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Our guide to London: Dining

London is a great place in which to eat out.  Every imaginable cuisine is available and wherever you come from, you should find something to cater for every taste.  London is home to some of the best Cantonese restaurants in Europe and is also noted for Indian, Bangladeshi, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Spanish and Thai cuisines.  British food is also available all over the city.

Many restaurants will be busy on most nights of the week, particularly around the tourist areas of the West End and it is advised to reserve a table to save disappointment.  Most places accept all major credit cards.  Service is discretionary at most restaurants although it is more common now to find a 10-15% already added to the bill.  Ensure you are not paying twice.

 

Sexy Fish

Fish and Seafood Restaurant Swanky, art-filled setting for robata-grilled fish, raw-bar items & more, plus a variety of drinks. Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square 020 3764 2000 Reservations required.

Website: sexyfish.com

Park Chinois

Live music venue Opulent, high-end Chinese restaurant, with elegant live music, an extravagant menu and posh decor. Address: 17 Berkeley St, Mayfair, London W1J 8EA Hours: Open today · 12–5pm, 6pm–2am Reservations: opentable.co.uk Phone: 020 3327 8888

parkchinois.com

 

The Criterion

With over 100 years of dining experience, the Criterion is one of London’s most beautiful restaurants, situated just behind Eros on Piccadilly Circus.  Enjoy the high-vaulted gold mosaic ceiling as you sample the menu.

224 Piccadilly, W1 – Tel: 020-7930 0488 – Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Abu Ali

The Lebanese equivalent to a working men’s club, Abu Ali serves Lebanese food that’s terrific value for money.  Wash it down with fresh mint tea and try a bubble pipe.

136-138 George Street, W1 – Tel: 020-7724 6338 – Tube: Marble Arch

Belgo Central

An unusual Belgian restaurant that offers you mussels and chips and over 90 different kinds of beer!  The atmosphere is great, probably because of all that beer.  Definitely worth trying.

50 Earlham Street, WC2 – Tel: 020-7813 2233 – Tube: Covent Garden

Bentley’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar

One comes here to enjoy oysters and fine wines, or else just to eat very fresh traditional fish and chips.  The service is friendly and professional.  The 19th century booths are comfortable and intimate.  For a real splurge, try the Bentley’s seafood platter.

11-15 Swallow Road, W1 – Tel: 020-7439 6903 – Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Bibendum

An impressive restaurant serving equally as impressive modern European cuisine.  Dishes are ambitious yet subtle and the wine list highly extensive.  Service is willing but prices are rather expensive.  Lunch, however, is very good value for money.

81 Fulham Road, SW3 – Tel: 020-7581 5817 – Tube: South Kensington

Quaglino’s

Huge 1930s ballroom revived by Terence Conran as on of the capital’s busiest and most glamorous restaurants.  You’ll need to book in advance.

16 Bury Street, SW1 – Tel: 020-7930 6767 – Tube: Green Park

Mandalay

Small restaurant serving Burmese cuisine – a fusion of Thai, Malaysian and Indian.

444 Edgware Road, W2 – Tel: 020-7258 3696 – Tube: Edgware Road

La Spighetta

Spighetta actually means wheat and this basement restaurant serves pizza, pasta and standard Italian dishes.

43 Blandford Street, W1 – Tel: 020-7486 7340 – Tube: Bond Street

Mezzo

Terence Conran opened this 600 seater restaurant in 1995 and it has remained popular ever since.  Serving French/Med food, the tables are packed close – this is not a place for a quiet night out.

100 Wardour Street, W1 – Tel: 020 7314 4000 – Tube: Piccadilly Circus/Tottenham Court Road

Randall & Aubin

An ex-butcher’s shop that has been converted into a champagne and oyster bar, rotisserie, sandwich shop and charcuterie.  Fish and seafood dominate the menu.  Eat in or take away.

16 Brewer Street, W1 – Tel: 020-7287 4447 – Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Belgo Centraal

Huge, metal-minimalist cavern serving buckets of moules mariniere with frites and mayonnaise and a vast array of Belgian beers.

50 Earlham Street, WC2 – Tel: 020-7813 2233 – Tube: Covent Garden

Dorchester Grill Room

Splendid room with superb British classics like roast Angus beef, plus good international dishes.  Top wine list. Most of the ingredients come from Audley End Organic Kitchen Garden in Essex.

