30 of the most fancy restaurants in London to add to your bucket-list

From fine dining favourites through to cool new openings, these are the best fancy restaurants in London that we think everyone should try at least once

Updated on • Written By Rosie Conroy

30 of the most fancy restaurants in London to add to your bucket-list

A list of the best fancy restaurants in London can be a complicated task to complete thanks to the capital playing host to so much incredible culinary talent. In fact, we think it’s a list that could never possibly be completed, thanks to the consistent emergence of new chefs and concepts that keep us both challenged and excited in equal measure. Plus, the very definition of 'fancy' is a hard one to get your head around. Do you want starched white tablecloths and buckets of Champagne or do you want incredible food in pared-back, slick surrounds. 

The beauty of eating out in London is that you can find something for every occasion, from fine dining to trendy eateries. With reems of Michelin stared eateries sitting snugly alongside high-end street food specialists, there are as many fancy spots for Monday meals as there are all-out birthday celebrations. Some of our fondest memories of eating out in London include all the bells and whistles. Yes, perhaps fine dining isn’t trendy but there’s something wonderful about being treated like royalty for a night. We’re talking world-class service, expertly paired wines and intricately planned menus in showstopping surrounds. There’s something completely captivating about being transported to another world for an evening of pure indulgence.

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Obvious choices for blow-out meals are the collection of Michelin starred restaurants in London, which have earned themselves the converted award – usually – thanks to precision cookery. Other top shouts however include the more laidback neighbourhood eateries which do a solid line on comfort food cooking and are just the thing for lively group dining and get togethers but that still manage to retain an air of being a little bit special.

While we know the idea of what's fancy is subjective, but we also have the pleasure of eating out at incredible places nearly every night of the week so feel well-placed to throw our hat in the ring. We’ve taken into account the different elements that make somewhere great and highlighted them below, so whether it’s a top-class plate of pasta you’re after or a world-leading Indian meal, these fancy London restaurants are where to head to get your foodie fix.

St. JOHN

Why: Pioneers of nose to tail eating, Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver’s restaurant retains its allure decades on. Here you’ll find dishes that have stood the test of time, like the roast bone marrow and parsley salad served to be thickly slathered on hot toast, and the baked-to-order madeleines which come fluffy and warm from the oven. The pared back dining room is the perfect foil for the simple and hyper-seasonal menu of top-class ingredients elevated to all-new heights.
Cuisine: British
Best for: Dinners with (omnivorous) friends
Price range: Between £20-35 per main
Where: 26 St John Street, Barbican, London, EC1M 4AY
Read the full review and book it: St. JOHN

HIDE Above

Why: If the city’s largest wine list can’t tempt you, how about a plum address overlooking Green Park and the most incredible example of tonal interiors? At the helm here is Ollie Dabbous, a darling of the foodie world, whose penchant for imaginative and playful presentation has helped him keep HIDE on plenty of people's to-dine lists. This isn’t a cheap experience, but the service is exemplary and there’s no turn-over time on your table (meaning you can stay all evening), which frankly we think you can’t put a price on. Whether you’re dining via the a la carte or the tasting don’t skip the signature Nest Egg, which is made up of coddled eggs, smoked butter and mushrooms and looks exactly like a just-hatched egg in a nest. Clever, pretty and delicious.
Cuisine: Modern European
Best for: Super special date nights
Price range: Between £50-150 per main
Where: 85 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7NB
Read the full review and book it: HIDE Above

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Why: Once-in-a-lifetime stuff, this three Michelin starred restaurant from Gordon Ramsay is an obvious choice for special occasion dining when you’re after some serious wow factor. The widely spaced tables in their elegant surrounds are in such high demand that you’ll have to secure your spot months in advance (yes, even for a mid-week lunch). Your perseverance will pay off when you’re tucking into the refined French cookery that has made this restaurant a classic. Expect lavish ingredients like lobster, langoustine, scallops, truffle and caviar to pepper the menu (although also expect to pay the price of such things, dinner here doesn’t come cheap).
Cuisine: French
Best for: Celebratory special occasions
Price range: Dinner from £140 per person
Where: 68 Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HP
Read the full review and book it: Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Fallow

