The Best French Restaurants In London

From charming, snail-serving classic establishments, to an elegant modern restaurant in Covent Garden, these are London’s most unmissable French restaurants.
The Best French Restaurants In London image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

In case you were wondering, it is entirely acceptable to replace your entire personality with a love for brie de meaux and Catherine Deneuve. Yes, our circumflex-flexing neighbours have given us beaujolais, boeuf bourguignon, soufflé, and most profoundly of all, the setting of the film we all know should have won Best Film, Ratatouille. So it’s no wonder that sometimes you just want to sit back and dine délicieux. These are London’s unmissable French restaurants. 


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



$$$$Perfect For:Special OccasionsLunchDinner with the ParentsDate NightDrinking Good Wine
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Everything feels like it comes naturally at Bouchon Racine. The old-school elegance of this bistro above a pub in Farringdon is, quite simply, impossible to resist. White tablecloths sit on each table like crisp bed sheets, lanterns glow at night, and mains of beige and brown—rabbit, bavette, et al—are the stuff of plate-licking dreams. Dates, colleagues, old friends, and new families fill the room. It’s a space for everyone. The kind of classic restaurant that takes its chips as seriously as it does its crème caramel—both of which are very, very good indeed. Just know that if you come here for dinner you’ll end up booking lunch before the night is over.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



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Done right, French cooking is a delight. At 64 Goodge Street, you’ll take tear of warm complimentary (yes, complimentary) bread, swipe the remains of scallops with a luscious beurre blanc sauce, and realise that this is some of the finest French food in London. The corridor-sized, dimly lit room in Fitzrovia knows its crowd—those who welcome food so rich it’s debaucherous, and duly delivers. A snail, bacon, and garlic bon bon here, a glass of crémant there. Every bite and sip is like being welcomed into heaven by a block of beurre d'Isigny with wings.

Those serious about flavour-first cooking and rooms that make everybody feel like they’re next in line to the throne will enjoy the plush personality of The Midland Grand Dining Room. This brasserie inside the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in King’s Cross is as regal as a National Trust home and has food to match. There’s crab toast that has as much flavour as the room has gold and, like any French restaurant worth its salt, soufflé du jour. It’s a silly, special occasion-feeling place, but swing by for lunch if you want something a little more affordable.

If you’re looking for an evening of charming French farmhouse cosplay, then don a navy work jacket and head over to Victoria. La Poule Au Pot is stuffed to the wooden beams with baskets of dried flowers, hanging grape decorations, and yellowing framed prints. Combine that with ample amounts of butter and bacon, a rich casserole and, of course, chicken in a pot—and you have all the elements for a twinkling night of Francophile fun. 

Casse-Croûte is so charming it hurts. On a corner of Bermondsey Street, this little French spot is home to red and white check tablecloths, a blackboard menu with Garamond calligraphy, and inevitably, London’s highest concentration of Jean-Pierre Jeunet mega-fans. Every starter, main, and dessert has the capacity to knock you into a butter haze and although the menu changes daily, if the glorious double-decker mille-feuille is on, you definitely want to order it. Oh, and whether you’re swinging by for lunch or dinner, book ahead. This charmer is permanently packed. 

Maison François has being chic down to a fine art. From the warm orange glow of this art deco dining room in St. James’s to eating a plate of ham—pardon, jambon noir de Bigorre— it all feels like a worthy occasion for cracking out your shiniest shoes, and posing on the banquette seating like Robert Doisneau might pop out of the open kitchen to take your picture. It’s a beautiful, buzzing space designed for beautiful people to do beautiful things, like eat fried comté covered in yet more comté. Save room for the dessert trolley that gets rolled around like sugared royalty. There’s an unmissable gâteau a la pistache and drawers full of deeply tempting iridescent macarons. 



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Soif is an absolute delight. It’s one of those great little places where you clock the blackboards and old-school stools, eye up the other guests’ white wine mussels, and instantly know that this is somewhere you’ll be heading back to you. Back with a date. Back with friends to share the juicy rotisserie chicken. And back to eat enough garlic to keep Smint in business for the next decade. It’s a cosy but buzzing space that’s packed full of locals on date night, and three generations making their way through three bottles of beaujolais. It feels like home. 