The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, W1 – Tel: 020-7629 8888 – Tube: Hyde Park Corner

Fifteen

Fifteen is a Jamie Oliver restaurant with a twist.  The cooking is done by 15 youngsters plucked from aimless obscurity and trained to produce world class food.  No reservations are required for the ground floor bar where you can dine on antipasti and quality cocktails.  Upstairs portions are hearty and flavours bold and booming.

Westland Place, N1 – Tel: 020-7251 1515 – Tube: Old Street

Gordon Ramsey at Claridges

Take London’s most temperamental and talented chef, add the city’s most elegant location and finish it off with some truly fantastic food and sublime service.  Gordon Ramsey’s marriage with Claridges has proved to be a match made in gourmet heaven.  The grand art-deco dining room provides a perfect setting in which to savour the fabulous flavours of London’s only 3 Michelin starred chef.

53 Brook Street, W1 – Tel: 020-7499 0099 – Tube: Bond Street

Ikkyu

Busy basement restaurant with tasty, authentic Japanese food.

67a Tottenham Court Road, W1 – Tel: 020-7636 9280 – Tube: Goodge Street

Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh restaurant, bar and babylon lounge is located in the heart of the stables market in Camden and a great place for dining or drinks with friends whether on a weekday or weekend. The weekend is extremely busy so make sure you reserve a table in advance.

The restaurant include a signature pan asian dishes and menu’s, influenced by the cuisine of south east Asia, Singapore and japan.offers a selection of signature pan-Asian dishes and menus, influenced by the cuisine of South East Asia, China and Japan. Offers a selection of signature pan-Asian dishes and menus, influenced by the cuisine of South East.

The Stables Market – Camden Market, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AH – 0207 482 5757 – Tube: Chalk Farm / Camden

Itsu

Stunning conveyer-belt sushi bar transports the tenderest sushi in town before your very eyes, and chopsticks. Upstairs is a cozy bar.  King prawns with glass noodles are recommended.

118 Draycott Avenue, SW3 – Tel: 020-7584 5522 – Tube: South Kensington

Le Gavroche

Le Gavroche is a London institution.  Serving the finest French food this side of le manche, a meal at this Mayfair restaurant is an incomparable experience.  Everything about this restaurant reeks of class, from the strict dress code, to the highly professional waiting staff and exclusive atmosphere.

43 Upper Brook Street, W1 – Tel: 020-7408 0881 – Tube: Marble Arch

Singapura

Beautiful, large modern restaurant that provides Nonya cuisine – a fusion of Malayan and Chinese food; generally spicy with a good deal of garlic, galangal and lime leaves.

1-2 Limeburner Lane, EC2 – Tel: 020-7329 1133 – Tube: St. Paul’s

Wazobia

Small, bright Nigerian restaurant.  Try the goat pepper soup, the prawn doughnuts and the wide range of rich stews.

257 Royal College Street, NW1 – Tel: 020-7284 1059 – Tube: Camden Town

Hunan

Serving Hunan cuisine – a relative of Sichuan cuisine – with a similar spicy kick to most dishes.  Try their special “leave it to us Feast” – a multi-course extravaganza which allows you to try a wide range of dishes.

51 Pimlico Road, SW1 – Tel: 020-7730 5712 – Tube: Sloane Square

Nobu

The world’s most recognised Japanese restaurant, known for its innovative new style cuisine paired with a celebrity following.

19 Old Park Lane, W1 – Tel: 020-7447 4747 – Tube: Hyde Park Corner

Kettner’s

Beautiful belle epoque Baroque decor and a pianist does not mean that this is an exclusive restaurant.  In fact it serves pasta and pizza.  If you have to wait for a table, try the Champagne Bar.

29 Romilly Street, W1 – Tel: 020-7734 6112

J. Sheekey

Serving food since World War I, the place has recently been redesigned and refurbished.  The menu is focused on fish.  Great value weekend lunches.

28-32 St. Martin’s Court, WC2 – Tel: 020-7240 2565 – Tube: Leicester Square

Rainforest Cafe

Situated in the heart of the West End this themed restaurant recreates the sounds and sights of a tropical rainforest.  This is London’s largest family restaurant.  The restaurant serves a varied menu of American and tropical cuisine made from the freshest ingredients.

