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. BRAT

    $$$$ | Shoreditch

    Welsh chef Tomos Parry brings his signature wood-grilled, whole roast Cornish turbot to this Basque-inspired hipster restaurant. Expect other live-fire smashes like aged Jersey beef...Read More

  • 3. Clos Maggiore

    $$$$ | Covent Garden

    Insist on a table in the dreamy, white blossom–filled conservatory at this warm, cozy, and seriously romantic Provençal country-style inn off Covent Garden. Once inside,...Read More

  • 4. Core by Clare Smyth

    $$$$ | Notting Hill

    With two Michelin stars above the door, chef Clare Smyth fuses her classical French culinary training with a devotion to quality British produce. Must-try dishes...Read More

  • 5. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

    $$$$ | Knightsbridge

    Medieval English cuisine meets molecular gastronomy in this reassuringly luxurious Blumenthal flagship within the Mandarin Oriental, with two Michelin stars. Try the signature "Meat Fruit"...Read More

  • 6. Elystan Street

    $$$$ | Chelsea

    Chef Philip Howard is committed to seasonality, bringing together well-matched ingredients in this relaxed, loftlike space that leans toward the modernist and minimalist. The deeply...Read More

  • 7. Louie

    $$$$ | Covent Garden

    There's a distinct Roaring Twenties vibe here at Louie, set in a glamorous town house with a collection of unique dining rooms and terraces. Exceptional...Read More

  • 8. Luca

    $$$$ | Clerkenwell

    This winning mix of modern Italian classics is made from the very best in British seasonal produce. Add to that the super-chic setting—from the art...Read More

  • 9. Noble Rot Soho

    $$$$ | Soho

    Fans of French food and wine flock to this gorgeous wood-paneled Georgian town house for dishes like roast chicken with morel mushrooms and creamy vin...Read More

  • 10. NoMad Restaurant

    $$$$ | Covent Garden

    One of London's most spectacular dining rooms is set in a glass-ceilinged atrium at the boho-chic NoMad London hotel, located opposite Covent Garden's famed Royal...Read More

  • 11. Portland

    $$$$ | Fitzrovia

    Consistently brilliant modern European fare in a low-key setting characterizes this restaurant located just northeast of Oxford Circus. Marvel at the chef's brigade in the...Read More

  • 12. Spring

    $$$$ | Covent Garden

    Trailblazing Australian chef Skye Gyngell worships the four seasons at her pastel-hued dining destination in majestic Somerset House off the Strand. Housed in the building's...Read More

  • 13. The Dining Room at The Goring

    $$$$ | Victoria

    Downton Abbey meets The Crown at this quintessentially English, old-school dining salon located within an Edwardian-era hotel down the road from Buckingham Palace. A favorite...Read More

  • 14. The Ledbury

    $$$$ | Notting Hill

    Acclaimed Aussie chef Brett Graham and his team are known for modern European cuisine at its finest, and the sheer inventiveness and quality of the...Read More

  • 15. 45 Jermyn St.

    $$$$ | St. James's

    A sophisticated crowd enjoys the clubhouse vibe at this classic brasserie at the back of the Queen's grocer, Fortnum & Mason. An old-school trolley trundles...Read More

  • 16. Anglo

    $$$$ | Clerkenwell

    Mark Jarvis’s cool, unpretentious fine-dining establishment in the historic Hatton Garden jewelry quarter in Farringdon is focused on food that is both seasonal and ethically...Read More

  • 17. Berners Tavern

    $$$$ | Fitzrovia

    All the cool cats swing by this grand brasserie at Ian Schrager's insanely trendy London Edition hotel near Tottenham Court Road. Enter the monumental Edwardian...Read More

  • 18. 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

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Cub

    $$$$ | Hoxton

    This tiny Hoxton joint is helmed by leading cocktail impresario Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka "Mr Lyan"), who turns his innovative, seasonal-focused hand to food in a...Read More

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