Open an article on Michelin starred restaurants in London with a joke about tyres that doesn’t fall flat…
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. 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 Cafe 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 | Clapham | Fitzrovia | Kensington | Kew | Marylebone | Mayfair | Soho & Covent Garden | Wandsworth | Westminster
THREE STARS ☆☆☆
Gordon Ramsay | Good Value
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 17 years, it has held the three stars that made him the first Scottish chef to achieve such acclaim. The smart and unpresupposing 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”.
Address: 68 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HP. Cuisine: French. Price: Menu £65/110 Dress Code: Smart.
Considering it contains the most Michelin stars of any city, it should come as no surprise that Tokyo-borne “Oyakata (sushi master)”, Mitsuhiro Araki, managed to bag a few over here. What is surprising is that it took just four years. Seating only nine guests at its 200 year-old cypress tree dining counter, the Araki gives you a glimpse into Japan’s past. Every element of the experience is based on the historic Edo period (except possibly the price) and you’ll watch each dish on the chef’s omakase set menu (the only thing you can order) prepared before you by the master himself.
Address: Unit 4, 12 New Burlington Street, W1S 3BF. Cuisine: Sushi. Price: £300 per person for Omasake Set Menu. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
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: £140 Tasting Menu, £180 Seasonal Tasting Menu, £65 Express Lunch Menu. Dress Code: Smart.
TWO STARS ☆☆
Claude Bosi at Bibendum | Good Value
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. 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: Starters from £9.50 / Main from £14.50. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
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”. Instead get ready to curl up inside a warm, oak-panelled love letter to Britain’s by-gone grub. READ MORE
Address: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, SW1X 7LA. Cuisine: British. Price: Starters from £19.50 / Main from £33.00. Dress Code: Comfortable.
Voted the UK’s best restaurant more than half a dozen times, it’s easy to see why Michelin think The Ledbury “worth a detour”. The food is modern, with a dash of flavour from all over the world – meaning there’s something for all palates on its extensive taster menu. The restaurant itself is more lavishly decorated than its interior which, with its laid back atmosphere and no nonsense dishes, have made it a hit with almost every award-giving organisation going. The staff famously fought off rioters with utensils and whisks back in 2011, but now present you with complimentary bags of compost made from kitchen waste. READ MORE
Address: 127 Ledbury Road, W11 2AQ. Cuisine: Modern. Price: Menu £75/145. Dress Code: Smart.
The Greenhouse lives up to its name. Not by incubating its diners in a humid fug reminiscent of a Bikram yoga studio, but with clean, crisp, and seasonal offerings that exude, in Michelin’s words, “an exhilarating freshness”. It is approached, rather suitably, through a landscaped garden and is itself awash with wood, greenery, and natural furnishings. The menus change with the seasons, but the quality is constant all year round.
Address: 27A Hay’s Mews, W1J 5NY. Cuisine: British. Price: Starters from £19.50 / Main from £33.00. Dress Code: Comfortable.
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught | Good Value
An evening out at Hélène Darroze is presented as a game you cannot lose. The menu, a solitaire board from which you remove the dishes you don’t desire, allows you to curate your own tasting menu. Set inside Mayfair’s stunning Connaught Hotel you will also be treated visually to oak panelled rooms, Damien Hirst artwork, and glass cloches – which means it’s very easy to pry on other diners’ choices as they work their way across the restaurant.
Address: Carlos Place, W1K 2AL. Cuisine: Modern. Price: Menu £52/95. Dress Code: Smart.
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 – except possibly about the state of your waistline. READ MORE
Address: 43 Upper Brook Street, W1K 7QR. Cuisine: French. Price: Menu £67/160 – Carte £67/197. Dress Code: Smart.
A famous protégé of Ramsay, Marcus Wareing’s flagship also takes the chef’s name as its own – and on first name terms is how you’ll feel inside The Berkeley’s relaxed dining room. Leather wingback sofas, tiled 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: Creative. Price: Menu £55/120. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
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 flow endlessly on the menu which creates “elaborate dishes that provide many varieties of flavours and textures”. 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: French. Price: Carte £110/143. Dress Code: Smart.
