London restaurants are among the finest in the world. The streets team with legendary names, the skies are packed with Michelin stars – many of the best restaurants in London can only be accessed via elevator.
The quantity of great London restaurants is a blessing – but also a challenge. Narrowing down the names on your culinary bucket list can be tricky. Choices abound.
Therefore we've come up with a list of the London restaurants you must visit. Not necessarily the best, for the best London restaurant is a matter of taste. (Although you will not experience a bad meal in any of the venues below.)
No, these are the names that you need to drop, the experiences that must be chased – whether due to their global celebrity, their historic status, or their ongoing popularity.
Some of these are indeed among the best restaurants in London. Some are merely the most fun. All are very much worth an evening of your life.
Each restaurant on the list has a link to a more detailed review. We'll be updating fairly frequently so don't be a stranger. Bon appetit!
Best London restaurants – the classics
Famously co-owned by Sir Michael Caine, Langan’s Brasserie is a legend of London dining, with the iconic restaurant hosting a galaxy of stars in the 1970s and 1980s. Restaurateurs Graziano Arricale and James Hitchen have restored Langan’s to its former glory.
Stratton St, London W1J 8LB; Langan’s Brasserie
Galvin La Chapelle
Opened by the Galvin Brothers, Galvin La Chapelle has been wowing diners for over a decade. Dine in one of the most beautiful restaurants in London, with a menu that somehow exceeds its surroundings. Every meal here becomes a special occasion.
5 Spital Square, London E1 6DY; Galvin La Chapelle
The Ivy, West Street has been feeding London's great and good since 1917. Yes, it's still one of London's most fashionable restaurants but don't be fooled – the food is genuinely fantastic and the ambience one of timeless bliss.
1-5 West St, London WC2H 9NQ; The Ivy
Claude Bosi at Bibendum
In 1987, Bibendum opened for business in the Grade II-listed Michelin House in South Kensington, and the following years saw the restaurant establish itself as one of the most celebrated in London. Under legendary chef Claude Bosi its class remains permanent.
Michelin House, 81 Fulham Rd, London SW3 6RD; Bibendum
Widely regarded as the best Indian restaurant in London, which basically means the best Indian restaurant in Europe, Gymkhana is inspired by the members’ clubs of Colonial India. The food, however, is already the stuff of legend. Believe the hype.
42 Albemarle St, London W1S 4JH; Gymkhana
However if you fancy an alternative Indian restaurant, Benares Mayfair has a Michelin star of its own and has been a Mayfair staple since 2003. Why not try both over one delectable day? The restaurants are only a few minutes apart.
12a Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, W1J 6BS; Benares Mayfair
Talk about food fit for royalty. Quaglino’s restaurant in St James has been welcoming visitors for nearly a century since its opening in 1929. Princess Margaret was a regular and even Her Majesty the Queen has paid a visit. Live music will help your dinner down.
16 Bury St, St. James's, London SW1Y 6A; Quaglino’s
A Mayfair institution, El Pirata has been feeding delicious tapas to the great and the good for more than 25 years. Most of the diners are regular patrons and you’ll likely become one of them.
5 - 6 Down St, W1J 7AQ; El Pirata
Best London restaurants – the new wave
Above at Hide
The Michelin-starred Above at Hide from executive chef Ollie Dabbous overlooks Green Park. Except exceptional food, even-better wine and one of the best people-watching spots in the world. Feeling thirsty? Pop down to the cocktail bar Hide Below.
Above at Hide, 85 Piccadilly, London W1J 7NB; Hide
Le Dame De Pic
Anne-Sophie Pic is the most decorated female chef in the world, with a stunning six Michelin stars to her name. A visit to Le Dame De Pic in the new Four Seasons at Ten Trinity Square will make you understand why. French cuisine done to perfection.
Four Seasons Hotel at 10 Trinity Square, London EC3N 4AJ; Le Dame Du Pic
Lyle's London mightn't be the famous name on this list but its placement on The World's 50 Best Restaurants – plus a cheeky Michelin star – mark the Shoreditch venue as a must-visit. The seasonal menu changes each week but the food will always be sublime.
56 Shoreditch High St, E1 6JJ; Lyle's
One of the most beautiful restaurants in London, Seabird Restaurant in Southwark's Hoxton hotel serves delicious seafood platters with stunning views of the capital. You'll be wanting to order the platter, which seemingly contains half the ocean.
40 Blackfriars Road, South Bank, SE1 8PB; Seabird
Trivet only opened in 2019 and has already picked up a Michelin star. The restaurant is the first solo venture from Fat Duck alumni Jonny Lake and Isa Bal. Enjoy a gorgeously relaxed dining experience with some seriously impressive food and wine.
36 Snowsfields, London SE1 3SU; Trivet
Serving up the Japanese food of your dreams, Dinings SW3 is one of Chelsea's hottest restaurants with the freshest fish and sharpest saki. The adjacent bar is pretty great, too. Just don't think about the bill.
Lennox Gardens Mews, SW3 2JH; Dinings SW3
The younger sibling of the original Aulis in the Lake District, Aulis London offers further testament to Simon Rogan's enduring greatness. Aulis is limited to eight diners with two chefs cooking superb food directly in front of you. A truly unique experience.
