Landes guinea fowl, foie gras and Bayonne ham with sauce gribiche to tagine of Bresse pigeon with couscous, confit lemon and harissa sauce or poached chicken breast with herb gnocchi, kale and sauce suprême. To conclude, the perfectly caramelised tarte Tatin with Normandy crème fraîche is a must, while the enviable cheese trolley provides the perfect excuse for a glass of Hermitage La Chapelle from the mighty French-led wine list – although a few more “modestly priced” offerings would be appreciated. Some dissenters find Galvin La Chapelle “bland and deeply earnest”, relying on “snob value and French-derived gravitas”, but we’re with those who reckon it’s a triumph in the City.  

More about Galvin La Chapelle

Book now

Soif

Soif

£30 - £49
French

27 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1HG

“Can’t stop recommending it” exclaims a devotee of Battersea Rise’s casual French wine bar and restaurant. We concur: Soif is still streets ahead of the local competition. The daily menu doesn’t only base itself on Gallic soil – charcuterie features heavily, but Italian coppa is listed alongside rillettes and cornichons; Lindisfarne oysters are up there with Gorgonzola and burrata – though classic French-Mediterranean flavours are the mainstay. Whether you eat tapas-style (clams, chilli, garlic and lemon, say) or go for a more formal meal (Montbéliard sausage with choucroute and potatoes, followed by pannacotta), the cooking is invariably up to scratch. Staff are keen their customers enjoy themselves, and happily make recommendations from the huge and impressive list of organic and ‘natural’ terroir-led wines and French ciders. The split-level room decorated with French posters soon fills, but hard wooden chairs discourage lingering, so tables usually aren’t long in coming free.

More about Soif

Book now

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Over £80
French
Three michelin stars

The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London, W1K 1QA

The combination of a superstar name and three Michelin stars means that expectations are always sky-high at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester; in return, diners are treated to “an exercise in superlative service and presentation”, with hushed tones barely disturbing the reverential calm in the classic creamy-toned dining room – an “oasis of serenity” away from the bluster of Park Lane. Head chef Jean-Phillipe Blondet is his master’s voice, delivering a measured parade of profound and deeply flavoured dishes hinting at the “culinary genius” behind the scenes – just consider the “heavenly” sauté gourmand of lobster accompanied by homemade pasta and truffled chicken quenelles or the signature ‘contemporary’ vacherin with a coconut boule, pomegranate seeds and exotic fruits. In between, the ever-fabulous rib and saddle of venison with coffee sauce and a peanut-stuffed parsnip vies with fish classics such as fillet of turbot with beetroot and clams marinière or line-caught sea bass with braised chicory. Prices, as you’d expect of somewhere called Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, take no prisoners, and the platinum wine list promises a galaxy of French stars with hefty mark-ups – although fans still think that dining here is “time exceptionally well spent”.   

More about Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Book now

Le Pont de la Tour

Le Pont de la Tour

£30 - £49
French

Butlers Wharf, 36d Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YE

With its riverside views of Tower Bridge and close proximity to The City, Le Pont de la Tour has won a legion of fans since it was opened by Terence Conran back in 1991. Previously known for its classic French menu featuring favourites such as crêpes Suzette, new chef Julien Imbert has taken a more modern approach that reflects his experience as head chef at Jason Atherton’s Michelin-starred City Social. While the Bar & Grill offers traditional French brasserie fare, the Restaurant now serves up elaborately plated, intricate dishes that draw on international influences and tap into current food trends. Witness cured salmon with miso mayonnaise and pickled cucumber or halibut with curry velouté. Our starter of smoked and pickled baby beetroot with blackcurrant was a well-judged blend of punchy flavours, while Gloucester Old Spot pork belly was perfectly paired with a smoked apple purée. Creative desserts such as lemon curd with thyme shortbread, meringue and liquorice ice cream are a highlight, while the lengthy wine list and smart service continue to impress. The changes to the format here weren’t necessarily needed, but they are more than welcome.

