Restaurants

20 Of The Best French Restaurants In Sydney Right Now

By Urban List Writers
9th Aug 2023

Ah, France. The land of mimes, baguettes, and specific types of alcoholic beverages no one else is allowed to make. They’re the only country to have trademarked a type of kissing and their attitude to excellent cuisine is legendary.

From crepes to steak frites, escargot and coq au vin, Sydney’s French restaurants and classically trained chefs are bringing us the best of what the land of wine and cheese has to offer.

These are the best French restaurants in Sydney right now.

Armorica

Surry Hills

Armorica is a 150-seat French restaurant by restaurateur Andrew Becher, who operates Euro-inspired venues Franca and Parlar in Potts Point. 

Bringing the fun, energy and excitement of Paris to Surry Hills’ Crown Street, Armorica serves the best of Aussie seafood and meat will be prepared with respect to the techniques and heritage of Northern France, with a whole menu section dedicated to steak frites.

This glam French restaurant has opulent, timber-detailed ceilings, hand-crafted European oak joinery, and deep red leather banquettes, all custom designed and hand-made in Sydney. 

Restaurant Hubert

CBD

The underground sensation that is Restaurant Hubert is a must-do for any Sydneysider looking to get their Pariso on. Described as “post-war French bistro”, this French restaurant is brought to you by the team behind some of the city's best venues including Shady Pines, The Baxter Inn and 10 William Street. 

Diners are welcome to chill out at the bar and sip champagne or tuck into a full French feast with the likes of langoustine vol au vents, gruyere souffles, and bavette steak with bone marrow butter on the cards–all accompanied by live jazz every day of the week.

Bistro Moncur

Woollahra

If the stunning wood-panelled, white-tableclothed dining room of this French restaurant doesn't sell it to you, the fact that Bistro Moncur's been around for 30 years absolutely should.

The menu covers all regions of France with a slight Aussie spin, with signature dishes including steak tartare with bitter leaves, fermented green chilli and pommes allumettes, and the beloved Millions of Peaches dessert with peach and whipped white chocolate ganache, fresh peach and peach verbena sorbet.

A three-course set menu, two-course prix fixe lunch menu, and regular special dishes and events round out the offering, and mean you'll want to return again and again.

Bistrot 916

Potts Point

Bistrot 916 nails the French atmosphere—something hard to describe but impossible to miss. The menu here is heavy on the French specialties, not shying away from things like escargot and lambs brains while bold enough to tackle a range of frites dishes that leave very little room for error: steak, duck and lobster.

The wine list at this French restaurant is, as you would expect, replete with new offerings from the Burgundy, Champagne and Châteauneuf-du-Pape regions as well as some stellar homegrown drops.

The Strand Bistro

Darlinghurst

creme brulee at The Strand BistroThe old boozer known as The Strand Hotel has been reimagined as The Strand: a multi-level dining precinct and hotel inspired by Paris in the Belle Époque, complete with a ground-floor French restaurant.

Here, you can slurp spoonfuls of beluga caviar and Sydney rock oysters topped with classic French mignonette. Head chef Alex Kavanagh is also plating up Lè Bùrger Gruyere, steak frites and a duck leg pie. To drink, you'll find an extensive list of Aussie and French wines, alongside a 49-strong whisky list and French-themed signature cocktails.

Manon Brasserie

CBD

In the stately Queen Victoria Building, Manon Brasserie exudes old-world charm. Think red leather banquettes, brass and aged bronze accents, warm timber furnishings, a marble bar, and retro tiling, plus abundant outdoor seating for sunny afternoons. Did we mention it's open from morning coffee and viennoiseries to dinner and late-night cocktails? How European.

On the breakfast menu, you'll find croque monsieurs, Brittany-style crepes, omelettes, egg meurette, crab on toast and, of course, French toast. Lunch and dinner services include a raw bar with caviar, oysters shucked to order, as well as brasserie classics like beef tartare, bone marrow tartine, steak frites, savoury souffle, and duck a l'orange. 

