The French Cafe

5 star rating 42 reviews

Restaurant location map

09 3771911

210 Symonds Street, Eden Terrace, Auckland

Cuisine:
  French
Hours:
6 PM to 12 Midnight (Tue-Thu, Sat), 12 Noon to 2:30 PM, 6 PM to 11 PM (Fri), Mon & Sun Closed

Photos

Reviews for The French Cafe

5 star rating
by Ian
4 days ago

Wow just Wow....
I do not think there is one thing I can mention as a issue for the French Cafe.. Ok, maybe the location is not the best..

Food is divine, Service is Fantastic and they truly know how to treat customers. Our waiter was fantastically helpful and full of recommendations for wine and food matches

Yes the cost is on the higher side, but saying that I never pay a tip in restaurants in New Zealand... But I did here.!

5 star rating
by Mutt Eats
15 days ago

The French Cafe is ranked as one of Auckland’s best restaurants, and is certainly one of the most expensive. When I first arrived in Auckland I promised myself that once I found a job, I would reserve a table and eat there. Their waiting list was eight weeks long, so eight weeks after being employed I finally entered this revered restaurant. On this blustery, cold, day we were greeted by the friendly doorman and led into the dining area. I immediately appreciated a small, but significant touch. The dining area was located far away from the entrance. It meant that we were protected from the cold drafts, that would inevitably invade when people entered or exited. I’d been in far too many cold restaurants as of late, so the warmth was appreciated! The interior of the restaurant was simple and downplayed, yet elegant. It’s exactly the motif I like, as opposed to lavish and extravagant. The waiters were extremely helpful and knowledgeable and were happy to explain The French Cafe's menu. The tasting menu was recommended, though we went for the al a carte in order to try a greater breadth of dishes. We chose two items from each course:

First: Snapper ceviche and Duck confit
Second: Caramelised pork belly and Roasted goats cheese
Third: Boneless lamb and Aged beef
Fourth: Cheese board and Poached rhubarb

The three complimentary dishes, which came between each course, were a lovely surprise. Keep in mind the menu at The French Cafe is seasonal, so regularly changes. It certainly gives you incentive to come back! We also ordered a couple of cocktails to wet our tongues.

The First's the snapper ceviche was disappointing, considering how highly the waiter recommended it. It was light and fresh, but the flavour lacked any punch and it was under salted. The duck was more pleasant, the meat incredibly tender and the berries adding a fruity note. Luckily the dinner kept on getting better.

The Second was a far more enjoyable affair. The pork belly skin was wonderfully crunchy with a nice balance of fat, skin and meat. The sprinkle of black pudding was a unique touch and was a great way to introduce my friend to the concept of blood as a cooking ingredient. The cheese in the goat's cheese tart was phenomenal. I'm a big fan of goats cheese and this was truly special. The beetroot tart provided a delicate back drop for the cheese. What a brilliant dish. Yet the best was still to come.

Thirds was the boneless lamb and aged beef. I can't describe the meat as anything other than perfection. We were both speechless about how good it tasted. The meat was so tender, so full of flavour that I could do nothing but sit silently and savour each and every bite. I was memorised.If you visit the The French Cafe I would implore you to order one of these two dishes! By this point I had an amazing evening and it hadn't even finished yet.

The Fourth featured a cheese board and a rhubarb crumble. The cheeses were all French imports and were stunning in their intensity and depth of flavour and aroma. French cheese always wins baby! The rhubarb was slightly disappointing. Good rhubarb has a balance of tart and sweet, but this rhubarb had neither. It was serviceable,with only the fantastically tart raspberries saving the dish.

The rest of the meal; the cocktails and complimentary courses were mostly excellent. They included pumpkin soup with mango foam and fresh bread with home made butter. The cocktails were crisp and light. The courses were perfectly portioned so that we were satisfied, yet wanting. The seven course dinner took over three hours to complete, so it's highly recommend you bring good company, which I was lucky enough to have!