More about Le Pont de la Tour

Book now

The Ritz Restaurant

The Ritz Restaurant

Over £80
French
One michelin star

The Ritz London, 150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BR

Nobody goes to the unimaginably opulent Ritz Restaurant on the off-chance – this is proper special-occasion dining, where chaps wear smart suits and ladies don their poshest back-of-the-wardrobe frocks. The pay-off is, of course, Michelin-starred food served in a “truly exquisite” fin de siècle dining room with cherubic pink-hued lighting and legions of tail-coated staff pandering to your every whim (service is “beyond this world”, drools one fan). Exec chef John Williams MBE is a master of the ever-present haute-cuisine classics (beef Wellington, Bresse duck, baked Alaska etc), but he’s no conservative – witness thrilling ideas such as poached langoustine topped with pickled fennel on crushed broad beans and verbena, veal fillet with girolles and Grelot onions or Dover sole with truffles and grapes and unctuous cauliflower purée. After that, there is much flambéing of crêpes Suzette in the grand Escoffier manner, although modernists might prefer coconut mousse with compressed pineapple and passion-fruit sorbet. If money’s tight (heaven forbid!), opt for the sommelier’s wine pairing; if not, indulge in the patrician glories of the full list. Either way, The Ritz Restaurant delivers “a night to remember”. 

More about The Ritz Restaurant

Book now

Colbert

Colbert

French

50-52 Sloane Square, SW1W 8AX

If ever there was a corner of London that embraced the quintessence of central Paris, it’s Sloane Square – which makes it a perfect home for Messrs Corbin and King’s homage to the Gallic brasserie. From the black-and-white floor to art-deco flourishes and cream walls emblazoned with film posters, this spot has been fastidiously designed to look as if it’s been around for a lifetime. There’s the odd concession to current tastes on the all-day menu (crushed avocado on sourdough toast, say), but this is really a place for lovers of dyed-in-the-wool bistro cooking, from garlicky escargots and steak tartare to veal viennoise, herb-crusted hake with béarnaise sauce and desserts such as rum baba. Waiters in suited aprons are expertly drilled in the art of dutiful hospitality, while the oak bar is perfect for soaking up a Cognac or two. “Great local restaurant, buzzing from breakfast to midnight, love it”, says one fan. We wouldn’t argue with that.

More about Colbert

Book now

Brasserie Zédel

Brasserie Zédel

£30 - £49
French

20 Sherwood Street, London, W1F 7ED

Proving that chain restaurants don’t have all the fun on Piccadilly Circus’s tourist highway, this archetypal brasserie provides Gallic staples at low prices in the glitzy surrounds of a cavernous former ballroom dripping with marble-clad charm. Start with a hefty bowl of soupe à l’oignon or a clutch of escargots slathered in parsley butter, ahead of baked trout with almonds, smoked pork belly or something more exotic such as spicy merguez sausage with couscous. Steaks are also perennially popular, from good-value haché with pepper sauce all the way up to a luxe rib-eye with Café de Paris sauce. The separate gluten-free menu’s “wonderful choice” gets a special mention, while over 30 selections from the all-French wine list are sold in five measures. Accusations of “unexciting” dishes are not unfounded but, for those who want a good French meal in the West End at a reasonable price, Zédel is hard to beat – especially when you factor in surefooted service and the festive atmosphere.

More about Brasserie Zédel

Book now

Pique-Nique

Pique-Nique

£30 - £49
French

32 Tanner Street, London, SE1 3LD

You’ll need to keep your eyes peeled to find this second restaurant from Hervé Durochat, which occupies what looks like a café-cum-shelter in the corner of Tanner Street Park. But get up close and Pique-Nique is a bobby dazzler, a real-deal French bistro of tiled floors and close-set tables, with outside seating to soak up the summertime buzz and wraparound windows that will make it a pleasure even in the middle of winter. Durochat has become a local hero for Casse-Croûte and he’s done Bermondsey another huge favour with this casual follow-up. Start with an aperitif (vermouth, pastis or pale Provençal rosé) from a short, mainly French wine list ahead of house speciality spit-roast poulet de Bresse, either from a chicken-lickin’ tasting menu or an à la carte plate of skin-on breast and thigh, spooned with alluringly dark meat jus. Elsewhere, there is entrecôte with garlic butter, a loosely assembled terrine of sea bass, cucumber and tomato, a supersized vol-au-vent filled with crayfish tails and glossy Nantua sauce, and a chocolate moelleux that was well worth the wait. All of this was good rather than outstanding but what really made our meal memorable was the easy charm of the young staff and the absolute delight of the setting: is there any sound more summery than the thwack of a tennis ball bouncing off a racket?