Why: An instant hit, Fallow first found its home at a temporary site on Heddon Street before moving to permanent quarters in St James’. While things feel fairly casual in the dining room, it's the food that elevates things. Chefs Will Murray and Jack Croft met while working at Dinner by Heston and bring that signature sense of playfulness with them to their own venture. Sustainability is also championed, with underused ingredients like ex-dairy beef and cod’s head served in interesting and inspiring ways. Don’t skip the mushroom pate, the corn ribs or the soft serve. Although, with that being said you can’t really go wrong – we didn’t have a bad dish on our visit, plus there’s friendly, fun service too.
Cuisine: British
Best for: A fun dinner with friends
Price range: Between £12-16 per main
Where: 2 St James's Market, St. James's, London, SW1Y 4RP
Read the full review and book it: Fallow

MARCUS

Why: Marcus Wareing’s flagship London restaurant is a true knock-out and surprisingly offers a range of menus that allow for flexible dining (i.e, you don’t have to plump for a tasting menu if you’d prefer a simpler setup). Nuanced and complex cookery maintains clarity of flavour through the team’s deft handling of ingredients. While the menu changes regularly, we enjoyed a beautiful satay crab starter on our visit and the most incredible beef fat potatoes. Tarte tatin flipped and carved tableside is the perfect theatrical ending for a meal that will stay with you long after you’ve left the restaurant.
Best for: Impressing colleagues and clients
Price range: Between £40-50 per main
Where: The Berkeley, Wilton Place, London, SW1X 7RL
Read the full review and book it: MARCUS

Aulis

Why: Simon Rogan’s Soho-based chef’s table is all about the intimacy and excitement of watching a brigade of chefs at the top of their game prepare your meal in front of you. Used as a development kitchen of sorts for Rogan’s other restaurants, here you’ll find a multi-course menu of experimental dishes that maintain his staunch commitment to farm-to-fork cookery. Seating just eight guests, this is about as exclusive as you can get without booking a private chef. That being said, you can reserve Aulis exclusively should you really want to show off.
Cuisine: Modern British
Best for: Birthday bashes
Price range: £125 per person for the tasting menu
Where: 16a St Anne's Court, London, W1F 0BF
Read the full review and book it: Aulis

Core by Clare Smyth

Why: Long regarded as one of the UK’s best chefs, Clare Smyth‘s CV includes time heading up Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. Northern Irish Smyth opened her first solo venture in 2017 and has since been awarded three Michelin stars (an accolade she first received while running Ramsay’s kitchen, the first female British chef to have achieved three star status). This surprisingly laidback restaurant is celebrated for its all-round output. Seasonal British ingredients are celebrated on every plate, while the team are incredibly caring with a focus on ensuring every guest has a brilliant experience.
Cuisine: Modern British
Best for: Laidback fine dining
Price range: £175 per person for the tasting menu
Where: 92 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 2PN
Read the full review and book it: Core by Clare Smyth

The Clove Club

Why: Known for its cutting-edge cuisine, The Clove Club’s signature style treads that fine line between being exciting and challenging all at once. Found within the cosy confines of the Shoreditch Town Hall, here you’ll have the choice of a full or shorter tasting menu (available during the week only) featuring dishes like smoked anchovy jelly with fresh almonds and crushed tomato seeds; white asparagus Royale with duck ham, ginger, and wine sauce; and a dessert of loquat mousse, sorbet, popcorn and amaranth.
Cuisine: Modern British
Best for: Date nights
Price range: From £95 per person for the shorter tasting menu (five courses)
Where: Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT
Read the full review and book it: The Clove Club

