Our friends across the channel are renowned for their food and drink. Luckily, you don’t have to go that far for a taste of it, because there are loads of great French restaurants in Leeds.
From bœuf bourguignon to coq au vin and tarte tatin, French cuisine is famous for a reason – and if you’re craving it, you need to know where to get it. Well, here they are, the best French restaurants in Leeds. You’ve got romantic bistros, celebrity chef eateries and even a hidden gem tucked away in a basement – get eating.
1. Sous Le Nez
Tucked away underneath the Quebec Hotel, Sous Le Nez has been the tour de force of French food in Leeds for nearly 25 years. As you’d expect their menus are refined with careful attention to detail, which is why you can expect exquisite creations like their gateau of fillet steak stuffed with shallots, mushrooms and garlic, then topped with peppercorn sauce. They also have an extensive wine list, so you can match your dinner with the perfect bottle of vino.
Sous le Nez, The Basement, Quebec House, 9 Quebec Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2HA.
2. The Crepe Hut
Leeds Kirkgate Market might not be the first place you’d look for French-style pancakes but that will all change when you discover The Crepe Hut. They specialise in sweet and savoury crepes, so you can start your day with a pancake topped with manuka honey and lemon, or stop by at lunchtime for a taste of their chicken, mushroom and cheese crepe.
The Crêpe Hut, Leeds Kirkgate Market, New York Street, Leeds, LS2 7HH.
3. Kendell’s Bistro
Kendell’s is the most famous French restaurant in Leeds – and it’s easy to see why. Not only is the food good, but the atmosphere is incredible – you’ll step into a candlelit bistro where the blackboard displays a new menu daily. What they serve depends on the fresh, seasonal produce they can get their hands on, but you can expect the likes of salmon en croute, porc boulangere and créme brûlée.
Kendells Bistro, 3 St Peter’s Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS9 8AH.
4. Brasserie Blanc
Few names are as synonymous with quality French food as Raymond Blanc. His Brasserie Blanc restaurants are popular all over the country – and Leeds is no different. Nestled on the edge of the River Aire, it’s a classy affair with exposed brickwork and oodles of character, but the food is the real focus. Tuck into king scallops provençale, chateaubriand and grilled rock lobster tail & chips, while enjoying something from their extensive wine list.
Brasserie Blanc, Victoria Mill, Sovereign Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BJ.
5. Le Chalet
Us Brits love tea and Le Chalet has shown us just how good a French tearoom can be. They have 18 different teas for you to choose from, with everything from English Breakfast and Earl Grey to Lapsang Souchong, Hibiscus and Lavender. But it’s not just about the tea. They also offer a delicious selection of French pastries, cakes and desserts including crepes, créme brûlée and macarons. Fancy something savoury? Their sandwiches come in French baguettes, or you can go all out with one of their mains – how does boeuf daube sound?
Le Chalet, 31-32 Park Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5JD.
6. La Cour Brasserie
This French restaurant is tucked away in the suburbs. La Cour Brasserie is a Parisian-style bistro, known for its classy decor, attentive service and scrumptious food. They serve up a menu of French inspired dishes using the best local produce – think boeuf bourguignon, duck in caramelised port sauce and moules marinières, with a host of tempting desserts to boot.
La Cour Brasserie, 194 New Road Side, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 4DP.
7. Dough Bistro
Dough Bistro is a longtime favourite – and with good reason. Run by renowned local chef, Luke Downing, it offers a modern take on French cuisine in a lovely relaxed setting. You can choose from an extensive a la carte menu, with something new to try every time you visit, and it’s not just your ‘usual’ dishes – you can try the likes of cuisses de grenouiles a la Provençal (fried frogs legs, pickled beetroot salad, parsley sauce and confit lemons) or escargots en persilade porridge (snails with parsley, garlic and basil porridge). But the real highlight here is the Chef’s Tasting Menu – hand over control to Luke and let him wow you.
Dough Bistro, 203 Spen Lane, West Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5BD.
8. Le Bistrot Pierre
Ilkley’s Le Bistrot Pierre can be found within the Crescent Hotel. The distinctive, crescent-shaped building is the perfect spot to enjoy dinner with friends and family – they have a 14-page activity pack to go alongsdie the kids menu. And the food? From the brioche et champignons to the boeuf bourguignon maison, it really is a celebration of French food. Save space for dessert, you’ve got the likes of créme brûlée and gâteau au caramel to look forward to.
Le Bistro Pierre, Crescent Hotel, Brook Street, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 8DE.
9. Crepe Affaire
‘Savoury, sweet and everything in between’ profess Crepe Affaire, and they’re not wrong. Based on the second floor of Trinity Leeds, this is a French restaurant centred around the honest pancake, whether you want it with lemon and sugar, Grand Marnier cognac, chicken and tarragon, feta and hummus, or even an all day breakfast. They also serve up smothered waffles, and oodles of ice cream if that’s your bag.
Crepe Affaire, 27 Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5ER.
10. Monsieur Déjeuner
If you’re looking for a light bite, make a beeline for Monsieur Déjeuner in Headingley. It’s been the lifelong dream of Jean Damien Sebastian to open a French cafe and wine bar – and now he’s done it. They specialise in crepes, both sweet and savoury, as well as freshly baked baguettes, croques and French classics. But that’s not all, because they also have a fully licensed bar with French beer and wine. Look out for their events too, including a weekly get-together where you can practice your French.
Monsieur Déjeuner, Gateway House, 15 North Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 3HG.