This is a guest post from Emily Craik of Travel Information.
If there’s one thing the French do impossibly well, it’s creating an incredible pairing of delicious food with a wonderful selection of wines. And what better way to celebrate French cuisine, than by visiting the top French brasseries in London. With France being less than a two-hour flight from London, French cuisine is easily accessible in this bustling city. But if you’re a connoisseur of sorts, you won’t want to settle for just anything.
If you haven’t yet indulged in a delicious wine and French food pairing, it’s a must-do to add to your London itinerary. Here’s our shortlist of the very top French restaurants in London.
Best French Restaurants In London
There are plenty of these hidden gems around the city, but here are some of the best restaurants serving modern French cuisine.
This French brasserie first opened in Manhattan before coming to Covent Garden in London. Just weeks after opening, it was hard to get a table at this increasingly popular eatery. Balthazar serves French bistro food all day long, with breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea options. Leather couches and mirrored walls make this restaurant easy on the eye, and takes guests back in time. The old time feel of the restaurant is replicated in both the Manhattan and London branches.
Some of the most popular dishes are their onion soup with thick country-style bread, duck shepherds pie, and their own twist on pavlova pudding. The restaurant also has a great selection of vegetarian dishes. From mouth-watering buffalo mozzarella hors d’oeuvres to start and delicious mac ‘n cheese as mains – you won’t go without. The restaurant also has vegan salad options.
Pop in any time of the day to enjoy this incredible cuisine, but be sure to book well in advance.
This French Bistro in London is located in D’Arblay Street in Soho. Blanchette is a family-run restaurant with a heart-warming story. The quintessentially Parisian restaurant was founded by brothers Malik and Yannis, and named after their mother. They serve a wide selection of small dishes that are, despite their size, completely satisfying. Share their incredible selection of charcuterie among the table or the honey and cheese pairings for luxuriously tender cheeses with the perfect accompaniments. You really can’t go wrong.
Blanchette has a “vegetable” section on their menu for non-meat eaters. Find delicious frites paired with bearnaise sauce or tuck into one of their scrumptious salads full of warming flavours.
This is a great French restaurant to splurge at for a romantic date night. Or visit with a group of friends and book out the Jungle Room for a quirky and unique experience. The owners are passionate about music so whatever the occasion is, you’ll have a soundtrack that will make your visit memorable. Bookings are required although, if you get there early, you may find a table available.
The Bistro At The Bleeding Heart
The Bistro at the Bleeding Heart has been there for years and took its name from the courtyard on which it’s situated. It’s said that 400 years ago a beautiful woman was ripped apart by a jealous lover. When she was found, her heart was still pumping blood all over the courtyard! Of course, nobody knows whether this story is actually true, but the bistro has taken this story and made it its own.
The restaurant has a French farmhouse-style interior, leaving much of the building’s Victorian workhouse elements on display. The walls are decorated with 1900s French wine posters that really bring all these design elements together.
On the menu you’ll find everything dripping in cheese or with a garlicky sauce. Exactly what you’d expect from a French restaurant of this calibre. The à la carte menu at The Bistro has some delicious vegetarian options available. Try the candied golden and ruby beetroot with goats cheese as a starter and move onto slow-roasted aubergine with artichoke as a main. Warming, hearty food that will leave vegetarians and meat-eaters alike feeling satisfied. With dim lighting and a lovely atmosphere, The Bistro at Bleeding Heart is one of London’s best choices for a date night or a quiet meal with a friend.
Located in Piccadilly Circus, this upper-echelon dining option is the perfect place to go when you feel like getting dressed up for the evening. Fine dining is the name of the game here. Although this art deco basement brasserie may seem all glitz and glam, the pricing is surprisingly reasonable. So don’t expect to break the bank on one night out at the Brasserie Zédel.
The food is exquisite, with greatest hits such as beef bourguignon and chocolate profiteroles stealing the show. Although if you feel like something a little more plain, their burgers are succulent and juicy, so you’ll leave far from disappointed. The Brasserie also has an entire vegetarian menu. There is no shortage of choice when it comes to this delightful French restaurant. Be sure to pair your meal with one of their house wines, for an affordable yet tasty addition to your meal.
Located in Bermondsey, this French eatery has an incredibly homely feel. The tiny Casse-Croûte can seat just 20 people at a time, and the village-like interior adds to the small-town atmosphere. You can expect to dine on old French favourites such as shavings of calf’s head, creamy mackerel rillettes, pollock and guinea fowl. While for dessert you’ll be in for an equal treat with an option of peach melba or chocolate gâteau.
