If you love messy, unapologetically calorific food then you need to take a look at our pick of the best American restaurants in London. Full disclosure: the pictures alone are drool-inducing and may result in the immediate cancellation of your plans for the rest of the day in order to seek out the real thing. Okay, good, now that you’re fully warned, we can get on with telling you all about how awesome these American diners are.
Whether you’re a life-long barbecue fan, relish a good steak or would gladly sit through all six seasons of Glee for a decent serving of traditional mac ‘n’ cheese, our list of must-try American restaurants in London is not to be missed. We’ve included spots that specialise in sticky wings, drenched ribs, premium steaks, and pimped-up ‘dogs – to name but a few – as well as a number of more refined restaurants that serve American fare you can eat with a knife and fork.
Of course you’ll find all the classic dishes you’d expect on this list – the likes of dirty burgers, slabs of beef and New York-style baked cheesecake – but you might be surprised by some of the other dishes on offer at London's best North American restaurants. Seafood in the form of crab cakes, lobster cocktails and shrimp ’n’ grits make an appearance, as do pancakes, waffles and milkshakes, and that’s before we’ve even mentioned the carb-heavy sides. Believe us when we say that fries, tots and onion rings are just the tip of the iceberg.
We’ve also done our best to include a wide selection of settings, from Downtown casual to Upper East Side glamour, so whatever the occasion, there’s a suitable spot for US-style dining. In short, our choice of London’s best American restaurants has everything you’re looking for. Scroll down to see the best United States-inspired restaurants in London.
Why: Christopher’s may have celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016, but the handsome Grade II-listed Victorian building has a longer history than that and was once home to London's first licensed casino. There's no need to take a gamble when it comes to the menu though, as you’ll find reliably good stateside staples such as Maryland crab cakes to start, 30-day aged Black Angus steaks for mains and New York cheesecake for dessert.
Where: Christopher’s, 18 Wellington Street, Covent Garden
The Colony Grill Room at The Beaumont
Why: Elegance and a warm welcome come as standard at this hotel grill room that has powerful echoes of New York’s old-timers with its art deco murals and framed photographic portraits. The menu majors in all-day comfort food with a distinctly American twang – feast on the likes of buttermilk pancakes topped with syrup and bacon for breakfast, while later in the day, hamburgers and steaks are followed by ice-cream sundaes.
Where: The Colony Grill Room at The Beaumont, 8 Balderton Street, Mayfair
Cut at 45 Park Lane
Why: Standing out from the steakhouse crowd thanks to its glam interiors and the clout of A-list chef Wolfgang Puck, Cut majors in steaks of the USDA, South Devon Angus, New York sirloin and dizzyingly expensive Wagyu variety. Desserts are all-American treats such as cheesecake and baked Alaska, while those looking to indulge their sweet tooth further can sit down to enjoy a US take on afternoon tea featuring cake pops and maple and bacon macarons.
Where: Cut at 45 Park Lane, 45 Park Lane, Mayfair
The Electric Diner
Why: Adding a grungy vibe to Soho House’s Electric Cinema, this stylish eatery ensures you won’t go hungry during one of its well-chosen films. The long, vaulted room is every inch the New York diner complete with red leather booths and a long, kitchen-facing bar, while the menu is all-American too, featuring the likes of hot dogs in brioche rolls and double cheeseburgers stacked with bacon. US ales will quench your thirst.
Where: The Electric Diner, 191 Portobello Road, Notting Hill
Why: Although this group of sleek steak joints originated in Russia, the interiors are packaged up into a neat little American bow – think polished mahogany, leather booths and monochrome scenes of 1950s Americana. Classy starters include lobster cocktail with a lime mayonnaise, while hearty (and pricey) steaks are the stars of the show. Pad out your meal with seductive sides such as truffle and parmesan chips, and grilled lobster tail with garlic butter.
Where: Goodman, 26 Maddox Street, Mayfair
Why: Joe Allen remains a Theatreland legend and pulls in punters who come for its buzzy atmosphere and menu of American comfort food. The likes of a Joe’s hot dog and a five-cheese mac ’n’ cheese are adequate, rather than amazing, but it’s Joe Allen’s unbeatable atmosphere and open-to-all feel that will keep you coming back for more.
