Best Restaurants in London
Some of the best restaurants in the world are right here in London – so many, in fact, that it can be hard to know where to look. Here, we share our editors' personal food recommendations, sorted into central, north, east, south and west London restaurants.
Fallow St James, Mayfair
Fallow 2 St James’s Market, London SW1Y 4RP
The ceiling drips in dried kelp. A central open kitchen fizzes with activity where tattooed arms slam trays into ovens one second then arrange the garnish on the juiciest oysters you ever did admire with the focussed finesse of a heart surgeon. There’s barely anyone in the whole place aged over 30. The 150-cover restaurant is packed in a way that every diner seems the sort of person whose recommendations you would trust when it comes to where to eat well, and where you just know that each member of staff knows a lot more than just their onions. Chefs Jack Croft and Will Murray met while they were working at twice Michelin-starred Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental, but it didn’t take long for them to peel off so they could riff in their nose-to-tail and root-to-stem way.
James Robson completes the triumvirate of those behind the sustainability-celebrating restaurant, named after cultivated land that is allowed to lie idle during the growing season for the sake of the long-term benefits. The real estate on St James Market can feel a little contrived for my tastes, but here they’ve opened with instant patina and soul. If walls could talk, they’d tell you here that the terrazzo-ish surface is forgivably shellfish – those oyster and mussel shells hail from their award-winning stint on Heddon Street. The interiors throughout are a winner at reusing and repurposing existing fixtures to throw out a fresh new look.
Carousel, 19-23 Charlotte Street, London W1T 1RL
Why settle for a restaurant when you can dine in a creative culinary hub? Since opening their doors in Marylebone eight years ago, the Carousel team has been delighting Londoners with an ever-changing line-up of cutting-edge international guest chefs taking residence in the kitchen. We’re not ones to name drop, but Niklas Ekstedt, Ravinder Bhogal and Jeremy Chan may ring a bell. Experiences and classes are also on offer, from cookery masterclasses and photography workshops to art exhibitions, wine tastings and short film screenings.
In keeping with the regeneration theme that their dining concept so perfectly masters, co-founders Ollie and Ed Templeton have upped sticks for a shiny new spot – across three Georgian townhouses on Fitzrovia’s Charlotte Street, no less. Their new iteration? A neighbourhood wine bar, where chef Ollie’s seasonal small plates, natural, minimal intervention wines and signature cocktails are served in buzzy surrounds.
First came the fried chicken – four crisp bites served with fermented honey, habanero and pickles which offer the perfect balance of salty, spicy and sweet. Beef tartare with a warming hint of red pepper relish arrives on two pieces of toasted rye topped with just the right amount of horseradish shavings. The Delica pumpkin, burrata and sage is so comforting, it’s almost enough to make you want to stay in January after all, and the ratio of pecorino to greens from the purple sprouting broccoli will please any cheese lover.
Staff are passionate and knowledgeable about the characterful wines on offer, excitedly talking about the vineyards in an endearing way that makes you feel better about not necessarily knowing your Rieslings from your Rkatsitelis. Orange wine fans will love the Monteforche – its golden yellow hue ready to skip you forward a few months to spring, with a slightly saline finish that leaves you reaching for more.
Warehouse, Covent Garden
Warehouse, 6 Langley Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9JA
Do vegetables have souls? Well, if they do, this handsome space which was originally a warehouse for the original Covent Garden wholesale market is haunted in the best way. Little wonder the space is Grade II-listed. It’s part of a spirited six-floor redevelopment that includes the relocation of sustainability-themed members’ club, The Conduit.
This place is deserving of much more than one diner’s descriptive account of their personal eating experience (but yes, our parade of strictly seasonal veg was delicious and the juicy Orkney oysters off the chart). It’s important to lift the lid on what went into bringing it to us in terms of the team’s sustainability framework. Seasonal eating is one of the best ways to live greener with added health advantages – grazing according to growing conditions distinct to our climate and geography is best tuned into our body’s needs.
They couldn’t have a savvier Head Chef at the helm than Brendan Eades, who brings his zero-waste ways from Silo in Hackney. And of course, provenance is not only paramount but the way ingredients are gently introduced to you feels educational. You know that every single spoonful, pinch or slice served has been sourced from carefully selected suppliers with a deep commitment to better farming.
There’s total transparency on what’s come from where and how it was produced, and by sharing their rollcall, every item tastes all the sweeter. Wild Harbour seafood, flour made from grains cultivated with regenerative practices from Duchess Farm in Hertfordshire or the Estate Dairy in Somerset ensures that even bread and butter is all the more exciting when you know the sourdough was made from ancient grains. A dish of hispi cabbage, alliums and black garlic has headline status and slow-roast venison served pink, with hay-smoked beetroot on a bed of greens with liquorice sauce exemplifies dream winter fare.