Mimi Mei Fair, Mayfair

Why: For gorgeous interiors coupled with theatrical dining, you can’t get much better than Mimi Mei Fair. Opened in 2021 by the woman behind Bombay Bustle and Jamavar, Mimi is in fact her mythical empress and the restaurant acts as her imaginary character’s palace. Palatial is the word for rooms bedecked in hand painted silk wallpaper and fringed lamps, while the menu of please-all Chinese dishes is sure to be enjoyed by mixed groups. Start with colourful baskets full of steamed dumplings and the signature house special – the apple wood fire roasted duck. This centrepiece is carved tableside and delivered with all kinds of sides and sauces that far outdo your typical duck pancake spread.
Cuisine: Chinese
Best for: Group gatherings
Price range: Between £20-50 per main
Where: 55 Curzon Street, London, W1J 8PG
Read the full review and book it: MiMi Mei Fair

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill

Why: A classic jewel in London’s culinary crown, Bentley’s appeal has transcended the ages. Having first opened over a hundred years ago its timeless appeal lies in its clean-cut classic seafood serves. Our favourite spot is a seat at one of the marble topped bars and our order – if you’re asking – is half a dozen oysters followed by the team’s inimitable fish pie with haddock, prawns and salmon. For traditional seafood dishes, you simply cannot beat Bentley’s. Don’t skip the cocktails, the bar staff are just as talented as the kitchen team.
Cuisine: Seafood
Best for: After work drinks that turn into dinner
Price range: Between £25-50 per main
Where: 1-15 Swallow Street, London, W1B 4DG
Read the full review and book it: Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill

Kol

Why: Until now London’s Mexican scene has been sorely lacking a fine dining option. Filling the void is Kol, a restaurant from chef Patron Santiago Lastra (a key member of the team behind Noma's famous Mexican pop up). With his own venture, Lastra strives to reflect the authenticity of Mexican food without resorting to stereotypes. The food is stunning, beautifully plated, and thoughtfully curated. The chefs work in the centre of the room surrounded by the happy hum of diners who are offered a front row seat to the open fire grill. Unusual drinks complete the experience, with a great line-up for non-alochol drinkers too.
Cuisine: Mexican
Best for: Parties
Price range: From £70 per person for the tasting menu
Where: 9 Seymour Street, London, W1H 7BA
Read the full review and book it: Kol

Garden Museum Café

Why: Having cut his teeth at Primeur and Padella, chef George Ryle was no stranger to award-winning kitchens. Taking on the task of creating ‘more than a museum café’ at The Garden Museum in Lambeth, Ryle has worked with Harry Kaufman to create an under-the-radar foodie destination that we’re near loath to tell people about in case it proves even more difficult to bag a table at in future. The clean, bright dining room has that impressive Scandi-style restraint in its design, and the menu is similarly as simple yet skilled. Homemade ferments, high-end charcuterie and just-baked bread make excellent starters while mains might present brill, chips and peppercorn sauce or panisse with purple sprouting broccoli, black olives and ricotta.
Cuisine: Modern European
Best for: Casual lunches with friends
Price range: Between £15-30 per main
Where: 5 Lambeth Palace Road, London, SE1 7LB
Read the full review and book it: Garden Museum Café

Norman’s Cafe

Why: Hold the white linen and silver cutlery, this neighbourhood diner is altogether more casual when compared to most of the restaurants on this list. We're actually being fairly cheeky sneaking it into a list of fancy spots, but think of it as a wildcard and thank us later. This is the brainchild of two chefs with Michelin experience (Elliot Kaye and Richie Hayes who have worked at places like Lyle’s, The Clove Club and Crispin) who wanted to create a refined version of a greasy spoon. The results are a wonderfully retro dining room complete with checked café curtains and Formica tables, and a menu of absolute café classics. Think chip butties, pie and mash, breakfast rolls, and jam roly-poly. Note: In true café form, Norman’s is only open for breakfast and lunch.
Cuisine: Classic British
Best for: Hungover lunches
Price range: Between £4-7 per main
Where: 167 Junction Rd, Archway, London, N19 5PZ

