The French Cafe

5 star rating 37 reviews

Telephone 09-377 1911

210 Symonds St
Eden Terrace
Auckland City

Cafe, European, French
Lunch: Fri 12 noon - 2.30pm
Dinner: Tue - Sat 6pm - Late
Provided by business


Supreme Winner of the 2013 Metro Restaurant of the Year Awards, The French Cafe serves contemporary European cuisine in a sophisticated and intimate environment, and was famously described as ‘everyone’s favourite dining destination’ by Lauraine Jacobs, when The French Cafe won ‘Best Smart Dining’ in the Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards 2008. Jacobs said: “Consistently delivering a polished performance, it has set a benchmark for service, for delicious, well-thought-out food and an exemplary wine list. And the husband and wife team who own and run The French Café constantly refine both the menu and the ambience. It is smart, urbane and a comfortably contemporary venue served by Creghan Molloy-Wright’s well-managed and thoroughly knowledgeable staff. “Simon Wright’s food would stand scrutiny in any city in the world. His menus have broad appeal and the beautifully presented dishes display technical skill with wonderful flavour management . . . A visit is certain to provide the most memorable dining experience, but note bookings are essential”. Our new private dining room, The French Kitchen, is now open. We have created a beautiful serene dining room looking out onto our edible garden. Situated across the courtyard from the main restaurant, the space is available for 10-30 guests. You can enjoy a five course tasting menu, prepared in the open kitchen by Simon Wright or Sebastian Hindrichs. The French Kitchen is perfect for special occasions, whether corporate or personal.


Photo of The French Cafe

More Information

Price Range:
Splurge, Above $35
Good For Groups:
Takes Reservations:
Dietary Restrictions:
Meals Served:
Dessert, Lunch, Dinner
Payment Types:
EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Diners
Outdoor Seating:

Reviews for The French Cafe

4 star rating
by Roohi T.
18th June 2014

Had read the rave reviews and been wanting to call in for the longest time. Finally had the opportunity to take eight out for dinner and The French Cafe was my pick – and what a beauty pick it was! Everyone was highly impressed with the ambiance, staff and (most definitely) the food – and all have said they’d return. – so very innovative, not to mention delicious.

5 star rating
by Carol H.
18th June 2014

It doesn’t at all surprise me that when I come to the page of The French Cafe, I see so many 5-star reviews. I’ve dined in enough restaurants globally to be qualified to say that The French Cafe is second to none that I have tried so far. The service is knowledgeable and helpful. The plates are impeccable and take your taste buds on an amazing journey through each complex layer of food that is served to you.

The price is fitting (although when I first saw the price points, I thought they were taking the pi$$ – they are not). The wine list is extensive and the prices do vary, so you don’t need to be buying bottles which are north of $80 to quench your thirst.

There is parking close by, the toilets were clean and the decor is simple.

The French Cafe is a very special place to dine, perfect for special occasions and I can’t wait to go again (hint hint James, if you are reading this)!

4 star rating
by Lisa B.
27th April 2014

A little pretentious in its atmosphere. The meals are well presented and definitely lovely although a little over rated in my opinion. I have been to other restaurants that have plated up dishes of equal flavour…perhaps not with the elaborate technique but this reflects the price tag. I would not race back but would recommend to those who like fine dining.

5 star rating
by Imperius
4th March 2014

The food was the best food I’ve eaten in my life, especially the 1st course & dessert, hence the 5 stars. The wait time in between each course was far too long for my tastes, took 2 hours to finish our food. The prices for everything are also very high, but worth it.

5 star rating
by Gastronaut
20th February 2014

There is not much that needs to be said about this restaurant, other than that it is sublime.

Like religious zealouts, my wife and I have made an annual pilgrimage to Simon Wright’s citadel of culinary delights.

While you will pay for the experience (perfection does not come cheap), be prepared for exceptional and unpretentious service, and briliantly executed dishes.

We have eaten in Michelin Star restaurants in Manhattan and London and can confidently say that this is our favourite eatery.

5 star rating
by Christine
30th September 2013

Amazing food and service that is second-to-none!

Thoroughly enjoyed the tasting menu… each dish flowed well on to the next and you could really taste the freshness of the food.

Would happily pay $140 per person to sample all the dishes again (8 courses, but 10 if you include the complements from the chef). It is certainly worthwhile if you like to taste a little bit of everything… and walk out feeling more than satisfied but not overly full. They are also very accommodating in changing or altering the dishes if you have particular dislikes. I changed my quail dish to a vegetarian that was one of the chef’s signature dishes. Flavoursome and delish!

