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Rupert Hohwieler 23/01/24


Fancy Restaurants in London

21 Fancy Restaurants in London | Where To Get Your Chequebook Out

If you’re looking to drop serious dough on a meal in London…

…well, there are plenty of restaurants who are very happy to help you do just that.

In the following list we’ve tried to include something for every kind of special occasion meal: chef’s table experiences; cosseted dining rooms with starched tablecloths and Michelin stars; old-school institutions brimming with traditional charm; and glitzy show-stoppers with a reservations back-log as long as your arm.

That said – there are a lot of fancy restaurants in London, so you might also want to consult our guide to romantic restaurants to treat that special someone; omakase restaurants for once-in-a-lifetime sushi encounters; restaurants with a view (to impress); and our list of every Michelin-Starred restaurant in London.

So, whether you have a special occasion that calls for something above the ordinary or you’re simply the sort who just can’t resist a good splurge, here’s our list of fancy restaurants in London for when you’re feeling flush…

 

Endo at the Rotunda | Shepherd’s Bush

Endo At The Rotunda

Endo Kazutoshi’s Michelin-starred sushi sanctuary on the 8th floor of the old BBC television centre is an impressive specimen. He’s a third-generation sushi master who scours the country and beyond (the water for the rice is obtained from Fukuoka) to get the absolute premium ingredients. You’ll sit at a gleaming ten-seater counter carved from 200-year-old Hinoki wood, with a swish cloud-shaped light installation above and a floor-to-ceiling view of the city to top it all off. And wait till you get to the food: fatty otoro tuna, langoustine nigiri, Cornish spider crab and scallops dressed in 7-month aged caviar to name a few…

Also great: Maru, an intimate six-seater, or Umu, another Michelin Star spot with equally high ingredient standards.

Details: White City House Television Centre, 101 Wood Lane, W12 7FR | Book here (there’s a bit of waiting list…)

Claridge’s | Mayfair

claridges fancy restaurant

Of all London’s hotels, it doesn’t come much fancier than Claridge’s. So it’s unsurprising that they have the restaurant to match – an elegant corner plot that’s grand in design but intimate in feel. There are art deco pillars and stained glass ceiling panels; great stretches of marble and buttery soft emerald leather banquettes. The place is head-to-toe fancy, and you’ll feel the same way dining there. Until recently, the kitchens were under the steer of laurelled chef Daniel Humm, but since he moved on in 2021 the Claridge’s Restaurant has reverted to its former name, and a simpler approach. Instead of fine dining, you’ll find an à la carte menu of European classics executed to perfection, from grilled turbot (dry aged for a more intense flavour) to an intricately latticed beef wellington.

Details: Claridge’s, Brook St, London W1K 4HR Book here

Bob Bob Ricard | Soho

bob bob ricard fancy restaurant

At the gold-trimmed Soho swank pad that is Bob Bob Ricard, the clientele treats Champagne like table water – you can famously summon a bottle at the push of a button – and the most common item you’ll likely read on the food menu is caviar. The menu is an unusual blend of Russian and British cuisine, translating to lavish combinations like steak tartare topped with Siberian Sturgeon caviar; deep-fried oysters with black truffle; a rather ironically-named truffle and Champagne humble pie; and a crème brûlée that’s theatrically flambéed at your table by a waiter in a pink-lapelled suit.

Also great: Meet its sister restaurant Bob Bob Ricard City – or make for Scott’s Richmond for similarly ostentatious décor, but with a focus on seafood and a luxurious riverside terrace.

Details: 1 Upper James Street, W1F 9DF | Book here

Maison Francois | St James

Maison Francois

Maison Francois’ founder Matthew Ryle carries the clout of being a finalist on MasterChef 2018, following which he set up this classy French brasserie in St James. It’s a terracotta-toned and natural wood-accented affair that runs the gamut of all your buttered-up Gallic greats like pâté en croûte, celeriac remoulade and hanger steak with pomme frites. Pace yourself in anticipation for the grand finale at the end – a dessert trolley teeming with eclairs, truffles and approximately twenty other tempting pastries which you may or may not recognise, considering the whole menu is in French.

