This early bird caught the heart of Liverpool's Francophiles when it opened 20 years ago. Still the place for snails in garlic butter and frogs' legs, but not larks (thank goodness) in a trad bistro setting.

2 Lark Lane, Liverpool (0151 727 2142)

La Chouette

A Belgian chef cooks up a fun atmosphere and masterful dishes based on seasonal ingredients prepared the Franco-Belgian way: pheasant with chicory, for example. The French word for "owl" also means "nice".

Dinton, Bucks (01296 747422)

Le Colombier

Unrecognisable as an old pub, this brasserie is a corner of France in Chelsea. A great wine list, lovely service, and Channel-hoppers' faves like foie gras, moules and rack of lamb done well.

145 Dovehouse Street, London SW3 (020-7351 1155)


Or, in English, bunting. Very fine cooking in a former vicarage. Exquisite little courses and good service, but toing and froing is amplified by a blond-wood floor in the dining room.

Church Lane, Shinfield, Reading, Berks (01189 888500)