Best restaurants in London – where to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner

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Independently tried and tested…

I have visited all of these restaurants, and have organised them by either the area of London or where is good to go for breakfast, separately. If they have made the list, it’s because I would recommend the place to a friend. I will update the list whenever I visit somewhere new – hope this is as often as possible!

I’ll link out to either a review on FashCatherine, or to the restaurant’s website. There may be more than one branch, but the place I have listed is the one I have visited and am happy to direct you to… Enjoy! (And do please add suggestions in the comments below)


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At The Social Eating House

Central

Sexy Fish An Asian seafood restaurant in Mayfair. This is the place to be seen dining at in 2016 and as such, is hard to get a reservation. The food is well worth the wait/queue. Especially delicious salads and tempura. And the people-watching is incredible! The service, however, is lacklustre. And you have to eat in your two hours – we took longer so weren’t allowed to order desert. The quality starter and main course, though, just about made up for it.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental (kitchen pictured above) – Home of the infamous ‘meat fruit’! Delicious concoctions and unstuffy yet elegant atmosphere. You must try the pineapple tipsy cake…

Polpo Venetian tapas plates, Covent Garden – Small bites, great cocktails, love the small pizza plates and croquettes.

Brasserie Zedel, Piccadilly Circus – Beautiful interior, great value, delicious and traditional French food. Love the beef bourguignon.

Hawksmoor, Air Street (off Regent St) – One of the best places in London for a steak. I’d go back for the triple cooked chips…

Hutong, The Shard – Northern Chinese food. Bit pricey, worth it for the views and the unusual, but tasty, cocktails.

Social Eating House, Soho – One of the most delicious meals I have eaten in a London restaurant. Expect a seasonal, bistro menu. Also, don’t miss the speakeasy bar, The Blind Pig, upstairs.

Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower, Liverpool Street – Amazing views from up here, and the star attraction has to be be duck egg with sweet waffle and maple sauce. Go in a large group and try the tasting menu.

Quaglinos, Mayfair – Recently undergone a refurb, this is a good place to ‘be seen’, frequented by the Chelsea set. Brasserie style restaurant, specialising in seafood.

Dishoom, Covent Garden – A Bombay cafe in London. I actually love this place for breakfast too, (bacon naan rolls…), but the evening sharing meals are delicious. Eat a main here, then head to…

Tredwells by Marcus Wareing, Covent Garden – … for a dessert! I loved the chocolate cornflake dish with salted caramel sauce (bring it back, Marcus!). Also, the Sunday roast here is one of the best in town.

One Aldwych, The Strand – A five star hotel with an equally lush restaurant offering. Again, great for a steak dinner. I would actually go back for another beautiful afternoon tea, which was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-themed, at the time.

Riding House Cafe, Great Titchfield Street – A modern all day brasserie, with a brilliant private dining room downstairs. A great option for eating when out and about in Oxford Circus area. Full of media types.

Claridges – An elegant place for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or afternoon tea. The menu du jour can be eaten in the decadent foyer or reading room. I visited for my 30th birthday, and at £35 for a three course lunch or £45 for a three course dinner, it is one of London’s best kept secrets.

10 Greek Street, Soho – A modern deli-style kind of restaurant. Gets pretty crowded. Fresh ingredients make it a hot spot.

Sea Containers Restaurant at Mondrian Hotel, Southbank – An easy going yet funky place to eat on the Southbank. Try the sharing dishes – everything is served family style. Also, don’t miss the two cocktail bars, one on the ground floor, another up on the roof with an amazing view, both staffed by award-winning bartenders.

Darwin Brasserie at the Sky Garden – Hard to beat the view from this restaurant, especially at sunset. Brasserie style food, very well priced. Book months in advance. I went while on a blind date organised by Time Out magazine… (picture from Darwin’s, below)

Rabot 1745, Hotel Chocolat, Borough Market – A chocolate lovers paradise! A refined menu, with fun chocolate-y additions. Book a table on the roof terrace to overlook bustling Borough Market.