Loulou

Milsons Point

Over the bridge, Loulou is part boulangerie, bistro, and traiteur—so there's a lot going on at this triple-act eatery. Begin your day at the boulangerie where the team bakes four times a day, which means your baguette will be ultra-fresh no matter what time you drop in.

Alongside the boulangerie is Loulou's traiteur. A lot like a deli, here French-born butcher and chef Cyprien Picard (ex-Victor Churchill) is in charge. Shop classic French-style charcuterie like saucisson sec, Toulouse sausage, country terrine, and chicken liver parfait sliced to your liking. 

Finally, Loulou's sprawling French restaurant, helmed by Billy Hannigan (ex-Bistro Guillaume and Michelin-starred The Ledbury London), offers up a caviar service if you're feeling fancy, hand-cut steak tartare and potato crisps, chicken liver parfait served with warm brioche, a classic steak frites, and, for dessert, apricot mille-feuille or rhubarb soufflé. 

Bistro St Jacques

Redfern

The little red bistro on Pitt Street in Redfern has been serving its loyal clientele unpretentious, honest delicacies for a decade. Bistro St Jacques is another entry in the “timeless” French restaurant experience, with lighter finishes to the traditional classic French techniques thanks to its Southern French-inspired menu with less butter and cream and more olive oil, seafood and fresh vegetables.

 The seared scallops with mushroom duxelle and gruyere have been a firm favourite since the beginning and there's a selection of natural, low-intervention, and organic wines too. French cuisine is famously unfriendly to herbivores, but Bistro St Jacques offers a vegan degustation.

Bouillon L’Entrecote

Circular Quay

Sydney’s first bouillon-style eatery, Bouillon L’Entrecote sits somewhere between bistro and brasserie, serving classic French dishes at friendly prices. Taking inspiration from Paris icon Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, steak frites is the hero dish on the menu—premium sirloin steak, served with a salad, home-cut fries, and a secret sauce. 

Expect to be whisked away to Le France here, with classic French bistro chairs, tables covered in crisp white butcher’s paper, a ground-floor wine bar, all backgrounded by French jazz music.

The Saturday lunch prix fixe menu (at $59 for two courses or $69 for three) is a great-value way to indulge in a French feast on the weekend, with classics like duck liver parfait, fish in sauce vierge and crème brulée on the cards.

Porcine

Paddington

Porcine is named after the French word for “pig-like” and, as you might have guessed, pork is the name of the game here. Owner and head chef Nicholas Hill and Harry Levy have converted the old Micky’s cafe on Oxford Street into a swanky wood-panelled affair, and, with their stripes earned at hatted and Michelin-starred restaurants in Sydney and London, it’s clear they mean business.

Each fortnight an entire pig is delivered to the restaurant, and every single part of it is used to create ham, terrines and, of course, pork chops.

For something really special, plan ahead and order the canard à la presse: a roasted duck served in a range of preparations including the legs in a casserole of shallots, mushrooms and madeira, the neck a sausage, and the breast perfectly portioned, finished in a sauce thickened with the duck's blood. It's available just once a day, and needs to be pre-ordered.

Felix

CBD

Felix is pretty much the closest thing you can get to being in France without getting your passport out. Surrounded by shelves of wine and under the glow of French-imported chandeliers, you can select your meal from the iced-up fresh seafood bar that serves as the main attraction to the venue.

It’s Merivale's take on a luxe French restaurant and offers extravagant dishes like whole rock lobster, côte de boeuf, and two kinds of caviar. Next door is Little Felix, a Parisian-style speakeasy specialising in roaring '20s-inspired cocktails and indulgences.

Chouchou

Bondi

An ode to home by Parisian ex-pat Arthur Gruselle, Chouchou is an intimate French restaurant bringing favourites to its foliage-adorned dining room, atrium, and terrasse-style footpath seating.

Pair a DIY raclette, croque madame or hand-cut steak tartare with a wine (the list spans France, Australia and New Zealand) or iconic France-inspired cocktail; perhaps a Green Valley with gin, absinthe, apple, lemon and lime, or a Violette with violet syrup, gin, peach schnapps and lemon.

