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. Duck & Waffle

    $$$ | City of London

    Zoom up to the 40th floor of 110 Bishopsgate and head straight for the cult signature dish of confit duck leg, Belgium waffle, fried duck...Read More

  • 2. Simpson's Tavern

    $ | City of London

    The City's oldest tavern and chop house was founded in 1757 and undoubtedly is every bit as raucous now as the day it opened. Approached...Read More

  • 3. Blixen

    $$ | Spitalfields

    Within a magnificent Kew Gardens–style tropical garden and plant conservatory, you'll find this stylish brasserie backing out onto Old Spitalfields Market. Housed in a converted...Read More

  • 4. Café Below

    $ | City of London | Café

    In St. Mary-le-Bow's Norman crypt, this café is packed with City workers weekdays 7:30–2:30 for a menu covering breakfasts, scrumptious light...Read More

  • 5. City Càphê

    $ | City of London

    This unpretentious but charming family-run Vietnamese street-food café offers delicious quick bites and takeout dishes for lunch. Try the pho, banh mi, or spring rolls....Read More

  • 6. City Social

    $$$$ | City of London

    A largely corporate crowd comes here for the Manhattanesque views of The City and chef Jason Atherton's masterful but straightforward cuisine. Impressed diners look out...Read More

  • 7. Sweetings

    $$$ | City of London

    Established in 1889 not far from St. Paul's Cathedral, little seems to have changed since the height of the British Empire at this quirky eatery....Read More

  • 8. White Mulberries

    $ | City of London

    This friendly coffeeshop at St. Katharine Docks serves outstanding breakfasts (with fresh juices and baked goods) plus homemade soups, cakes, and light bites for lunch....Read More

  • 9. HKK

    $$$ | City of London | Chinese

    World-class Peking duck—arguably the best in London—is the big thing at this Chinese trendsetter near Liverpool Street in The City. The Irish...Read More

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