Homeslice, Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden – My favourite wood-fired pizza oven place. Order the freshest pizza with the most delicious topping by the metre, and drink from a giant bottle of wine – then pay for the measure you have drunk.

Gaucho, London Bridge – Argentinian steak restaurant with style. It is a chain, but I think it still holds it’s own. Choose your cut from a selection brought to the table. Brilliant views from the top floor and window tables.

Hubbard & Bell at the Hoxton in Holborn Hotel – Another new favourite for editors and PRs to meet, this is a great place to be ‘seen’. The food also matches up to it’s cool customers in terms of style and substance. Truffle fries, baby back ribs….. Yum. There is Chicken Shop in the basement here too – haven’t been there, yet…

Barbecoa, St Pauls – Jamie Oliver’s barbecue steakhouse. A great location, right next to the cathedral. I love the giant green olives, which are served on ice. Don’t miss the pit beef and truffled mac and cheese.

Bob Bob Ricard, Soho – Every table here is a booth, and each comes with a button you can press to order champagne! The food is English and Russian inspired. The small portions and quality didn’t blow me away, but the entertainment value and atmosphere makes it worth at least one visit.

Paternoster Chophouse, St Pauls – I visited this restaurant while I was a background dater on the Channel 4 programme First Dates. While the company was ok, the food was great!

Berners Tavern, off Oxford Street – One of the most elegant places to eat in the whole of London. Ask to be seated in one of the cosy booths, and make use of the champagne trolley… Also, have a pre dinner cocktail in the London Edition bar, just next door.

Chiltern Firehouse, located on Chiltern Street, near Baker Street tube. The jury is out on this one, the favoured haunt of many a celeb, a la Lindsay Lohan, Kate Moss et al. It was the talk of 2014, and there are lots of hidden coves and private dining rooms to have dinner in – lots of privacy. But I’m not convinced the food matches up to the hype. Breakfast is better than dinner. The crab doughnuts and other snacky starters are great, but overall it’s more of a celeb spotting venue than fine dining – we saw Steve Coogan, ah ha! Also, we were ‘hurried’ throughout our meal, then chased down the road by the waiter when we didn’t leave the full tip. Embarrassing. For him.

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The view from my table at Darwin’s Brasserie, at The Sky Garden, above


East London

Hoi Polloi, at The Ace Hotel, Shoreditch – This place has seriously cool credentials. Packed with media types having ‘meetings’. Inspired vegetable and salad dishes, and lots of seafood, which are wonderfully satisfying.

Crate Brewery, Hackney Wick – Craft beer, hand rolled, stone baked pizzas, East London shabby chic vibe, cool DJs, canal side location… What more could you ask for?

Tramshed, by Mark Hix, Shoreditch – Mark’s chicken and steak restaurant built within an old tram shed. As well as the food being yummy and satisfying, the place is filled with art work, like the showstopping ‘Cock and bull’ in formaldehyde, by Damien Hirst.

Pizza East, Shoreditch – A great shout for an East End pizza. Tables are shared, in long rows. Brilliant selections of antipasti and meat boards.

Drunken Monkey, Shoreditch – Dim sum restaurant and cocktail bar. Dark, cosy, lots of fun. Try the honey smoked crispy chicken as a starter. YUM.

Lyle’s, Shoreditch – The menu changes daily, but is always filled with the freshest and most seasonal produce. Ingredients such as blood orange, cheese curd, brill, pear and monkfish… Really, really delicious – I’d highly recommend a visit.


West London

Babylon at the Kensington Roof Gardens, High Street Kensington – Spectacular views over London, brilliant cocktail bar, gorgeous gardens that come complete with a pair of flamingoes!

Aubaine, High Street Kensington – Relaxed French dining, perfect for breakfast or lunch. I love the fish dishes.

Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor, Knightsbridge – A lovely terrace here for outdoor dining in the summer months.

Cardomom Indian, Chiswick – My favourite curry house in London. Used to be BYO, but now yo can order drinks there, too.