Details: 34 Duke Street, St James’s, SW1Y 6DF | Book here

Sessions Arts Club | Clerkenwell

sessions arts club fancy restaurant

Sessions Art Club is insanely good-looking, set in a grade II listed ex-courthouse that looks like it’s been pulled from a dreamy Italian indie film. You could come here just to crane your next at the peeled-back, pastel-shaded plaster walls and arched windows that fill the space with shafts of sunlight… but that wouldn’t quite be doing it justice. While the space is certainly swoon-worthy, the food isn’t here to play second fiddle. Polpetto’s Florence Knight is the unstoppable force behind the menu, sticking to a ‘three-to-four central ingredients’ rule, whilst also keeping things fresh, changing the menu almost weekly.

Details: The Old Sessions House, 22 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0NA | Book here

Kutir | Chelsea

Kutir

Kutir is one the best Indian restaurants in London, tucked away on a discreet stretch of Chelsea in a townhouse decorated with parquet flooring and pale olive walls. The man in charge Rohit Ghai has the distinction of being the first Indian chef to bag a Michelin star in under a year and with Kutir, he touches on the early days of his career cheffing in fancy hotels within Indian wildlife sanctuaries and the free-for-all feasts that were a regular occurrence there. Picture visually stunning dishes in the vein of prawn masala, guinea fowl biryani, quail naans and saffron and green cardamom tarts.

Details: 10 Lincoln Street, Chelsea, SW3 2TS | Book here

The Ritz Restaurant | Green Park

ritz restaurant

The Ritz Restaurant is in a league of its own when it comes to supremely fancy restaurants in London: after all, the hotel literally inspired the word ritzy. Its majestic Louis XVI-furnished dining room is widely regarded as one of the most spectacular places to dine in the world. Exec Chef John Williams MBE has the tough act in following the setting, tending to a menu of fetching Michelin-starred French and British accented food (Cornish turbot with Oscietra caviar, beef wellington, Suffolk lamb, apricot soufflé… those sorts of things) that you almost feel bad eating… almost. For a seriously fancy dining experience, score a table on a weekend evening when they bring in professional dancers and pianists for your entertainment.

Details: The Ritz Hotel, 150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR | Book here

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught | Mayfair

An all-conquering superstar chef at the helm? Check. Extremely detailed and exquisitely presented food? Check. An interior that’ll have you fumbling over your phone to snap pics of? Check. How about those Michelin stars then, huh? Check, check, check. You’ll also be getting the chequebook out at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, but it’s basically the full package when you want to empty your bank account on a meal. We had the privilege of touching base with Darroze back in 2022 to see what makes it all tick – you can read our interview with her here.

Details: The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, W1K 2AL | Book here

Wilton’s | St James’s

wilton's fancy restaurants

Still going strong after more than 280 years, Wilton’s should be your go-to when you’re in the mood for a dose of comfortably refined, old-school English charm. And oysters. The soft-carpeted dining room is an oasis of hush and calm, where white jacketed waiters seem to float between booths bearing fine wines and seafood platters, and where meats are carved on silver trolleys not because it looks good on the gram, but just because they’ve always done it that way. Even the humblest dishes are elevated to heavenly realms: the fish and chips arrives lightly battered and swimming in a herb-flecked, buttery sauce. With fancy interiors come fancy prices, but the seasonal prix fixe menu offers a taste of luxury that’s a little more budget-friendly.

Also great: Rules, which lays claim to being the oldest restaurant in London, or J Sheekey, another great, old-school seafood spot, but with a slightly buzzier atmosphere thanks to live music.

Details: 55 Jermyn Street, London, SW1Y 6LX | Book here

Berners Tavern | Fitzrovia

berners tavern fancy restaurant

Calling it a ‘tavern’ is where the modesty starts and ends at Berners. Berners Tavern is the all-day restaurant part of London’s Edition Hotel with a grand ol’ dining-room dominated by a gilded chandelier centrepiece and chic, gold-framed artwork that fill every inch of the coffee-coloured walls. They love a trolley here (the Champagne one will be wheeled past you more than a dozen times) and the dishes themselves are all worth stumping up the cash for – like grass-fed Scottish steaks and the richest (in more ways than one) mac & cheese you’ll ever eat, fancified with braised beef blade and poached lobster.

