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A ceramic dish of roast chicken and morel mushrooms, bathed in a vin jaune sauce, on a marble background
Roast chicken with morels and vin jaune sauce at Noble Rot Soho
Noble Rot Soho [Official Photo]

Where to Eat the Finest French Food in London

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Roast chicken with morels and vin jaune sauce at Noble Rot Soho
| Noble Rot Soho [Official Photo]

The Iberian peninsula might be where it’s at right now, but the city’s French restaurants continue to bring a lot to the table (literally). Good bread and good wine, roll-the-sleeves-up cheeses and OTT desserts are so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget where they came from — and where still does them best. The list below is a mix of ancient and modern, but even the newcomers show a heartening disregard for food fashion, only remixing the classics very gently (if at all). If it ain’t broke...

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Medlar

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438 King's Rd, Chelsea
London SW10 0LJ, UK

When Henry Harris’ Racine served its last veal chop in 2015, the torch was ferried down the road to Medlar. Although there are a couple of Italian flourishes — a raviolo here, a burrata there — the menu’s framework is solidly, classically Gallic. Indeed, white onion velouté with roast foie gras, pistachios, confit quail legs and aged comté gougères must surely be the French-est dish in London, if not the world. Oh, and the chips (triple cooked, as advertised) come with Bearnaise. Not cheap, but magnifique for a splurge. 

2. Claude Bosi at Bibendum

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Michelin House, 81 Fulham Rd, Chelsea
London SW3 6RD, UK

Obviously it’s a wallet-walloper, but think of dinner here as an investment. Claude Bosi has filled Michelin House with wit, charm and loving attention to detail since he moved in last year; the brace of stars feels inevitable, but also almost incidental. The tripe and cuttlefish gratin (made to his mother’s recipe) reads alarmingly, but through the tender ministrations of the kitchen it becomes something soulful and soothing. The ice creams, served from a stately trolley, come with warm madeleines — naturellement. 

3. Chez Bruce

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2 Bellevue Rd
London SW17 7EG, UK

Trends come and go, but Chez Bruce remains magnificently untouched by them. The menu, overseen by director Bruce Poole, has barely changed since he arrived in Wandsworth in 1995. Ballotines, croustades and parfaits dominate, while côte de boeuf for two and a burnished tarte tatin top the bill. It’s all superb, served in an elegant (if slightly characterless) space. Menu prices veer into sharp-intake-of-breath territory, but the wine list is incredibly good value. 

4. Sinabro Restaurant

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28 Battersea Rise
London SW11 1EE, UK

Look, if this place was in W1 it would be booked up months in advance. As it is, there’s a reasonable chance of a call made on Monday securing a table over the weekend, despite there only being 28 seats (most of them are at the bar, overlooking the busy kitchen). Husband-and-wife team Yoann and Sujin’s menu is set modern French with nods towards South Korea: previous dishes have included hake with grilled endive, kohlrabi, fennel and orange, and matcha rice pudding with caramelised pistachio. It’s mind-bogglingly good value, and the smoked butter that comes with the bread has a cult-like following.

5. Le Gavroche

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43 Upper Brook St, Mayfair
London W1K 7QR, UK

Haute cuisine’s highest peak, Le Gavroche (it means The Urchin; no, really) is less a restaurant, more a parallel universe. The soufflés Suissesse and Rothschild — a cumulonimbus of gruyere and double cream, and an apricot-and-Cointreau confection respectively — and the lobster mousse have passed into legend.

6. The Ritz London

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150 Piccadilly, St. James's
London W1J 9BR, UK

John Williams uses The Ritz restaurant as a shrine to Escoffier-inspired classics, all of them executed flawlessly: Ballotine of duck liver with peach and hazelnut, new-season lamb, Bresse duck with beetroot and pickled blackberries, an ethereal apricot souffle.

7. Brasserie Zédel

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20 Sherwood St, Soho
London W1F 7ED, UK

Eight years on, this place has lost none of its sense of occasion. Marble and velvet abound, but prices — as has been widely noted — are more Cafe Rouge than Cafe Royal: the £10.95 prix fixe menu is a minor miracle in this bit of W1. The ile flottante, bobbing in pink praline-flecked creme anglaise, is up there with anything you’d find in Saint-Germain. Other members of the Corbin & King family also look lovingly across the Channel — Colbert’s croque monsieurs deserve an honourable mention, and Bellanger has a nice line in Alsacienne tartes flambées on Islington Green. 

8. Noizé

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39 Whitfield St
London W1T 2SF, UK

Sorry to wheel out a cursed restaurant word, but Noizé is probably one of the city’s more underrated restaurants — if elegant classicisme is the would-be diner’s thing. Snacks, starters, mains, desserts; gougères, rabbit lasagana, glazed veal cheeks, chocolate sorbet; oui, oui, oui, oui.

