Brassy, energetic and classily cosmopolitan, this NYC import mixes Gallic joie de vivre with snappy US customer service in a glammed-up setting of red leather banquettes, antique mirrored walls and mosaic floors. Manhattan meets Montmartre on an all-day menu that’s just the ticket for a special night out – we love the onion soup, the duck shepherd’s pie and the kitchen’s twisted take on pavlova. Also, don’t miss the signature Balthazar breads.
May 2019: We’ve added a clutch of new faves to our list of must-visit French restaurants, including Les 110 de Taillevent in Marylebone (sibling of the Parisian high-flyer) and Pique-Nique (from the folks behind Casse-Croûte). In Shoreditch, we like the Petits Pois Bistro (a dinky, unreformed bistro) as well as Blanchette (an offshoot of the Soho original), while City folk in a hurry should consider Café Sou in The Ned complex. Neil Borthwick is the new chef Upstairs at The French House in old Soho, and vegans with a taste for top-end French cuisine should make a beeline for Gauthier Soho.
Oh mon dieu! London’s French restaurant scene has such va-va-voom. Here’s our pick of the best bistros, brasseries and fine-dining spots in London spanning every budget, with everything from Michelin-star restaurants to petit back-alley bistros and chic cafes making an appearance.