If we’re being honest, London hasn’t always been known for its five-star dining options. But a recent culinary revolution has made it a standout destination for gourmands everywhere.
We’ve come up with this ultimate list of the best restaurants in London. To create it, we looked at notable restaurant rankings compiled by food critics, diners, and experts, and gave each restaurant a numerical rating based on our own formula.
The rankings we used were the National Restaurant Awards 2014, The World’s 100 Best Restaurants, Zagat’s Best Food In London 2013, OpenTable’s 2013 Best Restaurants in the UK, TimeOut London’s Top 50 Restaurants, The Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2014, and The Square Meal’s 3-Star Restaurants.
Chef: Paul Hood
At Social Eating House, the surroundings are as vibrant as the food. Exposed brick walls, whitewashed copper ceilings, and weathered leather banquette seats create a relaxed and humble setting.
Guided by celebrity chef Jason Atherton, chef Paul Hood developed a diverse and contemporary bistro menu.
Chefs: Nuno Mendes and Dale Osborne
Once London's first purpose-built fire station, the Chiltern Firehouse is quickly becoming 'the place to be seen' for A-list celebrities like Kate Moss, Ellie Goulding, J.J. Abrams, and Cara Delevingne.
Chef: Lawrence Keogh
A café-restaurant in the grand European tradition, The Wolseley occupies a 1921 car showroom turned Barclays Bank branch. The towering pillars, arches, and stairways have a haute menu to match. The veal Holstein and chicken soup with dumplings are runaway favourites as are the changing plats du jour.
Chef: James Knappett
Twelve to 14 courses await fine diners who relish a meal of daily fresh ingredients. Each course on the menu is described 'in one noun that best represents the main ingredient of the dish.' In September the price will go up, from £78 to £88.
Ranked No. 15 on Restaurant magazine's 2014 National Restaurant Awards list, Kitchen Table at Bubble Dogs is chef Knappett's way of making customers experience home cooking at a higher level.
Chef: Phil Campbell
Well-aged steaks are the stars of the show at Goodman, which ranks in Restaurant magazine and on OpenTable.
Natural beef is sourced from the U.K. as well as from farms in the U.S. and Italy.
Chefs: Eric and Sarah Guignard
The French Table is, as the name implies, a French restaurant, but chefs Eric and Sarah Guignard borrow influences from the Mediterranean and North Africa in prepping their critically acclaimed dishes.
The French Table opened a sister restaurant, The French Tarte, in Teddington earlier this year.
Chef: Cameron Emirali
This no-frills European bistro serves an ever-changing seasonal menu at affordable prices. The popular small plates include chorizo and fried duck egg, smoked mackerel, and wild mushrooms.
10 Greek Street joins a growing number of restaurants that are walk-in only, ensuring that the closely packed tables are always filled.
Chef: Ruth Rogers
The River Café has staffed some culinary superstars over the years, including Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and April Bloomfield. Co-owner and chef Ruth Rogers churns out iconic Italian tasting menus from an exposed kitchen space and bright igloo-shaped furnace.
In 1998, the River Café earned a Michelin star, which it has held on to ever since.
Chef: Eric Chavot
One of the few French brasseries in London run by an actual Frenchman, Brasserie Chavot opened its doors in May 2013 and has already locked down a Michelin star.
The art nouveau-style restaurant serves only the freshest produce from the British Isles and France, from the snails bourguignon to the rump of oisin venison.
Chef: Karam Sethi
Inspired by the Colonial Indian sporting clubs set up by the British Raj, Gymkhana nailed down the top spot on Restaurant magazine's countdown of the best this year.
Chef Sethi blends contemporary Indian cuisine with seasonal British ingredients and takes pride in the best-seller: a curry of minced kid goat flavored with nutty fenugreek and goat brain. The six-course tasting menu is a bargain at £55.
Chef: Tom Sellers
Restaurant Story aims to tell its story through the food it serves with each dish inspired by a memory. Chef Sellers invites guests to share their stories, too, by adding a book to the restaurant's library every time they dine.
Opened in April 2013, Story gained its first Michelin star five months after launching.
Chef: Ollie Dabbous
The 'runaway success of 2012,' Dabbous (pronounced 'Daboo') maintains a product-driven menu, mixing and matching fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables, juices and infusions, and wild foods from the U.K. wherever possible.
Dabbous received nods from TimeOut London, The Michelin Guide, and Square Meal. Diners can enjoy the tasting menu for just £59.
Chef: Joe Mercer Nairne
Co-owner and chef Joe Mercer Nairne lets his ingredients do the talking -- whipping up French-inspired meals that satisfy without over-elaboration or pretension.
The reasonable prix fixe menus (three-course lunch or dinner costs about £35) snatched the attention of OpenTable, TimeOut, and the Michelin Guide.
Chef: Jocelyn Herland
Helmed by one of the world's most decorated chefs, Alain Ducasse, this restaurant is built on four concepts: contemporary harmony, exquisite surroundings, attention to details, and refined cuisine.
And it delivers, nabbing an impressive three stars from the Michelin Guide.
Chef: Robin Gill
The £25 tasting menu is organised into four servings -- snack, garden, land or sea, and sweet -- and gives diners a choice in each.
Chef: Marcus Wareing
The former Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley underwent an extensive refurbishment this year, bringing its relaxed atmosphere to a new, elegant setting.
