London is a city of diners that are adventurous to a fault. Beyond the gimmicks the best restaurants focus on ingredients and craft, whether it’s hand-rolled pasta or fiery clay-pot cooking.
Our latest picks for where to eat runs from Michelin-Starred dining rooms to neighborhood places, some serving exquisite tasting menus, some serving versions of down home food that span several continents.
Be prepared to book ahead, and be assured, it will be worth it.
Here is our latest list, as follows:
Spring is set in the grandly neo-classical Somerset House, Spring offers up a dreamy dining room, all pastel hues, Italian marble, and blossoming wall art light-filled in the daytime, softly luminous at night. A dozen changing starters and mains showcase the best of what’s in season—often grown on Fern Verrow’s 16-acre biodynamic farm. Dishes often hew Italian, but Skye Gyngell is a culinary magpie, so labneh, persimmon and fermented chilis also find a place on her menus. It is a grown-up place to come for dinner: expensive, quietly elegant, and oblivious to trends
Gloria is all about the good-time vibes at the the 1st London restaurant from Big Mamma Group, whose Paris locations have conquered the city’s dining scene. Gloria is audacious but impossible to resist: a pastiche of a 1950’s trattoria transplanted to a Shoreditch street corner. The menu is indulgent to say the least: Truffled burrata, luscious carbonara theatrically mixed inside a wheel of pecorino, or a tangle of Mafalda pasta loaded with black truffles.
St. JOHN: Any Londoner who knows about food has a soft spot for St. JOHN, as do the myriad chefs who trained here under Fergus Henderson before opening their own places. Come for nose-to-tail eating, with a menu that might run from deviled kidneys to the decadent roasted bone marrow, or less carnivorous options like earthy braised beetroot with goat’s curd. And do not miss the baked-to-order madeleines.
The Ledbury: Tables are in high demand, and best reserved a few months ahead at Brett Graham’s restaurant. The menu is a love-letter to the British countryside, prepared with with inimitable self-assurance, and is perfect for a special occasion. The dishes are constantly changing, though certain favorites recur, like a truffle-laced pheasant’s egg that’s nothing short of sublime. The same could be said, on the sweet side, of Graham’s signature brown sugar tart, with its silken, just-set custard and heady stem-ginger ice-cream. Sneak in for the cheaper 4-course lunch or invest in the full tasting menu.
Quo Vadis: Everyone seems out for a good time at this intimate, 23-seat restaurant. The food is regional, seasonal, and thoroughly British, from suet-crusted pie and mash to deviled kid-liver skewers. The wine list is lengthy, and the cocktail menu offers punchy house creations alongside classics. It’s enjoyable in a different way at any time of day, from a breakfast bacon roll in upscale surrounds to a blowout dinner.
Barrafina: Every dish has earned its place on the menu at Barrafina, a cult tapas bar with an ever-present line, from the crisp-skinned chicken in Romesco sauce to the molten, magnificent tortilla. The best way to order it is to watch the chefs at work, and get whatever’s looking good. The convivial vibe makes solo dining an extra attractive prospect.
The Game Bird: Game Bird serves old-school British comfort food and game, ferried from the kitchens on enormous trays by waiters in dapper blue waistcoats. Diners are there for the vintage wines, seasonal game, and nostalgia-inducing desserts. Cocktails are expensive but made with real panache, while main dishes are substantial and solidly British, the crisp chicken Kiev with truffle-topped mash is already iconic, and brimming with garlic butter. You will feel like a guest at a grand country house, with a large and well-trained staff.
Claude Bosi at Bibendum: This is is just the place for a really special meal, 1 that starts with champagne and witty amuse-bouches, and ends with a show-stopping cheese trolley. Tables get booked up weeks ahead, and there’s a tangible air of expectation for the seven-course tasting menu that blends beautifully elaborate dishes with rustic French cooking. Service is smooth and formal, the sommelier is very helpful, and the meal is unforgettable. Even the set lunch menu feels gratifyingly grand.
The Wolseley: Set in a 1920’s car showroom, this grand all-day brasserie exudes a heady glamor, with its gleaming marble floors, red-and-gold Japanese panels, and sleek leather banquettes. Londoners tend to come to take in breakfast and the paper, with a menu that runs from stacked pancakes to an impeccable omelet Arnold Bennett, layered with smoked haddock and creamy hollandaise. The stately surroundings that never feel too stiffly formal.
The River Cafe: Ruth Roger’s iconic Thames-side restaurant. Join the noisy mix of media types, movie stars, and artists for a wonderfully evocative menu, conjuring up vague but heady fantasies of a new life in rural Tuscany, with a wine list that’s a grand tour of Italy. On a languid Summer’s afternoon, there is no better place to be in all of London.
The Barbary: This restaurant makes quite a 1st impression, it is small, pulsing to electro-pop and full of people, this place has a poetic outlook, with a menu inspired by the Barbary Coast. Think smoky baba ganoush, octopus Mashawsha and cumin crusted lamb cutlets.
Enjoy your travels