More about Pique-Nique

Book now

Otto

Otto's

£30 - £49
French

182 Gray's Inn Road, WC1X 8EW

A destination for fans of quirky French opulence, much-loved Otto’s is built on the knowledge and warmth of its eponymous owner – it’s also “fantastic fun”. The interior is a homely mishmash of velvet banquettes, black and white photos, odd statuettes and low-hanging vintage lights, with its biggest draw – two vintage presses (duck and lobster respectively) – displayed centre stage. Pre-order the “not to be missed” canard à la presse, and you’ll find Otto doing the necessary prep over an improvised ice-bucket stove when you arrive. A numbered duck appears for inspection, then returns glistening and golden to be carved tableside and pressed for the glorious sauce. Alternatively, bag a bargain set lunch of scallops with broad bean purée and boudin noir, followed by roast partridge with wild mushrooms and yet more commendable saucing. Puddings such as chocolate praline charlotte often come with a flaming flourish, while Gallic rarities and bargains naturally dominate the wine list at this “French treasure”.

More about Otto's

Book now

Seven Park Place by William Drabble

Seven Park Place by William Drabble

£50 - £79
French
One michelin star

St. James's Hotel & Club, 7-8 Park Place, London, SW1A 1LS

Embedded within the wedding-cake surrounds of the St James's Hotel, this freestanding restaurant drips sobriety and good manners. Restraint is the watchword – even if your eyes have to cope with a mishmash of patterned carpets, patterned banquettes and dramatic patterned wallpaper in the petite, nine-table dining room. William Drabble delivers “the most incredible, genuine French food”, sourcing from the UK, but applying several coats of contemporary Gallic lacquer to his Michelin-starred food: scallops are marinated in blood-orange vinegar and served with Dorset crab and blood-orange mayo; saddle of Lune Valley lamb arrives with onions, turnips and thyme; roast veal sweetbreads are studded with truffle and partnered by crispy chicken wings, salt-baked celeriac and roasted chicken emulsion. To finish, try coffee-soaked savarin with coffee cream and caramelised hazelnuts. “Professional, dedicated staff” provide the icing on the cake.

More about Seven Park Place by William Drabble

Book now

Cabotte

Cabotte

£30 - £49
French

48 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7AY

Helmed by master sommeliers Xavier Rousset and Gearoid Devaney, this new French has great pedigree thanks to Rousset’s previous projects such as Texture and his other 2016 opening, Blandford Comptoir in Marylebone. Previously a Be At One, the site is now all whitewashed bricks, bare wood tables, and silky-smooth service. The menu is a carefully plotted journey through French classics with modern twists, devised by Ed Boarland (The Waterside Inn, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay). We were instantly smitten with his take on ouef en meurette, a golden-yolked duck egg in hearty red wine sauce packed with salty lardons. Delicate stone bass and crab tartare was laced with fresh yuzu dressing, shiso and tiny chunks of zingy apple. To follow, melting beef cheek Bourguignon was exemplary: richly satisfying and packed with flavour. Only the tarte Tatin was a slight disappointment, with unevenly cooked apples, but that’s a fussy negative. The wine list is also inspired by Burgundy, with several of the region's producers backing Cabotte. The 600-strong list includes vintages such as La Tâche 1978, curated flights, by-the-glass choices and a helpful Short List if you don't know where to start.