Where: Joe Allen, 2 Burleigh Street, Covent Garden
Smith & Wollensky
Why: This smart US import follows its transatlantic forebears by focusing on USDA, British and Irish beef butchered on the premises and hung in an impressive dry-ageing room. Located in the art deco Adelphi Building, S&W's interior will knock your socks off with its parquet floors, leather banquettes and striking murals that create a gloriously decadent 1920s feel. Prices are hefty, but backed up by sizeable portions and slick service.
Where: Smith & Wollensky, 1-11 John Adam Street, Covent Garden
Red Dog Saloon
Why: Wild West décor and a hefty menu make this Texas-style grill in Hoxton a worthy addition to this list of the best American restaurants in London. Whether you’re in the mood for a mighty slab of quality meat slow-cooked in a hickory-burning smoker, fried chicken and fries, or a pimped-up burger, we promise you won’t go hungry at Red Dog Saloon. If you’re feeling particularly famished and reckon you can eat a lot in a short space of time, why not enter the ‘crabby patty challenge’? Simply eat as many patties as you can, faster than the current record holder (16 in under six minutes), and you get the whole thing for free!
Where: Red Dog Saloon, 37 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch
Why: Named after the restaurant’s heavy-duty rotisserie smoker, Hotbox is one of London’s best spots for succulent barbecued meat. Its signature dishes include the ‘piggy burger’, which comes with American cheese, pulled pork, BBQ sauce and pickled red onion; St Louis pork ribs; and smoked mac 'n' cheese. Be sure to bring your supersize appetite, as there are deep-fried oreos, and chocolate lava pudding for afters.
Where: Hotbox, 46 Commercial Street, Spitalfields
Why: Styled after the sleek grills you find in posh pockets of Manhattan, Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Grill restaurants major in rare-breed beef (including Wagyu triple-seared fillet) alongside a selection of sushi and sashimi. Sides turn comfort food into an art form, and fancy desserts such as chocolate brownie with salted caramel ice cream offer even more temptation. Portions aren’t quite up to American standards, but it’s unlikely you’ll leave hungry.
Where: Park Walk + Royal Hospital Road
The Blues Kitchen
Why: Nightly live music, a menu full to the brim with American classics and a bumper crop of bourbon come together to make The Blues Kitchen a lively New Orleans-style night out, whichever location you visit. Close your calorie-tracking app and dig into hearty southern mains such as stacked burgers, seafood jambalaya and smoky barbecue ribs, and decadent desserts like Oreo doughnuts and thick milkshakes.
Where: Camden, Shoreditch + Brixton
Why: In spite of being just moments from Shoreditch station, this industrial-chic BBQ smokehouse feels slightly off the beaten track. Whether that’s due to the lack of signage or the achingly hip clientele, we’re unsure, but what we are sure about is the delectable dishes Smokestak serves. We recommend going all-American with the ample feasting menu, which features all the best dishes including bone marrow flatbread, pork belly rib, beef brisket and sticky toffee pudding.
Where: Smokestak, 35 Sclater Street, Shoreditch
Why: Gut-busting portions and a meat-heavy menu come together to make this American joint a favourite among Londoners. Big Easy was serving up baskets of lobster and dry-rubbed, pit-cooked ribs – complete with plastic bibs – long before anyone else, and still holds its own today. Bottomless themed nights, such as ‘Shrimp Tuesdays’ offer excellent value – just be sure to leave your belt at home.
Where: Canary Wharf, Chelsea + Covent Garden
Randy’s Wing Bar
Why: Buffalo wings slathered with blue cheese, fried Gangnam wings in a sweet, sticky Korean sauce, garlic butter wings coated in Parmesan – we could go on, but the point is, these guys are the kings of wings. We recommend ordering a selection, accompanied by a side of mac and cheese and a salted caramel shake for maximum gluttony.
Where: Hackney Wick + Aldgate
In the spirit of America’s obsession with barbecue cuisine, check out these smoking-hot BBQ restaurants.