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. Portland

    $$$ | Fitzrovia | European

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

  • 2. 10 Greek Street

    $$ | Soho | European

    There may only be 28 table seats and nine counter stools at this stripped-down Modern European humdinger, but the consistently great food, cheap...Read More

  • 3. Bistrotheque

    $$$ | Bethnal Green | European

    You'll need some help finding this East End fashionista headquarters located down a side alley in hipster Bethnal Green. Once inside, check...Read More

  • 4. Le Caprice

    $$$ | St. James's | European

    Celebrity hot spot Le Caprice commands the deepest loyalty of any restaurant in London. It must be the 40-odd-year history of famous diners...Read More

  • 5. Merchants Tavern

    $$ | Hoxton | European

    The legend on the front of this Hoxton restaurant reads "Merchants of Good Fortune," which neatly sums up the exceptional, smart-casual dining...Read More

  • 6. Pollen Street Social

    $$$$ | Mayfair | European

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

  • 7. Dabbous

    $$ | Fitzrovia | European

    Here at Dabbous, startlingly pure, inventive, and seasonally based new-wave dishes elicit excitement in the NYC industrial–chic setting of exposed...Read More

  • 8. Hedone

    $$$$ | Chiswick | European

    Only a loony or genius would serve an appetizer of half a Cévennes onion with a few pear shavings and beurre blanc, but luckily Swedish chef...Read More

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