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London Dining Guide

London is a vibrant culinary destination  Anyone who says the food in London is bad, is uninformed. London has every cuisine imaginable and in all price ranges. I can honestly say it's one of my favorite culinary cities. It's hard to think of a cuisine that is not represented.



In light of that, please understand that this is by no means a comprehensive list, but rather a few of my personal favorites. I don't want to start getting comments like,"how could you not have included ...."

Since there are so many little gems, it never hurts to ask a Londoner, and they can likely steer you to something off the beaten track. 

Reservations and Tipping


  • Reservations are usually required in most good restaurants. Book far in advance for the top ones. You can book a lot of good London restaurants at http://www.opentable.co.uk
  • It is not unusual for them to tell you that they need to have the table back in 2 hours. They are not being rude; they say that to everyone, including the locals.
  • They will call to reconfirm and could cancel if they can’t reach you, so give them your mobile.
  • Service of 12.5% is almost always included in the bill and you do not need to tip more unless they were amazing. If they were, you can leave an extra ₤5.00-₤10.00 in cash.
Indian and Fusion

Dilshoom
12 Upper St Martins Lane

Referred to as a "Bombay cafe" in the postcolonial style of the "Irani" cafes. Its all about little bites here and the food is amazing. Here are a few stand out dishes. Gunpowder Potatoes, Okra, Prawns and Fish are all very good and prices are reasonable. Be adventurous.


Gymkhana

42 Albemarle Street
Mayfair

Consistently voted as one of the best Indian restaurants in London, Gymkhana is always busy. Always inventive and never boring. The dishes will amaze and occasionally challenge you. Think Tandoori Broccoli with Red Chili Raita and Suckling Pig Vindaloo you get the picture  Staff can be a bit full of themselves, but the food is worth it. Their sister restaurant Trishna, serves amazing Indian seafood.


Tamarind
20 Queen St., Mayfair

Posh Indian, very good and consistent. One of my all time favorites.   

Benares
Berkeley Square, Mayfair

I found this restaurant challenged me about what to expect from Indian food. Quite expensive, but well worth a visit.

Vineet Bhatia Rasoi
10 Lincoln Street
Chelsea
SW3 2TS

This is hands down the most amazing Indian I have ever had. Based in a small townhouse in Chelsea, it is a very intimate experience. Reservations are a must.


English/Continental

Brasserie Chavot
41 Conduit Street
Mayfair

This is a lovely little bistro serving very good French bistro style food. Think coq au vin and the such. Great area and near almost everything in central London.


Treadwells 

4a Upper St Martins Lane

Okay, I need to offer this one with a disclaimer, as I have not yet been, but it's only just opened. However, anything I've ever visited which is run by the "enfant terrible" Marcus Waring has always been amazing. My friends say it's stunning.


Maggie Jones
Kensington Church Street

Typical English and very hardy. Served and cooked by a French staff, so how can you go wrong. Great place for bangers and mash. Be careful on the stairs after having a few drinks.

The Ivy

1-5 West Street

One of the toughest revs to get in London and very popular with the celebs. The food is really good, and the prix fix meals are very good. The best time to go without having to book 3 months in advance, is lunch. In particular, the Sunday lunch is very nice, but you will still need to book. You can book online directly with The Ivy at http://www.the-ivy.co.uk/index.asp?area=81

Corrigan's
28 Upper Grosvenor Street

Chef Richard Corrigan's flagship consistently serves excellent food, in a lovely space. The food is always well prepared and while it doesn't make you think too hard, it is so well done, you don't care. Think amazing Dover Sole and oysters on the half shell and a top notch wine list. Bring your gold bars to pay for this one. 


Wiltons

55 Jermyn Street
St James

The is one of my favorite London experiences. Wilton's has been serving continuously from this location since 1742. Famously, they continued to serve dinner each evening without fail throughout the Blitz. They have all of the standards and they execute them flawlessly. On my last visit, they rolled over the carving trolly and presented an absolutely stunning beef wellington. You really can't find a better truly London experience than this.


Japanese

Roka
37 Charlotte Street
Stunning Japanese with a focus on robatayaki, which is grilled over an open fire, which probably accounts for the past fire? Just kidding, the food is amazing great and the space is fun and trendy. You will need reservations.
                                                                  
Nobu
Berkley Street and Park Lane locations.
Very good, but also expensive. Top dishes are Cabbage with Black Truffle, Octopus with Bottarga and a must is the Black Cod Miso. In a pinch, you can usually get a spot at the sushi bar. Perfect for a late night snack.

Middle Eastern

Nopi

21-22 Warwick Street
London, Soho

What can I say, but I'm so thrilled with this place and a huge thank you to my dear friends who took me here. Yotam Ottolenghi has many outposts around London, but this one in Soho is just incredible. It's rare that I find myself saying, "this is the best dish I've ever had", and then find something else a moment later and say "no it's this one". Food that will inspire and amaze.


Italian

Locando Locatelli
8 Seymour St.
W1H 7JZ
In the Hyatt Regency Churchill Hotel
Inspired Italian with a focus on freshness and seasonal produce. I have never been less than thrilled by the food created by chef owner Giorgio Locatelli. Pricey, but worth it.

Zafferano
15 Lowndes Street
Belgravia
(020) 7235 5800

This is a serious find and I knew about it for years but didn't go and what a mistake that was, as the food is amazing and the two course price is very reasonable. Two courses for £36.50 is a steal in central London and the food is great. I am partial to the lobster spaghetti and the barrata as a starter. Be aware that certain dishes have a supplement, which means they add that price on top of the £36.50.

Daphne’s
112 Draycott Avenue
Chelsea
(020) 7589 4257 

Very nicely done Italian food and revs are essential. Try the ragu if it is on the menu, and the frozen berries with white chocolate for dessert. 

Cheap Eats

Churchill Arms Thai
119 Kensington Church Street
W8 7LN

Best deal in London. All dishes are £8.50 at last visit, and it is always packed. Revs are a good idea. You have to enter through the pub, as they do not have an entrance from the street. It’s also a good pub by the way.


Wagamama- Japanese/Asian style noodles house. No ambiance but really good prices.
Various locations around London.


Masala Zone- Indian
7 locations around London.

Paul's - Patisserie
Great sandwiches and locations all around London.

Pret - Sandwiches and Salads
Great selection of sandwiches and salads.

Eat - Sandwiches, Soup and Salads
Fresh daily and locations all around London.

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