More about Cabotte

Book now

Le Gavroche

Le Gavroche

Over £80
French
Two michelin stars
£50 - £79

43 Upper Brook Street, London, W1K 7QR

Stoically eschewing the cult of the new, Le Gavroche remains a bastion of haute cuisine in all its ancien régime finery – although you may need a certain worldly-wise mindset to fully appreciate this grandee’s many attributes. The dark exclusivity of the cocooned dining room, the fastidiously dutiful service and the indulgent extravagance of the food all seem to evoke a time gone by. As ever, Michel Roux’s Jr’s kitchen is intent on delivering classical cooking of the highest order, although he does allow the occasional flirtation with contemporary themes: trendy bottarga, two kinds of beetroot and ‘late-harvest’ Canadian vinegar balancing a dish of marinated and seared sea trout; ras-el-hanout spices adding exotic fragrance to a plate of stone bass, roasted peanuts enhancing some “incomparable” breast and leg of pigeon. Still, we take comfort in the classics – the ever-present and ever-gorgeous soufflé suissesse, the brilliantly succulent pig’s head terrine with braised snails, lemon and “inimitable” parsley purée, a perfect strawberry dessert highlighted with vanilla cream. Yes, eating here can be frighteningly expensive (especially if you dip into the aristocratic wine list), but readers also extol the virtues of the all-inclusive set lunch. With its two Michelin stars, fans say Le Gavroche is “quite simply the best”.  

More about Le Gavroche

Book now

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Over £80
British
French

68 Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HP

“The top of Everest, the Roger Federer of fine dining” declares a fan of Gordon Ramsay’s three-Michelin-starred Chelsea flagship, adding that it’s “hands-down” the best place to eat in London. Former chef/patron Clare Smyth has moved on to open her own restaurant, Core in Notting Hill, but the kitchen is in safe hands under the stewardship of Matt Abé – a chef who has proved his worth as an alumnus of both Ramsay and Smyth. If proof were needed, consider the ever-delectable ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon (now enlivened with oxalis and sorrel), the pressed foie gras with green apple, turnips, watercress and smoked duck or roast pigeon pointed up with sweetcorn, lavender, honey and apricot. Vegetarians might be treated to gnocchi “as light as pillows of clouds”, while desserts are miracles of clarity and sweetness (a lemonade parfait with honey, bergamot and sheep’s milk yoghurt, for example). It’s all about consummate craftsmanship, combined with an acute eye for visual detailing. The dining room is cool and classy, with silky-smooth service to match, although it would be nothing without the gleeful attentions of genial overlord Jean-Claude Breton – a master orchestrator and a legend among maître d's. Like everything else at this gilded wow-inducing superstar, the staggeringly comprehensive wine list and the sommelier’s astute recommendations are “hard to beat”.

More about Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Book now

The White Onion

The White Onion

£50 - £79
Mediterranean
French

67 High Street, Wimbledon Village, London, SW19 5EE

Fans of The French Table will be pleased to hear that Eric Guignard is overseeing the daily menu at this très jolie neighbourhood joint among the boutiques of Wimbledon Village. Formerly The Lawn Bistro, a bright makeover has created a warm and welcoming interior, with friendly service to match. The good looks don’t stop with the varied artworks on the wall either, as beautifully presented plates showcase an assured touch in the kitchen from head chef Frédéric Duval. To start, punchy roast Périgord goat's cheese came wrapped in thin slivers of ventrêche bacon, with sweet figs to balance the saltiness and a delicate lavender foam that managed not to overpower the dish. Tempura prawns and plaice boasted super-light batter, paired with classic sauce gribiche. Mains kept up the good work; notably sweetly caramelised pork belly with a wickedly piggy croustillant of pork belly, ham hock and smoked tomatoes. The wine list contains many well priced gems to match – we love exploring the ‘unusual suspects’ section – while oozing cheese from La Fromagerie and decadent desserts such as melting-middle chocolate moelleux give you plenty of reasons to linger. Set lunch menus at the weekend are a real steal for food of this quality; book well ahead for the tennis championship fortnight.

