Le Café du Marché

French·
££££
·
Bronze Award
·

SquareMeal Review of Le Café du Marché

Bronze Award

Le Café du Marché has been around for 30-odd years and there’s “no risk of it changing” any time soon. If you loved it back in the day, you’ll love it now as it still feels as fresh as a daisy – a traditional bistro where there’s “never an empty glass”. The exposed beams, large mirrors, prints and candlelit tables set a mood matched by a menu that won’t shake the foundations of the mews in which it lives.

The fish soup with associated accoutrements is all you’d hope for, côte de boeuf is a mighty slab for two to share, and the open lobster ravioli shows a more refined side with its embellishments of pea purée and beurre blanc. The menu changes monthly with some daily additions such as a soup and market fish to spice things up (super-fresh grilled John Dory, say), while desserts such as apple and quince tart deserve your full attention.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
French
Ambience
Cosy, Romantic, Traditional, Unique
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Gluten-free options, Wheelchair access
People
Birthdays, Celebrations, Dates, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About Le Café du Marché

It is an unfortunate truth that half of restaurants close within their first year of trading, so there is always something extra special about dining out somewhere that has stood the test of time. Enter long-standing French restaurant Le Cafe du Marche, which was founded by Charlie Graham-Wood way back in 1986 and remains an independent, family-run restaurant to this day.

Le Cafe du Marche is housed in a converted warehouse, built on the foundations of the coach houses for the neighbouring Charterhouse and once a storage warehouse for St Barts. Much of the building’s original features remain in tact, although the dining room here certainly doesn’t feel outdated or industrial, with Le Cafe du Marche managing to seamlessly blend its more rustic elements with romance and whimsy - think crisp white tablecloths, wicker chairs, potted plants and plenty of natural daylight (come nightfall, the room is romantically lit by candlelight). Add to that specials written up on blackboards and smartly dressed waiters and it would be easy to fool yourself into thinking you are dining out in rural France, rather than the heart of the Square Mile.

As for the menu here, expect a regularly changing offering which makes the most of seasonal ingredients and has a provincial French accent. The menu is a set offering, with diners able to choose between two or three courses; to begin your meal, you might order a warm bowl of soup or pate de campagne with rhubarb chutney served atop toasted sourdough. Main courses meanwhile (all served with frites and green salad) could encompass the market fish of the day or English rack of lamb with wild mushrooms and dauphinoise potatoes.

To finish, discover the dessert of the day or end on a savoury note with a cheese board. If you prefer liquid afters, check out Le Cafe du Marche’s carefully considered list of regional French wines.


FAQs

Can you book Le Cafe du Marche?

Yes, booking in advance is recommended although walk-ins are welcome when there is space.

Helpful? 0

Does Le Cafe du Marche open for lunch?

Yes, the restaurant does open for lunch on select days.

Helpful? 0

Does Le Cafe du Marche offer vegetarian options?

The menu here changes often, but there is usually at least one vegetarian option available.

Helpful? 0

Can you book at Le Café du Marché?

Yes

Helpful? 0

This venue also offers

Le Café du Marché
Private Group Dining

Le Café du Marché

Location

22 Charterhouse Square, Barbican, London, EC1M 6DX

020 7608 1609

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue 18:00-21:30
Wed 18:00-21:30
Thu 18:00-21:30
Fri 18:00-21:30
Sat Closed
Sun Closed

Reviews

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12 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

ken M

15 June 2017  
Excellent French based food and service.

Matthew F

28 May 2017  
French brasserie.

Sue S

09 May 2017  
Everything was wonderful from the service to the sublime food and relaxing atmosphere.

Iain B

04 May 2017  
Stunning Food, wonderful ambience, zero pretention. Cote De Bouef a must.

Arjan O

01 July 2014  
Food & Drink 3.5
Service 3.5
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 2.5
This place feels like a real ‘find’, as if you are in a village in the Cotswold or better south of France. The menu is varied and interesting: both for meat lovers (fantastic Cote du Boeff) and vegetarian (one of us) with nice presentation and good sides. The service is fast and to the point. Wine card limited and as in many London restaurants totally overpriced. (10 GBP for a glass of average/normal Bordeaux…). One of us was up for grilled Tuna (without the salad Nicoise) This became a bit of a disaster. It was rare and too raw, when grilled again, it became hard to eat and digest…however they took it off the bill! (real classy). Deserts looked fantastic but we had to run to make the start of our concert at the Barbican…

17 October 2013  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 4.5
Belle!
Don't get me wrong, I love London. The dawdling tourists, commuters armpits and the incessant tutting of those who simply cannot walk but must run to every destination and heaven forbid their be anyone in their way. But sometimes, just sometimes you want to escape this beauty on a Friday evening. I love Farringdon, it's like a little village in the middle of the big smoke, so when you take a stroll down the cobbled backstreet towards Le Cafe Du Marche, London disappears further and you feel like you really could be walking down some little ‘rue’ in France. If you want some flash restaurant with no atmosphere and looks, well, beige then Le Cafe du Marche is not for you. If you want the genuine thing then great head on over! 3 courses for £34.85 and some good rouge to help wash it down with. I think this is pretty damn good, especially for the likes of Braised Oxtail, snails and Parsnip puree. The staff are friendly, good atmosphere as the room started to fill up around 8:30pm and great quality… give authenticity a try.

Matthew W

28 May 2013  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Fantastic evening..
…Came here to celebrate my partners birthday, intending to eat fine food in a casual and intimate setting. Le Cafe delivered perfectly. The food was delicious, the wine list well thought out and broad and the atmosphere perfect for that combination of delicious grub and witty, wine encouraged conversation you're looking for on a date. With live piano and double bass adding a gentle background sound to the hubbub of conversation, to the charming service. It was busy, bubbly but it never felt crowded, just a lovely buzz to carry you through the meal. A thoroughly fantastic experience and will definitely return. Cannot recommend highly enough

John A

21 May 2011  
Food & Drink 3
Service 2.5
Atmosphere 4
Value 3
April 2011 Always authentic french country atmosphere, but with that typical french arrogant service which is so annoying but not bad. Food this time was good but not outstanding- venison not aged enough. again (this seems to be happening all too often these days) the portions were on the small side

Pa C

29 July 2010  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 3.5
This place is just great. Its everything French food should be – homely, unpretentious, well cooked, well presented and served well. Coete de bouef for 2, Duck Confit, Chicken Tajine is all very very good and served with a simple salad or fresh vegtables. From the look of the new website it also looks like they now offer a very good priced set menu. It is in my opinion the best French place to eat in town and for a relaxed but also elegant setting this is the place to go.

Chris-MPC

02 October 2009  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 4.5
Just looking at their web site, it looks like we ate in the café section, although I didn’t know that there were different sections. Something you’d think they’d ask when you book. The menu is in French, so for those of us lacking our French O-level it makes ordering a little tricky. Fortunately with my fake Allo Allo style French accent I bluffed my way through. For starters I had Jambon cru, figues et gorgonzola, which sounded much more exciting in French than it looked on the plate, but as ham and cheese go, it was quite good. For main I had one of the specials, cod in a prawn and seafood sauce/ broth. A passion fruit sabayon finish me off. All in all very good food, and pretty reasonable at £33.85 for the 3 courses.
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