The Michelin Guide was, originally, a scheme designed to sell more tires.
More dining out meant more journeys. More journeys meant more wear on the car tires. More wear on the car tires meant you had to buy a new set slightly sooner. The logic was a little bit convoluted, to say the least.
Particularly because you can get to all of the places on the Tube…
Want to see a list of the Bib Gourmands? Have at it…
Now read on for the history, and the full list of Michelin Star restaurants in London for 2021…
In 1900, in a bid to drum up business, tyre manufacturer Michelin created a travel guide. It contained within a list of hotels and restaurants for drivers to visit – the hope being that Michelin’s tyres would take them there and need replacing soon after. Amazingly, it worked. By 1920 the dining section was so popular the company began to hire anonymous inspectors to visit, test, and rank the various restaurants in its guide. These inspectors were, and still are, trained in France and judge a restaurant on quality; chef’s skill and flavour expertise; personality and creativity; and consistency between visits. Taking these things into account they award either three, two, one, or no stars. Places that really bomb don’t even get a mention. One star means a “very good restaurant in its category”, two stars means “worth a detour” and the highly coveted three stars means “worth a special journey”. These anonymous secret agents, with a licence to eat, have been shaping the restaurant business ever since.
Like all organisations who appoint themselves judge, jury, and executioner, Michelin has come under its fair share of criticism. Lambasted for pandering to French cuisine, they have oft been accused of Gallic cultural imperialism. The abundance of stars showered on Japanese restaurants (of the top 5 most starred cities, 3 are in Japan) has also led people to accuse Michelin of buttering up the Japanese automobile industry in order to sell more tyres. Even if that were true, it’s prudent to remember that more sales was always the company’s aim, even in 1900. But cynical or not, the stars still carry an awful lot of weight and once they arrived in London, the restaurant scene was changed forever.
The first Michelin star came to London in 1977, by way of Michel and Albert Roux’s Le Gavroche. Since then, chefs have been falling over their feet to earn the recognition, and resultant rise in sales, that a Michelin star will afford them. Much like Oscar season, the run up to the Michelin Guide’s publication is a media frenzy of gastronomic proportions. The earning or losing of a star can make or break a business – and not always in the ways you might think. In 2011 chef Skye Gyngell attempted to remove the star bestowed upon Petersham Nurseries Café because customers complained in their droves after turning up expecting formal dining.
Whether a gift or a curse, one thing is clear – Michelin stars mean good food. And with our comprehensive guide you can soak up every single star in London’s glittering restaurant scene without having to fork out for new tyres, or watch your waistline expand to the size of the Michelin man’s…
JUMP TO: THREE STARS | TWO STARS |
ONE STAR: Chelsea | Chiswick | The City/East London | Clapham | Fitzrovia | Kensington | Kew & Richmond | Marylebone | Mayfair | Shepherd’s Bush | Soho | St James’s | Wandsworth | Westminster
THREE STARS ☆☆☆
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Ever the humble connoisseur of cooking, Gordon Ramsay named his flagship London restaurant… Gordon Ramsay. And well he might put his name to it, because for two decades it has retained the three stars that made him the first Scottish chef to achieve such acclaim. The smart and unfussy frontage on Hospital Road contains within some of Britain’s best dining, with a menu that “bridges both classical and modern schools and is executed with considerable poise”. READ MORE
Address: 68 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HP | Cuisine: Modern European | Price: Lunch £120, dinner £140 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Core by Clare Smyth | PROMOTED TO 3 STARS FOR 2021
Clare Smyth was previously chef patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and, unsurprisingly for the woman who helped to retain the restaurant’s stars for so long, she’s now scored a neat trio for her debut solo spot, too. Since opening in 2017, Core by Clare Smyth had critics raving over the delicate tasting menus, all prepared in a kitchen behind a glass wall in the restaurant. And after making an unusual Michelin list debut with 2 stars right off the bat, Core added a third to its mantelpiece in 2021. READ MORE
Address: 92 Kensington Park Road, W11 2PN | Cuisine: British | Price: Set lunch menu £105, dinner menu £125, tasting menu £155-175 | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester | Good Value Lunch
It may lose out to Mayfair on the Monopoly board, but when it comes to fine dining, it’s Park Lane that takes the prize. Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester has exactly what you’d expect from Michelin cuisine: elegant dining room, silver service, and artfully designed dishes that are unapologetically French. What you might not expect is the private dining table surrounded by 4,500 different sparkling fibre optics. Do pass go, do collect £200 – you’re going to need it.
Address: 53 Park Lane, W1K 1QA | Cuisine: Contemporary French | Price: A la carte £110+, tasting menu £170, express lunch menu (Wed-Fri) £70 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Having rapidly climbed the ranks and now proudly bearing three stars, Hélène Darroze’s restaurant specialises in giving your personal tastes the Michelin treatment. The menu is driven primarily by the seasons, with dishes from French, Italian and Japanese culinary traditions making an appearance. Set inside Mayfair’s stunning Connaught Hotel, the restaurant also treats you visually to oak panelled rooms, custom-made chandeliers, and glass cloches – which means it’s very easy to pry on other diners’ choices as they work their way across the restaurant.