Chiltern Firehouse

Why: It was for a while the ultimate celebrity haunt, and the allure of seeing some famous faces rubbed off on the rest of us to cement Chiltern Firehouse as a favourite amongst Londoners. The people watching here is off the chart. Here you’ll find a cosy candlelit dining room and a menu of wonderfully eclectic international plates. Favourites include mini curried crab doughnuts to start and cornbread cooked in bacon fat and served with a sour cream and caviar dip. Elegant service completes things for an evening that feels very much west London even if you don't manage to spot any film stars.
Cuisine: International
Best for: Birthday celebrations
Price range: Between £25-120 per main
Where: 1 Chiltern Street, London, W1U 7PA
Read the full review and book it: Chiltern Firehouse

sketch: Lecture Room & Library

Why: You don’t unintentionally pick up three Michelin stars, and internationally acclaimed Pierre Gagnaire has the intent needed to collect this trio of glittering prizes. His restaurants across the world hold a clutch of these celestial badges, and his London outpost serves his signature experimental French food. He’s a godfather of fusion cuisine and his tasting menus take diners on a surprising journey through dishes such as buckwheat ravioli with caramelised onion, Parmesan shavings, toasted buckwheat seeds and Hoegaarden foam; and grilled Isle of Skye scallop corolla glazed in carrot, honey and argan oil reduction in a swiss chard velouté, with sea herbs, buckwheat seeds and blanched celery.
Cuisine: Fusion French
Best for: Impressing clients
Price range: From £150 per person for the lunch tasting menu
Where: 9 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2XG
Read the full review and book it: sketch: Lecture Room & Library

The Pem

Why: Sally Abe’s flagship restaurant opened at The Conrad St James in 2021 as a conscious celebration of femininity. Her team are mostly female, and the luxuriously fitted dining room is a clash of reds and pinks. The menu is creative with well-loved ingredients, taking hero British produce like trout, scallops and wood pigeon and giving them Abe’s signature delicate touch which results in harmonious plates. Mains include classic combinations like venison with roast red cabbage, blackberries and figs as well as Cornish cod with melted leeks, cockles and a seaweed crumb.
Cuisine: Modern British
Best for: Groups of friends
Price range: Between £25-45 per main
Where: 22-28 Broadway, London, SW1H 0BH
Read the full review and book it: The Pem

A.Wong

Why: Regularly cited as one of the UK’s best Chinese chefs, Andrew Wong’s eponymous restaurant was born as the reinvention of his family’s business Kym’s which was first opened in 1985 by his parents. Having earned two Michelin stars (the first Chinese restaurant in the UK to do so), Wong’s detail-driven approach has resulted in an opulent dining room, accomplished service and a line-up of wonderfully intricate dumplings and dishes. We’d recommend the full tasting menu for a true reflection of the team’s talents.
Cuisine: Chinese
Best for: Birthdays
Price range: From £135 for a tasting menu
Where: 70 Wilton Road, Pimlico, London, SW1V 1DE
Read the full review and book it: A.Wong

Westerns Laundry

Why: Hidden in plain sight amongst a row of town houses in Islington, Westerns Laundry is all wooden tables and candlelight with friendly, down-to-earth service and a chalked-up blackboard detailing that day’s menu. In this ilk, no two visits could be the same and while the trappings of usual fine dining have been done away with, the ambiance feels special - almost transporting you to some sweet little holiday spot far from London. What does remain a consistent however is the team’s commitment to regenerative and sustainable fishing practices and a plethora of small sharing dishes that you most likely won’t want to share. Vegetables are given just as much weight as the seafood here, so that even plant-based eaters should have something delicious to enjoy if dining in a mixed group.
Cuisine: Seafood
Best for: Sociable gatherings
Price range: Between £7-30 per small plate
Where: 34 Drayton Park, London, N5 1PB
Read the full review and book it: Westerns Laundry

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Why: With three Michelin stars and a spot in one of London’s most desirable hotels, this is the sort of bucket list destination many have been dying to dine at for years. If you can get a table, you’ll find yourself amongst the magic of a glamorous dining room and the most refined French food to be enjoyed anywhere in London. There’s only one menu option here and it’s the tasting menu – an opportunity to fully relax in the safe hands of a chefs brigade who have expertly paired dishes to seamlessly flow into one another throughout the evening.
Cuisine: French
Best for: Date nights
Price range: From £170 per person for the tasting menu
Where: 53 Park Lane, London, W1K 1QA
Read the full review and book it: Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Bao Noodle Shop