9. Gauthier Soho

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21 Romilly St, Soho
London W1D 5AF, UK

Meat-avoiders have traditionally gone hungry in French restaurants — an omelette aux fines herbes and some frisée dumped on the side of the plate is often is good as it gets. Give thanks, then, for Gauthier, which takes up three floors of a Regency townhouse on Romilly Street. Chef-patron Alexis Gauthier was an early and keen advocate of vegetable-first cooking, and his two entirely vegan menus (complete with tartares, veloutés and fondants) feel like labours of love rather than bandwagon-jumping. Carnivores, of course, are amply catered for too. 

10. Noble Rot Soho

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2 Greek St
London W1D 4NB, UK

Alex Jackson’s Sardine has dearly departed the city and thus this map, but fans can find his French country cooking in a new guise at Noble Rot’s Soho second album. The centrepiece, et le plat le plus français, is a roast chicken with morel mushrooms, served in a gorgeously nutty sauce made from vin jaune. A classical chocolate mousse and a choux bun with tojaki jelly and duck parfait as bookends, and diners are away.

11. L'Escargot Restaurant

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48 Greek St, Soho
London W1D 4EF, UK

The website looks steam-powered, and the decor is best described as Hogarth reimagined by Christian Grey, but L’Escargot’s still got it. It was given a sprucing up in 2014, but the menu is still much as it was when it first opened in 1927 — lobster bisque, snails flambéed with Ricard, tournedos Rossini. The three course prix fixe, available from midday right through to 7pm, is one of the most civilised ways to dispose of a £20 note in Soho. 

12. Mon Plaisir

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19-21 Monmouth St
London WC2H 9DD, UK

An industry darling that counts Marina O’Loughlin, Fay Maschler, and Fergus Henderson among its admirers, London’s oldest French restaurant is thriving against all odds. The decor is pure Café René and the service can verge on resentful during rush hour, but if a break from the new-opening merry-go-round is in order, this is where to head. The classics are all present and correct: coq au vin, duck à l’orange, steak tartare, shoestring fries, peas with bacon and cream, profiteroles and coffee eclairs. 

13. Otto's French Restaurant

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182 Grays Inn Rd
London WC1X 8EW, UK

Actualment, Monsieur Otto n’est pas français – mais Otto’s est possiblé le restaurant plus français dans tout le cité. Regard, le canard à la presse! Le pigeon d’Anjou! Le quenelle de poisson Lyonnaise! Le menu est completement en français aussi. Merveilleux. Encore de Côtes du Rhône, s’îl-vous plait. Ou est la plume de ma tante?

14. Naughty Piglets

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28 Brixton Water Ln
London SW2 1PE, UK

This buzzy Brixton bistrot is a very fine example of how London, and its myriad dining influences which wax and wane, is refracting “French food” through its being, well, not in France. Margaux Aubry & Joe Sharratt put out dishes like crab with yuzu and peanut and a duck kiev with wild garlic butter and shimeji with a hospitable but breezy confidence, alongside a largely nu-French wine list.

15. Comptoir Gascon

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63 Charterhouse St, Clerkenwell
London EC1M 6HJ, UK

Cassoulet, the pinnacle of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cooking, is what draws the crowds to this temple of the porky, punchy food of Southwestern France. There’s also a foie gras and truffle burger, and something called “piggy treats” — an assemblage of Bayonne ham, sausage, black pudding saucisson and pate. It’s a starter. This, it should go without saying, is not the place for a light lunch: the duck confit with potato cake will render all but the most committed eaters insensible for the rest of the afternoon.

16. Casse-Croûte

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109 Bermondsey St
London SE1 3XB, UK

Pique-Nique’s petit adelphe scratches up its menu on a blackboard in the language of its culinary ancestor. That is to say: on l’écrit en français. It changes daily, and might encompass a tartlet of boudin noir; rabbit leg with a risotto; and a highly classical millefeuille.

17. Pique-Nique

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Tanner St
London SE1 3LD, UK

A sort of mock-Tudor Tardis plonked in the middle of a park, Pique-Nique may rank in the top 10 of London’s weirdest-looking restaurants, but it’s also one of its finest purveyors of French food. There’s an a la carte menu (written entirely en Français), but go for the multi-course menu autour du poulet de Bresse, which makes excellent use of everything but the bird’s beak. Over the road, big brother Casse-Crôute remains a masterclass in Gallic charm, with tables straight out of Lady and the Tramp, and a menu rich in mustard and cream. 