From start to finish the experience at The French Cafe was exceptional. It was everything that should be expect of a high class restaurant. The food was phenomenal, the atmosphered relaxed yet sophisticated, the staff superb.Yes, it's incredibly expensive but its also an exquisitely crafted experience which you need to try at least once.

Read more food reviews at:

4 star rating
by Rachael Claudette
2 months ago

Named one of the best restaurants in Auckland, so I had to try it out.

Took a while to get a booking to suit but I guess that's to be expected.
Giving them enough notice, they were more than happy to cater to my vegan needs, which gave them big point in my book.

The restaurant itself was nicely decorated, I really liked a lot of the wall art. The staff were knowledgeable and formal (but you'd expect that)

For an upmarket restaurant in NZ, it is 100% what you would imagine it to be, not amazing, but still very enjoyable.

I personally was underwhelmed by my main of risotto, I'm no chef, but I've made tastier ones. it was also over seasoned, very salty.

Even though I wasn't overly impressed with my main, I enjoyed the experience here. I would go again (I wouldn't have the risotto though)







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4 star rating
by Roohi Taneja
4 months ago

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 Hiku
4 months ago

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)!

5 star rating
by Kayne
4 months ago

I personally love this place! I have never been disappointed after a meal at the French Cafe. A real dining experience. Staff are fantastic, ambiance is enchanting and the Chefs work like well oiled machines. Yes, it's expensive but worth every dollar. You get to try foods you would never get the chance to make at home. French Cafe is top of the list in my books.

4 star rating
by The Incredible Edible
4 months ago

This place has been named in Metro Restaurant of the year a lot

In 2013 it won Supreme Winner – Restaurant of the Year 2013, Best Fine Dining, Best Chef and Best Service. And since it was getting some rave reviews we had to try this place out ourselves

We love our degustations and this is a great way to try the chefs best dishes - definitely the way to go if you are going to French Cafe.

For further details and photos the full review is on: http://theincredibleediblelifeofstephandmike.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/cafe-francais.html

Go here for a special occasion as it is an expensive treat

4 star rating
by Lisa Blanchfield
5 months ago

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
7 months ago

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 Heather Craig
8 months ago

We have just enjoyed a meal (lunchtime menu) at this restaurant and having tried many restaurants in this country consider it to be the best place to dine in New Zealand. A bonus was the French waiter whose service was 'impeccable' and who in our opinion could be easily employed in a 3* Michelin in France. We live most of the year in Europe and have tried many of the great restaurants especially in France, Belgium and London. This restaurant compares favourably with a 1* or 2* Michelin in these countries. Our only criticism would be the absence of the very important petits fours with coffee which is de rigeur in any of the starred continental restaurants now. We are hoping that there will be a little something with our coffee on our next visit...

5 star rating
by Chris Baldock
8 months ago

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
Sep 30, 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
Aug 23, 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 Pheonix
Aug 01, 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 Choi
Jul 11, 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 Cater
Apr 18, 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
Mar 15, 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 Philcox
Nov 07, 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
Sep 17, 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
Aug 24, 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, http://www.upnworld.com/restaurant/view/id/47/title/French+Cafe+II+

5 star rating
by Viv
Aug 16, 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
Mar 27, 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
Mar 27, 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
Feb 13, 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 Grigor
Nov 07, 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 Obrien
Sep 08, 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 Nelly
Jun 10, 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 Food
Apr 13, 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

----- 29 Nov, 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 Julie Schooler
Mar 26, 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
Mar 08, 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
Jan 24, 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
Nov 28, 2010

Stunning, nothing more to say!

5 star rating
by David Boshier
Oct 12, 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
Sep 15, 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 Denton
May 20, 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 Buckingham
Feb 05, 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
Dec 07, 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 Andy Gibson
Nov 24, 2009

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

5 star rating
by Rebecca Heslop
Aug 19, 2009

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

3 star rating
by Dee
Aug 13, 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
Jan 20, 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 Gao
Sep 12, 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.