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“A slight let-down!” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Franco's

Franco's
61 Jermyn St | St. James, London SW1Y 6LX, England (St. James's)
020 74992211
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Ranked #1,407 of 17,052 Restaurants in London
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $0 - $40
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dessert, Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: St. James's
Cross street: St James's
Transit: Green Park, St James's & Piccadilly tube stations are all 5 minutes walk away.
Description: Opened in 1946 in Mayfair, Franco's restaurant has been one of London's most popular Italian establishments ever since. It continues to offer local gourmets a tranquil oasis away from the buzz of the city. Set at the St James���s end of Jermyn Street, Franco's is fantastically located for the galleries, private clubs and hotels of the area. And the pre-theatre and afternoon tea menus are a delight. The restaurant���s character evolves throughout the day from the early morning breakfasts to laid-back lunches and romantic candlelit dinners in the evening. The elegant 1940���s-inspired d��cor is bright and modern, with light wood, off-white walls and comfy upholstered dining chairs. Franco's sumptuous Mediterranean menu has been developed by Head Chef Paulo Parlanti and showcases fresh seasonal produce in traditional and modern Italian dishes. Popular dishes include the duck breast with Castelluccio lentils; ossobucco ravioli with veal jus; and the classic tiramisu. Service is flawless and the wine list is a winner too.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
139 reviews 139 reviews
102 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
“A slight let-down!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2013

Franco's is a pleasant and spacious restaurant on Jermyn Street near to St James's We came in as a party of four shortly before 6pm, having booked a table for their pre-theatre dinner. The restaurant was almost empty, just two other tables taken. A determined receptionist positioned us in a passage between the two dining areas and we asked for a better table. So she put us near the back of the second dining area at a table which abutted the serving counter and cash till. We asked for one of the free tables near the window. She said it was booked. It clearly wasn't for the period of our stay. It remained unoccupied, as did several other more pleasant tables than ours, during the whole of our visit. Anyway, we made do with the table we were given, which was in such a tight space that we had to move it to seat ourselves, while the staff stood idly by. Dinner was pleasant enough from the pre-theatre menu, but not special. My wife and I started with a salad of green beans with sun-dried tomatos and goat's cheese. The goat's cheese had been crumbled and the beans had been tossed in it some time before they were served, making them somewhat limp. I continued with a fillet of seabream with caponata. Now caponata can be served hot or cold, but it's not very appealing to have a hot panfried piece of fish served directly on bland ratatouille (which this was) that comes straight from the fridge. The other guests had ordered tagliata of beef and breast of chicken, which were nicely presented. We had ordered spinach and broccoli for four. The bowls that arrived were so minute that they were only adequate for one. We were cheered by an interesting red wine from Puglia, an A Mano Primitivo for £25. Unfortunately the waiter managed to pour drops down the outside of our glasses as well as the inside, and took no steps to wipe off the residue. The prices on the menu are in round pounds with no pound signs or a second decimal point. So the vegetables are priced at 4.5 and the two course pre-theatre menu, which does not include them, costs 18. There's a 12.5 percent service charge. There's nothing drastically wrong with Franco's that a little care and attention won't solve, but they managed to create a distinctly unmemorable start to our evening.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JasonPhillips, General Manager at Franco's, responded to this review, November 8, 2013
Dear Horace4590
Thank you for taking the time to write you review on Franco’s last month.
I was sorry to read that you felt on arrival you weren't given your desired table and after requesting a specific one were still uncomfortable in the area that you were given.
We tend to keep our larger tables in the window available for groups of 6-8 guests and therefore accommodated you on what we believed to be a quieter more comfortable space should we become increasingly busy during that service.
All of our dishes are made from fresh produce that is prepared on the day so I was disappointed to hear you weren't happy with the quality of food you received.
In regards to our side dishes we do suggest one dish per person and if this wasn't explained to you then I can only apologise.
We hope that this will not deter you from visiting us again and very much look forward to having the pleasure of welcoming you back in the
near future.
Kindest Regards
Jason Phillips
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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249 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    112
    90
    29
    15
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London, England, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
97 reviews 97 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Doing well, full for lunch midweek”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2013

Some good old fashioned Italian dishes prepared and served with panache. Not cheap, but the position and ambience make up for it.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JasonPhillips, General Manager at Franco's, responded to this review, November 1, 2013
Dear BrianP
Thank you for taking the time to write your review on Franco’s.
We very much hope you return to visit us soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Top Contributor
263 reviews 263 reviews
209 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
269 helpful votes 269 helpful votes
“Amazing food & quality service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2013

Came here with some friends last night, for a pre-theatre meal. The place wasn't too busy, as it was still relatively early & we got a decent table by the window.

I had the lobster with pasta & garlic and it was superb! I could have eaten another plate of it on the spot, but we had a Play to get to!

The wine was excellent & the service was quite simply brilliant. At one point a friend nearly poured some red wine into my slightly filled water glass, but the waitress was there just in time to stop it - impressive attention to detail!

Will definitely go back & it is ideally situated for west end pre-theatre food/drinks. BTW, we went onto see Chimerica, at the nearby Harold Pinter theatre, which was equally excellent!

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JasonPhillips, General Manager at Franco's, responded to this review, November 8, 2013
Dear JamesLox
Thank you for taking the time to write your review on your last dining experience at Franco’s.
We’re so pleased to hear that had such an enjoyable time with us and had the pleasure of sampling one of our most popular classic dishes.
We look forward to welcoming you back soon.
Kindest Regards
Jason Phillips
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Rye, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
126 reviews 126 reviews
96 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Food, style, ambiance, location....”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

One of best places for a business lunch or receive some friends with style. The food, decor and atmosphere are great and then you can walk down Jermyn's Street to pick up some of the best men's clothing in town.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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JasonPhillips, General Manager at Franco's, responded to this review, October 31, 2013
Dear Jean-Paul88
Thank you for taking the time to write your recent review on Franco’s. We’re delighted you enjoyed your last visit with us and look forward to welcoming you again in the near future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“A really good Italian in the heart of London”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2013

Years ago this used to be a typical Italian snack bar and cafe but some time ago it was transformed into an attractive main room with some additional tables in the anteroom and much to the delight of smokers everywhere, some comfortable tables outside on Jermyn Street, just near the corner with St James`s. The staff are extremely professional and never fail to greet you when you arrive as if you were their long lost cousin. It`s a great Italian tradition and it never fails to please. Jason and Angus who are in charge are just the best hosts in London so if you do have to wait for food when the place is crowded they`ll never ignore you in the way some places do. They`ll listen and then do something. The food is very good indeed. It`s real Italian with lots of good pasta but much more sophisticated dishes including the dish of the day which I often go for because it is always a pleasant surprise. The wine list is well thought out and not too expensive. I really like this place - its people and its food. If you are looking for somewhere for lunch or supper in the St James`s area you won`t get better value and you won`t be disappointed. Oh, and if you do enjoy a good cigar, finishing off outside with a small espresso and a big panatella will crown your visit admirably.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JasonPhillips, General Manager at Franco's, responded to this review, September 18, 2013
Dear SJ Norris,
Thank you for your recent review on Franco’s.
We are delighted to read your compliments and are pleased that we can continue to serve the people of St James’s since 1942.
We look forward to welcoming you back again soon.
Kindest Regards
Jason Phillips
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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