More about The White Onion

Book now

Les 110 de Taillevent

Les 110 de Taillevent

£50 - £79
French

16 Cavendish Square, W1G 9DD

This sibling of Parisian big-hitter Le Taillevent may be rather stern looking, but charming service helps to soften the edges of its dark-green, low-lit dining room. Of course, its main appeal (to both wine buffs and casual drinkers) is the spectacular offering of 110 by-the-glass wines, as part of the overall list which exceeds 1,500 bottles. Each dish on head chef Ross Bryans’ menu can be paired to four glasses of wine from 110’s collection, making bottle-free drinking intoxicatingly simple.

Food-wise, the seasonally-changing menu deals in luxe versions of classic French fayre, with dishes arriving at the table beautifully presented, but with little pretension. Take the crisply crumbed pig’s trotter croquette, which is topped with a delicate assemblage of blood pudding, chunks of apple and giroles. Elsewhere, thick-cut slices of Barbary duck are dusted with aromatic lavender spice, while plump Orkney scallops arrive slathered in vanilla butter.

The crowd here is often business folk (prices are pitched far north of bistro territory), but 110 also makes for a cute date setting, not least because its divinely crisp apple tart tartin is the perfect dessert for sharing. If you want to feel like a true Parisian though, end your evening with 110’s selection of cheeses, naturally paired with wines from that stellar list.    

More about Les 110 de Taillevent

Book now

Terroirs

Terroirs

£30 - £49
French

5 William IV Street, London, WC2N 4DW

Offering an authentic slice of Gallic charm just off Trafalgar Square, Terroirs is a regular hit with readers who rate the "buzzy and lively" atmosphere, hearty charcuterie platters and garlicky snails. The seasonal menu changes daily, but always focuses on the freshest ingredients, with confident flavour combinations allowing them to shine through: we’d single out a starter of simply grilled mackerel paired with a punchy celeriac rémoulade, as well as melt-in-the-mouth Ibérica pluma (a neck cut) accompanied by earthy cavolo nero and rich pepper sauce. Exemplary steak tartare, the signature pork terrine and duck rillettes slathered on crusty baguettes are also good calls, ahead of cheeses and desserts such as poached pear with bergamot custard and pecan brittle. Like its siblings Soif and Toasted, Terroirs is big on ‘natural’ wine, with a joyous list featuring sustainable, organic and biodynamic bottles from artisan producers. Ask the clued-up staff for recommendations and buy your favourites to take home.

 

More about Terroirs

Book now

Casse-Croûte

Casse-Croûte

Under £30
French

109 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XB

If you go looking for an ‘authentic’ bistro in Paris, you may be disappointed; checked tablecloths, Edith Piaf and verbal menus that sound like an Inspector Clouseau sketch have gone the way of confidence in the Euro. But come to Bermondsey and you can step into a corner of France that is forever Amélie. The blackboard menu (just three choices per course) is in French; the chairs are bentwood; the floor is chequer-tiled, and the kitchen generally makes a good fist of things when it comes to delivering true bourgeois flavours. Follow our lead and get stuck into a plate of charcuterie before dipping into the menu itself – perhaps mackerel in white wine or saucisson en brioche with Madeira sauce ahead of salmon coulibiac with beurre blanc or pork shoulder with lentils, plus a dessert such as raspberry soufflé or plum tart. There’s a brief all-French wine list too, and service is certainly friendlier than the Paris norm.

More about Casse-Croûte

Book now

La Dame de Pic at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square

La Dame de Pic at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square

£50 - £79
French
One michelin star

Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, London, EC3N 4AJ

This highly ambitious French from Anne-Sophie Pic has proved its worth by gaining a Michelin star in the 2018 guide. Combine that with its location in the grand former London Port Authority building, and this restaurant is a mighty proposition. The high-ceiling dining room is divided up by towering, mirror-clad pillars and handsome banquettes, and populated by hushed, affable staff serving City types and gastro-pilgrims. It could all be quite intimidating, but is softened by white surfaces and delicate paper art pieces. It goes without saying that prices are steep (all starters hover around £20) but, thanks to Pic’s pedigree and sheer inventiveness, the food is on the money. Head chef Luca Piscazzi (Pic visits monthly) takes British produce and combines it with supreme ingredients and techniques from across the world to conjure arresting, inventive flavours. Mackerel is delicately seared teppanyaki-style then combined with matcha dashi and sherry vinegar, for example, resulting in a beautifully presented balance of intense fish and light, tart flavours. Highlights include Pic’s signature berlingots (pasta parcels of goats’ cheese and mascarpone) and her fantastically constructed millefeuille dessert, although during our meal everything delivered eye-widening flavours. The staff will capably lead you to engaging wine pairings, which leaves our only criticisms being the hushed reverence of it all and slightly drafty dining room (unsurprising, given its dimensions). If gastronomic thrills are what you seek however, we doubt you’ll notice these quibbles.

