London's top 50 restaurants: French
Sure, Paris is only two hours on the Eurostar, but with bistros and brasseries this good, why leave London?
Ooh la la! Why travel to Paris when the best of France comes to London? Here's our pick of the best Parisian-style brasseries and fine dining restaurants in London. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.
- Rated as: 4/5
It pains us to rate a US import so highly – Bar Boulud’s a branch of the original in New York. But the fact is, this is a seamless dining experience, with faultless service and exquisite French food in a smart Knightsbridge hotel – and all at prices which seem like a bargain for this standard of restaurant. Charcuterie takes centre stage, with an array of terrines, pâtés, hams and sausages. Mains run from classic croque monsieur to coq au vin and steak frites. To finish, there are cheeses divided by type (‘stinky’, ‘old and hard’) and classic puddings. So how does Bar Boulud make any money? The wine list is the answer – go easy on the delightful, but pricey wine list if you want to keep the bill below three figures for two.
When to go: When you want to show someone you really love them.
What to have: The charcuterie is a must; the set-price meals a steal.
- Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA
- Rated as: 5/5
- Critics choice
Brett Graham’s Notting Hill restaurant is fiendishly consistent when it comes to cooking and service. The Modern European menu doesn’t read like many others either, with just enough flair to impress but not alienate. The service is some of the best in London, too – the friendly, Aussie-accented staff really know their stuff. The weekday set lunch is astonishing value considering the calibre of cooking: £27.50 for two courses, £33.50 for three, with all the amuse bouches, pre-desserts and petits-fours included. An affordable luxury.
When to go: When you want the best midweek lunch in London.
What to have: The celeriac cooked in ash is a classic, but scallop ceviche with horseradish ‘snow’ is a rising favourite.
- 127 Ledbury Road, W11 2AQ
- Rated as: 4/5
- Critics choice
Why do we rate this wine bar so highly? Because it’s a place we’re happy to return to time after time, and also somewhere we feel utterly confident in recommending to food lovers in a very central location. When it opened more than two years ago, the small tasting plates of Frenchish, pan-European food seemed almost revolutionary, because they were more than just an afterthought to the extensive wine list –in fact, they eclipsed the standard cooking of most French restaurants in the Big Smoke. The menu is a frequently changing list that takes in charcuterie (pistachio and pork terrine is first-class), tapas-style bar snacks (duck scratchings, Marcona almonds) and plats du jour (pot-roasted quail, bavette steak). Two years on and little has changed, except that Terroirs has expanded a little, it’s still packed, and it’s much-imitated. The new branch, Brawn in Bethnal Green, is good too – but not as good as this original.
When to go: When nibbling near Charing Cross.
What to have: The tasting plates.
- 5 William IV Street, WC2N 4DW