We think it's fair to say that there are two main types of French cuisine fans: those connoisseurs that prefer their steak rare and bloody, and those who saw Ratatouille once and kind of know what a crème brulée is. Both are great.
The French are, of course, known for their love of cheese and wine, but there's plenty to love beyond the stereotypes, including a clutch of chefs who are reinventing the brasserie.
After all, French cooking has influenced nearly every corner of the culinary globe, and the cheffing techniques are regarded as some of the best around. So yes, you're right to look for amazing French restaurants in London if you're after a delicious dinner, une petite patisserie or a quick caffé.
And our gorgeously cosmopolitan city has its fair share, too, from cafés to bakeries to Michelin-starred legends.
We've scoured the swanky entertainment streets of Soho and explored the vibrant squares of Shoreditch and found (amongst the abundance of kebab shops and halal delis) the perfect selection of eateries that you can brag about to your friends in a not-so-great French accent.
If you're looking for a taste of France through a glass, London's got you covered there too. The colourful cocktail menu at Cocotte and the polished wine menu at Brasserie Zédel sell some of the best drinks the city has to offer.
Here's our full guide to the best French restaurants to visit in London. Bon app!
Cocotte [pictured above]
8 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU
If the vast choice of restaurants in London are enough to get your head spinning, Cocotte is waiting for you with a chair that has your name on it. Come on, take a seat. Boasting a flavourful, homemade and healthy menu, Cocotte gives you the chance to try something new (foie gras and mushroom croquettes? Oh my) with the pleasant guarantee of deliciousness. Founder and chef Romain Bourrillon takes sourcing seriously so if roasted chicken sourced from north-western France sounds like your kind of thing, Cocotte's your place.
9 D’Arblay Street, W1F 8DR
In a tucked away Soho backstreet sits Blanchette, a family-run bistro that pays homage to the French’s passion of sharing love over food. In its homely interior with bare brick walls and warm lamps you can reward your palate with a range of soft cheeses, creamy pates and meat dishes with an authentic French-inspired twist. The food all looks as great as its tastes too, so it’s perfect for your Instagram feed. It’s honestly difficult not to relax and unwind here with a glass of cabernet in hand, falling in love with food to a background of vibrant music.
20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED
Described as "the only real Brasserie in London" by established chef Pierre Koffman, Brasserie Zédel is your perfect slice of France nestled in the heart of Piccadilly. This London legend offers delightful French classics like warm onion soup, a juicy chicken escalope and a velvety crème brule — served to you by dashing waiters in crisp white shirts and berets. A shoe-tapping jazz band even plays 9-11pm every Thursday to Saturday. What's more, the food is cheap as chips (or is that frites?) and portions are generous. Get in there, chéries.
Noble Rot Soho
2 Greek Street, W1D 4NB
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Years and years of history have shaped what the restaurant Noble Rot Soho is today. As the plotting place of the downfall of Margaret Thatcher and in place of the historic Gay Hussar site, this quaint and quietly impressive restaurant reinvents old classics with egg, meat and veg dishes that will take you through the joint histories of London and France. Head chef Alex Jackson used to run much-missed Sardine (RIP, we're still getting the hankies out), while exec chef Stephen Harris is best-known for his Michelin-starred pub The Sportsman, so you know you're in the safest of hands. Also, the clue is in the name – this is a spot that's all about wine, so make sure you come ready to have a glass, or two, or three.
109 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XB
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If you're in London and you’re dreaming of that holiday you had in France years ago, pop into Casse-Croute for perhaps the most authentic French dining you'll find this side of the Channel. The bistro's menu changes seasonally, ensuring that you can get the best flavours of the year whenever you visit. A melt-in-your-mouth cote de boeuf and a hearty lamb with quail are just a couple of the wonders you can sample alongside your favourite red or white, while service is just as authentic as the food.
54 Curzon Street, W1J 8PG
The streets of Mayfair offer a particular character of places to eat and drink, if you know what we mean, but Franks – which hides elegantly below full-blown brasserie Maison François (another French-inspired resto worth a visit in its own right) – provides something a little bit different. A grazing-friendly menu of small plates with a classic French twist beckons: a plate of saucisson sec; a earthenware jar of tiny, flavour-packed pickles; rabbit terrine; and a calf’s brain burger that made the rounds on Instagram all make this hideaway well worth a trip. And if that doesn’t tempt you, the inventive cocktail list and a happy hour with £1 oysters from 5-7pm every day certainly will.
6 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8QH
You may be familiar with Gregory Marchand's cooking already – the original Frenchie, Frenchie Wine Bar and Frenchie To Go on Paris's Rue du Nil are hugely popular, and it's not hard to see why. Marchand, having earned his stripes at the Savoy, Mandarin Oriental and Fifteen before opening his first restaurant, is turning classically rich French cuisine on its head. Get your wallet ready to take a hit, because this is the kind place where you're going to want to order everything. And then order it again, because each bite of these luscious, bijou, sharing-style plates will leave you wanting more. Bacon scones with clotted cream were every bit as delicious as you'd expect; anchovies on toast came in succulent hunks of fish on crunchy, garlicky bread; Elwy Valley lamb ragù pappardelle with kalamata olives and confit lemon is an al dente delight; and banoffee, nutmeg and caramelized pecan you will always be able to make space for.