There’s nothing we love more than hopping across the Channel to enjoy a croque monsieur with a glass of wine at a sidewalk Parisian café, but sometimes we just need to get our French fix right at home.
Whether you’re after a quick croissant, a boozy brunch or a hearty Gallic meal, we’ve rounded up 15 of the best French eateries across the UK.
Main image: instagram.com/brasseriezedel/
From the team behind The Wolseley, this Alsatian-inspired offering oozes classic French elegance that will transport you to times gone by. Nestle into one of the cosy, curved booths to tuck into the hearty, Northern French fare, or enjoy a sunny afternoon doing as the French do and watch the world go by on a bistro chair outside. The tartes flambées are a highlight of the menu: a thin and crispy bread base typically covered with fromage blanc or crème fraîche, thinly sliced onions and lardons.
The French Table, Surbiton
A neighbourhood gem that’s been voted among the top restaurants in the UK, The French Table offers up contemporary French cuisine while drawing on prime British ingredients. From the Farmer’s Market breakfast featuring freshly sourced local fare to the £45 set dinner menu, the food certainly doesn’t disappoint. Oh, and don’t skip the bread (why would you?), they also have a bakery next door.
Le Mercury, London
An Islington stalwart that’s offers up rustic French charm with its terracotta tile floors and candle wax-encrusted wine bottles. The menu doesn’t change but with starters priced at £4.45, mains at £10.95 and desserts at £3.45, nobody’s complaining. Simple, well-cooked food and a great atmosphere make this North London joint a popular choice for locals and non-locals alike.
Le Cochon Aveugle, York
Whether you’re an indecisive orderer or looking for something a little different, the menu at Le Cochon Aveugle is sure to tickle your tastebuds. The only option available is an eight-course tasting menu, served blind for the ultimate surprise dining experience. The dishes are led entirely by the quality of the produce available, changing spontaneously from day to day (and sometimes even table to table). They will even cater for dietary requirements and allergies if you give them 24 hours notice.
Any place that offers a ‘snack’ menu boasting crispy frogs legs, croque monsieur and cheese beignets is sure to be a winner in our books. Add to that the rustic, exposed brick walls and an Art Nouveau bar, the three brothers behind this slice of France in Soho certainly know how to please. Intimate and cosy, Blanchette is the canvas for an evening of Gallic escapism.
Maison Bleue, Bury St Edmonds
Award-winning fine dining without the astronomical price-tag, AA Gill described this spot as “a must-visit for seafood lovers”. Beautifully presented with flavour to match, the focus on fresh, seasonal food means that the menu changes daily but items on rotation include Orkney Island King scallops and Jersey oysters.
Brasserie Zedel, London
An entire evening itinerary all in one spot, you’ll be transported to Paris the moment you step through the doors. Start with drinks in the café-style bar downstairs, before making your way into the expansive marble-clad restaurant that buzzes with French attitude all night long. Finish off your evening with some live entertainment or cocktails at the opulent Bar Américain.
Belle Epoque Patisserie, London
With seasonal ‘collections’ of their artfully presented delicacies, it’s clear that they take their sweets seriously at Belle Epoque. The window cases of perfectly formed eclairs, tartelettes and chocolate cakes will have you paralysed by indecision… we suspect that you’ll also be taking something home for ‘later’.
Pierre Victoire, Oxford
With a menu boasting classic French fare, from escargots to cheese soufflé and crème brûlée, this neighbourhood go-to offers mouthwatering dishes at purse-friendly prices. The three-course prix-fixe menu will set you back £25, while those after an early dinner can opt for two courses and a coffee for just £12.50. C’est magnifique!
La Crêperie de Hampstead, London
When you’re looking for a little taste of Paris, head north to La Crêperie de Hampstead. Since its permanent move to the spot in 1980, La Crêperie has become a local institution and is a regular stop on the tourist trail for those visiting London, meaning the queues can be long but we promise, it is worth the wait.
Le Champignon Sauvage, Cheltenham
The husband and wife team behind this two Michelin-starred restaurant offer up modern French food that hasn’t forgotten its traditional roots. The menu changes seasonally with great care taken to source the finest local ingredients. A three-course dinner will set you back £68, making it a great spot for a special night out.
Bon Vivant, London
Take a spot on the sidewalk and enjoy a leisurely brunch (or ‘drunch’ as they have brilliantly named it). Plump for the bottomless option to ensure a never-ending supply of Prosseco keeps you company, but save room for dessert – the chocolate and salted caramel torte with Champagne and blackcurrant sorbet will tempt you for sure.
Le Roi Fou, Edinburgh
Le Roi Fou is Jérôme Henry’s first restaurant after hit stint as head chef at Anton Mosimann’s Private Dining Club and Les Trois Garçons and he’s already making his mark – the eatery was named Best Newcomer at this year’s Scottish Food Awards, only two months after opening. A melting pot for local artists, this ‘Restaurants des Artistes’ has aspirations to recreate the Parisian salon vibe, attracting those working across the arts in the local area.
Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte, London
There’s one thing and one thing only on the menu at this mini-chain but you won’t be disappointed. Serving up some of the best steak-frites this side of the Channel, you’re simply asked how you would like it cooked when your server comes to take your ‘order’.
A small slice of France in Bermondsey, Casse-Croûte ticks all the Gallic boxes with its red-checked tablecloths, vintage posters and Francophone waiters. But when it comes to food, they’re thinking outside the box. The daily-changing menu keeps the locals coming back for more, so much so that they have just opened sister restaurant Pique-Nique, which focuses on the poulet.