French cuisine is synonymous with haute cuisine, and exerts a powerful influence over the world’s top chefs and kitchens. French gastronomic traditions are on UNESCO’s list of the world’s 'intangible cultural heritage', but French cuisine is often derided for its unimaginative richness. This misses the subtlety that French cuisine is capable of and indeed, much of this derision originates from the British, France’s traditional enemies. These days, however, you can find many top French restaurants in London, and some – such as that of Soho-based masterchef Joël Robuchon, the most Michelin-starred chef in history – say that London has long overtaken Paris as the world capital of cuisine.
You can find a London French restaurant or at least a restaurant heavily influenced by French cuisine in almost any part of London. For a true French gastronomic and hospitality experience, though, you’d want to seek out top French restaurants in well-heeled districts such as Chelsea and Kensington, which is a traditional French expatriate stronghold. Don’t be afraid to check out more relaxed brasseries and bistros found throughout London, where you can find French home-style cooking and simple dishes such as slow-cooked cassoulet at prices that won’t result in you having to cancel that trip to the Riviera you’ve had planned all month.
While French-influenced dishes are 'de rigeur' on even the plainest British café menus, proper French gastronomy is strictly codified. Top French restaurants in London will sport an extensive 'kitchen brigade' and an attentive 'dining room brigade' of highly-trained, professional kitchen and wait staff. These restaurants might serve French haute cuisine, the upper, gourmet end of French hospitality. Simpler bistro-type settings are far more relaxed, with chalk boards or staff proclaiming the offering. Many a London French restaurant will serve French 'nouvelle cuisine', a typically modern style of French cookery that rejects many French culinary traditions as over-complicated and overdone.
There are heaps of top French restaurants in London, but a search using Quandoo will serve up bars and bistros that follow French tradition, too. Many are intimidated by French cuisine, thinking is always beyond their budgets. Far from true, you can use Quandoo’s price filter to find a London French restaurant that’s comfortable. As for districts, well-heeled boroughs will be replete with top-dollar top French restaurants in London, but French restaurants are artfully sprinkled across London like so much finely-milled black pepper, meaning its likely there’s a French bistro or two near you for coffee, brunch, lunch or a romantic dinner date.