Details: The London Edition Hotel, 10 Berners Street, W1T 3LF | Book here

Dinner by Heston | Knightsbridge

dinner by heston fancy restaurant

Culinary wizard Heston Blumenthal delved deep into the archives and logged long hours in the British Library to conceptualise the ambitious history-inspired menu at Dinner – Blumenthal’s only restaurant in London. Now with head chef Adam Tooby-Desmond at the helm, this double Michelin-starred spot is a throwback to earlier eras, with re-imagined historic dishes given Heston’s signature science-y stamp. Case in point: Meat Fruit, a starter of chicken liver parfait disguised as a mandarin…

Details: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA | Book here

KOL | Marylebone

Kol

KOL founder Santiago Lastra was headhunted to run the show at the Mexican iteration of Noma. No biggie, right? Once he said his goodbyes to that project, he hopped over here to open his wildly-anticipated solo debut (complete with its own in-house tortilla factory, we might add). The dishes, which are all pretty big on wow-factor – things like the smoked chilli langoustine tacos, grilled octopus with bone marrow and the confit pork cheek carnitas – are Mexican in character, but brim with British personality thanks to a solid chunk of the ingredients being sourced from the UK. And if you’re booking in for a really special occasion, the Kol chef’s table experience draws you into the development kitchen where all the magic happens.

Details: 9 Seymour Street, Marylebone, W1H 5BT | Book here

Luca | Clerkenwell

Luca fancy restaurant

Proof that you don’t need white tablecloths and twenty pieces of cutlery to be fancy, Luca is Clerkenwell’s Michelin starred Italian. It’s an effortlessly luxe space, with modernist, 50s-era furnishings; romantic booths for two; and lighting which seems to have magical, cheekbone-sculpting powers. It’s run by The Clove Club team, which explains the quality of grub coming out of the kitchen – agnolotti cacio e pepe, Scottish halibut with mussels, and parmesan fries (not chips, but parmesan. Fried). To ramp up the special occasion factor, book one of Luca’s intimate private dining rooms, or dine next to a roaring fire in their walled garden.

Details: 88 St. John Street, EC1M 4EH | Book here

Ikoyi | Aldwych

Ikoyi

With its spaceship-styled interiors crafted from natural materials, Ikoyi feels like a vision of restaurants from the year 2094. It’s the stylish second iteration for the restaurant started up by two friends in 2017, which quickly earned a Michelin star and won heaps of acclaim for its elegant West African-inspired food. These days, the double-starred menu casts its net far and wide for inspiration, with the general theme being ‘creative and amazing’. At £300 a pop it’s definitely one of the most expensive eateries in London – but you’re here for a little daydreaming, right?

Details: 180 Strand, London, WC2R 1EA Book here

The Midland Grand Dining Room | King’s Cross

If you’re in the market for triple-height ceilings, marble pillars and chandeliers a small family of eagles could nest in, The Midland Grand Dining Room should fit the bill. You’ll find it nestled inside the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, the Gothic giant curving along Euston Road by St. Pancras Station. To dine here is to occupy another world for a little while: a fleet of staff works the room with seamless efficiency, delivering sumptuous French brasserie fare from exec chef Patrick Powell. And if you have time to linger, head next door to Gothic Bar for a suitably luxurious nightcap.

Details: St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, London NW1 2AR Book here

HIDE | Mayfair

Fancy restaurant in London: Hide

Ironically, HIDE hasn’t done the best job of staying out of the spotlight. It has, however, done a faultless job on everything else. Within a year of opening it got the Michelin star pressure off its shoulders by promptly winning one, and its three wood-heavy levels – tied together through a fairytale spiral staircase – heave with diners looking to splurge on mightily impressive dishes from owner-wünderchef Ollie Dabbous and his trend-setting team; anything from croissants caked in bird sap to chalk stream trout cooked over charcoal and Cornish monkfish with sweetcorn. The never-ending wine list is one to get lost in too, up there with the largest in the world thanks to their connection with Hedonism Wines. The best place to explore it? Down in the cellars of HIDE Below.