5 star rating
by Marty
23rd August 2013

First time at the French Cafe…I can now tick it off the list. Had 4 courses…stand outs was the oysters and confit duck leg which I have always wanted to try…however the kicker was the kumara and tangerine purée that accompanied the dish…each mouth full I closed my eyes and could have happily gone to sleep…the thing that sets the French Cafe apart is the waiting staff…attention to detail flawless…I dropped my napkin, without asking it was replaced within 10 seconds…you well deserved your tip…thanks French Cafe

4 star rating
by Simon P.
1st August 2013

So I finally had the chance to make time and try out the ‘number 1′ restaurant in Auckland – voted by Metro for so many years in a row.

First impressions – place was nice, quiet, and it actually didn’t feel like you were on the rough side of town on Symond Street. It was a little dark but I guess it’s considered ‘mood lighting’.

We ordered a 4 course meal. The food was brilliant and had alot of flavour. Great presentation, great wine options, great service.

I went to celebrate my partners birthday and they surprised us with a little birthday treat along with our dessert order. Sadly the birthday treat came out looking very tacky and they spelt birthday incorrectly ‘birtday’. Big time fail.

The dessert presentation and flavour is lacking as they are clearly in pain once their Head Pastry chef left to open up Milse in britomart.

Also in alignment with @SoyoungC feedback, we too noticed the random sand flies in the restaurant.

Overall great place to try, great food, a few flaws and not as bullet proof as I imagined. Not in any rush to try again.

3 star rating
by Soyoung C.
11th July 2013

I dine out at this restaurant several times a year. My experience this time was not up to the level i have had. There was a little bug floating in my wine glass to start with. I told the waiter serving us this. He took my glass away and brought it back within 10seconds. The bug was gone. I was unhappy but did not make a complaint as i did not want to spoil our dinner on my partner’s birthday. Very disappointing. It tarnished all the good experience so far. My second course was a quail dish. Perfectly presented but one of two chestnuts was not fresh. The green salad was quite bitter with too much red cabbage. A bit of sweet touch i.e. dates might have weakened the bitterness. Overall three courses were a lot saltier than i could enjoy. With the experience this time i would not rush to come back here any time soon.

5 star rating
by Tiffany C.
18th April 2013

The French Cafe is a dining experience I will never forget, and I hope to be back again one day. We went for my husband’s birthday as it was his choice and he had only heard wonderful things.

We were not disappointed at all. The menu was laid out exquisitely, while not vast, it catered for everyone’s needs and wants.
I highly recommend the Spanner Crab Risotto as a starter which was a taste explosion like no other, for an entree I had the egg yolk ravioli (stunning) and main was the snapper (delectable).
The wine we chose was French and it was SUPERB!!!!! The waiting staff were attentive and refilled our glasses when needed.
I didn’t have dessert as the three courses were more than adequate. This is a where you go for a top quality gastronomic experience, not a belt strainer meal.

LOVE LOVE LOVED IT !!!! Could not be faulted at all. Excellent does not cover our dining experience here.

5 star rating
by Gus
15th March 2013

The French Cafe is the pre-eminent fine dining experience in New Zealand. I have eaten the 11 course tasting menu several times and it is always spectacular. The wine matches were the best I’ve had and the staff are very knowledgable and attentive. If you want an amazing culinary experience and expense is not a factor you must dine here

5 star rating
by Sylvia P.
7th November 2012

Service was fantastic (felt like a princess) and food was delicious, an explosion of tastes! My partner and I had the 6 course degustation meal with some fine cocktails to accompany them with. I thoroughly enjoyed how they explained what we were eating once we received it and the general etiquette.

Recommended to all. Just be prepared for the big bill at the end!

5 star rating
by Ian
17th September 2012

Having failed to secure a booking two years ago on our wedding anniversary (we hadn’t realised how popular it was), I booked weeks in advance of our 30th. After reading lots of reviews online, I had a few minor concerns, but they turned out to be groundless. Right from when we stepped in the door, the service was attentive and friendly, yet not at all intrusive. Glasses were refilled just when they needed to be, and each course arrived at exactly the right time. As for the food – it was simply the best we’ve ever enjoyed: very tasty, delightfully presented and a superb culinary experience!
I couldn’t understand criticisms of seating and decor, as both were perfectly acceptable. From where we were seated we could see the chefs beavering away in the kitchen, and they seemed to be relaxed and happy.
My wife asked me last night if we could make The French Cafe a regular anniversary experience, and I was only too pleased to agree with her.

