The City is not known for doing things by halves.
With rich history, dynamic architecture and grand parties, life is never dull in the square mile – and the restaurants are no exception.
Yet with so much choice crammed within so small an area, how to ensure you opt for the best?
With the Square Mile restaurant guide of course – a roundup of the finest restaurants in the, um, square mile.
We've even linked to a full review of each restaurant should you want to learn more.
We're big fans of the restaurateurs who cry, ‘Jack of all trades be damned – I’m going to do one thing, and do it damned well!'. Think Yen and its noodles; Tonkotsu and its ramen; Padella and its pasta – and Monsieur Le Duck and its fried chicken. Only joking. It serves duck. Obviously. The confit duck leg comes apart on the bone, revealing Midas-rich meat within marbled halls of fat. Initially a pop-up, Monsieur Le Duck has found a permanent home in Clerkenwell – get down there as soon as you can. A special evening awaits.
27 Clerkenwell Rd, Farringdon, London EC1M 5RN; 020 3970 0490; leduck.co.uk
Martin Williams takes his steak seriously – very seriously. The CEO and founder of the M Restaurants empire has based his whole career around knowing his ribeye from his rump. The M Threadneedle has installing an authentic Himalayan salt chamber (the first of its kind in London). Built from hand-picked salt bricks, the chamber helps concentrate the flavour of the meat: the low humidity inhibits the growth of bacteria spores, and the salt particles in the air impregnate the meat. The result is a tenderness and depth of flavour that’s hard to match.
60 Threadneedle St, London EC2R 8HP; 020 3327 7770; mrestaurants.co.uk
Since 2000, ‘Smiths’ of Smithfield has been serving Londoners some of the choicest cuts in the capital. Working only with British farmers and Smithfield Market – the largest meat market in the UK – Smiths is a surefire guarantee of high-quality cow. So the fact another branch has recently opened in Cannon Street should be a source of celebration in the City. The menu is more diverse than one might imagine, offering fish, duck breast, and even a couple of vegetarian options.
67-77 Charterhouse St, Farringdon, London EC1M 6HJ; 020 7251 7950; smithsofsmithfield.co.uk
Masters of Wine, Xavier Rousset and Gearoid Devaney, are the magicians behind this belle epoque space, bursting at the seams with a 600-strong wine list specialising in Burgundy. The Domaine de Montille, Les Sizies, 1er Cru – a truly top-notch Côte de Beaune. It’s pure-as-can-be pinot noir, which pairs perfectly with medium-rare mustard pork chop and even the luscious tarte tartin to share for dessert.
48 Gresham St, London EC2V 7AY; 020 7600 1616; cabotte.co.uk
In English, ‘Yen’ means a passionate or intense longing. Once you’ve eaten here, you’ll certainly yearn to return. These thin strands of buckwheat flour are a staple of Japanese cuisine, their versatility ensuring you can be served Soba everywhere from fast food joints to fine-dining restaurants. Soba specialists Maruno Hidenori and Katsuki Sakurai use a technique perfected through years of training – both men learnt their craft from ‘Master of Soba’ Takahashi Kunihiro.
190 Strand, 5 Arundel Street, London, WC2R 1NB; 020 3915 6976; yen-london.com
For the carnivore, the idea of eating vegan food is a bit like the thought of going teetotal: yes, obviously there would be health benefits, but life would be a bit, well, rubbish, wouldn't it? Not at Genesis – the 100% plant based alchemy restaurant specializes in fast casual dining and organic comfort food. Founded by brothers Alex and Oliver Santoro who, ironically, come from a family who have worked in the meat industry for over one hundred years. This is a revolutionary take on street food.
144 Commercial St, Spitalfields, London E1 6NU; eatgenesis.com
The brilliant Peruvian restaurant Pachamama East recently launched a Chifa menu created by executive chef John Javier. Javier has quite the pedigree himself; starting his career at Noma, opening his own restaurant, MASTER, then joining the Pachamama Group in 2019. He’s studied Chifa cooking for many years, and now finally has the chance to share his passion with London diners. There’s a suitable Latin-infused cocktail list to wash everything down; as you’d imagine, tequila, pisco and mezcal are all well represented. "There are so many inspiring restaurants in the area," said Javier of Shoreditch. "I hope that with my menu Pachamama East will very quickly become one of them.” Job done, old boy.
73 Great Eastern St, Hackney, EC2A 3HR; pachamamalondon.com