Is it just us, or has the French food scene in Sydney become even more interesting, not to mention delicious, lately? Whether it’s a Julia Roberts type moment with a traditional serve of escargot, or a cheesy croquet monsieur, there’s more than a few places to go when you’re craving some seriously fine French fare, and we’ve done the hard work for you, with our top picks of the best French restaurants in Sydney most likely to make you go c'est délicieux.
You’ll be transported to Paris at this new French restaurant by the internationally acclaimed chef, Frederic Colin. With furniture and fittings imported direct from the home country, the Parisian bistro is evident the moment you walk through the door, complete with charming French wait staff. Their charcuterie board is one not to be missed with all the required trimmings, like mustard and perfectly pickled onions and extra crunchy gherkins, as well as a long list of French and local wines to pair with each course.
Tucked away down Ash Street in Sydney’s CBD you can expect steak tartare, gruyère soufflé and chicken liver paté as good (if not better) as you would find in France. The food here is complemented by its surrounding, with subway tiles from Paris, and imported French chandeliers, you’ll well be forgiven for thinking you’re in a different time zone as you delve into your apple Tarte Tatin with calvados crème Fraiche and cinnamon ice cream.
This is where you go for an old school French vibe and one (or two) seriously good cocktails. The creation of those clever cats from Shady Pines and The Baxter Inn, you can choose between classics like Manhattans, Martinis or a seriously delicious French-inspired wine list. With dishes like chicken fricassee steak with pepper sauce on the menu it’s old school dining at its very, very best.
Woollahra & Mosman
Bistro Moncur in Woollahra is the perfect location for your next date night, with favourites like French onion soufflé gratin and their pure pork sausages with potato puree and Lyonnaise onions on the menu. Their wine list is award-winning so you’ll want to pair your spatchcock with a Pinot Gris and your lamb rack with a good Bordeaux.
Dinner and a view are on the menu at the new look Café Ananas in Circular Quay. While it isn’t the lights of the Eiffel Tower, the Harbour Bridge is pretty much the next best thing, especially when it’s paired with a menu inspired by the French Riviera. The prix fixe at $45 a head is a definite standout here, we’re talking ricotta ravioli served with tomato fondue and a champagne risotto with fennel confit and aged parmesan, making the decadent affordable and oh so very tasty.
An icon when it comes to French dining in Sydney, La Grillade is a little bit fancy and a whole lot of delicious. Their unique take on French provincial dining includes escargot cooked in red wine and garlic parsley butter, or their simply decadent filet mignon served with mushroom sauce and a side of mustard, of course. Also, did we mention they’re BYO?
The long-awaited Sydney instalment of Bistro Guillaume has finally opened its doors on George Street and the 130-seat restaurant is serving the same delicious French bistro classics you would expect if you have ever visited his Melbourne and Perth restaurants.And assuming you love dessert as much as we do, you'll be pretty damn pleased to hear they've added a petit four trolley to their trolley repertoire. Yep, dessert yum cha now totally exists.
Macleay St Bistro
Always consistent and damn delicious when it comes to Sydney’s French food scene, Macleay St Bistro prides itself on their market fresh seasonal menu. Our favourites included their twice-baked French onion soufflé with truffle butter for entrée and their pan-fried duck breast with peaches, eshallots and Armagnac jus for mains. It’s atmosphere a-plenty at this French restaurant, and guuuuuuys, there is no BYO surcharge on Sundays, always a win in our books.
This unassuming Surry Hills terrace is serving up incred dishes inspired by Nice and the Southern Provence of France. Get your hands on hand-cut beef tartare and straw chips, or head down to Loluk Bistro on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for a mid-week feast on raclette cheese. That’s right, wrap your laughing gear around the gooey goodness and a charcuterie board. You are meant to share these kinds of things but we would blame you if you didn’t.
The team at Bistro Papillon take their French food very seriously, and we thank them for it because the eats here are off the charts. With the focus on the food and less on the cinema of dining, your taste buds are in for a treat. Classic boeuf bourguignon and confit de canard make appearances, as does everyone’s favourite golden gooey cheese, raclette, which we can guarantee you’ll eat our body weight in. Heads up, it’s scraped off the hot wheel right in front of your eyes onto piles of potato, cured meats and baguettes. ‘Nuff said.
For an eatery with a French name, Garçon really has taken the concept of je ne sais quoi to a whole new level. How else then, to explain a menu that serves chorizo and congee and croque monsieurs for dinner? It’s a culinary “whatever” delivered with a cheeky grin, rather than a grunt and a shrug. In the face of menu-induced choice paralysis, the cheese and meats are an obvious choice. Fill your plate with fine slices of locally-made chorizo and jamon serrano, and urgelia, a washed-rind cow’s milk cheese, and leave all the tough decisions for later.
More interested in gelato? These are the best spots in Sydney.
Image credit: Bistrot Gavroche | Federica Portentoso, LoLuk Bistro | Caitlin Hicks, Bistro Guillaume | Nikki To, Bistro Moncur | Supplied