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 each day fresh produce is flown in from Japan to ensure authenticity. Even local produce gets 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.
Address: 14-16 Bruton Place, W1J 6LX. Cuisine: Japanese. Price: Menu £45/155 – Carte £46/151. Dress Code: Smart.
ONE STAR ☆
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: Creative. Price: Menu £43 (lunch) – Carte £45/92. Dress Code: Smart.
The Five Fields
So, they don’t 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 cultural complexion. 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. Price: Menu £65/85. Dress Code: Smart.
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. Thirteen 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.
Address: Walham Grove, SW6 1QP. Cuisine: British Gastropub. Price: Menu £36/43. Dress Code: Casual.
Outlaw’s at The Capital | Good Value
As the name suggests, chef Nathan Outlaw, whose eponymous restaurant in Cornwall holds two Michelin stars, has opened up shop in the capital. The entire venture is “all about sustainable seafood” and Outlaw meticulously sources each and every catch – claiming to trace a line from the fish’s mouth right back to the individual crew who caught it. The result is outstanding freshness and flavour in a menu that rarely flounders.
Address: 22-24 Basil Street, SW3 1AT. Cuisine: Seafood. Price: Menu £29/62. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
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: British. Price: Menu £35 (lunch) / 55. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
A lawyer, a food blogger, and a chef walk into a restaurant, realise they’re the same person, and set up Hedone – a restaurant that is led entirely by in-season, high-quality produce. Unsurprisingly for a former lawyer, Mikael Jonsson’s approach to his cuisine is meticulous and methodical; creating an ever-changing menu that responds entirely to the quality of what he can get his hands on. “Superlative and very flavoursome cooking” is the result, all of which you can watch because his open kitchen remains in full view of the diners. Jonsson himself is an almost constant presence, presiding over his stereotypically calm Nordic central command.
Address: 301-303 Chiswick High Road, W4 4HH. Cuisine: Modern. Price: Menu £95/135. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
The River Café
Overlooking the Thames, this iconic restaurant has been a part of bankside life for 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: Menu £61/85. Dress Code: Smart.
Angler | Good Value
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: Menu £38 (lunch) – Carte £61/72. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
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. Price: Menu £43/68. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
Club Gascon | Good Value
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: Menu £45/80 – Menu £50/70. Dress Code: Smart.
The Clove Club
Named after the supper club where founders Daniel Willis, Isaac Mchale, and Johnny Smith first met, 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. Serving up their favourite produce from around the British Isles, this supper club has produced a tasting menu “full of originality, verve and flair”. Take your friends and be inspired. Just don’t fall in love with the name; it’s already been taken. READ MORE
Address: 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT. Cuisine: Modern. Price: Menu £75/110 – Carte £35/56. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
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. Price: Menu £27/61. Dress Code: Comfortable.
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 a stylish setting, much like the food which has “a classic French foundation and a sophisticated modern edge.”
Address: 35 Spital Square, E1 6DY. Cuisine: French. Price: £38 (3 course set menu)/£70 for 3 courses à la carte Dress Code: Smart.
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. This intuition has influenced the menu, where her self-taught flavour combinations guide her 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: 10 Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ. Cuisine: French. Price: Menu £39 (lunch) – £65/102 (dinner). Dress Code: Smart.
Lyle’s | NUDGE MEMBER PERK AVAILABLE
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: Menu £55+ (dinner) Dress Code: Comfortable.
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 menu that is “colourful, playful and easy to eat.” In his new iteration, much of that menu will be prepared in front of diners at tableside preparation stations. READ MORE
Address: 109 Tooley Street, SE1 2JX. Cuisine: Modern. Price: Menu £45 (lunch)/120 (dinner). Dress Code: Smart Casual.
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.”
Address: 4 The Polygon, Clapham Common, SW4 0JG. Cuisine: Modern. Price: Menu £39 (lunch) – Carte £47/63. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
Hakkasan Hanway Place
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 Canton region is represented well with aromatic and sensuous editions of its classic dishes – which is why this Chinese canteen has been Michelin starred for over 15 years.
