Crème de la Crème: The Best French Restaurants in London
French cuisine is synonymous with decadence and rich flavour, a sophisticated cuisine amongst a sea of less-refined food cultures. Londoners are lucky, as they needn’t cross the English Channel to sample the gastronomic traditions of France.
There are now more French restaurants in the capital than ever before. But just where are the best French restaurants in London?
Naturally, a fresh baguette stick with artisan cheese is utter perfection in itself (alongside a bottle of French wine, of course). But a gourmet meal out in a nice restaurant is also, at times, hard to beat.
We’ve gladly put together our list of favourite French restaurants in London, selecting a varied mix for your culinary pleasure. French cuisine often goes hand in hand with fine dining, but not everyone can afford such embellishment. So you’ll also find neighbourhood bistros, a wine bar and casual eateries on our list.
Galvin La Chapelle
Chris and Jeff Galvin deliver French fine dining that’s both sophisticated and approachable. With six restaurants now under their belt, the acclaimed brother duo have proven that the atmosphere and hospitality of family-run businesses always works best.
Michelin-starred restaurant Galvin La Chapelle, housed within the beautiful high-vaulted St. Botolph’s Hall, is the crown in their collection. The more informal and bistro-style Galvin HOP, situated right next door, is also one of London’s best French restaurants.
Menus: À la carte, set (two, three or seven courses) Price: Mains from £32, three-course set menu £38, seven-course set menu £85 Vibe: Elegant, but approachable
Open Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner service. Located in Spitalfields.
Otto’s is somewhat of an institution when it comes to the best French restaurants in London. They do classic French cuisine which is old-school, traditional and deliciously hearty. Dine here if you’re after lobster bisque, foie gras terrine, French rabbit and veal sweetbreads.
Yet none of that compares to Otto’s signature pressed duck and pressed lobster, a cooking method from the 19th century. It’s an art form owner Otto Trepasse takes very seriously. Pre-booking is essential and if you can afford it (it’s £160 for the duck and £250 for the lobster), it’ll be one meal you’ll certainly never forget.
Menus: À la carte, set lunch (two or three courses), press specials (call ahead) Price: Mains from £22, three-course lunch menu £32 Vibe: Fine dining, but funky and unpretentious
Open Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. Located in Clerkenwell.
La Ferme London
The seasonal menu at La Ferme London is a delicious example of modern French dining, removed from snobbish settings and strict prerequisites. Head chef Guillaume Dunos isn’t afraid to be inventive, with combinations like skate wing with pickled seaweed and creme brulée with matcha tea on the menu.
Sourcing artisan ingredients from small local producers in France is also important at La Ferme, and their charcuterie and fromage platters are absolutely top notch.
Menu: À la carte Price: Mains from £16, two-course and three-course specials available for £20-25 Vibe: Friendly, neighbourhood eatery
Open Tuesday to Sunday for dinner, and brunch/lunch on weekends. Located in Primrose Hill.
This Michelin-starred restaurant on the corner of Hyde Park is certainly the most beautiful French restaurant in London. Located within The Lanesborough, the dining room at Céleste will take your breath away. A domed glass roof, decorative chandeliers, plush furniture and ornate decor all add towards the restaurant’s romantic ambience and atmosphere.
As for the food, French executive head chef Steeven Gilles honours British provenance while exercising refined European cooking.
Menus: À la carte, set (three, four or five courses) Price: Mains from £43, three-course menu du jour £39, five-course tasting menu £100 Vibe: Fine dining and lavish
Open Monday to Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located in Belgravia.
Another top French restaurant in London with a Michelin star is Club Gascon. The food is a gastronomical delight with a focus on Gascon cuisine, and the restaurant space is chic. So, what sets them apart?
The answer is their creative imagination, evident in their artistic plating skills and truly innovative dishes. Expect menu items like red prawns with plankton pearl (yes, plankton is now a thing), green tulip with dill gel, roquefort blue cheesecake, or lime calissons candy with white beer sorbet.
Menus: À la carte, set (two, three, five or seven courses) Price: Mains from £22.50, three-course lunch menu £39.50, seven-course tasting menu £110 Vibe: Fine dining, formal and cultured
Open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturdays dinner only. Located in City of London.