4 star rating
by EarnesTaster
24th August 2012

French Cafe is often named No.1 in Auckland and my three visits over two years to this restaurant have had moments of brilliance mixed with disappointment. The best from a 2012 meal of 9 courses had featured superb seared duck and an exquisite ballotine of quail. The Tasting menu hasn’t changed by much now but a rustic-chic courtyard and a private hall where the chief chefs will specially cook for your party, are the new attractions. Service remains smooth and high-quality but for better vigilance, more staff (and higher bills) will have to enter the fray. Egg yolk Confit, nature’s own spherification with only a little help from man, juxtaposes two other repositories of umami: potato and mushroom- interesting but not outstanding. “Lobster en Papillote” a summer dish now gone (its appearance on opening the parcel was terrible) had succulent lobster which unfortunately lacked sweet essence – none of the other seafood here wowed me, including the ho-hum poached shellfish. If the restaurant wants to remain proudly French, it better make a good sauce to go with the heft of the mains.Simon Wright prefers to serve de-boned beautifully sculpted and plated meat but the lamb, though tender and having zero gaminess, lacked flavour. The game changer for the evening was risotto comprised by brunoised celeriac with myriad savoury and creamy persuasions – a triumph of technique and taste.Desserts have never disappointed: lusciously ripe vanilla panacotta was perfectly contrasted with an almond crisp, while lavender icecream nuzzled a rich brioche crowned with sauce-drenched plums and cherries.Tariffs in NZ$ – $30 for appetizers, $46 for main course, and $20 for desserts. F.C is an asset for Auckland but will need to step it up for reaching world-class brilliance.For photos,…

5 star rating
by Viv
16th August 2012

I will definitely be happy to come back any day. This is one of the best restaurants I’ve been to. Superb food and service. The waiter was very attentive to our needs and the food is just to die for. We had a la carte and it was very satisfying

5 star rating
by jo d.
27th March 2012

Superb. Amazing. I honestly can’t fault anything at The French Cafe – amazing food, wine list, service & atmosphere.

I love it here & can’t wait for a special occasion so that I can go back! Would highly recommend.

5 star rating
by Jarrod
27th March 2012

Just superb from start to finish.
My partner and I both had the 9 course chefs menu. Every plate was a treat, and the wine matched perfectly.
Service was spot-on, the waitress was very friendly and polite.

4 star rating
by Jeanette M.
13th February 2012

My partner and I ate at the French Cafe in the weekend and enjoyed the food and the service except to say that we both thought our mains were very salty and the sauces were overwhelming. We both had the bombe alaska dessert which was okay but felt cheated because it had tiny wee cold soft meringue peaks stuck on it instead of having a nice meringue on top which is cooked in the oven so must have been prepared earlier and just lacked that special wow factor. The service was faultless and perhaps a bad night with the sauces but for the price we paid it should have been better.

4 star rating
by Lauren G.
7th November 2011

Definitely the place to come for a very special occasion. My partner and I split an entree, had a main each, 3 cocktails between us and a lager – came to just under $200. Not bad for the quality however the portion sizes were on the small side. I have to say that the atmosphere was a little bit uncomfortable; despite being from a fine dining background, my partner and I (both early 20s) did feel a little out of place and were almost too scared to share a joke

5 star rating
by Georgia O.
8th September 2011

Went here with my husband for dinner. Food was top notch and service was very attentive indeed. I can see why this place has won so many awards ….it really is first class! It is not cheap but well worth it for those special occasions.

5 star rating
by Whoa n.
10th June 2011

If you ever get the chance of eating at The French Cafe, take it and then hang in there for a truly amazing culinary experience.
Such an absolute pleasure to be able to eat here, and you should do so, at least once in your lifetime. I cannot fault The French Cafe on anything, impecciable service, clean lines, comfortable surroundings and the food for me is pure, magical delight.

5 star rating
by Love f.
13th April 2011

A double celebration found us enjoying the perfect delights of the French Cafe.

The meal started with a complimentary pumpkin and trufle soup, we then enjoyed a range of other courses, sharing from each others plates became quite necessary – such was the appearance and refined tastes of what was before us. The highlight for myself was a first course of eel servced with caramelised apple, pancetta and micro cress – The description does the dish insufficient justice, the taste is sublime!

The French Cafe have a service team that are chosen for their personality and then clearly have a thorough training – because its rare we receive this level of service in New Zealand.

Speaking to my wife afterwards, we have decided we’d like to live there – permanently

5 star rating
by Julie
26th March 2011

Six of us decided to splash out and have the 10 course degustation meal, with four of us having matching wines.
The French Cafe exceeded every and all high expectations we had. The food was superb (I still think about that scallop and pork belly dish, a few weeks later). It was brought out all at the same time and with the right amount of time between servings. It goes without saying that the matched wines were perfect.
The service was outstanding. One of the party that is permanently on crutches noticed that as he made his way to the bathroom, waiters in his vicinity would open all the doors between our table and the bathroom before he even had a chance to request them to.
Overall, an amazing experience and if you have the urge to splurge, I highly recommend to visit the best in the business, the French Cafe.