Why: Bao has been a favourite of many a Londoner since way back when it was just a small street food stand at Nettle Market. Fast forward a few years and it’s now a mini chain with seemingly ever-evolving iterations. The latest (and potentially fanciest) iteration from the Bao team is their noodle shop, a wonderfully cosy corner site in Shoreditch that serves up the usual fluffy filled buns as well as fragrant bowls of noodle soup. Great cocktails, cool interiors and unusual sharing plates all add to the appeal. Don't go expecting chandeliers, but instead embrace the exceptional experience of tucking into homemade noodles in very trendy surrounds. 
Cuisine: Taiwanese
Best for: Group dining
Price range: Between £5-13 per small plate
Where: 1 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ
Read the full review and book it: Bao Noodle Shop

Scott’s

Why: Old school glamour is still alive and well at Scott’s, Mayfair’s premiere seafood restaurant. Inside you’ll find a sweeping, polished bar (the perfect place for a couple of glasses of pre-prandial Champagne and some caviar) and a dining room full of guests there for a good time. The cheese souffle with truffle shaved tableside is the stuff of legends, and it would be rude not to indulge in the impressive seafood platter that comes piled high with lobster et al, plus a healthy portion of garlic butter to pour over everything.
Cuisine: Seafood
Best for: Upbeat work meetings
Price range: Between £27-45 per main
Where: 20 Mount Street, London, W1K 2HE
Read the full review and book it: Scott’s

Hackney Coterie

Why: Industrial style interiors and a la mode small plates are the obvious pairing for a new opening in Hackney, but what’s unexpected are some of the combinations on the menu. Dominic Auger heads up the kitchen here and comes to the pass with experience that includes time at Michelin starred HIDE and Scully. Standout dishes from our visit included pig’s head croquettes with rhubarb Sriracha and a salmon tartare with jasmine pickled cucumber. While Auger claims to have no fixed style, he certainly has a penchant for Asian flavours.
Cuisine: International
Best for: Date nights
Price range: Between £8-10 per small plate
Where: 230B Dalston Lane, London, E8 1LA
Read the full review and book it: Hackney Coterie

Evelyn’s Table

Why: The three Selby brothers (Luke, the head chef is another HIDE alumni) work together on this petite passion project where they serve just ten guests per sitting at their chefs’ table. This sweet underground space is low-lit and offers sommelier matched wine flights as well as non-alcoholic drinks parings. The food on offer has distinct Japanese influences (umeboshi, sashimi and tempura are all present and correct) but is treated with European techniques. Unusually for a fine-dining establishment, here you’ll find not a hint of pretentiousness, and any foodie worth their salt will enjoy watching the dishes come to life in front of their eyes, as well as the detailed explanations that are given upon the presentation of said dishes.
Cuisine: International
Best for: Date nights
Price range: From £95 per person for the tasting menu
Where: The Blue Posts, Cellar, 28 Rupert Street, London, W1D 6DJ
Read the full review and book it: Evelyn’s Table

Rochelle Canteen

Why: A favourite of many a chef, Rochelle Canteen serves properly honest food. You won’t find gels or foams here but instead a daily menu that celebrates the beauty found in simplicity. Here you’ll have the choice of things like plates of roast chicken in all its golden, crisp skinned glory served with chips and homemade aioli, or delicious things on toast – like confit garlic and ricotta. There are always great nods to nostalgic puddings and the garden setting is perfect for a long al fresco lunch come summer while the clean lines of the small, bright restaurant offer a warm welcome during colder weather.
Cuisine: British
Best for: Long lunches
Price range: Between £17-21 per large plate
Where: 16 Playground Gardens, London, E2 7FA
Read the full review and book it: Rochelle Canteen

