The Best Mayfair Restaurants
Last Updated: 2nd March 2020 | Main image: Sketch London
When it comes to Mayfair, there are really two types of restaurant on offer.
The ones where you’ll scrape your plate, and the ones where you’ll scrape your overdraft.
In this part of London, more than anywhere else, don’t let the pricing on menus fool you – thanks to the rich concentration of, well, rich businessmen and clients to be entertained, there are some ludicrously expensive spots that get away with serving substandard food in glossy but unimaginative surroundings. What follows here is a list of the exceptional – the hidden gems, the laid-back havens, and the top-tier eateries that genuinely do pull out all the stops.
These are the best restaurants in Mayfair…
Gymkhana recently reopened its doors after a fire back in 2019, and like a phoenix from the ashes, it’s come back even more opulent and special than before. Dressed up like a Raj-era gymkhana (a sort of Indian country club where high society folk socialised, drank, dined, and played sport), Gymkhana oozes style throughout. The menu is equally refined, earning a Michelin star back in 2014 and focussing on dishes to share. Highlights include the impressive conical Chettinad duck dosas; as well as fragrant kid goat methi keema; boozy wild tiger prawns inspired by Kerelan toddy shops; a game bird baida roti served with girolle achaar pickle; and a Bombay Gymkhana club vegetable cutlet with masala ketchup. The bar downstairs takes 17th century East India punch houses as its inspiration, and has its own dedicated G&T map… READ MORE
Details: 42 Albemarle Street, W1S 4JH | Open daily for lunch & dinner
The in-house restaurant to Bonham’s auction house, Emilia is always a safe bet. It’s another venture from the highly successful team behind Clipstone, Portland and The Quality Chop House. This is Mayfair, of course, and Bonham’s is one of the oldest and most celebrated auction houses in the country, so don’t expect any great shakes in the pared-back and inoffensive decor. Instead, the creativity is reserved for the Italian-leaning food, where it’s scattered with liberal panache. Expect dishes like rabbit ravioli with carrot and dandelion; haunch of venison with nettle risotto; and wild strawberry with fennel granita ice cream, washed down with stupendous bottles of wine from the groaning cellar. READ MORE
Details: 7 Haunch of Venison Yard, Mayfair, W1K 5ES | Open Mon-Sat for lunch and dinner
The competition for Indian restaurants in Mayfair is steep, and Lucknow 49 may not be the most refined or high-end. What it does represent is excellent value for money in this area, with the gourmet chops to back it up. Founder Dhruv Mittal is a former Fat Duck chef, who not so long ago decided to, ahem, have a quack at his first solo spot. Dum Biryani opened in Soho to great acclaim, and this follow-up eatery takes a similarly specific culinary route. Lucknow is a North Indian city that takes culinary inspiration from Nepal and South-East Asia, with many dishes also prepared dum style. Expect patiently slow-cooked meats, elaborate combinations of spices and a superb wine list curated by industry favourite, Zeren Wilson.
Details: 49 Maddox Street, W1S 2PQ | Open daily for dinner and lunch Tues-Sun.
This Sketch is stunningly rendered. Housed in a grandiose townhouse just off Regent Street, it’s a quirky palace of design, fine dining and good drink. There are multiple dining areas – a more casual Parlour for breakfast and light lunches; the stunning Glade with its cocktails and fairytale-esque découpage walls; the famous all-pink Gallery dining room for afternoon tea and dinner; and the upstairs Library, a Michelin-starred restaurant serving stunning Modern European dishes. READ MORE
Details: 9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG | Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Despite all its best attempts to keep a low profile, HIDE was awarded a Michelin star within a year of opening. It was never going to stay hidden for long, considering wunderchef Ollie Dabbous is behind it… and that it’s a three-floored all-day dining spot with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Green Park. The dishes here are curious and inventive, ranging from croissants made with birch sap in the mornings, to nine-course tasting menus and burnt liquorice root with gold leaf in the evenings. Below it all is the suave, low-lit bar run by Dabbous’ longtime mixology partner, Oskar Kinberg. That birch sap reappears in place of ice to keep drinks cool, or peruse their cellar, which houses one of the world’s largest wine selections. READ MORE
Details: 85 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB | Open daily for breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner
Sabor really has added a little flavour to Mayfair. Amidst the polished dining rooms and white tablecloths, Sabor offers something a little more immediate, where chefs serve dishes directly to diners who can feel the salt and fat hang tantalisingly in the air around them. Head chef and founder is Nieves Barragan Mohacho, a former Barrafina chef who’s earnt herself a star in the blink of an eye. That’s down to the delicate regional Spanish dishes on offer – some served tapas style, some scorched in the asador – and the handpicked selection of Galician beers, sherries, and Basque sparkling wines… READ MORE
Details: 35-37 Heddon Street, W1B 4BR | Open for lunch Tues-Sun and dinner Tues-Sat
Bombay Bustle is a theatrical Indian spot designed to resemble a vintage train carriage – and the food here is just the ticket. Coming to you from the co-founder and chef of the formerly Michelin-starred Jamavar, it’s high-end Indian at its finest: koliwada squid; tandoori lamb chops; Kerala fish curry… and it all comes with a globe-trotting wine list to boot. READ MORE
Details: 29 Maddox Street, W1S 2PA | Open daily for lunch and dinner
First things first: Umu is eye-wateringly expensive. Luckily, the lighting’s so dim and the sake so persuasive you won’t really notice till later. With two Michelin stars to its name, it’s more than worth the price, too. Umu serves, without a doubt, some of the finest Japanese food in London, thanks to the indefatigable attention to detail from chef Yoshinori Ishii. He’s taught the Cornish fishermen who supply the restaurant’s sashimi the art of ike jime, a humane way of killing the catch that preserves the utmost level of tenderness in the meat. Beyond that, he also arranges all the flowers in the restaurant, while the tempura chef (yes, they have a chef just for the tempura) grows all her own vegetables using seeds she brings back from Japan. To say they’re diligent here is an understatement… READ MORE
Details: 14-16 Bruton Place, W1J 6LX | Open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday
Decked out in deep emerald hues and shimmering golds, this place goes as easily on the eye as it does the tongue. It’s the third branch of critically venerated chef Manish Mehrotra’s restaurant (with others in New York and New Delhi), known for its global cuisine-infused take on traditional Indian dishes. You’ll find green chilli cocktails and ghee roast lamb (served Peking duck-style with roti pancakes), parmesan yoghurt and Medieval Indian desserts. It’s equal parts surprising and delicious… READ MORE
Details: 16 Albemarle Street, W1S 4HW | Open Mon-Sat for lunch and dinner
Unparalleled in grandeur, style and value, The Wolseley is a true London classic, housed in a monochromatic, marble-clad 1920s car showroom a stone’s throw from The Ritz. It’s an elegant all-day restaurant styled after the European grand café tradition, by the team who do it best, Corbin & King (also behind Fischer’s, nearby Brasserie Zédel and The Delaunay). Expect Viennese pastries and cakes, excellent Sunday roasts, and unfussy brasserie dishes long into the night. READ MORE
Details: 160 Piccadilly, W1J 9EB | Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Le Gavroche was among the first restaurants in London to receive a Michelin star, and still holds two decades later. It’s quintessential French fine dining, and has incubated many a rising chef in its time – head there now for timeless, quality dishes and a bottle of fine French wine. READ MORE
Details: 43 Upper Brook Street, W1K 7QR | Open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday, and lunch Tuesday-Friday
Like dining out in the area? Then you’ll be needing a tour of the best Mayfair bars, too…