Restaurants in London
A melting pot of cultures, eating out in London is an international affair. Renowned for its curries, there are hundreds of Indian restaurants to choose from, from upmarket Mayfair to the trendy Brick Lane. Head to Chinatown in Soho for Chinese, or Brixton for African or Caribbean.
A city synonymous with celebrity big name chefs like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Yotam Ottolenghi, visitors to London can also sample some of the country's finest cuisine, but at a price. For a special gourmet evening out head to one of the famous restaurants in Mayfair, Covent Garden, Soho or Chelsea, but expect to pay for the privilege.
For the ultimate English experience, traditional fish and chips are the order of the day. Get it wrapped up for take away and head to the nearest park for a greasy snack. If the weather is doing its usual thing then head to a cosy gastro pub instead and sample some heart-warming English fare. Although London is home to some hugely impressive restaurants and chefs the city is probably still most famous for its simple pub grub.
Eating out in London is expensive but a lunchtime sandwich and soft drink shouldn't cost more than £8 and an evening meal at a standard restaurant, excluding drinks, can be had for £15.
The Avenue Restaurant and Bar is a favourite with the inhabitants of St James, and produces good modern British and Mediterranean food. This minimalist restaurant is good value and always packed, despite a sometimes patchy service. The best tables are towards the back, on the mezzanine level. Set menus are usually excellent, and competitively priced. For starters try the crayfish salad, and for mains the roast Atlantic halibut (flounder) and the White Park sirloin come highly recommended. Quality wines are available by the glass. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: 7-9 St James's Street
Telephone: (0)20 7321 2111
Star of India
When in London, visitors should experience the English national dish - Chicken Tikka Masala - and there is no better place to go than the Star of India, in the heart of South Kensington. Situated on the first floor of a Georgian house, this small restaurant has a pseudo-classical interior and continues to be popular with locals, despite the price. For years the Star of India has been at the forefront of modern Indian cuisine and it continues to impress with innovative and interesting menus, and specialities such as Sunehri Khaste (stuffed coriander pancakes) and Malai Adraki Champen (lamb cutlets marinated in cream cheese, black pepper and ginger).
Address: 154 Old Brompton Road (South Kensington)
Telephone: (0)20 7373 2901
1 Lombard Street
Situated in the domed interior of an old banking hall, opposite the Bank of England, 1 Lombard Street has become a city institution. The brasserie is always bustling with investment bankers and offers a full á la carte menu for both lunch and dinner, featuring seasonal specialities and an extensive wine list. The Michelin-starred restaurant, situated behind the brasserie, is a better bet for discreet conversation and for enthusiasts of haute cuisine. Menu favourites include roast monkfish, Angus beef tournedos and the praliné 'Lombardo' with chocolate, whisky and coffee. The formal dining environment provides a tranquil setting for appreciating Herbert Berger's sophisticated cuisine. Open weekdays only for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the dress is smart casual. They run a tapas menu from 5pm at the bar.
Address: 1 Lombard Street (Bank)
Telephone: (0)20 7929 6611
On a quiet side street just off Knightsbridge and a minutes walk from Harrods, Montpeliano is a wonderfully old-fashioned Italian restaurant, where the food is authentic and the service excellent. The owner is always available, the staff are friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere has a feel of casual elegance. On warm evenings it is possible to dine al fresco on the outside patio. The grilled chicken diavola (devil's style/butterflied) and the fillet stroganoff are delicious!
Address: 13 Montpelier Street (Knightsbridge)
Telephone: 08 71 332 8538
The bar at this small but atmospheric pub is always buzzing with locals, while the restaurant often draws visitors from farther afield. Set on a side street a few blocks from High Street Kensington the eating area is awkwardly narrow but makes a good spot for a private and romantic evening á deux, or with a small group of friends. The crumbed camembert comes with a chicory, red wine and vanilla reduction, and is beautifully followed by the organic salmon with Jerusalem artichokes. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: 54 Abingdon Road (Kensington)
Telephone: (0)20 7937 3339
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
One of London's finest eateries, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay opened in 1998 as the chef's first independently owned venture. Today it has three Michelin stars - an honour held by only one other British restaurant. With 14 tables seating 44 guests, this exclusive venue has become a must for connoisseurs of fine contemporary cuisine from around the world. Feast on butter poached Scottish lobster tail, roasted Barbary duck and Gianduja chocolate soufflé. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, book well in advance.
Address: 539-547 Wandsworth Road, London
Telephone: 020 7592 1360
Fire and Stone
A cosy atmosphere with contemporary trimmings and the smell of fresh oven-baked pizza in the air, the trendy Fire and Stone pizza joint in Covent Garden is ideal for a family outing, a casual meal with friends or a romantic dinner. Boasting the largest wood-fired oven in the northern hemisphere, this franchise pizzeria produces a large variety of pizzas, themed on the different flavours of the continents and made with only the freshest ingredients. Complement your meal with some of their quality red wines, or try an exotic smoothie. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: 31/32 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden
Telephone: 0207 632 2084
A highly creative contemporary Indian restaurant, Zaika offers sensational Indian cuisine in a cool and vibrant setting. Situated in trendy Kensington, Zaika has won Best Indian Restaurant in the London Restaurant Awards and holds three AA rosettes. Try the tasting menu to get a fuller understanding of the extensive Indian flavours. The Indian home-smoked salmon and Masala duck breast are also favourites. With great service, plush interiors and excellent cuisine, Zaika is a fail-proof night out. Open for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday, and every evening for dinner.
Address: 1 Kensington High Street, Kensington
Telephone: 020 7795 6533
A full throttle Thai experience, eating at the Blue Elephant is a must. Greeted with welcoming smiles at the door, guests will love the Thai décor, lush indoor garden of tropical plants and the flowing carp pond. The Blue Bar's counter was carved out of a single piece of teak and layered with 50,000 sheets of goldleaf, adding to the restaurant's exotic and luxurious feel. The starter menu offers familiar fare such as satay sticks, dumplings and spring rolls, with the main menu displaying a broad range of dishes, from herb-marinated sea bass grilled inside a bamboo wrap to Massaman, a typical Thai dish of braised lamb in a medium spicy sauce. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: The Boulevard, Imperial Wharf, Townmead Road
Telephone: 020 7751 3111
The Gun is a lovely, British-styled restaurant that is gaining plenty of popularity for its up-market take on classic dishes. Open for lunch and dinner (reservations essential), be sure to try the Herdwick mutton with pearl barley stew or the grilled fillet of royal bream, served with squid and parsley risotto. This waterside pub is delightfully British!
Address: 27 Coldharbour Road, London
Telephone: 020 7515 5222
Stef's describes itself as 'your local Italian restaurant in London', and its laid-back, family-run atmosphere is a real winner for those looking for unpretentious and high-quality Italian food in England's capital. Choose from pizza, pasta or a range of 'Chef's specialities'. Booking recommended.
Address: 3 Berners Street, London
Telephone: 020 3073 1041