1. Medlar

438 King's Rd, Chelsea, London SW10 0LJ, UK

When Henry Harris’ Racine served its last veal chop in 2015, the torch was ferried down the road to Medlar. Although there are a couple of Italian flourishes — a raviolo here, a burrata there — the menu’s framework is solidly, classically Gallic. Indeed, white onion velouté with roast foie gras, pistachios, confit quail legs and aged comté gougères must surely be the French-est dish in London, if not the world. Oh, and the chips (triple cooked, as advertised) come with Bearnaise. Not cheap, but magnifique for a splurge. 

438 King's Rd, Chelsea
London SW10 0LJ, UK

2. Claude Bosi at Bibendum

Michelin House, 81 Fulham Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 6RD, UK

Obviously it’s a wallet-walloper, but think of dinner here as an investment. Claude Bosi has filled Michelin House with wit, charm and loving attention to detail since he moved in last year; the brace of stars feels inevitable, but also almost incidental. The tripe and cuttlefish gratin (made to his mother’s recipe) reads alarmingly, but through the tender ministrations of the kitchen it becomes something soulful and soothing. The ice creams, served from a stately trolley, come with warm madeleines — naturellement. 

Michelin House, 81 Fulham Rd, Chelsea
London SW3 6RD, UK

3. Chez Bruce

2 Bellevue Rd, London SW17 7EG, UK

Trends come and go, but Chez Bruce remains magnificently untouched by them. The menu, overseen by director Bruce Poole, has barely changed since he arrived in Wandsworth in 1995. Ballotines, croustades and parfaits dominate, while côte de boeuf for two and a burnished tarte tatin top the bill. It’s all superb, served in an elegant (if slightly characterless) space. Menu prices veer into sharp-intake-of-breath territory, but the wine list is incredibly good value. 

2 Bellevue Rd
London SW17 7EG, UK

4. Sinabro Restaurant

28 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1EE, UK

Look, if this place was in W1 it would be booked up months in advance. As it is, there’s a reasonable chance of a call made on Monday securing a table over the weekend, despite there only being 28 seats (most of them are at the bar, overlooking the busy kitchen). Husband-and-wife team Yoann and Sujin’s menu is set modern French with nods towards South Korea: previous dishes have included hake with grilled endive, kohlrabi, fennel and orange, and matcha rice pudding with caramelised pistachio. It’s mind-bogglingly good value, and the smoked butter that comes with the bread has a cult-like following.

28 Battersea Rise
London SW11 1EE, UK

5. Le Gavroche

43 Upper Brook St, Mayfair, London W1K 7QR, UK

Haute cuisine’s highest peak, Le Gavroche (it means The Urchin; no, really) is less a restaurant, more a parallel universe. The soufflés Suissesse and Rothschild — a cumulonimbus of gruyere and double cream, and an apricot-and-Cointreau confection respectively — and the lobster mousse have passed into legend.

43 Upper Brook St, Mayfair
London W1K 7QR, UK

6. The Ritz London

150 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9BR, UK

John Williams uses The Ritz restaurant as a shrine to Escoffier-inspired classics, all of them executed flawlessly: Ballotine of duck liver with peach and hazelnut, new-season lamb, Bresse duck with beetroot and pickled blackberries, an ethereal apricot souffle.

150 Piccadilly, St. James's
London W1J 9BR, UK

7. Brasserie Zédel

20 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED, UK

Eight years on, this place has lost none of its sense of occasion. Marble and velvet abound, but prices — as has been widely noted — are more Cafe Rouge than Cafe Royal: the £10.95 prix fixe menu is a minor miracle in this bit of W1. The ile flottante, bobbing in pink praline-flecked creme anglaise, is up there with anything you’d find in Saint-Germain. Other members of the Corbin & King family also look lovingly across the Channel — Colbert’s croque monsieurs deserve an honourable mention, and Bellanger has a nice line in Alsacienne tartes flambées on Islington Green. 

20 Sherwood St, Soho
London W1F 7ED, UK

8. Noizé

39 Whitfield St, London W1T 2SF, UK

Sorry to wheel out a cursed restaurant word, but Noizé is probably one of the city’s more underrated restaurants — if elegant classicisme is the would-be diner’s thing. Snacks, starters, mains, desserts; gougères, rabbit lasagana, glazed veal cheeks, chocolate sorbet; oui, oui, oui, oui.