Address: 8 Hanway Place, W1T 1HD. Cuisine: Chinese. Price: Menu £38/128 – Carte £29/98. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs
If a man approaches you offering Michelin starred fare through the backdoor of a hotdog shack on Charlotte Street, trust him: he’s legit. Awarded a star in 2014, 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 taster menu of meticulously sourced and foraged British ingredients. READ MORE
Address: 70 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QG. Cuisine: Modern. Price: Menu £125. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
If only Paddington Bear had popped on the 27 bus and made his way down to Fitzrovia, he could have found a home from home in Lima’s fun, colourful, and informal Peruvian eatery. The first and only Peruvian parlour with a Michelin star, it’s “the ideal antidote to times of austerity”. Its menu will whisk you through Peru’s diverse past with Spanish, Chinese, European, and Japanese influences all shining through. You’d be wise to accompany your trip with their world renowned Pisco Sours but be warned: they’re so delicious, you, like Paddington, might need a name tag on your coat to help you find your way home.
Address: 31 Rathbone Place, W1T 1JH. Cuisine: Peruvian. Price: Carte £41/157. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
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 Dorset crab, smoked quail, suckling pig, and poached turbot – 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: Creative. Price: Menu £30/80. Dress Code: Smart.
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”. Only three years old, Portland is a recent addition to both London, and the Michelin guide, but the finesse of the food belies their youth. 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. Price: Menu £39/65 – Carte £43/55. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
The Ninth | NUDGE MEMBER PERK AVAILABLE
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: Menu £25 (lunch) – Carte £32/57. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
Kitchen W8 | Good Value
Owners Rebecca Mascarenhas and Phil Howard wanted to create a neighbourhood restaurant in Mayfair. 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. Price: Menu £28/30 – Carte £40/55. Dress Code: Smart.
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: Creative. Price: Menu £29/110 – Carte £60/85. Dress Code: Smart.
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: Creative. Price: Carte £38/69. Dress Code: Smart.
This modern European restaurant focusses firmly on the texture of its creations. Thankfully, they’re anything but rough. Icelandic chef, Aggi Sverrisson, has curated a menu that, with every course, combines varying consistencies, and feels, to hit all the senses. Neutral tones in the dining room allow the food to take centre stage, and the artful arrangements are definitely a sight to behold. The tone of the tuck is distinctly Nordic, with British and European ingredients locating it, metaphorically at least, somewhere in the North Sea.
Address: 34 Portman Street, W1H 7BY. Cuisine: Creative. Price: Menu £34/95 – Carte £60/92. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
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: Menu £35/70 – Carte 38/53. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
Alyn Williams at The Westbury
The rosewood panels add a warmth to this formal diner that keeps the atmosphere cheery and light. It’s as if someone dared to turn the brightness up on an Agatha Christie. The same goes for the dishes, which are “creative and even playful”, taking a fairly straightforward approach to modern cuisine but with a wry twist.
Address: 37 Conduit Street, W1S 2YF. Cuisine: Modern. Price: Menu £30/80. Dress Code: Smart.
Amaya | Good Value
Amaya serves up the (often overlooked) grilled cooking of India – and inside you literally will overlook them as the kitchen 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: Menu £26 (lunch) – Carte £34/78. Dress Code: Smart.
Ametsa With Arzak Instruction
Postmodern Basque Cuisine awaits you at this sleek and artful diner. Based on the raw aesthetic of Arzak, the three starred San Sebastián restaurant that birthed it, Ametsa has remixed and updated the design. 7000 glass receptacles, each filled with spice, weave their way across a ceiling held up by whitewashed walls and a 30 degree angle oaken floor. The food is just as creative; bringing together the earthly rustic feel of Basque cooking with modern culinary techniques and presentation in a combo that is “wonderfully vibrant”. READ MORE
Address: 5 Halkin Street, SW1X 7DJ. Cuisine: Basque. Price: Menu £29/110 – Carte £60/85. Dress Code: Smart.
An imposing frontage on Berkeley Square and an expansive interior sets the bar high for the Indian cuisine within Benares. Atul Kochhar’s menu soars above it. With British ingredients, sourced from as far and wide as the islands of Scotland to the New Forest, Kochhar creates a truly homegrown experience out of the subcontinent’s idiosyncratic flavours.