Vegetarian options are slightly limited on this small menu. However there is a salad for non-meat eaters, and the dessert menu to enjoy.
Top French Cafés In London
French cafés serve tea and coffee, along with light meals or pastries. This is great for those looking for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or to meet up and socialise with friends. Here are some of the best French restaurants in London serving café cuisine.
If you’re looking for an Instagrammable café, then Maison Bertaux is the place to be, with a blue and white striped storefront that complements its Soho surroundings impeccably. They serve a delicious selection of freshly baked cakes and French patisseries that make for the perfect breakfast dessert.
Choose between some delectable fruit cheesecake, eclairs, freshly baked croissants, and tarts, or simply opt to try them all. The tea room has an undeniably Parisian atmosphere that’ll make you think you woke up in Paris. We wouldn’t blame you if you decided to linger the entire afternoon.
Laurents, located in Bayswater, opens for early breakfast to catch the early birds, and continues to serve through lunch and into dinner. So whenever your sweet tooth kicks in, head down to this lovely cafe. With ample seating, you can take your time to enjoy every decadent mouthful of your French baguette, tart, or savoury pastry. A charming atmosphere sets the perfect background to whichever mouth watering delight you decide to indulge in.
While bakeries generally have a great variety of vegetarian options available, Laurents also has a vegan and gluten-free menu. Choose from savoury tartlets and rolls to tasty sweet banana bread to satisfy any craving.
This French Restaurant in Covent Garden is a gem. It is a luxury bakery that first opened its doors in 1862. Known for their very popular double-decker macarons that come in a range of unique flavours such as pistachio, vanilla, and strawberry, you simply cannot miss out on these treats.
But macarons aren’t the only treat you’ll find at Ladurée. Vanilla millefeuille, plaisir sucré, and a range of other seasonal pastries are also on offer. Of course you can never go wrong with a French croissant, but trying some of their more rare items is a culinary adventure you’ll want to take again and again.
La Petite Bretagne
La Petite Bretagne is a French creperie located in Hammersmith. It’s a family owned and run business with a distinctly intimate feel. Their menu has an extensive list of both sweet and savoury options. And we recommend you try at least one of each.
They use only the most authentic French ingredients such as Emmental cheese and smoked ham to jazz up even the plainest of meals. If you’re going to indulge in dessert (which we can’t recommend highly enough), then crepe Suzette is sure to blow you away. All crepes are made with buckwheat flour and are gluten and wheat free. There are vegetarian options on the menu, such as the delicious “Veggie” crepe with cheese, spinach, and mushroom. The café also takes vegan orders on request.
Café Montparnasse is a simple and quaint cafe offering a uniquely French experience in west London. Although they opt for a simple menu, they create pastries with the finest ingredients ensuring you a quality delight.
Pain au chocolat, fruit tartlets and plain croissants make for a mouth watering mid-morning treat. Accompany that with a steaming espresso or French style latte while flipping through the pages of the latest copy of Le Monde. These can be found on each table to give the experience a true Parisian flavour.
Aux Pains De Papy
Aux Pains de Papy, located in Kings Cross, draws its influences very heavily from Provence in the south of France. Using only the most traditional methods to create their treats, you can expect some of the finest quality French pastries that London has to offer.
Even better, these pastries are baked right in front of your eyes. There’s nothing more tortuous than watching and smelling your pastries being baked while you wait for them to arrive. But it is all part of the experience…
Be sure to get there early to receive your baked goods straight out of the oven: freshest is always best. While you wait, take in the homely atmosphere and comforting surroundings before tucking into your favourite treat. Of course, all the sweet treats are vegetarian, but Aux Pains de Papy also has some delicious vegetarian savoury options. Try the vegetarian pizza or veggie club sandwich for a salty, filling meal on the go.
The Best French Restaurants in London, Which Will You Choose?
Looking for the best French restaurant in London? You’re sure to find it on this list of incredible modern French restaurants and cafés. Get ready for a gastronomic experience that will be memorable and will have you booking your next visit before you leave!
Luckily for you, because of the proximity of France to England, French cuisine is not hard to find in the city. With no shortage of French restaurants in London to choose from, you’re absolutely spoilt for choice. Go ahead, and tantalise your tastebuds.