Address: The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, W1K 2AL | Cuisine: Seasonal and globe-trotting | Price: Weekday lunch £85, dinner tasting menu £160-185 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Sketch | The Lecture Room & Library
The decor is less sketch, more oil painting in this spectacular and lavishly furnished dining room by designer Gabhan O’Keeffe. To reflect the setting chef Pierre Gagnaire has created a menu that explodes with flavours. Ingredients elegantly intersect to create “elaborate dishes that provide many varieties of flavours and textures” like wild mushroom bouillon with ‘iced cider’ and ‘wet walnuts’. It’s a technicolour dream that will leave you seeing stars as well as tasting them. READ MORE
Address: 9 Conduit Street, W1S 2XG | Cuisine: Modern European | Price: Lunch (Fri & Sat) £125, Dinner (Wed-Sat) £165 or à la carte | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
TWO STARS ☆☆
THE CITY & EAST LONDON
Da Terra | PROMOTED TO 2 STARS FOR 2021
Da Terra was a shoe-in for the 2020 guide, so it’s unsurprising that it’s grabbed a second star just a year later. Taking up a sleek corner of the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, you’ll find it in the space previously occupied by Viajante (the legendary restaurant by Nuno Mendes) and the lauded Typing Room by Lee Westcott. It’s now Da Terra, a joint venture between former Fat Duck chefs Paulo Airaudo and Rafael Cagali. Here, they serve creative, balanced dishes combining Latin American flavours with an Italian twist, in the form of two mystery tasting menus where each dish will be introduced to you as it arrives. READ MORE
Address: Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, Bethnal Green, E2 9NF | Cuisine: Latin American/Italian | Price: Lunch £78, tasting menus £130 (7 courses)/£155 (10 courses) | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
La Dame de Pic
Anne-Sophie Pic, the eponymous dame of this award-winning diner, has found her way to the top without formal training, instead using her own sense of intuition (and learning from her Michelin starred dad). This intuition has influenced the menu, where her self-taught flavour combinations guide classic French courses and deliver them “in a modern and exciting manner”. The dining room is a sleek, high ceiling, Beaux-Arts style affair which provides the perfect place to sample her wares.
Address: Four Seasons Hotel London, 10 Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ | Cuisine: Predominantly French | Price: Tasting menus £105-175 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Claude Bosi at Bibendum
Ironically for a building adorned with stained glass portraits of the Michelin man himself, the restaurant inside the company’s former London HQ has never had a Michelin star – until Claude Bosi took over the kitchens, and won it a debut placing with two in the 2018 guide. French fare is, as you’d expect, king here and accompanied by a wine list so lengthy you might need a separate Michelin guide just to navigate through it. READ MORE
Address: 81 Fulham Road, SW3 6RD | Cuisine: French | Price: Lunch £105, dinner £125, tasting £165-185 | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table (open Wed-Sat)
What started as a secret dining counter hidden behind a curtain at the back of a hot dog restaurant has now become a fully-fledged (but still deliciously secretive) restaurant. Awarded its first star in 2014, and a second four years later, Kitchen Table gives you and only 19 other diners an intimate experience where interaction with the chefs is positively encouraged, and the entire drama of the kitchen will unfold before your eyes. There is only one option; the daily changing tasting menu centred around carefully sourced British ingredients, paired with hand-picked wines chosen by chef James Knappett’s wife and award-winning sommelier, Sandia Chang.
Address: 70 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QG | Cuisine: Modern British | Price: Menu £250 (exc. drinks) | Dress Code: Smart casual, no baseball caps | Book a table
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal | Good Value
Take a trip down a mouthwatering memory lane with Heston’s living historical cookbook. Each entry at Dinner has been researched alongside the British Library and has been meticulously crafted for the modern palate. The menu comes with information relating to the historical provenance of each dish, so you can time travel your way across Britain’s culinary past. But as Michelin warn, “don’t come expecting molecular gastronomy”. But do come expecting meat pâté to arrive masquerading as a mandarin. READ MORE
Address: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, SW1X 7LA | Cuisine: Historical British | Price: Starters from £23.50 / Mains from £40 | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
Restaurant Story | PROMOTED TO 2 STARS FOR 2021
Despite common wisdom regarding the shared location of defecation and digestion, this restaurant in a former restroom has gone on to win chef Tom Sellers numerous accolades. Serving just 12 tables – which is pretty good going for a WC – the dishes at Story tell the tale of British cuisine through an ever-changing tasting menu that is “colourful, playful and easy to eat” – like, for example, the famous beef dripping candle. In his new iteration, much of that menu is prepared in front of diners at tableside preparation stations, and music’s curated by his mates, Rudimental. READ MORE
Address: 109 Tooley Street, SE1 2JX | Cuisine: Modern European | Price: 7 course tasting menu £130 (lunch), 10 course tasting menu £185 (lunch & dinner) | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
London’s home of haute cuisine was the first restaurant in the capital to receive one, two and then three Michelin stars. It proved a kindergarten for future culinary champions with Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, and Marcus Wareing all plying their trade there. Today Le Gavroche still holds onto an impressive two stars; having lost one in 1993 when ownership changed hands from Albert Roux to his son. It’s as French as a restaurant could possibly be, taking its name from Les Misérables and serving rich, indulgent classics that will leave you anything but miserable. READ MORE
Address: 43 Upper Brook Street, W1K 7QR | Cuisine: French | Price: Tasting menu £178, à la carte mains from £40 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
A.Wong | PROMOTED TO 2 STARS FOR 2021
China has an impressive 2000 years of culinary history, and with fourteen national borders, its cuisine has absorbed many influences. To get a taste of it all, head to Andrew Wong’s exceptional flagship, where he offers his 10 course Taste of China. Expect a culinary expedition featuring the likes of Wuwei smoked duck ‘bird’s nest’ and Yunnan seared beef with mint and chilli, or go off-road and pick from their à la carte dim sum.