More about La Dame de Pic at Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square

Book now

Coq d

Coq d'Argent

£50 - £79
French
£30 - £49

1 Poultry, London, EC2R 8EJ

Going for the gold standard on a street called Poultry, Coq d’Argent is near the top of the City’s pecking order. We reckon its status as an “all-time favourite” in business diaries is down to a considerable clutch of attractions including gorgeous roof gardens, a heavily diverting wine list and the good looks of a cruise liner in its pomp. The Coq also delivers “consistently good food” from breakfast onwards, taking in gluten-free and vegan menus plus a surprisingly mature children’s offer. Wherever you sit – in the restaurant, grill or bar – the French accent is as robust as the pricing, conjuring Gallic luxury with careful flourishes. Lunch in the Grill might mean cauliflower soup with a poached egg followed by spiced braised lamb shank with white coco beans and wild mushrooms, while the restaurant promises higher levels of complexity – perhaps black truffle and ricotta tortellini with Parmentier espuma or immaculately balanced wild roe deer with a plateful of silky seasonal trimmings. The service at Coq d’Argent is equal to the demands of a confident clientele.

More about Coq d'Argent

Book now

Balthazar

Balthazar

£50 - £79
French

4-6 Russell Street, London, WC2B 5HZ

According to one reader, Balthazar could be “the best brasserie in London for atmosphere and service". Elsewhere, abundant praise for the lively buzz and "happy, friendly staff" is proof that this London outpost of Keith McNally's upscale bistro lives up to the reputation of his NYC original. By and large, the food wins approval too, with particular mentions for the "delicious afternoon tea" and "just the best dauphinoise potatoes". Order them alongside wickedly rich duck confit or coq au vin, preceded by chicken liver parfait, steak tartare or garlicky escargots. The all-day offer also includes delectable pastries from Balthazar’s boulangerie next door, omelette Arnold Bennett for brunch, plateaux de fruits de mer from the seafood bar or eggs mimosa followed by roast hake with bouillabaisse soup on the prix fixe. "It's a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner and business meetings" concludes one ardent admirer; another simply says “sit back, enjoy the buzz and don’t worry about your wallet”.

More about Balthazar

Book now

Les Nénettes

Les Nénettes

French

19 Lower Clapton Road, London, E5 0NS

This inviting French restaurant on a bustling corner of up-and-coming Clapton is led by an all-female team (‘Les Nénettes’ translates as ‘the girls’) who have experience in the kitchens at the likes of Club Gascon and Bistrotheque. Charming staff seat diners in a rustic-chic space which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, while there’s a small terrace for warmer months – the perfect place to enjoy the excellent charcuterie boards with a glass from the (exclusively French) wine list. Arrive hungry, as you’ll want to try everything on the menu. We loved the remixed frog’s legs, served buffalo style, like chicken wings – sticky, tongue-tingling and perfectly complimented by an intense blue cheese dip.

Next up, a selection of cheeses, ranging from mild to knock-your-socks off rich, was served with warm bread and tangy onion jam. From the mains, top shouts include an enchanting veggie option of crispy polenta topped with asparagus and a runny egg yolk, and a helping of juicy duck magret on a mound of tagliatelle. Dessert should not be missed; we’d recommend the noir et blanc mousse au chocolat: soft, cloud-like white chocolate mousse, paired with its rich chocolate opposite and topped with a crisp wafer. If you can’t make it to dinner, Les Nénettes is also open for brunch and lunch, but whatever time of day you dine, you’re sure to be welcomed with open arms.     

More about Les Nénettes

Book now