Address: 12A Berkeley Square House, W1J 6BS. Cuisine: Italian. Price: Menu £33/70. Dress Code: Comfortable.
The restaurant of a fine art and antiques dealer is likely to be good. This one is really good. It’s bright, sleek, and serves up exactly what you’d expect from a Michelin starred dining outfit – delicate dishes, French flavours, and modern twists. It’s not winning any awards for creativity, just that all important star for its “elegant” dishes with “real clarity to the flavours”.
Address: 101 New Bond Street, W1S 1SR. Cuisine: Modern. Price: Carte £47/59. Dress Code: Smart.
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 £38 (lunch) – Carte £77/107. Dress Code: Smart.
Fera at Claridge’s | Good Value
Meaning “wild” in Latin, Fera puts its focus on the untamed bounty of nature. Its home is a sharp and sophisticated dining room which, being inside Claridge’s, should come as no surprise. Its smart pastel palette surrounds natural greenery, and wood furnishings, all conspiring to look like where you’ve just come from – the Great British outdoors. It’s charmingly rustic, as is the food, which commands “an impressive purity and originality.”
Address: Brook Street, W1K 4HR. Cuisine: British. Price: Menu £42 (lunch) – Carte £61/83. Dress Code: Smart.
Galvin at Windows
Nothing to do with Microsoft but this restaurant, on the 28th floor of the London Hilton, truly has the works. Breathtaking views across the capital and a sophisticated 1930s-era interior provide the backdrop to a menu of modern French cuisine. Should you wish to try something a little further afield then there’s Head Chef Joo Won’s Korean Degustation Menu for your, well, degustation.
Address: London Hilton Hotel, 22 Park Lane, W1K 1BE. Cuisine: Modern. Price: Menu £37/82. Dress Code: Smart.
Inspired by colonial India’s high society sports clubs, the decor here is a delightful blend of dry wit and whimsy. The dishes range from gently seasoned game through tandoori seafood and, of course, a strong selection of curries. Naturally punch adorns the bar, and their cocktails are curated to tell the tales of inspiring women of India. READ MORE
Address: 42 Albemarle Street, W1S 4JH. Cuisine: Indian. Price: Menu £25 (weekday lunch) – Carte £25/71. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
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.” They even have London-exclusive options.
Address: 17 Burton Street, W1J 6QB. Cuisine: Chinese. Price: Menu £38/128 (lunch) – Carte £37/110. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
Jamavar | Good Value
Named after the intricate and vibrant shawls of 16th century Kashmir, at Jamavar you can expect to find a similar level of delicate design in the dishes. There’s a small plates section covering elegant entrées like venison samosa, while “from the tandoor the stone bass tikka is a must” according to Michelin. Housed across two dining rooms, each inspired by the Viceroy’s house of New Delhi, expect dark timber, marbled floors, and a strong lug of colonial furnishings.
Address: 8 Mount Street, W1K 3NF. Cuisine: Indian. Price: Menu £25 – Carte £34/54. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
If Damien Hirst had grown up in Hangzhou his bedroom would resemble Kai’s interior. Unashamedly glitzy, the furnishings are a playful blend of Chinese heritage and modern art. Unsurprisingly, that statement is made in the cooking as well. Self-titled “Liberated Chinese Cuisine” 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: Carte £44/199. Dress Code: Smart.
This modern Italian eatery is deliberately informal and in the chef’s own words, focuses on “fun” rather than “fine”. 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: Menu £33/70. Dress Code: Comfortable.
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: Menu £38/85. Dress Code: Smart.
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: Creative British. Price: Menu £37 (lunch) – Carte £62/87. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
“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 his London landmark into the exclusive Michelin club.
Address: 150 Piccadilly Street, W1J 9BR. Cuisine: Classic French. Price: Menu £52 (weekday lunch) – Carte £75/136. Dress Code: Smart.
Tamarind | Good Value
The first Indian restaurant to win a Michelin star in the UK, this Mayfair restaurant is a smart and stately affair. Serving up small plates of traditional North Indian tuck, the flavours are well balanced, “the tandoor is used to good effect” and the range of kebabs and curries goes far enough to sate even the most passionate Indophile.
