London is a city where diners are adventurous to a fault… Fittingly, restaurants here encompass everything, from Michelin-starred dining rooms to trendy Instagrammable joints where avant-garde ingredients and interiors come together, be it at the Aqua Shard 31 floors above bustling London or Wolfgang Puck’s first European outpost at the 45 Park Lane.
For the best places to eat in London right now, read on… You might also want to be prepared to book ahead, and where you can’t, to queue, because these are the kinds of restaurants people plan trips to visit, even if it means flying over ten hours to get there.
Come here for: Those 360-degree panoramas of the London skyline
Up on the 31st floor of The Shard, this restaurant delivers from the moment you’re shown to your table by a floor-to-ceiling window with a near-panoramic perspective of the London skyline. Will you just look at that view?
The trick is to not let the views outside distract you from what’s going on inside… The Aqua Shard, with its contemporary British cuisine and bar, knows all about delivering the wow factor with its food as well, from its knock-out cocktails to its gorgeous dishes that taste as good as they look.
The Cut at 45 Park Lane
Come here for: Sirloin steaks that don’t get better this side of London
This American steak restaurant by chef Wolfgang Puck has it all: a sleek design, walls brightened up with kaleidoscopic artworks by Damien Hirst and a menu of American, European and Asian game-changers that range from meaty morsels of beef hash cakes to the most perfectly cooked Japanese Wagyu . Wash down your meal with a Bloody Mary mixed tableside , all to the exciting hum of London beyond the windows.
If steaks are not your thing, another reason to visit this restaurant is the afternoon tea, which is given an American twist with servings of Wagyu beef sliders instead of finger sandwiches, and sweet treats that are unabashedly American- think crème brûlée doughnuts, peanut butter pies and s’mores and you’ll get the picture.
Come here: for a service that’s formal enough for two Michelin stars, but reassuringly human
Sitting in elegant Knightsbridge, this cozily paneled and warmly lit two-Michelin-star restaurant by chef Marcus Wareing is where well-heeled and well-dressed diners from the overlapping worlds of business and fashion meet in London, and there is nothing quite like it. The service is flawless from start to finish, and the food just incredible with dishes like cured salmon, quail and Goosnargh duck, all served in swift succession and with glasses of champagne guaranteed to end in slightly tipsy results.
Not Michelin-starred, but the Collins Rooms at The Berkeley is another favourite of the London Insta fashionista crowd with its bright dining room decorated in Dior grey and dedicated afternoon tea masterminded by pastry chef Mourad Khiat to mix high tea and high fashion. After all, where else in London could you bite down on a Dior-branded stiletto cookie or a Miss Dior perfume-bottle cake topped with a gumdrop spray cap?
Come here for: The glorious Art Deco decor and delicious brunch classics
The entrance of the Hoi Polloi is a tiny flower shop in East London… From here, everything about this restaurant adds up to a brunch spot that doesn’t need to try too hard to impress. There is the minimal Art Deco decor, of course, that perfectly mixes retro and contemporary styling. Then there is the music from the resident String Quartet, played just loud enough to create the ambiance of your pop music dreams, without removing focus from the conversation or food. The brunch classics are our favorite- think eggs florentine and syrup-soaked French Toast served with banana, candied pecans and maple syrup. The Pork cheeks, slow-braised to intense meaty tenderness, are also worth a try. These are served with spiced apple and pickled carrots.
The Corinthia Crystal Moon Lounge
Come here for: Afternoon tea served under a gorgeous crystal chandelier
The Corinthia Hotel in the heart of Westminster has many claims to fame: an impressive location, rooms with Juliette balconies, two fine dining restaurants and a flagship spa by ESPA, but afternoon tea under its gorgeous Baccarat chandelier has got to be the winner. The list of fine teas, personally weighed, brewed and infused tableside by the tea sommelier is exhustive, and the egg mayo truffle finger sandwiches the stuff of high tea dreams.
Stay tuned for more city experiences.