• Restaurants
  • French
Critics' choice
4 Love It
Venue says: "We are now taking bookings for Christmas. Two courses £18 or three courses for £22."
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A little bit of the Continent has come to Tooting Bec. The de rigueur trappings of a proper bistro – all-day opening, decent breakfasts as well as lunch and dinner, outdoor tables in good weather – make French Café a welcome addition to this leafy neighbourhood. It’s a popular spot for locals to sit and read the papers while idling over a coffee and croissants, or more substantial brunch dishes (weekends only) such as croque monsieur or eggs benedict.

In the evening, the kitchen switches gear and serves up easy-going French classics such as steak frites, or rabbit cooked with mustard, and there are rillettes and pâtés galore. We’ve found that it’s pretty hard to go wrong with the slow-cooked dishes, such as beef bourguignon, rich with red wine and lardons, or crisp-skinned confit of duck with puy lentils. Wines too are mostly French and well-priced. The prix-fixe menu can be good value, but choose carefully: poor-quality baguettes and a reliance on what appears to be bagged lettuce leaves in several dishes can let the side down. Those grumbles aside, this is a notable neighbourhood restaurant with a friendly vibe.

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French Café says
The French Café is an independent, all-day venue owned and run by chef David Healey, who mastered French classical cuisine at Westminster College. Before opening The French Café, he ran a bistro in Wimbledon which was voted into the top ten in London by readers of The Good Food Guide.

David is passionate about food. He offers delicious, reasonably-priced food in feel-good surroundings for the locals of Tooting and Balham to enjoy. His aim is for it to be recognised as one of the best-value restaurants in London.

The French Café is tucked away down a tree-lined side road on the Heaver Estate. The south-facing sun terrace is packed in the summer with alfresco diners. The weekend brunch offering has a reputation throughout London, serving classics such as eggs benedict and royale, and a full English.

The menu is authentic French bistro fare, prepared using local, top quality ingredients. The robust French flavours and classic dishes are what David loves to create, 'I am not looking for Michelin stars - just very happy customers who keep returning'. The French Café thrives due to its consistently high standards of food and friendly attentive service.

The French Café opened in 2009 and has built a strong reputation, which has led to it being voted best local restaurant in Tooting and receiving the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence three years running.
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Venue name: French Café
Address: 16-18 Ritherdon Road
SW17 8QD
Opening hours: Open 11am-4pm Mon-Fri; 9am-10pm Sat; 9am-8.45pm Sun
Transport: Tube: Tooting Bec tube or Balham tube/rail or bus 155
Price: Main courses £6.50-£14.95. Set meal £9.95 2 courses
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Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
1 person listening
nick e

Have been there five or six times and almost always been faultless. I've seen a few comments in other sites about attitude of staff but I have never had a problem. For quality of food, prices are excellent.


Fabulous breakfast/brunch on a Saurday morning. Oeufs benedict was a winner washed down with a great cappucino. Would definitely recommend...


My Wife and I walked in the other evening (no booking) no drama's good food, good staff and at a reasonable price. Will go again when next in the area.


Gone downhill! We went here for lunch today and were disappointed. No option to purchase croque Monsieurs/Madams, just pricey entrees. I had the burger. It was very crumbly and the bun was very dry and stale. The chips were hard as if they'd been cooked hours before and kept warm. My boyfriend had the rump steak and it was very fatty and chewy. All in all not great. We will not be returning.


Went here on saturday and everything we had was delicious, the cassoulet was devine! Highly recommended for a low key local meal.