The 5 best French restaurants in Sydney

Bistro Guillaume Sydney. Nikki To

This Saturday is Bastille Day, France’s national day commemorating the 1789 storming of Paris’ political prison, the Bastille, an ideal excuse to sample some of Sydney’s best French offerings.

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. Why not check out their Bastille Day offerings?

Twice-baked souffle at St Claude’s Roberta Muir

St Claude’s, Woollahra

I love tradition, like the double baked cheese souffle that’s been here for over 40 years through five owners and, on my last visit, was on the $68 prixe fixe with steak cafe de Paris and creme caramel. Classic, pared back, yet cosy – this institution is in great hands.

Restaurant Hubert Supplied

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 creme caramel. Great wine list too!

Bistro Papillon Roberta Muir

Bistro Papillon, Sydney

A cosy, dark brown room with simple wooden tables and warm service sets the scene for classics, from escargots and onion soup to boeuf Bourguignon. But I’m here for tarte flambe, a simply delicious specialty of Alsace, thin dough topped with creme fraiche, onion and speck!

Bistro Guillaume Supplied

Bistro Guillaume, Sydney

Guillaume’s bistro walks the line between the luxury of his earlier fine diners and the simplicity of a classic bistro. I love house-cured salmon with brioche, steak tartare with pomme gaufrettes, steak frites with Bernaise, and souffle with Roquefort sauce. But I dream about the tarte fine with cinnamon ice cream!

Chateaubriand at Mere Catherine Roberta Muir

Mere Catherine, Potts Point

Ph: 9358 2000

This quirky, 16-seat, husband and wife restaurant has basic decor, minimal wine (they allow BYO), French home cooking and off-the-chart-unique atmosphere. Given Gerard and Nanette’s vintage, who knows how much longer it’ll be here -experience a piece of Sydney dining history while you can.

Roberta Muir runs the Sydney Seafood School at the Sydney Fish Market and publishes the website Food Wine Travel, where she shares her favourite food, wine and travel discoveries. You can sign up here to receive her regular email of her top 5 favourite things.