When I think of French food, I think of traditional Parisian bistros and casual country restaurants serving simple classics, rather than Michelin-starred temples of gastronomy. French cuisine isn’t as well represented in Sydney as it should be … but there are a few great places that transport me straight back to Paris, like these five.
Bistro Rex Potts Point
Paris meets New York in this large, mirror-lined bistro on Macleay Street. Dark wood, dim lights and shelves of candle wax-covered bottles add warmth, while the circular banquets, high ceilings and spaciousness bring a modern vibe. The short menu is also an intriguing blend of traditional (steak frites with Cafe de Paris) and modern (excellent kingfish ceviche with horseradish ice cream and puffed pork skin). Whether you’re here for the classics – including superb pork and game terrine and dry-aged duck – or chef Leigh McDivett’s thoughtful plays thereon – like charcoal-grilled coral trout with lobster butter – the creme caramel dessert is a must!
Restaurant Hubert Sydney
Step down the curving wood-panelled staircase and back in time, into a subterranean cellar with live music, soft candlelight and closely packed tables of diners enjoying le petit aioli, escargot with a modern touch of XO butter, chicken fricassee with green garlic and excellent passionfruit soufflé. Great wine list too!
Little Felix Sydney
Walking into this cosy dimly-lit bar beside the larger Felix bistro is like taking a quick Parisian break without the jetlag. Fun retro cocktails and wine poured from magnums set the scene, alongside a simple menu of charcuterie, fromage, freshly shucked oysters and caviar.
Bistro Gavroche Chippendale
A little bit of kitsch (like any good bistro), and a whole lot of delicious! This upstairs diner overlooking the Kensington Street eating strip ticks all the bistro boxes with bentwood chairs, brass-railed banquettes and hand-painted wall tiles. I love their 3-course $78 Menu Paris offering classics from escargot and french onion soup, through confit and moules frites to flambéed crepes Suzette.
Macleay Street Bistro Potts Point
The snails in garlic butter, moules marinières and chateaubriand Béarnaise for two have stood the test of time at this cosy Sydney bistro (over 30 years in fact). Space is tight, staff are friendly and the Sunday roast chicken for 2 with roast veg and free BYO is legendary among the locals.
Updated 24 June 2022
What are the Best French Restaurants in Sydney?
In the city, Restaurant Hubert offers french cuisine with a twist and Little Felix channels a Parisian cocktail bar. Nearby, Macleay Street in Potts Point is home to both the modern Bistro Rex and one of Sydney’s stalwart French restaurants, Macleay Street Bistro. Bistro Gavroche in Chippendale offers traditional bistro dishes in a classic setting.
Is Sydney well known for French food?
French cuisine isn’t as well represented in Sydney as other cuisines, such as Italian. But there are a few very good bistros and brasseries, serving French classics.
Where's the best French food in Sydney?
Most of Sydney’s best French food is in the CBD or inner suburbs such as Potts Point and Chippendale.