London Restaurants

British food hasn't always had the best reputation, but nowhere in the country is that reputation being completely upturned more than in London. The city has zoomed up the global gastro charts, and can now seriously compete with the world’s top culinary heavyweights. The truth is that no other city—barring New York—has the immense range of global cuisines that London has to offer. Standards have rocketed at all price points, and every year it seems like the London restaurant scene is better than ever.

Feel like eating the most-tender Kagoshima Wagyu beef on planet Earth? It can be yours for £150 at CUT at 45 Park Lane. Want to try old English gastronomy from the time of Henry VIII with an ultramodern twist? Ashley Palmer-Watts is your man at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Do you only eat Sri Lankan hoppers? No worries, we’ve got just the thing: Hoppers in Soho will give you a taste of the Sri Lankan pancake, for £4.50 a pop. Can’t stand any more snobby culinary nonsense? The low-key British wild game is so good at The Harwood Arms in Fulham that they’ve earned London’s first gastro-pub-based Michelin star.

To appreciate how far London has risen in the food game, just look back to the days of Somerset Maugham, who was once justified in warning, "To eat well in England you should have breakfast three times a day." Change was slow after World War II, when it was understood that the British ate to live, while the French lived to eat. When people thought of British cuisine, fish-and-chips—a greasy grab-and-gulp dish that tasted best wrapped in yesterday's newspaper—first came to mind. Then there was always shepherd's pie, ubiquitously found in smoke-filled pubs, though not made, according to Sweeney Todd, "with real shepherd in it."

These days, standards are miles higher and shepherd’s pie has been largely replaced by the city's unofficial dish, Indian curry. London’s restaurant revolution is built on its extraordinary ethnic diversity, and you’ll find the quality of other global cuisines has grown immeasurably in recent years, with London becoming known for its Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Thai, Spanish, Italian, French, Peruvian, and west African restaurants. Thankfully, pride in the best of British food—local, seasonal, wild, and foraged—is enjoying quite the renaissance, too.

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  • 1. Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    One of only three three-Michelin-starred restaurants in the city, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester achieves the pinnacle of classical French haute cuisine in a surprisingly...Read More

  • 2. Gymkhana

    $$$ | Mayfair

    The last days of the Raj are invoked here at one of London's finest Indian curry emporiums, where top choices include dosas with fennel-rich Chettinad...Read More

  • 3. 34

    $$$ | Mayfair

    A-listers head straight for 34, off Grosvenor Square in Mayfair, simply because all the other celebrities seem to hang out here, too. It must be...Read More

  • 4. Cecconi's

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    Revel with the A-listers in the glamorous buzz at this upscale Italian brasserie wedged between Cork Street, Savile Row, and the Royal Academy of Arts....Read More

  • 5. Crussh

    $ | Mayfair

    This successful chain serves up delicious juices and smoothies, as well as sandwiches, soups, and wraps....Read More

  • 6. CUT at 45 Park Lane

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    Austrian-born star chef Wolfgang Puck amps up the stakes at this ultraexpensive steak house on Park Lane. Set against a luxe backdrop of Damien Hirst...Read More

  • 7. Goodman

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    This Manhattan-themed, Russian-owned swanky steak house, named after Chicago jazz legend Benny Goodman, has everyone in agreement: these truly are some of the best steaks...Read More

  • 8. Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    The city's wealthy flock to French virtuoso Hélène Darroze's restaurant at The Connaught for her dazzling regional French haute cuisine, served up in a stylish...Read More

  • 9. Hide

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    Mayfair is home to more than its share of fussy fine dining restaurants, so Hide is a welcome alternative, charming with experimental dishes that make...Read More

  • 10. Jamavar

    $$$ | Mayfair

    There is no finer fish dish in town than the Malai stone bass tikka at this upmarket Indian restaurant. The food and spices here are...Read More

  • 11. Kitty Fisher's

    $$$ | Mayfair

    Named after an infamous 18th-century courtesan, Kitty Fisher's is situated in a tiny, creaky Georgian town house in Mayfair’s Shepherd Market. Crammed with antique prints,...Read More

  • 12. La Petite Maison (LPM)

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    With the legend "Tous Célèbres Ici" ("All Famous Here") boldly etched on the front doors, the delightful LPM boasts an impressively well-sourced and balanced French...Read More

  • 13. Le Gavroche

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    Masterchef Michel Roux Jr. works the floor in the old-fashioned proprietorial way at this old-school Mayfair basement institution—established by his father and uncle in 1967—which...Read More

  • 14. Little Social

    $$$ | Mayfair

    Part of Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton's dining dynasty, Little Social backs its elegant, modernist dining room with a menu of adventurous dishes celebrating the joy...Read More

  • 15. Ormer Mayfair

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    Hidden away in the depths of a Mayfair hotel, Ormer delivers modern British cooking at its finest. In the art deco–inspired basement haven, you can...Read More

  • 16. Pollen Street Social

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    Gastro god Jason Atherton may not man the stoves here anymore, but his flagship in a cute Dickensian alleyway off Regent Street still knocks the...Read More

  • 17. Richoux

    $ | Mayfair

    This has been an affordable refuge from busy Piccadilly for more than a century. Simple but well-executed French bistro food and assorted classic British dishes...Read More

  • 18. Scott's

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    Imposing doormen in bowler hats greet visitors with a wee nod at this ever-fashionable seafood haven on Mount Street in Mayfair. Originally founded in 1851...Read More

  • 19. The Colony Grill Room

    $$$$ | Mayfair

    Glide past the parked royal-blue Armstrong Siddeley, through the foyer of the five-star hotel The Beaumont, and into the swank art deco--inspired dining salon of...Read More

  • 20. The RA Grand Café

    $ | Mayfair | Café

    With its walls covered in Gilbert Spencer murals, the Royal Academy's café is almost as beautiful as the art hanging in the galleries. The accent...Read More

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