20-24 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1 – Tel: 020-7434 3111 – Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Rules

At London’s oldest English restaurant (dating from 1798), you’ll find consistently good British food including game, oysters and traditional puddings.

35 Maiden Lane, WC2 – Tel: 020-7836 5314 – Tube: Charing Cross

Simpson’s-in-the-Strand

 This world famous venue offers two restaurants: The Grand Divan, serving traditional British food and specialising in roast beef and lamb and Simply Simpson’s serving Modern British eclectic dishes.

100 The Strand, WC2 – Tel: 020 7836 9112 – Tube: Charring Cross

Sketch

Sketch opened in 2003 and has gained a big reputation.  It includes several restaurants on two floors of a converted 18th century townhouse in Mayfair.  The restaurants are: the Gallery, the Lecture Room and Library and the Parlour.  Cuisine is New French.

9 Conduit Street, W1 – Tel: 0870 777 4488 – Tube: Oxford Circus

Kulu Kulu

Small, friendly conveyor belt sushi restaurant.  Grab one or two plates (priced by design rather than colour here) and enjoy really good sushi.

76 Brewer Street, W1 – Tel: 020-773 7316 – Tube: Piccadilly

The Bombay Brasserie

Extravagantly decorated with palm fronds and wicker chairs, the menu includes dishes with influences from Punjab, Goa and Kerala.  They have a popular weekend buffet between 12.00 and 3.00 pm priced at £24 per person.

Courtfield Close, SW7 – Tel: 020-7370 4040 – Tube: Gloucester Road

The Ivy

Considered one of the better West End eateries with a comprehensive menu of all the favourites including pasta, risottos, grills and British classics.

1 West Street, WC2 – Tel: 020-7836 4751 – Tube: Covent Garden

New World

Chinese restaurant and with over 500 seats, possibly the largest restaurant in London.  The menu is 12 pages long and includes Dim Sum, Cantonese and provincial.  Average spend: £20 – £30 per person.

1 Gerrard Place, W1 – Tel: 020-7734 0396 – Tube: Leicester Square

Tom Aikens

Tom Aikens has won just about every single restaurant award going and, when you go in, you will see why. The food is, quite simply and without hesitation, sublime.  Tom’s eponymous restaurant in Chelsea has built a formidable reputation with modern French cuisine.

43 Elystan Street, SW3 – Tel: 020-7584 2003 – Tube: Sloane Square

Trader Vic’s

Trader Vic’s has been a swinging place since the 70s, decked out as a Tahitian beach hut right here on Park Lane, with flower-print waitresses plying willing clientele with the best Mai Tai’s ever mixed.  This is the right place for relaxed business lunches, informal dinner, or romantic meals at any time.  Check out the lobster tank before you tuck into Island cuisine.

22 Park Lane, W1 – Tel: 020-7208 4113 – Tube: Green Park/Hyde Park Corner

Hereford Road

Set inside a former Victorian butcher’s shop, the restaurant’s decor is sleek and unfussy with the open plan kitchen providing a buzz.  British food with a daily changing menu.

3 Hereford Road, W2 – Tel: 020-7227 1144 – Tube: Bayswater/Queensway

Stephen Bull

Modern British within a Bauhaus decor setting.  Simple innovative dishes with equally experimental desserts.

12 Upper Street, WC2 – Tel: 020- 7379 7811 – Tube: Leicester Square

Yauatcha

Chinese restaurant opened in 2000 by Alan Yau, who also created Wagamama.  It gained a Michelin star in 2005 which it has held onto ever since.  Specialising in modern, authentic dim sum other popular dishes include Scallop Siewmai, Shanghai noodles and Kiwi and Green Apple Tiramisu.

15 Broadwick Street, W1 – Tel: 020-7494 8888 – Tube: Oxford Circus

Zuma

Combining contemporary Japanese cuisine with decor based on Eastern philosophy, the Zuma restaurant has an open-plan kitchen so patrons can watch culinary masters in their element.  At Zuma, the environment is as important as the food, giving patrons a zen-like experience.  The lounge is the perfect place to rub elbows with a young, urban crowd.

5 Raphael Street, SW7 – Tel: 020-7584 1010 – Tube: Knightsbridge