Marcus offers two unique dining experiences: Diners can rent out the Salon, a private dining room where the menu is tailored to your event, or enjoy a delicious meal with a view at the chef's table. The prix fixe menu starts at £120.
Chef: Tony Chee Hwee
The Michelin-starred restaurant combines authentic wok- and barbecue-cooking methods with modern sous vide techniques, a signature of chef Tony Chee Hwee, who serves as executive head chef for the Hakkasan restaurant group globally.
The tasting menu includes traditional Cantonese dishes with modern flair, like the Hong Kong-style steamed lotus leaf halibut with maitake mushroom.
Chef: Jason Atherton
Berners Tavern is a gastronomic gem among London's contemporary British cuisine restaurants. Helmed by Michelin-starred executive chef Jason Atherton, it features produce spanning the British Isles and beef sourced from the region's most conscientious farmers.
The bistro earned recognition from TimeOut London and the National Restaurant Awards.
Chef: Chris Galvin
Situated on the 28th floor of the London Hilton, Galvin at Windows offers unobstructed views of some of the city's most iconic sites: The Shard, Hyde Park, and Buckingham Palace.
Of course the food alone is worth your patronage. Chef Chris Galvin and his team crafted a seasonally inspired menu derived from modern French haute cuisine. It's £99 a head.
Chef: Tom Adams
Chef Tom Adams and friend Jamie Berger first erected Pitt Cue Co. as a pop-up eatery out of the back of a van. Their British take on American barbecue took off, and the pair opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2012.
Pitt Cue Co.'s combination of barbecue, bourbon, and beer earned it the No. 2 spot on Zagat's 2014 list of Best Food in London. The owners of Pitt Cue Co. just came out with a cookbook with the recipes for some of their most popular dishes.
Chef: Jacob Kenedy
This Picadilly Circus Italian restaurant is well awarded for its homemade, authentic cuisine.
Chef Jacob Kenedy makes almost every element of a dish, from the salami to the pasta to the gelato, in-house -- and the things he can't make are carefully sourced from the Motherland itself.
Chef: Bruno Loubet
It's not a vegetarian restaurant, but Grain Store makes fresh produce the star of the show.
Chef Bruno Loubet makes sure there are plenty of plant-based options on the menu, including global inspiration from Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Chefs: Shuko Oda and Junya Yamasaki
The brainchild of Shuko Oda and Junya Yamasaki, Koya makes udon an art.
The Soho restaurant serves the Sanuki-style udon, deemed the most refined style of the noodle, one that has no need of superfluous ingredients or condiments and brings out the superior taste and texture of the udon.
Chefs: Masaki Sugisaki and Keiji Fuku
Dinings models its menu after the Izakaya style of Japanese cuisine but puts a modern, tapas-like spin on its offerings.
Executive chef Masaki Sugisaki and head chef Keiji Fuku have perfected the fusion of Japanese regional cooking with contemporary European.
Chef: Clare Smyth
One of the best-known names in the culinary world, Gordon Ramsay, brings modern French food to the forefront at his namesake Chelsea restaurant, under the charge of chef patron Clare Smyth.
Elegant dishes like Bresse pigeon with grilled polenta or the seasonal cannelloni of langoustine and Périgord truffle bring fine-dining lovers back time and again. The menu prestige is £135 a person.
Chef: Jason Atherton
Pollen Street Social is chef Atherton's first solo venture.
With multiple accolades under his belt, he brings a refined, flexible dining approach to the table with dishes like the Cumbrian pork belly and cheek, or the pearl barley cooked in cep mushroom milk.
Chef: Mikael Jonsson
No. 63 on the 2014 World's Best Restaurants list, Hedone is said to offer one of the best gastronomical experiences in the city.
The tasting menu, which starts at £65, brings course after course of exquisitely executed British dishes. Hedone received its first Michelin star last year.
Chef: Isaac McHale
The Clove Club is a new London hot spot that started as a pop-up in Shoreditch Town Hall and became such a hit that chef McHale and his partners decided to stay for the long haul.
The Clove Club is considered the No. 2 best restaurant in London by Restaurant magazine.
Chefs: Philip Howard (chef and co-owner); Gary Foulkes (head chef)
The Square gathers influences from all around Europe, which inspires a menu that earned the Mayfair restaurant two Michelin stars.
Head Chef Gary Foulkes plays with the chemical makeup of the ingredients that compose the meals here -- diners can expect to see lots of foams and emulsions on their plates. The tasting menu, intended for the entire table, is £115 a person (£185 with wine).
Chef: Michel Roux Jr.
Opened in 1967, Le Gavroche's kitchen underwent massive renovations early in 2014, reopening in February with the addition of a private dining room.
The first U.K. restaurant to be awarded Michelin stars, Le Gavroche is traditionally French with both tasting and a la carte menus.
Chef: Fergus Henderson
The menu at St. JOHN, composed of elegantly dressed comfort food, changes daily to incorporate fresh produce and meats.
The bone marrow is a standout, according to those who have dined at St. JOHN, as is the feast option. Intended for groups of 10 or more, the feast allows diners to share a number of large platters, including a whole roast suckling pig. The feasting menu starts at £35 a person.
Chef: Brett Graham
No. 1 on our list, The Ledbury has appeared in one capacity or another on every other ranking we used to create this list.
The Notting Hill restaurant offers a la carte and prix fixe menus for lunch and dinner, both noted for the creative combination of flavours and presentation. The regular tasting menu is £110 for omnivores and £100 for vegetarians.