Gymkhana

Why: Bright, bold Indian food is Gymkhana’s draw and the two-storey restaurant houses a small upper floor bar with a scattering of banquette seating as well as a larger cosy basement space. The menu doesn’t come cheap, but the little extras make it all worthwhile. This isn’t sensitively spiced either, it’s robustly flavoured, and much of it comes with a good whack of chilli heat. The pre-theatre offering represents incredible value for money and must be one of the most fairly priced Michelin menus in the capital.
Cuisine: Indian
Best for: Group gatherings
Price range: Between £18-30 per curry
Where: 42 Albemarle St, London, W1S 4JH
Read the full review and book it: Gymkhana

The Delaunay

Why: Part of the Corbin and King portfolio (which includes other favourites like The Wolseley and Brasserie Zedel), The Delaunay has a romantic old-world feel to it. Modelled on the grand cafes of Mittel-Europe, both the décor and the menu are classic down to a T. If lobster-filled rolls or chicken schnitzels don’t do it for you, how about plates of confit duck or bowls full or moules? Earlier in the day you’ll have your pick of brunch favourites like breakfast baps, eggs Benedict or pancakes.
Cuisine: European
Best for: Breakfast
Price range: Between £15-35 per main
Where: 55 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4BB
Read the full review and book it: The Delaunay

Restaurant Story

Why: If you’re invested in London’s best restaurants then chances are you’ve already seen Restaurant Story’s signature dish: the Candle. This tower of beef fat is lit like a candle, an action which causes it to melt and become the perfect dip for freshly baked rolls and pickled celery. It’s not all about visual gags though, other altogether more straightforward dishes play their part too. Cod with brassicas and truffle, for instance, or venison with pumpkin. Tom Sellers who runs Restaurant Story opened his gaffe at just 26 after working at Noma and he hasn’t let the standards slip since then, it’s as alluring as ever with the refreshing edge of having down-to-earth service.
Best for: Special occasions
Price range: From £130 per person for the short lunch tasting menu
Where: 199 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2JX
Read the full review and book it: Restaurant Story

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental

Why: Blessed with two Michelin stars, Heston’s sole London restaurant focuses on dishes that hold historical importance in Britain’s past. The most famous of these is the Meat Fruit (cited as being inspired by the food of the 1500s) which looks exactly like a mandarin and is in fact a sphere of chicken liver parfait wrapped in citrus jelly. The storytelling and playfulness continue through the menu, and the staff are highly knowledgeable making the whole experience an exciting one.
Cuisine: British
Best for: Celebrations
Price range: Between £40-60 per main
Where: 66 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA
Read the full review and book it: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Pollen Street Social

Why: Jason Atherton’s clever cookery is out in full force at this Mayfair classic where his tasting menu is our pick of the bunch. Start with the wonderfully reimagined ‘fish and chips’, which is in fact a vinegar powder coated crisped confit potato topped with cod emulsion, and end with the ever-evolving dessert list which promises to surprise and delight. The buzzy dining room is constantly paced by staff who seem happy in their work - an infectious attitude which rubs off on the diners to create an upbeat ambiance.
Cuisine: Modern British
Best for: Family occasions
Price range: From £110 for four courses
Where: 8-10 Pollen Street, London, W1S 1NQ
Read the full review and book it: Pollen Street Social

BiBi

Why: Pick a seat at the bar of this high-end Indian run by chef Chet Sharma to watch the chefs deftly turning skewers over the red-hot grill. The sights and smells of such a scene are sure to get you revved up for a meal of addictive sharing plates inspired by the food of Sharma’s childhood. Little hot corn cakes kick things off followed by tandoor chicken served with thin breads for mopping up the addictive, creamy sauce it's served in. Sharma used to be the development chef for the JKS group, so his experience includes inventing some of Gymkhana’s most popular dishes, which is the long way round to saying you’re in safe hands here. Also, if you need any further persuasion, Bibi won our 2022 award for the best restaurant in London
Cuisine: Indian
Best for: Groups of friends
Price range: Between £10-20 per small plate
Where: 42 N Audley Street, London, W1K 6ZP
Read the full review and book it: Bibi

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