Background: Interest in protein–phenol interactions in biological systems has grown substantially in recent decades.Methods: The interest has focused largely on food systems in response to reports on the prominent roles of phenolic compounds in nutrition and health. Results: Phenolic compounds can have both favourable and adverse nutritional effects. Polyphenols are widely known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer and antiaging properties; however, they have also been ascribed anti-nutritional effects resulting from interactions with some proteins and enzymes. Interactions between proteins and polyphenols can additionally influence food quality by altering some physical–chemical and sensory properties of foods. These effects may be useful to develop new products in food science and technology provided the nature of physical–chemical interactions between proteins and phenols is accurately elucidated. In this paper, we review the different possible modes of interaction between selected food proteins and phenolic compounds. Conclusion: Existing knowledge on the mechanisms behind polyphenol–protein reactions, the structures of the resulting products and their potential uses is reviewed.