If you want some recommendations for restaurants and bars, there is the Fooding Guide released every year and used by French people. The 2017 version is 9€90 so not too pricey to get some local tips and ideas. You can also try trip advisor online for free advice.
Hélène Darroze at the Connaught
I have been lucky to try the Hélène Darroze restaurant at the Connaught. Hélène is an eminent French chef who has so far received two Michelin Stars for this restaurant. The food was delicately presented and on that day I realised a dish could be presented like a beautiful poem.
The restaurant is spacious and cosy and we stayed there for nearly 4 hours, enjoying the food, the conversation and the atmosphere. It is a place where you want to take your time and simply enjoy.
A real paradise for 'Gourmets'
L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Joël Robuchon is a famous French chef who has a restaurant next to Cambridge Circus. I was invited there as a belated Christmas present and we tried the lunch menu.
The food was rich, filling and incredibly flavoursome.
The main dish was a bit too salty for my liking but I am used to fairly plain food.
The first floor was empty at lunch time so I would recommend you to book the ground floor restaurant instead.
La Patisserie des rêves
If you go to Paris and you have a sweet tooth, you have to visit this French award winning pastry shop 'La Patisserie des rêves' that I translate as 'Dream Pastry Shop'. They have classic French pastries such as 'Paris Brest' or 'Baba au rhum' and they have developed their own cakes. I was lucky to try a lovely Calisson Cake and it was absolutely divine. Well chosen name for the place!
The French Tea Shop Kusmi Tea has just opened a branch on Marylebone High Street. Although it was initially created in Russia, the company now belongs to a French family and offers a wide variety of traditional teas of Russian inspiration with new innovative blends.
A great alternative to Fortnam and Mason Teas and Whittard of Chelsea.
If you want to buy lovely French teas online you can try 'Palais de thés' and 'Mariage Frêres'. There are top Teas shops and tea providers in France.
I thought I knew what Praline was but rediscovered it in Lyon. What they call Praline is actually pink, sweet and crunchy with some crushed hazelnuts and is... Seriously addictive. If you visit the old city of Lyon, 'Le vieux Lyon', do not forget to try it either in sweets, tarts or brioches.
French Cookery Books
If you like cooking French food and have a good level of French, you could try the collection of cookery books 'Best Of' from Alain Ducasse Publications.
They present some of the best recipes from the best French chefs. They share tips and the lovely pictures show you a step by step approach.
With only the best, surely you cannot go wrong...
My student Richard has just spent a little fortune in cookery utensils and pans for his wife in this lovely shop in Central Paris.
If you are looking for some unusual cooking material for specific use or more general items, you should have a look at what they have.
Une vraie caverne d'Ali Baba de la cuisine...
Pied à Terre
Today I discovered that Cooking could be ART.
We tried the French Michelin Star restaurant 'Pied à Terre' in Charlotte Street and we have been amazed.
At lunchtime, they do a special 'Menu du Jour', which is beautifully presented and exquisite.
Ultra Haute Cuisine. Highly recommended.
Really nice French restaurant in Marylebone recommended by Tom, one of my students, who loves French food and wine.
It is the little sister of Michelin star restaurant 'Pied a Terre' in Charlotte street with more affordable menus.
We tried it for an early Christmas meal and were nicely impressed. The food was flavoursome and beautifully presented.
If you want to try French 'escargots' and 'Cuisses de grenouilles', no need to go to Paris.
The menu at this French restaurant located next to Picadilly Circus is impressive and still affordable with all these French traditional dishes including 'choucroute' and oysters or the famous onion soup. The art deco setting is beautiful and the main dining room is very spacious.
The service was a bit slow but this way you get to enjoy your food even more... The French way.
French Cookery School
I discovered the 'Atelier des Chefs' last year and had great fun learning to cook during my lunchtime breaks or at week ends. What I like is that they teach you how to cook but also how to present the dish in a very appealing way. I always thought I was bad at cooking but a few lessons proved me wrong. On the picture, you can see my cousin Adele learning to cook a vegetarian pastasotto with Chef Vladimir.
They are based next to Oxford Circus and have opened a second school next to Bank in the City ...
For more tips, do not hesitate to contact me.
French food is reputed around the world... Would you like to try cooking it?
If so, there is a good cookbook I recommend for beginners: Simple from Raymond Blanc
It is, as it indicates, very simple with a step by step approach and a lot of pictures.
My new little 'Peche Mignon' is for Macaroons. Pity, they are so sweet and addictive. Although it is a French Delicacy imported from Italy, Some of my favourite ones in London are from a very stylish dim sum teahouse in Soho. Les macarons au jasmin sont tout simplement divins...
If you like cheese, you will like 'La Fromagerie' in Marylebone. They obviously sell cheese but also various fresh and traditional products from France. They have a cafe in the back of the shop and it is a lovely place for a brunch although it can get busy very quickly.
Another shop in Highbury...
L'Entrecote - French Restaurant
If you want a good French restaurant in London there is L'entrecote (aka Relais de Venise). There is only one menu, a salad and a steak-frites, and all you have to choose is the way you want your steak cooked, what you want to drink and... A well deserved dessert. The sauce is divine and the wine is good. Service is delivered like a military operation (2 servings) and the waitresses are all dressed in an old fashioned black and white outfit.
J'aime la glace!
If you like ice-creams as much as I do and are visiting Paris, you have to try the 'Berthillon' Ice creams on the Île Saint Louis right in the Centre.
If you visit Annecy in the French Alps, You will have to try the 'Glacier des Alpes' ice creams. Last time, I had to queue for more than 15 minutes to get my hands on a precious 'cornet' but it was worth it.