39 Whitfield St
London W1T 2SF, UK

9. Gauthier Soho

21 Romilly St, Soho, London W1D 5AF, UK

Meat-avoiders have traditionally gone hungry in French restaurants — an omelette aux fines herbes and some frisée dumped on the side of the plate is often is good as it gets. Give thanks, then, for Gauthier, which takes up three floors of a Regency townhouse on Romilly Street. Chef-patron Alexis Gauthier was an early and keen advocate of vegetable-first cooking, and his two entirely vegan menus (complete with tartares, veloutés and fondants) feel like labours of love rather than bandwagon-jumping. Carnivores, of course, are amply catered for too. 

21 Romilly St, Soho
London W1D 5AF, UK

10. Noble Rot Soho

2 Greek St, London W1D 4NB, UK

Alex Jackson’s Sardine has dearly departed the city and thus this map, but fans can find his French country cooking in a new guise at Noble Rot’s Soho second album. The centrepiece, et le plat le plus français, is a roast chicken with morel mushrooms, served in a gorgeously nutty sauce made from vin jaune. A classical chocolate mousse and a choux bun with tojaki jelly and duck parfait as bookends, and diners are away.

2 Greek St
London W1D 4NB, UK

11. L'Escargot Restaurant

48 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 4EF, UK

The website looks steam-powered, and the decor is best described as Hogarth reimagined by Christian Grey, but L’Escargot’s still got it. It was given a sprucing up in 2014, but the menu is still much as it was when it first opened in 1927 — lobster bisque, snails flambéed with Ricard, tournedos Rossini. The three course prix fixe, available from midday right through to 7pm, is one of the most civilised ways to dispose of a £20 note in Soho. 

48 Greek St, Soho
London W1D 4EF, UK

12. Mon Plaisir

19-21 Monmouth St, London WC2H 9DD, UK

An industry darling that counts Marina O’Loughlin, Fay Maschler, and Fergus Henderson among its admirers, London’s oldest French restaurant is thriving against all odds. The decor is pure Café René and the service can verge on resentful during rush hour, but if a break from the new-opening merry-go-round is in order, this is where to head. The classics are all present and correct: coq au vin, duck à l’orange, steak tartare, shoestring fries, peas with bacon and cream, profiteroles and coffee eclairs. 

19-21 Monmouth St
London WC2H 9DD, UK

13. Otto's French Restaurant

182 Grays Inn Rd, London WC1X 8EW, UK

Actualment, Monsieur Otto n’est pas français – mais Otto’s est possiblé le restaurant plus français dans tout le cité. Regard, le canard à la presse! Le pigeon d’Anjou! Le quenelle de poisson Lyonnaise! Le menu est completement en français aussi. Merveilleux. Encore de Côtes du Rhône, s’îl-vous plait. Ou est la plume de ma tante?

182 Grays Inn Rd
London WC1X 8EW, UK

14. Naughty Piglets

28 Brixton Water Ln, London SW2 1PE, UK

This buzzy Brixton bistrot is a very fine example of how London, and its myriad dining influences which wax and wane, is refracting “French food” through its being, well, not in France. Margaux Aubry & Joe Sharratt put out dishes like crab with yuzu and peanut and a duck kiev with wild garlic butter and shimeji with a hospitable but breezy confidence, alongside a largely nu-French wine list.

28 Brixton Water Ln
London SW2 1PE, UK

15. Comptoir Gascon

63 Charterhouse St, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 6HJ, UK

Cassoulet, the pinnacle of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cooking, is what draws the crowds to this temple of the porky, punchy food of Southwestern France. There’s also a foie gras and truffle burger, and something called “piggy treats” — an assemblage of Bayonne ham, sausage, black pudding saucisson and pate. It’s a starter. This, it should go without saying, is not the place for a light lunch: the duck confit with potato cake will render all but the most committed eaters insensible for the rest of the afternoon.

63 Charterhouse St, Clerkenwell
London EC1M 6HJ, UK

Related Maps

16. Casse-Croûte

109 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3XB, UK

Pique-Nique’s petit adelphe scratches up its menu on a blackboard in the language of its culinary ancestor. That is to say: on l’écrit en français. It changes daily, and might encompass a tartlet of boudin noir; rabbit leg with a risotto; and a highly classical millefeuille.

109 Bermondsey St
London SE1 3XB, UK

17. Pique-Nique

Tanner St, London SE1 3LD, UK

A sort of mock-Tudor Tardis plonked in the middle of a park, Pique-Nique may rank in the top 10 of London’s weirdest-looking restaurants, but it’s also one of its finest purveyors of French food. There’s an a la carte menu (written entirely en Français), but go for the multi-course menu autour du poulet de Bresse, which makes excellent use of everything but the bird’s beak. Over the road, big brother Casse-Crôute remains a masterclass in Gallic charm, with tables straight out of Lady and the Tramp, and a menu rich in mustard and cream. 

Tanner St
London SE1 3LD, UK

Related Maps