Top Restaurants in London
Collected by Emma John , AFAR Local Expert
London is home to some of the world's top restaurants and greatest chefs, as well as a diverse ethnic culinary scene and a seemingly endless supply of gastropubs and pop-ups.
10 Adelaide St, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4HZ, UK
Like all of the best Spanish tapas restaurants, Barrafina has no tables. In London’s Covent Garden, all the eating is done at a long marbled bar, lined with red leather stools, and there are no bookings: you get here first, you get served,...
Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JJ, UK
There’s a feeling of calmness when you walk into the stripped-back dining room at Lyle’s. Located at the industrial Tea Building in Shoreditch (the site of the old Lipton warehouse) the space is furnished almost entirely in white. The...
10 Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London W1J 7QF, UK
The critics are raving about this restaurant serving dishes such as confit duck with rhubarb puree from its wood grill in a cozy, dimly lit, old-fashioned setting in Mayfair. Its location—down a narrow alleyway—and name (recalling an...
66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA, UK
If you can't make it to Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck in Bray, you can probably get a reservation (if you book far in advance or dine early/late) at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Hyde Park. You'll pay less (but pay plenty) for a good enough...
36 The Cut, South Bank, London SE1 8LP, UK
Widely credited as one of the UK’s first modern gastro pubs, The Anchor & Hope is famed for its Sunday lunch, which include options as varied as wild rabbit and a seven-hour lamb shoulder served on a sharing plate to carve at the...
41 Beak St, Carnaby, London W1F 9SB, UK
Not many restaurants outside Italy advertise their cuisine as Venetian, but then there aren’t many quite like Polpo. Now a stable of six eateries, the brand began in 2009 as a Soho bacaro serving informal small plates with Prosecco and...
25 Warren St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 5LZ, UK
Honey & Co. began life as a tiny Middle Eastern restaurant behind Warren Street tube station, and while its size and location hasn’t changed, word has spread. There are only ten tables (and five seats at the bar counter for...
43 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4QL, UK
Inspired by the fussball bars of northern Spain, Café Kick is a local’s favourite and a place to blow off some steam at the end of your day by violently propelling a small white ball between rows of wooden men. Situated in the lively...
35 St James's Pl, St. James's, London SW1A 1NY, UK
"A dry martini," Bond said. "One. In a deep champagne goblet." ( Ian Fleming, Casino Royale.) You’ve dressed well for a night out, as you should. Your pilgrimage to Ian Fleming’s favorite drinking spot and inspiration for Mr....
157A Commercial St, London E1 6BJ, UK
Vociferous carnivores searching for London’s best upmarket steakhouse need look no further than Hawksmoor. The city's franchise of six restaurants specialises in grass-fed, dry-aged beef cut beautifully thick and seared to perfection. Meat...
129 City Rd, Hoxton, London EC1V 1JB, UK
The cocktails at the Nightjar are as spectacular as anything you’ll get in London—wittily designed creations like Beyond the Sea, which arrives in a giant seashell with a side of yuzu salt, or the Toronto, which comes with a stick...
22 Great Chapel St, Soho, London W1F 8FR, UK
181 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1A 1ER, UK
The building may not have the grandeur of Harrod's, but Fortnum and Mason is a British institution in that this is where the Queen 'buys her groceries'. Ok, perhaps Her Majesty doesn't physically come over but apparently Buckingham Palace does...
26 St John St, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4AY, UK
If there is a Mecca for foodies, this must be it. I have been in all three St. John's Restaurants in London, and I can say with confidence that every human being shouldn't die before having a meal created by Fergus Henderson. This place is a...
69 Colebrooke Row, London N1 8AA, UK
In this tiny, unmarked bar on a quiet Islington corner, bartending expert Tony Conigliaro engineers classic cocktails using newfangled scientific equipment. Tannic grape seed essence, distilled in the bar’s laboratory two streets away,...
12 Upper St Martin's Ln, London WC2H 9FB, UK
A Bombay breakfast? In London? Not to worry. Dishoom somehow manages to please everyone, no matter the time of day. A gorgeous omelette with chopped tomato, onion, coriander and green chili and a side of fire toast? Fresh mango, grapes,...
49 Brook St, Mayfair, London W1K 4HW, UK
If the Ritz is for those who like people to know how they’re spending their money, Claridge’s is for those who prefer a touch of discretion. Nestled in the back streets of Mayfair, it is arguably London’s classiest act, an...
Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL, UK
Museum cafes are often depressing affairs, white formica boxes where you grab a curling sandwich on your way to the next piece of tourism. But the main cafe's trio of rooms are nothing like that. Designed, respectively, by William Morris,...
The Deck, Jubilee Market Hall, Tavistock St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8BE, UK
Burgers and hotdogs don't get more delicious than at MEATmarket, part of the Meatliquor brand. Upstairs in the market at Covent Garden, you can get what is without a doubt the most delicious, meatiest and flavorful 'dog in the city, and wash it...
109-125 Knightsbridge, Belgravia, London SW1X 7RJ, UK
One of my favorite treats on a big shopping day is lunch in the fifth-floor café of Harvey Nichols—or, as we locals call it, Harvey Nicks. It's the smartest department store in London (sorry Harrods, but you've been out-chiced) and...
41-43 Wardour St, London W1D 6PY, UK
Wong Kei is a place all Londoners know. It's the go-to restaurant in Chinatown when you want a big plate of noodles or sweet-and-sour pork, and you don't want to pay a lot for it. The service was legendarily rude. In the old days you would...
Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD, UK
There's something very special about the Royal Academy of Arts, hidden away off Piccadilly, and home to some of the greatest masters in history. The Keeper's House used to store some of the works that weren't on show, but in late 2013 it's been...
20 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED, UK
This cavernous dining room is one of central London’s most affordable glamorous dining experiences. Gilded columns and uniformed waiters recall a Parisian brasserie, and the food is committedly French. Yet the set lunch (carottes...
44-46 Cranbourn St, London WC2H 7AN, UK
Drinks in London's West End rarely come cheap. Even less so in the crowded environs of Leicester Square, but if you find yourself in the area, there's a quiet, reasonably priced refuge known as the Cork and Bottle. It's a basement level wine...
63 Worship St, London EC2A 2DU, UK
This dark, downstairs bar intimately recreates the gin palaces of the early Victorian Era. And while the Whistling Shop's decor is faithful to the era, the cocktails offer a modern twist on the old classics: there's even an in-house steampunkish...
14–16 Leather Ln, London EC1N 7SU, UK
The people behind the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs don't just love their coffee, they love people too. They've got locations throughout London, as well as Bristol, Manchester, and now Chiacgo—including Carnaby Street and Tonic...
47 King Henry's Walk, Mildmay Ward, London N1 4NH, UK
Tina's is a tiny place. In fact, it only has two tables, so be prepared to get chummy with your neighbors. But it's absolutely worth the visit to this trendy Dalston haunt (there's a second location in Stratford). Both for the flat...
1 Granary Square, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AA, UK
Caravan coffee is some of the strongest you'll try. Even inveterate coffee drinkers come away from Caravan with a slight tremor and a tendency to talk too fast. But if you think you can hack it, then get along to this popular haunt in Kings...
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