5 star rating
by Kel
8th March 2011

great food~ a la carte or 6 course tasting or 11 course degustation, take your pick, am lucky to check-in more than once within short timeframe so am glad the kitchen is flexible to swap my degustation dishes against the standard menu on offered to my dining companion. Service is professional yet friendly without being snooty or cold like some wannabe establishments. Definitely the best value for money fine dining in southern hemisphere, if you’ve dined at Sydney Tetsuya and/or Quay you know what i mean.

4 star rating
by mike
24th January 2011

Everyone raves about this restaurant so maybe I’m just hard to please or my expectations were too high but I found our night at the French Cafe a bit disappointing. Sure the service was good and so was the food but a few things could have been much better. Some of our party were given chopsticks with which to eat oysters and scallops out of the shells – why? As far as I know oysters/scallops aren’t Asian dishes and our group was not Asian nor do we like to eat with chopsticks – we used the main course knives/forks provided. My (and another of our group) meals were served in large bowl type plates and the knife and fork kept slipping into the food when we put them on the plate to take a drink of winr or water – quite annoying. The 7 of us were squashed onto a too small table – there was limited space for the large plates being used and the array of glasses so we had to continually juggle where to put things down. I asked for the whitebait starter (all starters $16) and was informed by the waiter that it was a small portion (1 whitebait biscuit with sauce and garnish) and did I want an entree (all $26) sized portion – I was charged $32 for this course which consisted of simply the starter with one extra whitebait biscuit; I thought this a bit cheeky. The 3 men at the table had the wagyu beef main – it was good but the sauces and artichokes overpowered the meat taste and it was too salty towards the end; the portions were very small – we all agreed it didn’t match a nice eye fillet from the BBQ at home. Probably BBQ’d wagyu would be great. The wine was very good and the wine matching suggestions from the waiter were perfect – the wine was probably the best part of the night but at $15-19 a glass it should be. However, $9 for a very ordinary bottle of Heinekin in a fancy glass,(available for under $2 at the supermarket or wholesale)is simply profiteering in my view.

5 star rating
by KM
28th November 2010

Stunning, nothing more to say!

5 star rating
by David B.
12th October 2010

The very best restaurant in New Zealand.

Save up, get dressed up and have the degustation with the matching wines.

Top quality food and service that can not be beaten.

5 star rating
by Justine
15th September 2010

Just fabulous!
We had the 6 course menu with recommended wines and it was wonderful!! We will certainly be going back.

5 star rating
by Abigail D.
20th May 2010

I have dined at The French Cafe several times over the past few years, and I have yet to be disappointed in anyway what-so-ever. It simply has the best food in Auckland – tasting, looking, quantity & style. The staff are professionals and it comes across. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who loves good food.

5 star rating
by tony B.
5th February 2010

Restaurants come and go but great ones are always consistent. I took three guests we all had different 3 courses and each felt they had the best.
Always up there in the top three a great experience we ensure we eat there every visit.
I give it 5 stars and I am not generous with my last one superb
Tony Buckingham

5 star rating
by leslie
7th December 2009

AMAZING!!! GO THERE! (but make sure you book ahead!) Eat, drink and don’t worry about how much it has cost you because its that good, it doesn’t matter ;)

5 star rating
by Culinarian
29th November 2009

Having eaten at The french Cafe at least six times in the last 10 months – What can we say that hasn’t been said by so many reviewers over the years.

The reason we keep going back is The French Cafe is a rare jewel in the NZ dining scene, a sophisticated restaurant that can do what it does so very well in any country, not just NZ.

For first class food, service and a lovely wine list that is one of the best bargains in Auckland. Just go!

5 star rating
by Andy G.
24th November 2009

had the degustation here with matching wines. totally blew my mind. hours and hours of bliss!

5 star rating
by Rebecca H.
19th August 2009

Absolutely stunning food. Amazing service too. Worth the money and definitely try the degustation menu!

3 star rating
by Dee
13th August 2009

best food ive ever tasted in my life went in the summer and it was very hot and stuffy and sweating while eating our food asked to have the air con turned on but was told it was but it didnt feel like it, the waiter was strange and hung around for a tip afterwards

5 star rating
by Anne
20th January 2009

Have been to the French Cafe twice and had the degustation menu both times. The food is to die for and the service is the best in Auckland. Worth every penny – book at least 3 months ahead!

5 star rating
by Sophie G.
12th September 2008

Fantastic place to dine, formal yet laid back atmosphere. The food is divine, the service is good and the deserts are amazing! Definitely try this place out, you will not be disappointed.

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