Le Cherche Midi
The food is Italian, the décor French. Green banquettes, Art Deco lamps, fans and caramel walls are reflected in the mirror-lined room. A tiny zinc-topped bar holds a tempting array of prosciutto and antipasti, which, like the rest of the menu, is thoroughly unpretentious. The divine buffalo mozzarella is simply served as a ball and the wonderfully uncomplicated fresh pasta dishes are highly recommended. Because of the restaurant’s small size it’s always full, down to the pavement terrace where dedicated diners huddle under gas heaters and blankets in winter. Unsurprisingly, the interior is a seriously tight squeeze and there are no gaps between the tables, so expect to get intimate with your dining companions. Le Cherche Midi has a strong American following, but at least half the clientele will be made up of refined French locals. Booking is essential.