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. Gymkhana

    $$$ | Mayfair | Indian

    The last days of the Raj are invoked here at one of London's finest Indian curry emporiums, where top choices include dosas with fennel-rich...Read More

  • 3. Spring

    $$$ | Covent Garden | Italian

    Australian chef Skye Gyngell worships the four seasons at her wildflower-filled dining salon in majestic Somerset House off the Strand. Housed...Read More

  • 4. 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

  • 5. XU

    $$ | Piccadilly | Chinese

    It feels like a cinematic reinterpretation of 1930s Taipei at this glamorous jewel box on the edge of Chinatown. Peerless dishes like tomato...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Clos Maggiore

    $$$ | Covent Garden | French

    Insist on a seat in the dreamy, white blossom–filled conservatory at this warm, cozy, and seriously romantic Provençal country-style inn in...Read More

  • 8. Indian Accent

    $$$ | Mayfair | Indian

    The bar for high-end Indian food in London has been raised at this praised New Delhi import. Unusual but homey Indian cuisine is presented in...Read More

  • 9. Le Pont de la Tour

    $$$ | Bermondsey | French

    Formerly a temple to French haute cuisine, the restaurant has a new chef who has adopted a more innovative approach fused with Modern British...Read More

  • 10. Margot

    $$$ | Covent Garden | Italian

    Served by seriously suave staff in bow ties and tuxedos, enjoy some of London's finest service at this effortlessly elegant Italian restaurant...Read More

  • 11. Pétrus

    $$$$ | Belgravia | French

    Now in its third location, this Gordon Ramsay flagship offers fine dining to the max without being overly stuffy or cautious. The cooking combines...Read More

  • 12. Sartoria

    $$$$ | Mayfair | Italian

    Italian maestro Francesco Mazzei bestrides this plush and patterned Savile Row salon and warmly welcomes diners like the proud chef-patron that...Read More

  • 13. Simpson's in the Strand

    $$$ | Charing Cross | British

    Head straight for the 30-day roast rib of Scottish beef and Yorkshire puddings carved table-side at this magnificent 1828 dining institution...Read More

  • 14. The Colony Grill Room

    $$$ | Mayfair | American

    Glide past the parked royal blue Armstrong Siddeley, through the foyer of the five-star Beaumont hotel, and into the swank art deco–inspired...Read More

  • 15. The Ritz Restaurant

    $$$$ | St. James's | British

    London's most opulent dining salon here at the Ritz would impress even Marie Antoinette with its sumptuous Gilded Age Rocco Revival trompe-l...Read More

  • 16. Wiltons

    $$$$ | St. James's | British

    Lords, ladies, and other assorted aristocrats blow the family bank at this Edwardian bastion of traditional English fine dining on Jermyn Street...Read More

  • 17. Brasserie Gustave

    $$$ | South Kensington | French

    Sleek French expats and inveterate Francophiles adore the triumphant procession of traditional Larousse-style classics found at this art deco...Read More

  • 18. 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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