Whalebridge

CBD

If your dream of France is less Paris and more Côte d'Azur, Whalebridge's million-dollar harbour views are definitely for you, nestled near the Sydney Opera House with a spectacular view of the Bridge. 

The food follows a fuss-free ethos, with executive chef Will Elliott (Restaurant Hubert, Melbourne's iconic Cumulus Inc, and ST JOHN in London) serving up playful French dishes and plenty of seafood including Sydney rock oysters, market fish, and caviar, and a bouillabaisse de Marseille packed with scampi, prawn, fish, and lobster in a saffron broth.

Bistro Cocotte

Haberfield

With a nondescript exterior, Bistro Cocotte manages to surprise and delight at every turn. It’s owned and run by a Korean-born chef who has had a passion for French cuisine since childhood and perfected his skills over ten years in France, earning a degree in culinary skills at Le Cordon Bleu and working in restaurants throughout the country.

Indeed, Cocotte has become a firm local favourite since opening, with an all-star lineup of classic French dishes executed with flair and a focus on rich, complex flavours.

Bistro Rex

Potts Point

Included in our best of Potts Point list, French local Bistro Rex is an easy, European hang-out spot, the kind of place you can read the paper (maybe in a bowler hat) over a light charcuterie lunch at their sunny outdoor tables, or sip an old fashioned in the evening from a cosy spot inside.

Exec Chef Jo Ward is a butchery specialist meaning their cuts are choice, and their steak frites are some of the best in town. 

Bistro Papillon

CBD

Helmed by two Frenchmen who met working in a French restaurant in the UK, Bistro Papillon is a tribute to classic French cooking and hospitality.

With ingredients sourced from France and the markets and butchers of Sydney, the pair pride themselves on simple French classics like duck confit, beef bourguignon, and escargot. It’s a cosy, welcoming place perfect for a hearty feast.

Garden Court Restaurant

CBD

Even the parking attendants greet you with a "Bonjour," at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, so you know you're in for a real-deal French experience at the hotel's Garden Court Restaurant

The menu changes seasonally while retaining all the French classics, so you can look forward to the likes of beef tartare, scallops Saint Jacques, roasted bone marrow, ratatouille vol au vent, and desserts like peach soufflé and chocolate sablé breton. 

Beckett's

Glebe

While it isn't strictly a French restaurant, there's such a hefty dose of Gallic influence at Beckett's that we think it's worth a mention.

Start with a mini cocktail before moving on to starters of goose rillettes or seared foie gras with poached strawberries, and move on to dijon-roasted Wagyu rump with bearnaise or duck a l'orange. 

Gavroche

Chippendale

The menu at Gavroche is packed with big-hitting classics like pork confit, bowls of creamy mussels, and a whopping 450-gram chateaubriand steak. It’s certainly a refined French experience but an entirely wholesome one at that.

The staff here are friendly and attentive and happy to guide you through their menu and suggest wines to go with each course. The grand finale is the crêpes Suzette: a bowl of freshly made crepes swimming in Grand Marnier sauce and orange slices brought to your table and set alight.

La Renaissance Patisserie And Cafe

The Rocks and Waterloo

What would any French expose be without at least one patisserie? The French are arguably the most famous for their pastries and the idea you can have dessert for breakfast. La Renaissance in The Rocks and Waterloo has been in the same family since it opened in 1974 and has a distinctly French edge to it.

Its stark interior feels as though you’re shopping for jewellery on the Champs-Elysées except behind the glass is an array of exquisitely designed cakes and glazed treats. The main area gives way to a leafy pink courtyard out the back, showcasing another French speciality: the lazy cafe session over endless coffee and pastries. It’s a good time. 

Now, check out Sydney's best Chinese or Sydney's best Greek restaurants

Image credit: Bistro Moncur, Armorica, Pauline Suc Photography, Restaurant Hubert, Loulou, Bistro Moncur, Jude Cohen, The Strand, Manon Brasserie, Bistro St Jacques, Bouillon L’Entrecote, Porcine, Felix, Whalebridge, Bistro Rex, Garden Court Restaurant, Gavroche

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