Details: 85 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB | Book here

Hawksmoor Knightsbridge | Knightsbridge

Hawksmoor Knightsbridge

Hawksmoor Knightsbridge is the grand, sixth member of the family, and beside all the usual Hawksmoor draws – romantically low lighting, buttery leather banquettes, dictionary-thick steaks – there’s a couple of cosy, local touches, too, like the blackboard of daily caviar specials, and football-sized giant Ferrero Rocher for dessert.

Details: 3 Yeoman’s Row, SW3 2AL | Book here

Zuma | Knightsbridge

Zuma fancy Restaurants

Bestowed delicately upon you by the man behind Roka and Oblix at the Shard, Zuma is a striking Japanese spot that feels like it’s been hewn from one single piece of rock. A smooth granite counter encircles the open kitchen, where highly trained chefs slice up fresh sashimi and toss meat and veg onto the robata grills. It’s theatrical dining at its very finest.

Details: 5 Raphael Street, SW7 1DLBook here

Spring | Covent Garden

Spring fancy restaurant

Skye Gyngell’s Spring is a winner for any occasion. It’s set in a wing of Somerset House, meaning you can go for a pre-dinner culture hit in Spring, Summer and Autumn… and in Winter, you can hit one of the most atmospheric ice rinks in London before heading here for the après-skate. The restaurant is a beautiful mix of powder pinks, marbles, and gold; and serves a daily-changing menu of seasonal dishes, alongside a small menu of signature cocktails, house-made liquors, and plenty of wine.

Details: Somerset House, Lancaster Place, WC2R 1LA | Book here

Core by Clare Smyth | Notting Hill

core by clare smyth three michelin stars

Clare Smyth’s claim to fame was running the show at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay while it went on to win three Michelin stars (becoming the first woman in the UK to do so) and now at her own solo restaurant situated at the peak of Portobello Market, she’s only gone and done it again. Seasonality and sustainability play key roles in envelope-pushing dishes like Herdwick lamb with sheep’s curd and Charlotte potato with herring and trout roe (a cheeky nod to her Northern Irish heritage) and while the atmosphere leans more towards casual sophistication than stiff fine-dining, it’s still one of the fanciest restaurants in London (as evidenced by the footstools they put out for you to rest your handbags on).

Details: 92 Kensington Park Road, W11 2PN | Book here

Claude Bosi at Bibendum | Chelsea

claude bosi michelin star restaurant london

This ritzy Kensington restaurant was once the old Michelin tyre factory, and for the first time in its century-old history it finally has two of its very own Michelin stars. That’s all thanks to the legendary chef Claude Bosi, who moved in here in 2017 to fill the place with fancy French dining. Today the running theme is still finely-detailed amuse bouches, an oyster bar, and a vintage carvery trolley, all of which you can enjoy under the approving eye of the Michelin Man, who dons the design of the surrounding stained glass windows with an appropriately large cigar in his hand.

Details: Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, SW3 6RD | Book here

Aqua Kyoto | Oxford Circus

aqua kyoto

At Aqua Kyoto, be prepared to splash out. It’s the sort of the spot where everyone and everything is dressed to impress: from the high rollers who go, to the food itself (read: Scottish salmon and Orkney scallop maki clad in smoked daikon and beetroot caviar, and gyozas stuffed with fancy fillings like Iberico pork and black cod). Outside of the opulent red-tinted dining area there’s also a rooftop bar that peeks over Regent Street, where you can clink glasses of Veuve Clicquot while grooving to house sounds from their resident DJs.

Details: 5th Floor, 240 Regent Street, (entrance on 30 Argyll Street), W1B 3BR | Book here

Aqua Shard | London Bridge

aqua shard occasion restaurant

Look, all the restaurants in The Shard rank among London’s fanciest restaurants. But Aqua Shard – the lowest, at a mere 31 storeys up the skyscraper – is the most affordable, while still allowing you to enjoy the high life (quite literally). The chance to see the London skyline from all angles – even the loos – is definitely a big selling point but, aside from the dizzying views, you can also enjoy dappered-up British mains (think Cornish red mullet with bay leaf butter sauce) and elaborately crafted cocktails at a rather breath-taking central bar.

Details: 31st Floor, The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | Book here

 


You know what pairs well with one of London’s fancy restaurants? The best rooftop bars in London