Top Restaurants in London
Join the crowds of food obsessed Londoners as they explore the city's oldest food market, a bonanza of wines, cheeses, pastries, and produce. Open every day except Sunday, top sellers include The Boston Sausage Company, founded in 1852, the Gourmet Mushroom Company, and Ion Patisserie. Events regularly take place here, including the Real Food Festival and the Festival of Diverse Cities. Check out the website for more details.
Café Spice Namaste
Slip inside this landmark Victorian building for top-notch Indian cuisine with extra-exotic flourishes and attentive service.
Dean Street Townhouse
One of London’s hottest new hotel openings is home to an extremely popular eatery. Decorated with vintage stuffed armchairs and cut-glass chandeliers, its little surprise to find the dining room serving classic British dishes all day long. Calorie counting takes a backseat with plates of pies, duck breast and Toad in the Hole.
There are now 13 Gaucho restaurants in London with even more in the pipeline, a sign of the growing popularity of high-quality Argentinian beef. If a slab of perfectly-cooked meat is your dream dinner you are not alone. Here, tables fill nightly with people ordering up fillets that costs between £13 and £36.50. Throw in the costs of the sides and it isn’t cheap, but the number of returning fans proves this recipe of meat-heavy menus and dramatic dining room design is a winning one.
Modern Indian tapas is the innovative offering here, giving diners great-value, delicious food in an often expensive part of town. With a menu that includes aubergine masala, coriander and pepper samosas, and lamb kebabs, prices start at a very reasonable £1.95. Open Monday–Saturday from 12 -11:00pm, Sundays from 12–10pm.
Reservations are a must at this famed French dining spot serving all the classics, from foie gras and crepes to escargot and truffled macaroni, since 1966. Of course, the atmosphere is formal chic and service impeccable. Visit for lunch during a weekday to get the experience without the utmost expense. 2009 Smart Luxury Award winner
Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley
A public falling out between celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his protégé Marcus Wareing caused The Berkeley hotel’s fine dining star Pétrus to undergo a name change in September 2008. Now called Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, the restaurant may have lost its association with Ramsay and gained an unoriginal name, but the fact that nothing else has changed – not the chef, his team, the elegant simplicity of the deep purple décor and circle motif, nor its two Michelin star rating – means that it still ranks as one of London’s top dining spots. Indulge in sumptuous modern European cuisine, like poached Scottish lobster with braised trotters and vanilla butter and roasted Cumbrian lamb with green olives, fennel, and smoked lamb bacon.
Head for this light, bright, atmospheric eaterie to gorge on traditional English comfort food – all based around the humble spud. Step one is to pick your potato from a selection of six, including horseradish and mustard. Step two, choose between pies or sausages. Finally pick your gravy and you are good to go. It’s such a popular place that a second branch has just opened on Leadenhall Street.It just might be the perfect hangover food.
OXO Tower Restaurant Bar & Brasserie
Positioned along the peaceful, boat-speckled River Thames, this contemporary Harvey Nichols restaurant is located at the top of OXO Tower and provides dramatic views of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Inside, nosh on eclectic cuisine such as marinated quail artfully paired with side dishes like sweetbread and tarragon mousse. Or, relax with friends and indulge in some delectable eats on the spacious veranda outside. Reservations are required for lunch and dinner.
Just a few minutes walk from its original spot in the Berkeley Hotel, Gordon Ramsey is on again at the helm of a much talked about restaurant. The interior is small and simple, just over 40 seats arranged at tables set around a glass wine cellar tower. Diners needn’t worry about the bill, the excellent-value set lunch offers three courses for £25.
The humble pizza got a serious injection of cool in 2009 with the arrival of this restaurant in so-hip-it-hurts Shoreditch. A former tea warehouse, the interior is all concrete with steel refectory tables. There’s usually a line of diners hankering for the filling wood-oven pies topped with delights, from veal meatballs and prosciutto to crayfish and smoked salmon. Expect long queues.
The newest addition to the wildly popular Lebanese food chain (other branches in Edgware Road, High Street Kensington and Brompton Road), this brand of fast, delicious dishes spans pastries, dips, and flavored meats. Join what is often a long line for juicy lamb shawarma and fresh fruit juices. Open daily 9am to 3am.
Oysters and Guinness are the name of the game at this seafood-rich Irish gastropub with a large local following. In the laidback bar, which serves food from 12-3pm and 6:30-10:30pm daily; try a bowl of whelks and winkles. In the more formal dining room, the menu includes items like rock oysters, gravadlax, and smoked eel.
One of only four restaurants in the world to boast a Wine Spectator Grand Award every year since 2005, you can expect a peerless drinks menu to accompany your dishes of contemporary French cuisine. All this is enjoyed in a light, elegant dining room with crisp white tablecloths and artfully placed greenery.
The Orangery, Kensington Palace
This quaint eatery, which is well-known for its wide array of tea selections, is poised in the royal Kensington Gardens and offers splendid views of the namesake palace. The dining area is bright and airy with high ceilings and large windows; a great place to nibble on homemade flavorsome treats like scones, cakes, and tarts. The Orangery does not take reservations, and admission to the palace is not required to visit the restaurant.
Tucked away on a London side street, this unpretentious restaurant blends flawlessly into the Knightsbridge neighborhood and can be easily missed if you don’t know where to look. The Pantechnicon is primarily frequented by locals rather than travelers, so if you’re looking for an authentic English restaurant with an intimate, homey ambiance, this is your spot. The restaurant serves up fresh fish, steak, pork (that are primarily grilled, roasted, or pan-fried), as well as vegetables, and fruits – sure to please any number of palates. Main courses range from £12.50 for a pie of the day to £28.50 for a succulent steak.
The River Café
Famous fans and foodies alike mourned the recent death of River Café creator Rose Gray in February 2010. One of the country’s most influential modern chefs, she revolutionized Italian cooking in the UK. Her restaurant, now run by partner Ruth Rogers, still presents a delicious and ever-changing menu of fresh pasta and seafood dishes and an excellent wine list. Book well ahead for the chance to try chargrilled Scottish scallops and melt-in-the-mouth gnocchi.
Piccadilly-based Wolseley boasts one of the grandest dining rooms in town and, thankfully, serves its extensive European menu - caviar, double lamb chops, a delectable fish stew - well past London norms. Open until midnight on weekdays and Saturday and until 11pm on Sunday. 2009 Smart Luxury Award winner
London’s love affair with all things Japanese shows no sign of slowing down. And while some restaurants offer wacky gimmicks, UMU focuses on the food. Kyoto cooking to be precise, the most beautiful and precise cuisine that Japan has to offer. Simple sushi fans are kept happy with a menu of melt-in-the-mouth fish, while those seeking something a little more dramatic can go for the kaiseki menu, an eight-course banquet priced between £65 and £135 per person.
Our Experts save you money with travel deals and advice
Monitor the currency exchange for a while before your vacation to find the best conversions rates.
Danielle Long Assistant Deals Producer
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals