best French restaurants in London | Londoner

Based on original content by Ben Norum.

Galvin La Chapelle


Describing itself modestly as a “small alpine bistro in a maritime container”, Alpes is a passionate streetfood-mongers project Raclette Brothers. And this shipping container maybe small, but damn then, does it contain a lot of mountain riches. The prices look right on paper, and double the proof when you realize that dishes like Raclette Jurrassienne (£ 8) really should be split between two – of course you could tackle the pile of potatoes, pickles, pancetta. and melted cheese solo, but you ‘I need to go fast and hard to keep the raclette still hot and oozing throughout. Better to split one up and invest in fried olives stuffed with goat cheese (£ 3.50) and a tartiflette (£ 9). Well-chosen wines start at £ 20 a bottle. Formidable.
Alps, Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ

Andrew Edmunds

A Soho classic, this French-European-meets-British restaurant has been around since 1986, serving up inexpensive brasserie classics. Small, tight and almost entirely lit by candles, the privacy of the place is one of its greatest assets – that and its hidden facade, which leaves it squarely to connoisseurs. Dressed crab, duck breast and carefully cooked steaks are regulars on a menu that changes daily and, while far from dynamic, almost never fails to impress.
Andrew Edmunds, 46 Lexington Road, W1F 0LP



A trendy small plate bistro backed by the Salt Yard group, Blanchette is on a side street in Soho. Bare brick walls and mismatched furniture add an obligatory slice of coolness, while dispersions of simple trinkets add warmth to the space. Highlights of the menu include well-priced cheese and cold cuts offerings as well as the ability to mix and match several French, tapas-style dishes. Read our full review of the restaurant shortly after it opened here – on a recent return visit, we believe it has tightened its law considerably and is very well worth including on this list.
Blanchette, 9 rue D’Arblay, W1F 8DR

Zédel Brewery

Among the best-value restaurants in the capital, punters flock to this sprawling Piccadilly Circus restaurant for bargains before the theater and daily low prices on classic dishes inspired by the sidewalks of Paris. Served in a lively and grandiose setting, steak and fries, duck confit, steak tartare, snails and all the classics are present and correct and up there with the best and most authentic French cuisine relaxed on this side of the Eurostar. Careful and friendly service is probably the only inauthentic part of the Parisian experience.
Brasserie Zédel, 20 rue Sherwood, W1


Of all the restaurants on the list, it is possible that Casse Croûte is the most French. A small wine bar turned into a restaurant on Bermondsey Street, the successful formula here is to keep it simple and do it right, with a small, daily changing menu of home-made French classics on hand as if only really to accompany a good value for money. – French wine list. But the food is much better than it suggests: well sourced, well cooked and absolutely delicious, effortless, as only truly foodie countries can.
Casse Croûte, 109, rue Bermondsey

At her’s

This brightly colored bistro on Brick Lane just ticks just about all the boxes from stereotypes, from poster-covered walls, candles and the kind of furniture that seems to belong to a patio, to a menu of unashamed clichés. From tartare to confit, including terrines, mussels and snails, Chez Elles serves exactly what people want at very decent prices, taking themselves far too little seriously to feel French at all. Well done.
Chez Elles, 45 Brick Lane, E1 6P

Clos Major

Clos Major

This longtime Covent Garden favorite is considered to be London’s most romantic restaurant. In fact, the staff told us that there was an average of three offers per week… and most of the time the answer was “yes”. It’s the combination of dark woods, cozy alcoves, an open fire and a glass ceiling that gives a view of the stars that does the trick, but the carefully created classic French cuisine certainly does its part. too. Expect old-fashioned bistro-style dishes topped with particularly luxurious ingredients, such as truffled mashed potatoes and decadent chocolate puds. There’s no escaping the fact that you’re paying for the atmosphere, but there are some decent pre-theater deals to be had.
Clos Maggiore, 33 rue King, WC2E 8JD

Gascon Club

Focusing on the southwest of France, this Smithfield restaurant offers simply cooked, well-sourced meats and fish with creative vegetable sides and sauces. Try dishes like duck ‘chocobar’ with gingerbread and ‘crazy salt’, or aromatic knives with hay emulsion and truffle vinaigrette to see how creative it can be. Oh, and in case you’re struggling to conjure up those feelings of rural France, the decadent dining room plays the sound of crickets to help you on your way.
Club Gascon, 57 West Smithfield, EC1A 9DS

not very social

Chef Jason Atherton can’t hurt right now. Ramsay’s former protégé conquered London with Pollen Street Social and now owns a mini-empire of restaurants including Social Eating House, Berners Tavern and that little spot near Regent Street. Here Atherton has created a menu of French bistro classics with modern – and often British – touches. Think Cornish cod with cockles, smoked duck terrine, beef cheeks with marrowbone, or a ‘Bourguignon’ cottage pie. The look is pure Paris, with leather benches, a long copper bar and walls adorned with arty advertising posters.
Little Social, 5 rue Pollen, W1S 1NE


Less bright Parisian bistro and more rustic rural French restaurant, this bar and restaurant just off Trafalgar Square specializes in low-intervention natural wines and assorted dishes. Come have a drink, a bottle and a few small plates or a full meal and taste cold meats and cheeses, rich fish soups and creamy rillettes. If you want to get carried away by wine then you have come to the right place; otherwise the starting prices for a drink are around £ 6.
Terroirs, 5 rue Guillaume IV, WC2N 4DW

Also try …

  • Balthazar: Busy Paris meets New York in Covent Garden.
  • vigor and So if: Sister sites of Terroir in Hackney and Battersea.
  • The Ledbury: A two Michelin star set in Notting Hill. The only reason we haven’t included it more prominently in this list is that while it has strong French influences, the overall effect is a modern British and European menu rather than a full French experience.
  • The newsboy: French refined cuisine in its most classic and well-executed form. This restaurant, run by Michel Roux Jnr, was the very first place in London to achieve a Michelin star in 1967. Expensive but worth it.
  • Pierre Victoire: A small candlelit Soho spot with a cozy atmosphere and generous portions of French bistro fare.