La Petite Ferme
Bringing a taste of provincial France to Clerkenwell, La Petite Ferme is a restaurant that takes a rustic approach to French cuisine. This eatery sources artisanal produce and sticks to traditional Gallic recipes, meaning rich flavours are guaranteed.
There’s garlic butter Burgundy snails, foie gras with brioche, top-quality French cheese platters and truffle mash potatoes. But our favourite dish would have to be the tartiflette de savoie, cooked in a cocotte with smoked bacon lardons and reblochon cheese. Perfect alongside a refreshing glass of French white wine!
Menu: À la carte Price: Mains from £9.50, two-course and three-course specials available for £15-25 Vibe: Local, friendly and casual
Open Monday to Saturday for dinner, plus lunch from Tuesday to Friday. Located in Clerkenwell.
This rustic bistro in Tooting is a firm favourite in the area thanks to its simple and classic French cuisine. It’s clear that the team at Bordelaise are dedicated to high-quality rich flavours. After all, they even named their restaurant after Bourdeux’s famous bordelaise sauce – a tangy mix of dry red wine, bone marrow, butter, shallots and demi-glace.
You can sample it with slow-cooked ox cheek or with one of their legendary grilled steaks, which is heaven when paired with a side of beef-dripping French fries. Regardless of what you order though, the seasonal produce, lovely atmosphere and concept of shared plates makes eating here a treat.
Menu: À la carte Price: Mains from £10 Vibe: Charming, laid back and intimate
Open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner, plus lunch on Friday and Saturday. Located in Tooting.
Fine French food and live opera. It’s a cultured pairing and the precise reason why Bel Canto is so unique amongst the best French restaurants in London. The waiters at this Hyde Park eatery are talented opera singers with professional training, singing to guests every 15 minutes in solos, duets and group arias.
On top of that, there’s classic French dishes prepared by Gilles Martin, the Brittany-born and Parisian-trained head chef. The short menu includes options like smoked duck, lobster bisque, caviar blinis and braised pork cheeks.
Menu: Set menu Price: Two courses and live opera for £45 Vibe: Musical, sophisticated and cosy
Open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner. Located in Bayswater.
Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester
The phenomenal French cuisine from Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester is innovative, refined and an experience for the senses. This Mayfair restaurant has also been awarded three Michelin stars every year since 2010. Produce sourced from premium British and French suppliers drives the seasonal dishes, which are then crafted with expertise by executive chef Jean Philippe Blondet.
Beyond the excellent food and wine, the restaurant also boasts an elegant dining room and exquisite service which will make you feel like royalty. The attention to detail is truly exceptional. Simply put, it’s the best French restaurant London has.
Menu: À la carte (three or four courses), set (seven courses) Price: Four-course à la carte menu £125, three-course lunch menu £70, seven-course seasonal degustation £185 Vibe: Fine dining, classy and exquisite
Open Tuesday to Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday dinner only. Located in Mayfair.
While the majority of our listed restaurants offer excellent French wines, we thought it worthy to include Terroirs as the stand-out wine destination. This charming wine bar in Charing Cross is exceptionally knowledgeable and passionate about recognising the worth of every bottle. The word terroir actually refers to the characteristic flavour imparted to a wine from the environment it is produced in, such as soil and climate.
The wine list is mostly natural and, when last checked, 34 pages long. Expect Rhône Valley whites, Loire Valley rosés, Burgundy reds and everything in between. To accompany the wine, you’ll find small plates and bistro-style mains. For more wine bars in London, see here.
Wine Menu: By the glass, carafe or bottle Price: Bottles range from £20 – £200+ Vibe: Cosy, bustling and casual
Open Monday to Saturday, from lunch until late. Located in Charing Cross.
Being in Britain, we thought one pub should make the list, even though we’re talking French restaurants in London. The Coach fits the bill perfectly. Chef-restaurateur Henry Harris has a passion for French cooking, using quality seasonal ingredients to craft a bistro-style menu.
There’s classic dishes like duck confit, grilled rabbit, steak tartare and roasted guinea fowl. Better yet, the setting is elegant with natural light throughout and sophisticated furniture, and the hospitality is old-fashioned. It’s your neighbourhood local that just happens to serve delicious French food.
Menu: À la carte Price: Mains from £19 Vibe: Pub hospitality, charming and friendly
Open Monday to Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located in Clerkenwell.