Annie’s, Chiswick – A quaint neighbourhood restaurant, serving wholesome food and a great wine selection. Don’t miss the sticky toffee pudding…

Toro Gordo Spanish tapas, Hammersmith – Such good tapas dishes, the croquettes are my favourite. Also, brilliant cocktails

Sagar Indian, Hammersmith – The best vegetarian Indian restaurant I have visited. Don’t miss the southern Indian dosas and Thalis.


South

Zumbura, Clapham – Amazing, amazing Indian food, served as sharing plates. More than your average masala…


 

Breakfast

Somewhere, someone is starting breakfast and thinking, ‘Today will be better than yesterday.’ Wherever, whenever breakfast comes, it’s a mouthful of stoic optimism,” so said author and restaurant critic, A. A. Gill.

The Wolseley, Green Park – A little noisy, since it is a little cavernous, but I couldn’t miss this classic off the list. An eclectic offering food wise, but you must try the eggs benedict.

Ham Yard, Piccadilly Circus – The plates are hot – bonus points! This is one of the newer additions to London’s restaurant scene, and it is cool. I like the bar downstairs, with a massive spiral orange chute (for oranges, not people, sadly) for events, but for breakfast – you can’t beat the poached eggs and avocado on sourdough toast.

Cecconi’s, Mayfair – Originating in Venice, Cecconi’s brings a bit of beautiful, old school Italian glamour to London. I have seen A.A. Gill eating in here – big brownie points. Other branches are in Miami, Istanbul and Hollywood.

The Electric Diner, Portobello Road – This is probably my favourite place to go for breakfast. Yes, actually, it definitely is! And it wins at lunchtime, too. I can’t resist ordering the avo and toast, with a side of bacon, which is more like sweetened gammon – droooooool.

The Langham Hotel, Great Portland Street – Such a beautiful hotel. An elegant spot, which also does my favourite London afternoon tea.

The Savoy, The Strand – A classic location for any time of day. The breakfast Bloody Mary’s are particularly good…

Balthazaar, Covent Garden – This New York hotspot come French brasserie has had a branch over here in London for a couple of years, now. The egg options are endless, but I especially love the scrambled eggs and Cornish crab.

Dean Street Townhouse, Soho – A cosy, dark wooded option for breakfast among bustling Soho. Definite haunt of media types.

The Delaunay, Aldwych – The younger sister of the Wolseley, it call itself a European cafe. It is more elegant than a cafe, and you need to book. But the baked goods are worth it.

Kopapa, Covent Garden – Gained legendary status among those in the know for its baked Turkish Eggs: poached eggs, whipped yoghurt, chilli butter and toast. Mmmmm…

Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell – This is a clean, unfussy eating space, with French-inspired decor. The ‘healthier’ parts of a menu are usually not as well thought out as the rest, but here, the Modern Pantry excels. Think chia seeds, quinoa and coconut yoghurt.

Ottolenghi, Angel Islington – As well as making the biggest and best meringues in London, Ottolenghi makes one of the best breakfast menus.

The Breakfast Club, Angel Islington – The funky place to have your eggs in the morning. There are a few branches of this chain, and this cute branch is my favourite. I once sat next to Alfie Allen, here.

Elk in the Woods, Angel Islington – A cool pub in the lanes of Angel. They had stag and antler decorations before M&S and they do the best French toast and cafe latte in the area.

Aqua, The Shard – Breakfast with a view, indeed. You can head up to this restaurant and choose from a wide selection, from a bacon sandwich to lobster Eggs Benedict. Between you and I, this is cheaper than going to the top and with just as good a view – and you get to eat, so.

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Berners Tavern, above


Restaurants I want to go to…

Sushi Samba, Heron Tower, Liverpool Street

Gymkhana, mayfair, for a posh (Michelin star) curry, no less

B A O London, for tasty steamed buns and Taiwanese dishes

Mollie Bakes – for its calorific ‘Freakshakes’

Radio Rooftop Bar at the ME Hotel, The Strand – For cocktails and tapas

Gunpowder – A new Indian home-style kitchen

Rosa’s – Legendary Thai food, my favourite

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, Greenwich

Plum + Spilt Milk, Kings Cross

 

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