French Restaurants in London
1. Club Gascon French restaurant in Clerkenwell 57 West Smithfield - EC1
“Reliably great after all these years” – Pascal Aussignac and Vincent Labeyrie’s renowned institution near Smithfield Market occupies a stylishly converted former Lyons Tea House and continues to mine southwest France for its culinary inspiration: notably “very inventive presentations of foie gras” paired with “a different range of wines that one sees in most other restaurants, given its regional emphasis”.
2. Cabotte French restaurant in Bank 48 Gresham St - EC2V
“Flying slightly under the radar”, this “superior City venue” is “a lovely find, right in the heart of the the Square Mile where it can be hard to encounter a good meal” (“clients are always pleased to visit it!”). “The front of house team are so charming” and deliver “precise and tasty” Gallic cuisine. The major attraction here, though, is the “comprehensive wine list” – “one of the best wine selections in London: it’s hard to find a better selection of Burgundy, but the other region lists are well represented”, with “many rewards to be found, both on pricing and rare gems”.
3. Coq d’Argent French restaurant in City 1 Poultry - EC2
“The great location” atop No 1 Poultry, “in the heart of the City”, makes this D&D London venue “perfect for entertaining out-of-town business guests” (who might recognise it from the James Bond sequence in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics). It’s “slick and efficient”, too, which helps for scheduling “a time-critical business lunch”. On the debit side, “staff sometimes get overwhelmed by the number of diners”, and “the nosh is upmarket but predictable” – “glad I wasn’t paying for it!”.
4. The Don British, Modern restaurant in City The Courtyard, 20 St Swithin’s Lane - EC4
2020 Review: A “perfect City lunch-spot”, handily located just a short cheque-bounce away from the Bank of England, with “plenty of space between tables” and “a cracking wine list”. A French menu is “well executed and served” to a very “consistent standard”. For the cellar bistro, see Don Bistro & Bar.
5. Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte Steaks & grills restaurant in City 5 Throgmorton St - EC2
“Formulaic… but it works a treat”. These “jolly” French steakhouses thrive on their “excellent and simple” format. “There’s just one choice on the menu, but it’s brilliant”: salad to start; then steak (“tender and delicious”) with “their magic secret sauce” (“the start of addiction”), plus “piles of hot fries”. (To follow there’s “a wide selection of desserts.”) “No wonder there’s always a queue, but it’s worth it, even though the inside is really crammed and can be chaos.” With the closure of the Soho branch, the remaining outposts are in Marylebone and the City. Top Tip – “ideal for a business lunch”.
6. Bob Bob Ricard City French restaurant in City Level 8, 122 Leadenhall Street - EC3
“Always fun with the ‘Press for Champagne’ button!” – Leonid Shutov’s decadently boothed joint sets an extravagant tone, ideal “for special occasions” and also “taking the awkwardness out of any business lunch or dinner”. It’s “not a cheap option, though, so you have to like the guest...”. The luxurious food, including a selection of caviar, is “fair” – “stick with the classics (such as beef Wellington to die for) to avoid disappointment”. Fortunately, the wine is “not overpriced” thanks to a £50 mark-up limit which favours the top of the list. In late 2021, Shutov relaunched the glitzy offshoot in the City’s Cheesegrater, changing its name from Bob Bob Cité to Bob Bob Ricard City. Early reports say it’s “got a lot to live up to, but it turns out the vibe amongst the banks, bling and skyscrapers of the Square Mile really works!”. More spinoffs are planned, as in late summer 2022, the brand announced it has VC backing for national and international expansion.(Note: Bob Bob Ricard has raised funds for Ukraine and changed the spelling of chicken Kyiv following the Russian invasion).
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