Address: 20 Queen Street, W1J 5PR. Cuisine: Indian. Price: Menu £25/75 (lunch) – Carte £37/66. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
A landmark institution of the London scene, currently under the stewardship of chefs Clement Leroy and Aya Tamura, The Square continues to operate at the top. The dining room is minimal; sleek, and crisp, reflecting the art galleries that share its postcode. The food is no different. Delicate, artful, and small; the flavours are fulsome and the portions slim. It’s sticking to its haute cuisine reputation so don’t expect loosened ties or summer shirts here. It’s fine, serious dining. And unapologetically so.
Address: 6-10 Bruton Street, W1J 6PU. Cuisine: French. Price: Menu £40/105. Dress Code: Smart.
The UK’s oldest Indian restaurant has been serving up scoff since before the country’s independence. Created in 1926, it took a whopping 90 years to earn that Michelin star, and you can now enjoy its pan-Indian dishes in a dining room of colour and spice 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: Menu £34/45 – Carte £33/75. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
SOHO & COVENT GARDEN
Barrafina | Good Value
Small plates with big flavour are the order of the day at this cosy tapas joint on Dean Street. Expect to queue, expect stools, and expect to be blown away – for their dishes “burst with flavour”. The food 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: Menu £18/44. Dress Code: Comfortable.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
It’s not very often you find Michelin star grub propping up the bar but, at L’Atelier, that’s exactly the idea. From the wooden bar top counter you’ll watch Joël Robuchon’s team preparing ‘assured, accomplished cooking with an emphasis on the Mediterranean’ before indulging in the creations side by side with your fellow diners.
Address: 13-15 West Street, WC2H 9NE. Cuisine: French. Price: Menu £45 (lunch) – Carte £64/119 Dress Code: Smart Casual.
Social Eating House | Good Value
With dimmed lighting and heavy overtones of the Lower East Side, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped inside a film noir. It’s cool and mellow in Jason Atherton’s joint, but the food packs a punch. Simple dishes done well give the whole experience a straight-talking feel where pretension can sling its hook – and should you wish to delve a little deeper, an excellent speakeasy cocktail bar awaits you on the top floor. READ MORE
Address: 58 Poland Street, W1F 7NR. Cuisine: Modern. Price: Menu £27 (lunch) – Carte £39/56. Dress Code: Comfortable.
Quite literally ‘to touch the heart gently’ but in context just ‘snack’, the translation of Dim Sum has been misused since it first appeared on our shores. However, if ever a restaurant was justified in using the more poetic iteration, it’s Yauatcha Soho. The steel blue lighting and aquarium bar within do have a touch of the Zoolander about them, but the subtle, delicate, and perfectly crafted light bites that arrive from the kitchen are no joke. They won’t just hit your heart, they’ll touch your soul. READ MORE
Address: 15 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DL. Cuisine: Chinese. Price: Menu £30 (lunch) – Carte £29/67. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
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: Menu £35/55. Dress Code: Smart.
A.Wong | Good Value
Like the Great Wall, Andrew Wong’s 10 course ‘Taste of China’ spans the nation and may leave you visible from space after scoffing it. China has an impressive 2000 years of culinary history, and with fourteen national borders, its cuisine has absorbed many influences. 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: Menu £18/42. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
Aquavit | Good Value
This Nordic dining hall is a brighter, warmer, more relaxed affair than its two starred New York elder brother but there is nothing, ahem, Loki about this London branch. It’s still “immeasurably appealing”, serving up the clean and measured Viking vittles that made its NYC counterpart so famous, and all within a warm and welcoming wood-panelled Scandi setting. Expect a smorgasbord of, well, smorgasbords… READ MORE
Address: St James’s Market, 1 Carlton Street, St James’s, SW1Y 4QQ. Cuisine: Scandinavian. Price: Menu £29 (lunch) – Carte £26/27. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
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 will have you humming Land of Hope and Glory between mouthfuls.
Address: 15 Beeston Place, SW1W 0JW. Cuisine: British. Price: Menu £35/60. Dress Code: Smart Casual.
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 deftness of 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.
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: Menu £33/71. Dress Code: Smart.
Main image: Yauatcha Soho
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