Address: 70 Wilton Road, SW1V 1DE | Cuisine: Chinese | Price: ALC, or tasting menu £160 | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
ONE STAR ☆
Elystan Street | Good Value
Having reigned supreme for a quarter of a century at London’s fêted The Square, Phil Howard struck out alone and opened this sleeker, more temperate venue. Like loosening a tie on a hot day, Elystan Street retains its class, but allows you just enough room to breathe. The pastel-coloured palette lightens the mood and lets the food do the talking on a menu that’s predictably gourmet, but with strong Mediterranean influences that are “well-defined and eminently satisfying”. READ MORE
Address: 43 Elystan Street, SW3 3NT | Cuisine: Modern European | Price: Set lunch £35, à la carte mains £27+, 6 course tasting menu £105 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
The Five Fields
They may not have five fields, but they do have their own kitchen garden in East Sussex which provides seasonal herbs, flowers, and vegetables for your plate throughout the year. The focus here is on British dishes and, as a native Londoner, chef Taylor Bonnyman’s menu attempts to capture London’s broad culinary culture. So yes, there’s banana with pecan and cardamom but there’s also smoked eel and deer. Everything is “attractively presented and packed with flavour” and sits inside an understated dining room that, with its earthen palette, nods to the (presumably five) green fields that once lay between Chelsea and Knightsbridge. READ MORE
Address: 8-9 Blacklands Terrace, SW3 2SP | Cuisine: Modern British | Price: Tasting menu £95 (lunch), £120 (dinner) | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Harwood Arms | Good Value
We all love the comforting embrace of a good pub lunch and, if it’s good enough, so does the Michelin man – which is exactly what happened in 2005 when he gave the Harwood Arms a star. Sixteen years on and it’s still the only Michelin starred saloon in the capital; serving up traditional British fare with a focus on game and wild food, all accompanied by veg they harvest from their own rooftop garden. It remains “a proper, down-to-earth pub that just happens to serve really good food.” Cheers to that. READ MORE
Address: Walham Grove, SW6 1QP | Cuisine: British gastropub | Price: Menu £42 (2 courses) £55 (3 courses) | Dress Code: Casual, dogs welcome | Book a table
Muse | NEW STAR FOR 2021
Tom Aikens became the youngest chef to gain two Michelin stars when he won them for Pied à Terre at just 26. So it’s fair to say he’s an old hand at the whole fine dining thing. His newest restaurant, Muse, is set in a converted mews house that seats only 25 each night. The result is an intimate dining experience where each dish has been inspired by a muse of some kind – whether a close family member or friend of Aikens’, or a pivotal moment in his life. Contributing to that sense of misty nostalgia are the enigmatic tasting menus, which reveal only a glimpse of the ingredients in each course and instead tell the story of their inception.
Address: 38 Groom Place, SW1X 7BA | Cuisine: Modern European | Price: Lunch tasting menu £80/140 (5/8 courses), dinner tasting menu £140 (8 courses) | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
La Trompette | Good Value
Chez Bruce’s sister, which, to be fair, would have been an equally catching name, is as you’d expect, top drawer. “The service is charming and the food terrific”. A similarly laid back dining room, like its sibling, provides you with an unstuffy but smart night out. Meanwhile the food remains British with guidance and tutelage from the French.
Address: 5-7 Devonshire Road, W4 2EU | Cuisine: Modern British | Price: Lunch £45/£50 weekends, dinner £70 (all 3 courses), corkage £30 | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
The River Café | Good Value
Overlooking the Thames, this iconic restaurant has been a part of bankside life for over 30 years. “Hearty portions bursting with authentic flavours” have helped this industrious Italian retain its star for so long. The restaurant itself is always a hive of activity, with the on-view kitchen and wood-fired oven stretching the length of the room. The impressive wine list takes you the length of Italy and no doubt you’d get the boot before being able to finish it. READ MORE
Address: Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, W6 9HA | Cuisine: Italian | Price: Starters ~£20, mains ~£40 | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
THE CITY & EAST LONDON
Angler | Good Value Lunch
Despite the geometric title it’s maritime, not mathematical, cuisine on offer at D&D’s rooftop restaurant at the South Place Hotel. Perched up in the eaves, the angled floor to ceiling windows give the restaurant some pretty serious aquarium vibes – very fitting for the heavily fish-based menu “supreme in its quality”. Current Executive Chef Gary Foulkes studied under Gary Rhodes, John Campbell, and Phil Howard, and for this Angler has proved quite the catch.
Address: 3 South Place, EC2M 2AF | Cuisine: Seafood | Price: Set lunch menu £38, dinner tasting menu £110 or ALC with mains from £38.50 | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Behind | Good Value | NEW STAR FOR 2021
Intimate and theatrical, Behind is a teeny 18 seater restaurant perched on the edge of London Fields. There’s not a bad seat in the house – each will win you a view over the open kitchen where you’ll spot chef Andy Beynon putting together a fish-focussed tasting menu for your delectation. It’s his first solo spot, making it all the more impressive that it scored a Michelin star for itself 20 days after opening in late 2020. The dishes are suitably playful for the East London location – oyster tacos and lobster muffin make an appearance – and the wine pairings are some of the most reasonably priced you’ll find in a Michelin star eatery.
Address: 20 Sidworth Street, E8 3SD | Cuisine: British Seafood | Price: Lunch tasting menu £48 (6 courses, Thurs & Fri), dinner tasting menu £78 (8 courses, Sat lunch & dinner Tues-Sat) | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
Brat | Good Value
Named in honour of the turbot (“the best fish in the world”), Brat is the debut solo restaurant from former Kitty Fisher’s head chef Tomos Parry. He’s combined his own Welsh heritage with the techniques he perfected while travelling through coastal towns of the Basque region to create what he describes as a more “instinctual and primal style” of cooking, slinging well-sourced ingredients onto a wood-fired grill. And the results are very good indeed. READ MORE
NOTE: You can also check out the pop-up turned permanent sophomore branch in Hackney.
Address: First Floor, 4 Redchurch Street, E1 6JJ | Cuisine: Modern British/Basque | Price: Starters from £3.50, mains ~£20-35 | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
Casa Fofò | Good Value | NEW STAR FOR 2021
Former Pidgin chef Adolfo De Cecco flew the nest to open this cosy East London restaurant in early 2019. And just like its alma mater, Casa Fofo serves up tasting menus only… which change every day. Across 8 (highly reasonably priced) dishes, you’ll be introduced to his uniquely creative understanding of ingredient pairings, from pollock with bergamot and chantarelles to umeboshi froyo (that’s made with Japanese pickled plums). And the little terrace out the back is the cherry on top. READ MORE
Address: 158 Sandringham Road, E8 2HS | Cuisine: Globe-trotting | Price: Tasting menu £49 (8 courses) | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
City Social | Good Value
Like Gotham City, Jason Atherton’s dark, brooding art deco restaurant gives its visitors an impressive view of modern city living – on the 24th floor of Tower 42, the views truly are breathtaking. Thankfully there’s no need for utility belt-bearing vigilantes here, just an award-winning kitchen team fighting off the stuffy image of haute cuisine by serving up a “refined and robust” European menu. READ MORE
Address: Tower 42 (24th Floor), 25 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HQ | Cuisine: Modern European | Price: Starters £16+, mains £34+ | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Club Gascon is French through and through. Cut it open and you’d probably find Camembert flowing through its veins. The focus is, predictably, on Gascony, but the gastronomy does venture a little into the mainland. The building itself is imposing and strong, much like the cheese cart, and the marbled counters and floral displays provide “suitably atmospheric surroundings.”
Address: 57 West Smithfield, EC1A 9DS | Cuisine: French | Price: Tasting menu £90 (5 courses), £130 (7 courses) | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
The Clove Club
Named after the supper club where founders Daniel Willis, Isaac McHale, and Johnny Smith first met, The Clove Club retains that sense of like-minded connoisseurs gathering to get off on gastronomy. The blue tiled kitchen sits in the heart of this warm and inviting room in Shoreditch Town Hall, recently crowned the best restaurant in the UK, ranking #27 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Serving up their favourite produce from around the British Isles, the team here have produced a tasting menu “full of originality, verve and flair”. Take your friends and be inspired. READ MORE
Address: 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT | Cuisine: Modern British | Price: Lunch menu £65, tasting menus £95 (5 course), £145 (8 course) | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Cornerstone | Good value | NEW STAR FOR 2021
Michelin’s come a long way from the realms of crisp tablecloths and exclusively French fare. Case in point: Tom Brown’s Cornerstone, a restaurant based in Hackney Wick and named after an Arctic Monkeys track. As a protégé of the multiply-starred Nathan Outlaw, it was only a matter of time before he opened his own smash hit – and this is it. Focussing on seafood, the menu rotates regularly to reflect the catch of the day, alongside a couple of non-marine dishes like duck leg scrumpets. The drinks, too, are excellent, with a host of cocktails on offer specifically designed to pair with seafood. READ MORE
Address: 3 Prince Edward Road, Hackney Wick, E9 5LX | Cuisine: British Seafood | Price: Tasting menu £60 (8 courses, lunch & dinner Tues-Sat), or order à la carte (dishes ~£18) | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
Galvin La Chapelle
The third venture for culinary siblings Chris and Jeff Galvin, La Chapelle sits inside a bit of Bishopsgate history. Originally a parish hall and gymnasium for the Central Foundation School for Girls, it was due for demolition in the 70s, till a group of local residents chained themselves to the front door and faced down the bulldozers. Then derelict for 17 years, the Galvin brothers moved in and designed their Michelin eatery around it. The arched windows, vaulted ceiling, and marble pillars blend with their modern furnishings to create something a little bit special, much like the food which has “a classic French foundation and a sophisticated modern edge.”
Address: 35 Spital Square, E1 6DY | Cuisine: French | Price: Lunch set menu £38.50+, tasting menu £95, Sunday lunch £42.50, corkage £45 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Leroy | Good Value
The folks behind lauded restaurant Ellory surprised everyone when they closed up their (Michelin-starred) shop in London Fields to put down roots in Shoreditch instead. The remixed Leroy, however, is just as fantastic and soon earned a star of its own. Expect Parisian-heavy pan-European cuisine designed to share, served in a relaxed, vinyl-spinning environment. READ MORE
Address: 18 Phipp Street, EC2A 4NU | Cuisine: French | Price: Plates from £12 | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
Chef James Lowe is an acolyte of Fergus Henderson and the similarities between Lyle’s and St. John are evident: whitewashed walls, simple furniture, and strong flavours from less traditional British ingredients. At lunch the choice is yours, but by night the kitchen decides your dining fate – not that anyone would complain, the “unadulterated flavours” are a welcome addition to the London culinary scene. READ MORE
Address: Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ | Cuisine: Creative | Price: Lunch dishes to share from £13, dinner tasting menu £79 | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
Seating just 16 a night, Mãos is designed to feel like a dinner party (albeit with Michelin Star cooking). The menu’s put together by exec chef Eddie Pellicano (who previously made waves over at Clipstone), and for those looking for an experience that really pushes the envelope, there’s an intimate R&D table seating two pairs, or a group of 4-5, where you’ll be able to taste innovative new dishes that the team are trying out for the first time. READ MORE
Address: 41 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ | Cuisine: Modern European/Pan-Global | Price: £170 | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
St. John | Good Value
There’s not much of an animal you can’t find, and eat, at this Farringdon diner. Pioneering the ‘nose to tail’ eating movement, St. John serves up every inch of the animals that come through its kitchen. Bone marrow, testicles, cheeks, and ears, are all available – and it’s not offal, it’s actually “appealingly simple, full of flavour and very satisfying”. The refreshing lack of ceremony and ever-changing menu makes Michelin dining a relaxed and exploratory event. Their daily bakery, installed in a chimney, is also worthy of note, particularly for the doughnuts. READ MORE
Address: 26 St John Street, EC1M 4AY | Cuisine: British meat | Price: Starters ~£10, mains ~£25, corkage from £25 | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
Trinity | Good Value
The holy trinity of haute cuisine would be beautiful surroundings, delicious dishes, and a Michelin star. Well, Trinity lives up to its name by having all three. It’s a sleek and fresh affair overlooking Clapham Common, giving it “a genuine neighbourhood feel”, and serves up clean, sophisticated, and modern cooking that leads Michelin to believe it’s “a kitchen at the top of its game.” READ MORE
Address: 4 The Polygon, Clapham Common, SW4 0JG | Cuisine: Modern | Price: Lunch £60 (four courses), dinner £80 (four courses) | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Hakkasan Hanway Place | Good Value
The original Hakkasan, designed by Christian Liaigre, epitomises Chinoiserie decadence – which will match your mood perfectly when you’re delving into Peking duck with caviar, or grilled wagyu beef with king soy sauce. The Guangzhou region is represented well with aromatic and sensuous editions of classic Cantonese dishes – which is why this place has been Michelin starred for almost two decades. READ MORE
Address: 8 Hanway Place, W1T 1HD | Cuisine: Cantonese | Price: Tasting menus £68-128, weekend brunch £80, à la carte also available | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Pied à Terre
Were you to get ‘gourmet restaurant’ as a clue in Pictionary, your creation may well resemble Pied à Terre. It’s smart, refined, and the dishes – a mix of caviar, smoked quail, and wagyu beef – tick almost every box in the Michelin Eye-Spy. Once the proud owner of two stars, it nevertheless continues to serve “creative, flavoursome cooking” with ingredients sourced exclusively from small independent suppliers.
Address: 34 Charlotte Street,W1T 2NH | Cuisine: Modern European | Price: Lunch tasting menu £46.50-110, dinner tasting menu £95-110, prix fixe £72.50-90 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Portland | Good Value
Portland is laid-back, relaxed, and cool. There’s nothing too fancy here, just a simple set up of hearty dishes that are “crisp and unfussy but with depth and real understanding” that won the place a star within a year of opening back in 2015. They’ve also curated a strong, and ever changing, wine list which includes a ‘single bottle list’ for rare and esoteric finds. READ MORE
Address: 113 Great Portland Street, W1W 6QQ | Cuisine: Modern British | Price: 3 course prix fixe £39 (lunch), £69 (dinner), tasting menu £85 | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
The Ninth | Good Value
Chef Jun Tanaka’s first restaurant (but his ninth place of employment) is a cosy and simple affair with exposed bricks, barely-glowing bulbs and intimate banquettes. The food does the work here, and Tanaka’s small plates of Mediterranean tapas, cooked with French techniques, will likely see you chomping through a ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth serving. READ MORE
Address: 22 Charlotte Street, W1T 2NB | Cuisine: Mediterranean | Price: A la carte mains from £24 | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Kitchen W8 | Good Value
Owners Rebecca Mascarenhas and Phil Howard wanted to create a neighbourhood restaurant in Kensington. A good start, then, was to install a Kitchen in W8. Next step was to build around it a simple, but inviting dining room, and finally serve into it English cooking with a French soul. The result: a Michelin star and rather contented locals.
Address: 11-13 Abingdon Road, W8 6AH | Cuisine: Modern European | Price: Set menu £26.50-£29.50, tasting menu £80, corkage £25 (free on Sundays) | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
A famous protégé of Ramsay, Marcus Wareing’s flagship also takes the chef’s name as its own. The decor here, inside the luxe Berkeley hotel, is as old-school as it gets. Leather wingback sofas, wood-panelled walls, and an easy service allows a simple menu, “with a refreshing lack of complication”, to shine. Wareing judges the pros on Masterchef, so you’d expect his kitchen to deliver on technique – and the menu is awash with the cardinals of cookery executed to perfection.
Address: The Berkeley, Wilton Place, SW1X 7RL | Cuisine: Modern British | Price: Lunch set menu £55 (four courses), tasting menu £120 (5 courses) or £140 (7 courses), à la carte mains from £40 (not available Saturday evenings) | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
KEW & RICHMOND
The Dysart Petersham
Once a boozer, now an upmarket restaurant, The Dysart has made its home in a picturesque, mullion-windowed mock tudor building overlooking Richmond Park. Head chef (and Roux Scholarship winner) Kenneth Culhane has been quietly tinkering away here for the last seven years, and has finally won recognition for his elevated gastropub-style dishes layered with flavour. READ MORE
Address: 135 Petersham Road, Surrey, TW10 7AA | Cuisine: Modern European | Price: Set menu £55, 9 course tasting menu £95 | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
The Glasshouse | Good Value
Another Bruce Poole endeavour after Chez Bruce, The Glasshouse is another understated, and highly decorated neighbourhood restaurant. The name is fitting for its Kew location, and the botanicals housed down the road have no doubt inspired the menu’s flavours. A surfer in his spare time, head chef Greg Wellman knows the sea, which elevates the fish dishes on offer, but every item comes with the assured quality of a team who run three Michelin-level hangouts.
Address: 14 Station Parkway, TW9 3PZ | Cuisine: Globe-trotting | Price: Lunch £45/50 at weekends, dinner £70 (both 3 courses), corkage £30 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Locanda Locatelli | Good Value
Headed by Italian culinary couple Giorgio and Plaxy Locatelli, this airy and neutral restaurant has been serving up Michelin munch for over two decades. Their menu meanders through most of Italy; offering up staples from Naples and pasta from Parma. “Unfussy preparation and superb ingredients allows natural flavours to shine,” and a truly authentic experience through a nation of food await this happy couple’s guests.
Address: 8 Seymour Street, W1H 7JZ | Cuisine: Italian | Price: Starters ~£15, mains ~£25 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Trishna | Good Value
Not content with one frontage, Trishna opted for two, giving this specialist in Indian coastal cuisine a semi-al fresco feel all year round. The Southwest coast gets the most attention in the Taste of Trishna menu, but all the dishes are “vibrant, satisfying and executed with care”. The pared back aesthetic and original wood panelling give off a relaxed, sociable vibe; which proves a great setting to explore their overflowing wine list featuring niche producers and boutique wineries. READ MORE
Address: 15-17 Blandford Street, W1U 3DG | Cuisine: Indian | Price: ALC available, lunch prix fixe £35 (3 courses)/£40 (4 courses), tasting menu £75 (6 courses) | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
Amaya | Good Value
Amaya serves up the grilled cuisine of India from a kitchen that stands in full view of the customers, showcasing every step of the process from preparation to plate. Dishes are “visually appealing and very satisfying”. Made to share, this is a Michelin experience quite unlike other entries on the list, and remains a gourmet theatrical event that looks as good as it tastes.
Address: 19 Motcomb Street, SW1X 8JT | Cuisine: Indian | Price: Weekend lunch £37, light tasting menu £45, ALC averaging ~£80pp | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Benares | RESTORED STAR FOR 2021
The luxe Indian eatery Benares regained its Michelin star this year after losing it back in 2018, thanks to the magic that new exec chef Sameer Taneja is working in the kitchens. Dishes flit gracefully across India, from moreish street snacks to hispi cabbage moilee curry, with inventive twists using local ingredients like the stilton tikka (it works). And while the location makes it a popular spot for work lunches, the moody lighting and intimate setting makes it a winning spot for date night, too.
Address: 12a Berkeley Square, W1J 6BS | Cuisine: Indian | Price: Tasting menu £119/£109 vegetarian (9 courses), set menu £32/38 (2/3 courses, available lunch & dinner Tues-Sat), or order à la carte | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Marie Antoinette herself would feel at home in this opulent dining room. We’d recommend eating more than just the cake though, because this creative French menu contains a treasure trove of rich and luxurious dishes. It’s a place of indulgence, and the Wedgwood friezes and vast chandeliers simply cry out for you to unbuckle your belt and scoff till even a wafer thin mint is too much.
Address: Hyde Park Corner, SW1X 7TA | Cuisine: French | Price: Menu du jour £34 (2 courses, lunch)/£43 (3 courses, lunch & dinner), set menu £95 (3 courses)/£105 (4 courses), tasting menu £125 (5 courses) | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Davies & Brook | NEW STAR FOR 2021
To absolutely no-one’s surprise, the restaurant from Daniel Humm – the chef behind Eleven Madison Park, probably the most accolade-laden restaurant in the world – has scored itself a neat little star a year after opening. You’ll find it in the classically decadent Claridge’s Hotel, adding a little modern edge to the typically art deco surrounds and muted colour palette. Here you can pick and choose from the a la carte, or leave it to the chefs with the seven-course tasting menu taking you from caviar on an English muffin to dry-aged duck with lavender and honey. READ MORE
Address: Claridge’s, Brook Street, W1K 4HR | Cuisine: Modern European, with a little American influence | Price: Prix fixe £125 (4 courses) or tasting menu £160 (7 courses) | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Gymkhana | Good Value
Inspired by colonial India’s high society sports clubs, the decor here was recently given a stunning revamp. The dishes range from gently seasoned game to tandoori seafood and a strong selection of curries. Naturally punch adorns the bar, with an exceptional array of signature cocktails alongside the classics. READ MORE
Address: 42 Albemarle Street, W1S 4JH | Cuisine: Indian | Price: Order à la carte or lunch prix fixe £27.50 (2 courses)/£32.50 (3 courses), tasting menu £85 (5 courses), Hunters’ tasting menu £90 (6 courses), Sunday 3 course feast menu £60 for two | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Hakkasan’s second London outfit took less than a year to be awarded its Michelin star. Sticking to the intimate feel of its older sibling, expect wooden screens, geometric patterns, and edgy lighting. But while the mood is modern, the food is classic: Cantonese cuisine lines every menu and can be “delicate one minute; robust the next.” And while the restaurant’s now a global smash, there are even London-exclusive options.
Address: 17 Burton Street, W1J 6QB | Cuisine: Cantonese | Price: Tasting menus £68-128, or order à la carte | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Unashamedly glitzy, the furnishings at Kai are a playful blend of Chinese influences and modern art. Unsurprisingly, that statement is made in the cooking as well. Self-titled “Liberated Nanyang Cooking” is served up by Chef Alex Chow, which seeks to respect the legacy without being restricted to it. The philosophy’s worked, and Kai has received a slew of awards alongside its Michelin star.
Address: 65 South Audley Street, W1K 2QU | Cuisine: Chinese | Price: A la carte, afternoon tea £46 | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Murano | Good value
This modern Italian eatery is deliberately informal and in the chef’s own words, focuses on “fun” rather than “fine” dining. This gentle tone extends to the food which has “an appealing lightness of touch”. This really is Michelin food without the fuss, a welcome addition to the list of more formal venues.
Address: 20 Queen Street, W1J 5PP | Cuisine: Italian | Price: Lunch menu £40 (2 courses)/£45 (3 courses), dinner menu £75-£115 Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
Pétrus serves, shock horror, French cuisine and has, shock horror, a claret motif running through its design. Despite the name, the Bordeaux winery are not involved in the running of the restaurant themselves – it was merely Ramsay and (then head chef) Marcus Wareing’s favourite plonk. Following some er, creative differences, the pair went on to have a rather public spat over custody of the venue. Ramsay won and, though oft criticised for trying to pander to the tyre manufacturer, his very obvious “Michelin” menu still continues to impress. Their infamous wine cellar makes a splash as well with Chateau Pétrus going back to 1928; including a 1961 magnum worth £39,000.
Address: 1 Kinnerton Street, SW1X 8EA | Cuisine: French | Price: Prix fixe menu £100 (3 courses), tasting menu £125 (6 courses) | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Pollen Street Social
Jason Atherton’s first solo venture still delivers on his promise of relaxed and informal fine dining. Set behind a stately Georgian frontage, the interior is cosy, clean and simple. The food… is anything but. The plates are small but extremely well put together, prioritising British ingredients and flavours, in his creative menu. READ MORE
Address: 8-10 Pollen Street, W1S 1NQ | Cuisine: Modern British | Price: Set lunch menu £55 (3 courses), prix fixe £95 (4 courses), 8 course tasting menu £145 | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
“Nowhere is grander than The Ritz”. It’s hard to disagree, and its gilded Louis XVI decor is the perfect backdrop from which to enjoy its fancy French fare, made with the best of British ingredients. The dishes are classics, but the subtle contemporary elements have lifted this London landmark into the exclusive Michelin club.
Address: 150 Piccadilly Street, W1J 9BR | Cuisine: Classic French | Price: Set lunch menu £63 (3 courses)/£70 weekends, à la carte mains from £52, Epicurean tasting menu £110/130 (5/7 courses). Live entertainment £40 cover charge on Friday & Saturday evenings | Dress Code: Smart (jacket & tie for men) | Book a table
Sabor | Good value
Coming to you from the formidable pairing of a former Barrafina chef and general manager, Sabor made it onto the 2019 list after only eight months. Located on Heddon Street, it’s a sizeable two-floor affair whose rough bare brick walls (sporadically garnished with genuinely beautiful mosaic tiles), unvarnished wooden floors, and cast iron fittings all contrive to create the impression that the place was plucked out of a small Spanish town and dropped neatly in the centre of Mayfair – as do the excellent regional dishes taken from across the country. READ MORE
Address: 35 Heddon Street, W1B 4BR | Cuisine: Spanish | Price: Tapas dishes from £6 | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table (counter & bar walk-in only)
When it comes to number of stars, hot on Tokyo’s heels is the old capital of Kyoto. No surprise then to see Kyoto-trained Yoshinori Ishii on London’s list. His restaurant Umu prides itself on the integrity of its Kyoto-inspired creations, and produce is brought in from Japan to ensure authenticity. Even local ingredients get the Japanese treatment – his Cornish and Scottish fish suppliers have all been taught the more humane 17th century Japanese method of slaughter (ike jime) which maintains the quality of the fish. It’s only to be expected from hands-on Ishii, who’s not just responsible for the food, but also flower arranging and tableware. READ MORE
Address: 14-16 Bruton Place, W1J 6LX | Cuisine: Japanese | Price: Lunch menus from £39, dinner à la carte/seasonal tasting menu £195 (8 courses) | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
The UK’s oldest Indian restaurant has been serving up scoff since before the country regained independence. Having opened in 1926, it was serving for an impressive 90 years before Michelin clocked what Londoners had been enjoying for decades. You can now enjoy its pan-Indian dishes in a richly decorated dining room knowing that the grub on your plate is the culmination of nearly a century’s worth of refinement.
Address: 99 Regent Street, W1B 4RS | Cuisine: Indian | Price: Minimum spend £45pp | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Endo at the Rotunda
One of 2019’s most hotly anticipated openings, Endo is the first solo venture from legendary chef Endo Kazutoshi, a third generation sushi master. Up on the 8th floor of the BBC Television Centre, with cloud-like paper installations suspended from the ceiling, you’ll join 23 other diners in experiencing a 20 course omakase menu, prepped by sushi chefs before your very eyes. READ MORE
Address: White City House Television Centre, 101 Wood Lane, W12 7FR | Cuisine: Japanese | Price: Omakase dinner £195 (20 courses) | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Small plates with big flavour are the order of the day at this cosy tapas joint on Dean Street. After the pandemic made reservations pretty much mandatory, the famous queues have thankfully gone – but the dishes here still “burst with flavour”. The menu, scrawled on a blackboard, changes daily but the flair and passion of the Iberian peninsula can be found whenever you visit. READ MORE
Address: 26-27 Dean Street, W1D 3LL | Cuisine: Spanish | Price: Tapas dishes from £5.50 | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
SO|LA | NEW STAR FOR 2021
Just down the road you’ll find the only Michelin starred eatery in London serving Californian-inspired cuisine. It’s the latest in a string of successful spots from Victor Garvey (whose Spanish restaurants Encant and Sibarita were also highly acclaimed). Now he’s turning to LA for inspiration, where he moved at the tender age of 1 month old. While the dishes pay homage to the West Coast, many ingredients are sourced locally, with Scottish langoustine as well as wild Pacific salmon on the menu. And naturally, there’s a killer Californian wine list to boot.
Address: 64 Dean Street, W1D 4QQ | Cuisine: Californian | Price: Prix fixe £89 (6 courses, not available Fri/Sat dinner), tasting menu £139 (8 courses) | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
Ikoyi | Good Value
Earning the first star to go to a London spot serving African cuisine, Ikoyi is a beautiful eatery that focusses on ingredients from West Africa. It comes to you from childhood friends Iré Hassan-Odukale and Jeremy Chan, the latter of whom earnt his chops at fine dining spots like Dinner and Noma. Now he’s applying that finesse to classic dishes like jollof rice, pairing it with bone marrow and groundnut miso, while cocktails are overseen by the Three Sheets team, and wine by the buyer for Lyle’s and Gymkhana… READ MORE
Address: 1 St. James’s Market, SW1Y 4AH | Cuisine: Nigerian | Price: Lunch tasting menu £60 (5 courses), dinner tasting menu £175 (13 dishes) | Dress Code: Comfortable | Book a table
The hugely anticipated return of lauded chef Ollie Dabbous came in the form of this three-storeyed gastronomic behemoth in 2018. Decked out in elegant neutral tones, Hide wins a star for its breakfasts (feat. birch sap croissants), afternoon teas (feat. herb candy floss on a twig), delicate à la carte dishes (like tartare of heritage beetroot with blueberry vinegar, rose petals, crushed pistachio, and horseradish raw cream) and its elaborate 6-9 course tasting menus… READ MORE
Address: 85 Piccadilly, Mayfair, W1J 7NB | Cuisine: Modern European | Price: Set lunch £48 (5 courses), tasting menu £110/140 (5/8 courses), à la carte mains ~£68 | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Chez Bruce | Good Value
Despite sounding like a TV game show from the 90s, Chez Bruce is actually a very quaint and traditional diner. In fact, its head chef, Bruce Poole, has largely ignored the calling of the box in order to focus on keeping his restaurants at the top of their game – which he has done. Wholesome French cooking, with heavy influences from the Mediterranean, adorns the menu and is “prepared with innate skill” in “an easy-going atmosphere”. They also take their cheese board very seriously, which is grate news.
Address: 2 Bellevue Road, SW17 7EG | Cuisine: French | Price: Lunch £50/£55 weekends (3 courses), dinner £70 (3 courses), corkage from £30 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Dining Room at The Goring
It’s a jolly good show by the Dining Room at The Goring, which places old-fashioned British nosh front and centre of everything it does. “The perfect spot for those who like things done properly” sits within an elegant Regency-style chamber, and the service will make you feel like its neighbour – the Queen.
Address: 15 Beeston Place, SW1W 0JW | Cuisine: British | Price: Mains from £30 | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Quilon | Good Value
Quilon sits so close to Westminster, and is so popular with politicians, it has its own division bell to ensure that masala-munching MPs make it back in time to vote. The dining room features original watercolours from Indian artist Paresh Maity, and this artistic touch finds it way into the food as well. The focus is on India’s southwest, so seafood forms the core, but the meat and vegetable dishes are also pretty special.
Address: 41 Buckingham Gate, SW1E 6AF | Cuisine: Indian | Price: Menu £31/60 – Carte £42/52 | Dress Code: Smart | Book a table
Seven Park Place
This intimate diner is tucked away inside the St James’s Hotel, and only nine tables sit within its richly decorated walls. The decor is a mix of floral patterns and jewels, and looks a bit like your nan’s dining room – were she insanely wealthy and completely on point with her fashion. It’s meant to reflect the menu, which is “confident” and “allows natural flavours to shine”. You’ll get British ingredients (much of them sourced from the Lake District) turned into classic French fare.
Address: 7-8 Park Place, SW1A 1LS | Cuisine: Modern French | Price: Lunch menu £38/41 (2/3 courses), dinner tasting menu £105 (7 courses) | Dress Code: Smart casual | Book a table
Main image: Chef’s table at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught
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