16a St Anne’s Court, W1F 0BF; Aulis London
A 12-course tasting menu? Amethyst, the new Mayfair restaurant from Carlo Scotto, is not a restaurant to do dinner by halves. Enjoy dishes from all corners of the globe and meal you won't forget in a hurry – regardless of your wine consumption.
6 Sackville St, London W1S 3DD; Amethyst
Best London restaurants – the ballers
In 20 years, Hakkasan has grown from a London restaurant offering high-quality Chinese food to a veritable global brand – that still offers high-quality Chinese food. Choose between Hakkasan Mayfair or Hakkasan Hanway Place – although unlike Hakkasan Las Vegas, neither has a nightclub.
8 Hanway Place, W1T 1HD; 17 Bruton St, W1J 6QB; Hakkasan
Founded in New York by chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert DeNiro (yes, that one), Nobu has become a global brand with 50 restaurants and 13 hotels all around the world. There are three Nobus in London: Park Lane Nobu is the original but Portman Square and Shoreditch both offer five-star accommodation.
22 Portman Square, W1H 7BG; 19 Old Park Ln, W1K 1LB; 10-50 Willow St, EC2A 4BH; Nobu
Oblix at the Shard
The Shard is the most visible building in London – and Oblix is perched halfway up. Oblix West is a restaurant, Oblix East is cocktail bar. Both are very much worth a visit. Try the chef's tasting menu at Oblix West but be warned – you might be leaving the Shard in a wheelbarrow.
Level 32, The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY; Oblix West
The Gallery at sketch
The Gallery is the main restaurant at sketch – there's also a cocktail bar called the Glade. The Galley has pink walls decorated with David Shrigley artwork and its toilets are shaped like eggs. Very much a restaurant to visit with an open mind and a fully charged phone.
9 Conduit St, London W1S 2XG; sketch London
Want to dine among the young, cool and beautiful? Then Sexy Fish is the place – plaice? – for you. Since opening in 2015, the Mayfair restaurant has firmly established itself at the heart of London’s dining and social scenes. Don’t forget to Instagram your evening.
Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BR; Sexy Fish
Knightsbridge hotspot Sumosan Twiga draws inspiration from Japanese specialists Sumosan and legendary Italian restaurant Twiga. The result is delicious – if expensive – proof that opposites can attract. Frequently turns into a nightclub on the weekend.
165 Sloane St, SW1X 9QB; Sumosan Twiga
Best London restaurants – the crowd pleasers
Over the last few years, Dishoom has established itself as London's favourite Indian restaurant with multiple outlets across the capital. Offering consistently great food – including the legendary breakfast naan – at fantastic value for money, there's a reason for Dishoom's ongoing popularity.
Multiple outlets across London; Dishoom
Duck & Waffle
The highest restaurant in the capital, perched at the summit of the Heron Tower, Duck & Waffle specialises in exactly that! Duck, on waffle. Sounds good, right? Judging by the restaurant’s Instagram following, much of London agrees. Open 24-hours if you fancy a late one.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY; Duck & Waffle
Any reason to make the trip up Heron Tower, Sushisamba serves up fantastic cocktails, delicious wagyu – and great sushi, obviously. With a menu that draws on Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, you'll quickly realise why Sushisamba has restaurants all around the world.
Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY; Sushisamba
Burger & Lobster
Among the most satisfying dining experiences in London, Burger & Lobster has a simple mission statement – great burgers paired with great lobsters. The sharing platter will leave you in a state of stuffed delight. Every bit as fun as it sounds.
Outlets across London; Burger & Lobster
The Boisdale Group has been feeding Londoners since the 1980s, with their restaurants firmly focused on four items: Scotland, whisky, cigars and jazz. Come for the oysters and steak, stay for the live musical performance and a wee dram.
Outlets across London; Boisdale
With outlets in the City and Mayfair, Peruvian restaurant Coya offers a stupendously summery dining experience. The menu is nearly as vibrant as its outdoor terrace and the Piscos flow all evening long!
31-33 Throgmorton St, London EC2N 2AT; Coya
Best London restaurants – the hidden gems
Delicious Italian food that won’t require you remortgaging your house? Manteca fits the bill and then some . Initially opening in Soho, Manteca has relocated to Shoreditch but lost none of its quality en route.
49-51 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3PT; Manteca
Now here’s a proper treat. Founded by four friends, seafood and wine restaurant Baccalà is a delightful dining experience that transports a corner of Italy to Bermondsey Street. Great food, even better hospitality.
194 Bermondsey St, SE1 3TQ; Baccalà
Tower Bridge restaurant Legare encapsulates the very best of the London dining scene: delicious food served in an unpretentious yet classy setting. Yet another reason to visit the London Bridge area on an empty stomach. (Another is above.)
Cardamom Building, 31G Shad Thames, SE1 2YR; Legare
Crispin in Spitalfields looks like an art gallery and certainly serves up some masterpieces on the plate. The menu changes on a weekly basis but expect seasonable, often locally sourced food cooked with expertise and care.
Pavilion on The Corner, White's Row, E1 7NF; Crispin