London is known for a rich history of food and, with a population demanding culinary perfection, there’s nowhere better in the world right now to discover the city’s top restaurants. In fact, the capital has over 60 restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars. A range of cuisines also shows how diverse the culinary scene is in London.
As a magnet for those in media and entertainment, Chiltern Firehouse has been the darling on the restaurant scene since opening in 2013. With charming interiors that offer a retro vibe, the service is refined and polished and it’s great for brunch, perfect for a lunch date or business meeting, and terrific for an outing with friends for dinner. It’s actually housed in a fire station dating back to 1887 (hence the name), and the building offers charm you can’t create. The menu focuses on contemporary, ingredient-focused cooking with items that offer bold flavors thanks to Michelin-starred chef Nuno Mendes. The changing menu of reimagined classics features bold flavors with an emphasis on seasonality and healthy eating. For breakfast, make sure to get a freshly pressed juice alongside their black truffle scrambled eggs, or their lobster and crab omelette. Lunch and dinner offers selections ranging from crab donuts and a seafood tower to share with the table to a tasty glazed cod with steamed greens, a burrata with grilled peaches and bitter leaves, as well as tasty black truffle and cheese fries.
London’s favorite and famed seafood restaurant is where the powerful come to make deals and also sit back and relax over terrific dishes. It has to be good if Princes William and Harry have frequented the establishment, along with celebrity royalty like Guy Ritchie, Madonna and others since its inception. The restaurant’s attention to detail in decor and plating also makes this restaurant special. The menu is the brainchild of Head Chef David McCarthy, who creates seasonal offerings with the very finest traditional fish and shellfish dishes alongside a variety of meat and seasonal game. Add in oysters, served at an elegant Champagne and oyster bar, and you have the recipe for an extravagant meal in an atmosphere of sophistication.
Kai Mayfair, a Chinese restaurant in West London boasts its one Michelin star thanks to innovative dishes from the Nanyang region within the South Seas of China. The restaurant takes a liberal approach to Chinese cooking staying true to the flavors from its Chinese heritage but does not stay bound to it. Instead, it offers a menu of specialties that are distinctive and unique to Kai. Kai also serves its famed ‘Afternoon Conversation and Nibbles,’ a menu that’s perfect for catching up with friends over tea and features playful dishes like their ‘Willy Wong’s Apothecary Macaroons.’ Fun fact: the restaurant, which opened in 1993, didn’t win its Michelin star until September 2009.
Owned by the people behind The Clove Club, but less a little sister, and more of a distant cousin, Luca earned its stripes winning a Michelin star for its fresh ingredients and beautifully plated dishes. With a cheery atmosphere, a bar for small plates and a frequently changing menu of Italian dishes made with quality British ingredients, diners enjoy favorites like their spaghetti with Morecambe Bay shrimps and mace butter, as well as tortellini served in a pheasant broth and other Italian influenced cuisine. (long sentence) The restaurant takes its inspiration from 1950s Italy, and is awash with sage, marble and brass. Some seating inside the dining room overlooks a semi-open kitchen, while others enjoy tasty bites on a private courtyard.
If the hundreds of variously sized and beautiful gold frames that adorn the walls don’t catch your attention, the food certainly will. At the ground floor of London’s Edition Hotel sits Berner’s Tavern, a favorite for locals and visitors alike. Faced with elegance, indulgence and well-executed English traditionalism, it’s hard to find any fault or reason not to dine here. Chef and restauranteur Jason Atherton has made certain though that the elegance and decor are not the only reason to enjoy this eatery in Central London. The restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and cocktails, features everything from smoothies and a full English breakfast for the earlier time in the day to creative meat and seafood dishes for lunch. The dinner menu offers inventive cocktails using unique ingredients mixed into all types of spirits to start. Follow cocktails by dining on fish and chips, a roast violet artichoke baby gem salad, a slow cooked Herdwick lamb pie, as well as grass fed Scottish steaks and more.
For a quintessentially British meal in a setting that is classically English, Dean Street Townhouse is the place in Central London to dine at. The restaurant, part of the Soho House group, sits directly next to the group’s Dean Street Townhouse Hotel, and serves English-inspired food throughout the day in an informal setting. While patrons come for the drinks, which stand out as some of the best in the city, they also come for traditional English food. The restaurant serves up everything from egg dishes and grains in the morning to meat, fish and vegetable dishes like mince and potatoes, a Townhouse cheeseburger, a tasty porterhouse steak with béarnaise sauce and fries to fish and chips, and more.
King’s Cross / Carnaby / Covent Garden / Shoreditch / Kensington
Boasting five locations in London alone, Dishoom pays homage to the tasty food of Bombay, India with beautifully designed interiors and food that will have you savoring each and every bite. If it’s lunch or dinner you’re looking for, Dishoom offers it all. Dishes here are designed to share, and staff at Dishoom recommend ordering a couple of dishes per person so you can sample the varied cuisine. Highlights on the menu include the House Black Daal, the Chole Puri (a chickpea curry served with puffy bread), the Mattar Paneer, as well as the Spicy Lamb Chops. The Gunpowder Potatoes are a great side order too, if you’re looking for something other than rice. Dishoom even has a separate menu for vegans and those avoiding dairy or gluten. If you’re gluten-free, you can choose from delicious grilled menu selections like their spicy lamb chops, marsala prawns, and paneer tikka, which can be paired perfectly with gluten-free tasty salads like their Dishoom Slaw with pomegranate.
Notting Hill’s Gold Restaurant is a favorite neighborhood eatery offering outstanding food on the famed Portobello Road. Inspired by the region’s diverse cultural history and artistic eclecticism, Gold is informal and honest, and features a menu focused on large, seasonal plates cooked in wood ovens and served to share. Set over several floors, Gold’s diverse space pushes for a laid-back dining and drinking experience, both indoor and out. Dishes are created to find the perfect balance between simplicity and deliciousness and, by using seasonal ingredients at their peak, they achieve perfection across the menu.
Other Standout Favorites
From Shoreditch to the east to Mayfair, and Marylebone to the west and Hampstead to the north, London is awash with terrific restaurants. Explore these other standout favorites: