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. Core by Clare Smyth

    $$$$ | Notting Hill | British

    With two Michelin stars above the door, chef Clare Smyth's casual fine dining extravaganza in Notting Hill offers must-try dishes like skin...Read More

  • 2. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

    $$$$ | Knightsbridge | British

    Medieval English cuisine meets molecular gastronomy in this reassuringly luxurious, two Michelin star Blumenthal flagship within the Mandarin...Read More

  • 3. Lyle's

    $$ | East End | British

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

  • 4. Roganic

    $$$$ | Marylebone | British

    Field-to-fork, New Nordic chef Simon Rogan takes diners on a madcap journey with his bonkers 4- to 17-course tasting menu here at Roganic. Hold...Read More

  • 5. Rules

    $$$ | Covent Garden | British

    Opened by Thomas Rule in 1798, London's oldest restaurant is still arguably its most beautiful. Resembling a High Victoriana bordello, here...Read More

  • 6. St. John

    $$ | Clerkenwell | British

    Global foodie fanatics join Clerkenwell locals for the pioneering nose-to-tail cuisine at this high-ceilinged, converted smokehouse near Smithfield...Read More

  • 7. The Dining Room at The Goring

    $$$$ | Victoria | British

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

  • 8. The Ivy

    $$$ | Covent Garden | British

    London's onetime most famous celebrity haunt and West End landmark is still so popular it receives over a thousand calls a day. Established...Read More

  • 9. Anchor & Hope

    $$ | Southwark | British

    Exceptional Brit-focused fish and meat dishes at wallet-friendly prices fly out of the open kitchen at this permanently packed, no-reservations...Read More

  • 10. Berners Tavern

    $$$ | Fitzrovia | British

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

  • 11. City Social

    $$$$ | City of London | British

    A largely corporate crowd comes here for the Manhattan-esque views of The City and chef Jason Atherton's masterful but straightforward cuisine...Read More

  • 12. Dean Street Townhouse

    $$$ | Soho | British

    Everyone feels 10 times more glamorous just stepping inside this candlelit restaurant attached to the swanky Georgian-era hotel of the same...Read More

  • 13. Duck & Waffle

    $$ | City of London | British

    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 egg...Read More

  • 14. Hereford Road

    $ | Bayswater | British

    A Bayswater favorite with the well-connected Notting Hill set, Hereford Road is renowned for its pared-down, pomp-free, and ingredient-driven...Read More

  • 15. Hide

    $$$$ | Mayfair | British

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

  • 16. Kitty Fisher's

    $$$ | Mayfair | British

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

  • 17. No. 5 Social

    $$$ | Mayfair | British

    Part of Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton's dining dynasty, No. 5 Social (formerly Little Social) backs its elegant, modernist dining room...Read More

  • 18. Noble Rot

    $$$ | Bloomsbury | British

    There's an old Amsterdam coffeehouse vibe at this dark and creaky wine bar and restaurant on historic Lamb's Conduit Street in Bloomsbury. Run...Read More

  • 19. Pieminister

    $ | South Bank | British

    In the art-and-design shopping enclave of Gabriel's Wharf, you'll find this branch of Pieminister, which began life in Borough Market. Have...Read More

  • 20. Rochelle Canteen at the Institute of Contemporary Arts

    $$ | St. James's | British

    Foodies, fashionistas, and art scene insiders flock to the hearty, low-key Modern British fare at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, one of...Read More

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