Planque is probably the most decidedly unclassic restaurant on this list. It’s a grand industrial lair in Haggerston that also acts as a wine club for trainee Bond villains. The vibe is cool to the point of chilly, though the staff are brilliant and highly knowledgeable—you suspect that there is a Master of Wine or two among them—and the food has the ability to be outstanding. Serious grape appreciators and small plates lovers will be in heaven here—look out for any offal on the menu—but if you’re a little less confident, it’s still worth dropping in for a couple of plates and glass at the central sharing table.

Brasserie Zédel is the ultimate restaurant for anyone who doesn’t speak French, but somehow knows the entirety of the lyrics to Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus verbatim. A sprawling brasserie beneath Piccadilly Circus, it’s London’s take on Bouillon Chartier, complete with that jaw-dropper art nouveau look and garlic-dripping escargot. The set menu here is also the stuff of central London legend. You can get two courses for £16.95 in a room that feels like it should constitute a £200 budget. Of course, you’re not really in 1930s Paris. But whether you’re rolling with a huge, dressed-up group for your birthday or your beloved mon cœur, it’s just the place for pretending.

Going to Chez Bruce is a little like going back in time via Clapham. There are twinkly, charming, suited staff who serve you warm bread. There are couples holding hands across the crisp white tablecloths. There are baked alaskas being served all over the humming dining room. You get the feeling that everyone could easily be discussing whether Ross and Rachel will actually happen, or what to make of that hot young thing Julia Roberts, and that’s part of Chez Bruce’s great comfort. The menu is based on the foundation of classic French technique—there’s a lobster raviolo the size of a tennis ball on the menu. But also has some sometimes good, sometimes odd alternative flourishes: miso glaze, caponata, and the like. 

Enter Mon Plaisir, in the heart of Covent Garden, and prepare to be swept away by the charm of this old-school French spot. The warren of a restaurant, with several vintage poster-plastered dining rooms, nooks, and crannies, is unabashedly kitsch. Embrace the lace doilies on plates, bring friends, family, or a date, and say a little prayer for the amount of butter you’re about to consume. The confit duck or coq au vin won’t change your life (although the rich French onion soup is excellent), but the retro interior, charming service, and cheeseboard served tableside will stick long in your mind.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Nestled in a Bermondsey park, Pique-Nique is date night ready. Everything from the fairy light-strewn conservatory which wraps around the building, to the exposed wooden beams and twinkly candles, to the charming service, creates a place primed for wooing. Even the hearty French mains like glistening, juicy roast chicken or tender chateaubriand are “to share for two”. There’s no stuffiness though, so it’s ideal for a low-key anniversary meal when you still want to wear your comfy jeans, or early in the game dates when you want an upgrade from Nando’s. Or, just take yourself out for some good bistro-style food and a glass of pinot noir—they’ll adapt most of the mains for one.

French in name but decidedly British in nature, The French is less of an institution and more of a genuine source of London-wide pride. The Soho boozer’s cosy upstairs dining room is similarly wonderful, and has the air of a room that has seen thousands of glasses spilled and hundreds of thousands more poured. The menu is, much to those across the Channel, a mix of British and French techniques and combinations. Confit garlic and goats’ curd on toast say, or apple crumble and calvados custard. Look out for their steak frites day, usually on Thursdays, with pink rib-eye and peerless crispy homemade fries. It’s the best around.

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Suggested Reading

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The Best Date Night Restaurants In London (Right Now)

Be it your first or 50th date, this guide has got you covered.

Planque image

Planque is a Haggerston restaurant, wine bar and grape lovers’ idea of heaven, making excellent and unusual French-inspired small plates.

Maison François image

A stylish French restaurant in St. James’s, Maison François is the place to be for great wine, great comté, and a dessert trolley that makes our inner child incredibly happy.

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