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
Kitty Fisher’s is the antithesis to the New York exposed brick brand of cool. Named after a Georgian courtesan, this tiny restaurant in Mayfair is rather a wood-clad room flickering with candles and exuding a intimate, “make yourself...
66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA, UK
No trip to Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin-starred London restaurant is complete without sampling the meat fruit, a starter of chicken liver mousse artfully crafted to look like a mandarin orange. It’s a marvel, but then so is the rest of...
36 The Cut, Lambeth, 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
You can only drink two martinis at the hotel bar at Dukes Hotel in Mayfair. The bartenders won’t serve you any more—that’s how potent they are. This is the place to come in London if you secretly wish you were a member of a...
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
Julia Forte turned the Star At Night pub, an old fashioned boozer in the heart of Soho, in the London Gin Club in 2012, when she decided to start specialising in her favourite tipple: gin. Now, her bijou bar is home to 350 premium...
181 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1A 1ER, UK
In the shadow of Buckingham Palace lies Fortnum & Mason, the department store with a royal warrant famed for its loose-leaf tea, luxury picnic hampers and sweet treats, including an excellent selection of macarons. You can buy all of these...
26 St John St, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4AY, UK
It’s apt that St. JOHN’s flagship restaurant is located in a former bacon smokehouse on the fringes of Smithfield meat market; chef Fergus Henderson’s menu explores every cut of meat imaginable. The restaurant itself is...
69 Colebrooke Row, London N1 8AA, UK
Small to the point of accidental intimacy—just getting yourself seated could spark your next relationship—this is the kind of noirish bar that wants to fly under the radar. Which is, presumably, why they’ve never named it. To...
12 Upper St Martin's Ln, London WC2H 9FB, UK
For those who love a chicken tikka or a lamb rogan josh, Britain is a famously fulfilling destination, with some of the best Indian food you’ll find outside, well, India. The curryhouses on Brick Lane will ladle out masalas and rice until...
8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, UK
Over the past two centuries, the covered market at Borough, not far from London Bridge, has become one of the country’s most famous foodie spots. From Wednesday to Saturday each week hundreds of traders gather to sell homemade breads,...
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,...
Jubliee Market Hall, Covent Garden, Tavistock St, 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...
160 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9EB, UK
It's pronounced "Wool-zee," and it's a former showroom for the smart old cars that bear its name. Now a restaurant, it's been restored to its original 1930s glamour with a gorgeous art deco slant. If you want a true taste of old Mayfair and St...
9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG, UK
A gloriously eccentric venue, Sketch isn’t a restaurant so much as a collision of ideas, design, food, and frivolity in a large Mayfair townhouse. Its Parlour serves all day breakfast and then evening cocktails in an ambience that’s...
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
Looking for a late-night speakeasy? This one's a charmer. The Bar Americain's fairly hidden from the street, but when you get down there, it's like going back in time. You find a 1930s, art deco wonder, with white-jacketed cocktail waiters and an...
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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