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. Bancone

    $ | Soho

    Fabulous fresh pasta at affordable prices characterizes this groovy Italian eatery off Soho's Golden Square. Sit at the bustling chef's counter to sample options like...Read More

  • 2. Berenjak

    $$ | Soho

    At this cult favorite Persian hole-in-the-wall, it's best to sit at the counter overlooking the tandoor grill and clay oven and indulge in the expansive...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. Clipstone

    $$$ | Fitzrovia

    Flavorful, inventive dishes elevate this hipster casual joint to the top rank of London's midrange gastro titans. With a focus on in-house curing, pickling, smoked...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. INO Gastrobar

    $ | Soho

    London's modern Greek food scene is flourishing, and tiny INO Gastrobar on cobblestoned Newburgh Street is leading the charge. Take a seat at the chef's...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Lyle's

    $$ | East End

    Globally acclaimed Brit chef and co-owner James Lowe forsakes heavy sauces and sorcery at this stripped-back, informal British dining mecca in Shoreditch. Stark but highly...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Paradise

    $ | Soho

    London's top contemporary Sri Lankan spot dazzles with fiery deviled prawns, Aylesbury duck-leg rolls, authentic egg hoppers, and char-smoked curries. Located on Rupert Street in...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Silo

    $$$ | Hackney

    If you've ever wondered what the future tastes like, it might just be the 12-course tasting menu here at Silo, a sleek zero-waste restaurant opened...Read More

  • 14. Six Portland Road

    $$$ | Notting Hill

    The ultimate neighborhood restaurant in west London's wealthy Holland Park section draws diners with its brilliant-but-understated French and Mediterranean classics, relaxed service, and interesting, mainly...Read More

  • 15. The Delaunay

    $$$ | Holborn

    It's all fin de siècle Vienna at this evocative art deco–style grand café on Aldwych near Covent Garden. Dishes on the majestic Middle European menu...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. Aquavit

    $$$ | Piccadilly Circus

    There's a hygge-style glow at this ritzy New Nordic emporium off Piccadilly Circus. Swedish designer Martin Brudnizki pulls out all the best Scandinavian design stops,...Read More

  • 18. BAO

    $ | Soho

    Lines form daily to secure a prized seat, perch, or stool at this no-reservations 32-seater from a crack team of Taiwanese steamed bao bun specialists....Read More

  • 19. Berber & Q—Shawarma Bar

    $$ | Clerkenwell

    Every night feels as bustling as downtown Tel Aviv at Exmouth Market's superb and hip shawarma bar. Enjoy challah toast with tahini-rich meze before delving...Read More

  • 20. 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

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