The French Horn - Reading

Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of The French Horn - Reading

Silver Award

A splendid beacon of French classicism on the banks of the Thames, The French Horn is a popular choice among locals and visitors alike. Originally a coaching inn, this traditional restaurant with rooms has been run by the Emmanuel family since the early seventies and continues to thrive thanks to their passion for fresh, seasonal ingredients and excellent wine.

Michael Emmanuel, who trained under Paul Bocuse in Lyon and Roger Verge in Mougins, ensures the kitchen maintains the high standards he worked to in France in everything from the style of each dish to the presentation and taste. Here you’ll find luxury on a plate with the likes of lobster thermidor, foie gras terrine, and chateaubriand, though spit-roasted duck is a speciality.

While the menu focuses heavily on meat and seafood, head chef Josiane Diaga ensures vegetarians and vegans get a look in with the likes of pea and artichoke risotto, and chickpea, courgette and basil bake laced with balsamic dressing. Traditional Gallic desserts such as white chocolate panna cotta with dark chocolate sauce and dark chocolate and orange mousse, and raspberry soufflé are unmissable, and there’s plenty on the wine list to keep even the most dedicated Francophile happy.

Of course, being fully committed to French gastronomy means that dining here is about more than just the food. Proper service that’s attentive yet discreet and where diners’ enjoyment is paramount is rare, but you’ll find it in abundance here, along with pretty riverside views from the dining room and terrace. It’s easy to forget you’re just minutes from a train station that can get you to the capital in half an hour when at The French Horn, which could well account for the fact that the place is always busy. What’s more, if you don’t live locally and want to extend your stay in this pleasant spot, it’s worth checking out the restaurant’s rooms, which are a little old-fashioned but charming nonetheless.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cool, Cosy, Traditional, Unique
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Vegan options
Perfect for
Food Hygiene Rating


Does the French Horn take reservations?

Yes, the French Horn does take reservations, we advise booking in advance

Helpful? 0

Do the French Horn provide rooms?

Yes, the French Horn has rooms that can be rented

Helpful? 0

Does the French Horn cater for vegans?

Yes, there are vegans options on the main menu at the French Horn

Helpful? 0

The French Horn - Reading is featured in


Sonning-On-Thames, Reading, Berkshire, RG4 6TN

0118 969 2204 0118 969 2204


Opening Times

Mon 12:00-14:00
Tue 12:00-14:00
Wed 12:00-14:00
Thu 12:00-14:00
Fri 12:00-14:00
Sat 12:00-14:00
Sun 12:00-14:00
Mon 19:00-21:30
Tue 19:00-21:30
Wed 19:00-21:30
Thu 19:00-21:30
Fri 19:00-21:30
Sat 19:00-21:30
Sun 19:00-21:00


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4 Reviews 

Steven L

29 March 2019  
Fantastic location and views, great service and wonderful traditional food , especially the famous Aylesbury Duck.

Mark D

28 March 2019  
Traditional to a t, family run, with an air of yesteryear grandeur. Top notch old school service, a fab riverside setting and a set menu that keeps the bill in check - all further pluses. Good for big family occasions rather than first dates.

Mark D

20 March 2018  
Creative menu, attentive service and high attention to detail. The restaurant itself has a cosy atmosphere and the food is simply divine!

Wendy M

21 October 2009  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4
Value 3.5
Since last visit, it looks like they’ve upgraded the décor. It remains a traditionally styled property on a Thames backwater, softly lit up at night so waterside views can still be enjoyed during an evening meal. A few goodies already awaited us beside the fish orientated canapé , bread and amuse bouche that were to come, so restraint was needed as I considered ordering half a lobster and half a duck. My starter was accomplished if sauce flavour was lacking depth, though wafer thin pasta and forkfuls of succulent lobster countered this. My partner’s stuffed quail was good but less flavourful than hoped. He was, however, totally satisfied with the other half of my duck, carved at tableside. Extensive wine list has prices extending to the stratospheric. Pre-ordained veg didn’t quite fit with roast duck, gravy plus trimmings, especially the dauphinoise that virtually disintegrated. Mash , or even plain boiled would have sufficed, especially as a dairy enhanced side of cauliflower was also served. Needless to say, we couldn’t look at the dessert menu, but petit-fours were just too good to resist. Almost all was more or less as it should be and Canard L’anglaise, is sooo worth ordering. Quite costly for non-michelin, I think mainly because generous servings of some rather expensive ingredients including fine cuts of beef, king of the soles and foie gras which features in many dishes. A serious number of knowledgeable staff unobtrusively attend and are ready to help, so I guess that’s another reason. Very relaxing evening assisted by the tranquil setting………looking forward to further samplings.
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