Best haute cuisine restaurants in London

London boasts some of the finest restaurants in the world, including some of the very best haute cuisine restaurants, so it comes as no surprise that this SquareMeal list of the best haute cuisine restaurants in London features some of the best known r

Posted on 18 January 2018

Best haute cuisine restaurants in London

London boasts some of the finest restaurants in the world, including some of the very best haute cuisine restaurants, so it comes as no surprise that this Squaremeal list of the best haute cuisine restaurants in London features some of the best known restaurants in the business. One of the most highly respected and most complex forms of cooking, haute cuisine is considered as the pinnacle of fine dining. In essence it is the very finest French cuisine meticulously prepared to perfection using only the very best ingredients.

Find the best haute cuisine Restaurants in the capital with Squaremeal’s list of the best haute cuisine restaurants in London. This carefully selected list comprises of only the very best that London has to offer in haute cuisine and features some very famous names from the culinary world. London is full of great fine dining restaurants and great French restaurants, but this superb selection of the very best haute cuisine restaurants in London really is the crème de la crème.

Every one of the haute cuisine restaurants featured in Squaremeal’s list of London’s top haute cuisine restaurants have been tried and tested by food critics and our own customers so check out the reviews and book a table online with Squaremeal today. Each Squaremeal listing features an independent review, as well as reviews from diners, together with unique special offers such as free drinks and discounts.


Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

The combination of a superstar name and three Michelin stars means that expectations are always sky-high at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester; in return, diners are treated to “an exercise in superlative service and presentation”, with hushed tones barely disturbing the reverential calm in the classic creamy-toned dining room – an “oasis of serenity” away from the bluster of Park Lane. Head chef Jean-Phillipe Blondet is his master’s voice, delivering a measured parade of profound and deeply flavoured dishes hinting at the “culinary genius” behind the scenes – just consider the “heavenly” sauté gourmand of lobster accompanied by homemade pasta and truffled chicken quenelles or the signature ‘contemporary’ vacherin with a coconut boule, pomegranate seeds and exotic fruits. In between, the ever-fabulous rib and saddle of venison with coffee sauce and a peanut-stuffed parsnip vies with fish classics such as fillet of turbot with beetroot and clams marinière or line-caught sea bass with braised chicory. Prices, as you’d expect of somewhere called Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, take no prisoners, and the platinum wine list promises a galaxy of French stars with hefty mark-ups – although fans still think that dining here is “time exceptionally well spent”.   

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Ametsa with Arzak Instruction

Ametsa with Arzak Instruction

If Ametsa’s dining room looks a little clinical with its test tubes of spices undulating in the ceiling, that’s no coincidence – there’s a meticulous, almost scientific approach to gastronomy here. But it’s also worth taking notice of the poppies etched on the mirrors because the cooking has a boundary-pushing, dreamlike quality, intended to astound more than just the taste buds. The menu describes its dishes in a florid style – ‘scallops leaving home’, ‘tuna with cinnamon on fire’ and ‘sea bass with celery illusion’ – and they all deliver “incredible artistry” and Michelin-starred “wows” galore. A dessert of orange toast with spinach has a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity to round off the meal. “Fantastically knowledgeable staff” get their share of plaudits, while the sommelier is “informative and spot-on” when it comes to the Spanish-biased wine list. “Pure theatre”.

Ametsa with Arzak Instruction

Pied à Terre

Pied à Terre

From its prized modern art and groaning cheeseboard to legions of suited staff, Pied à Terre remains “timeless in its class” – “always original, always fun, always great”. Head chef Asimakis Chaniotis has made the kitchen his own and can deliver some truly dazzling dishes, judging by our recent experience: roasted veal sweetbread and plump cockles drenched in seaweed butter; delicate squid ‘linguine’ under buckwheat and sea herbs; and a modernist spin on coconut rice pudding have all impressed mightily. The classics aren’t forgotten either – roasted and braised lamb is served alongside London’s most sophisticated take on ratatouille, while original chef Richard Neat’s foie gras and borlotti beans in Sauternes consommé is still fresh after 25 years. Apart from the bargain set lunch, prices are reassuringly top-end, but there’s ample value in a book-sized wine list, with “incredibly helpful” sommeliers. While the detail-rich dining room is pokey for some (and cosy for others), a recently refurbished upstairs bar is perhaps Fitzrovia’s best kept drinking secret. “Just simply fabulous”, sums it up.

Pied à Terre

The Square

The Square

18 months after he bought The Square from chef Philip Howard and restaurateur Nigel Platts-Martin, Marlon Abela has put his own stamp on the famous Mayfair restaurant, re-opening it following a refurb and with a new chef. Clément Leroy has spent time in the kitchens of French legends such as Guy Savoy in Paris and has presumably been tasked with winning back the second Michelin star that evaporated when Howard left. Abela has said that The Square is “a modern take on haute cuisine”, which means that butter and cream are out and umami and a light touch are in over a four course à la carte (£95) or seven-course tasting menu (£110). Thus smoked Lincolnshire eel comes with caviar, potato and watercress (superbly subtle), red mullet is treated to a delicate Asian twist with aubergine, shiitake and Sarawak pepper, saddle of lamb gets its seasoning from razor clams and seaweed butter, while the flavour of salt-baked pineapple is amplified by salted butter ice-cream. This is top-flight cooking, to be sure, underscored by a deeply impressive Franco-Italian wine list that extends to almost 2,000 bins – but there was a sense of fun lacking on our visit; as at The Square of old, this sombrely furnished space remains a restaurant better tailored to a suited clientele on expenses than food-loving diners with personal accounts.  

The Square

The Ledbury

The Ledbury

“Incredibly inventive”; “consistently wonderful”; “simply outstanding on every level”: readers confirm that The Ledbury is still a paragon of fine dining in the capital. It may radiate old-school affluence, but Brett Graham’s über-suave destination comes across as an inclusive eatery for locals, tourists and perambulating foodies alike – a neighbourhood destination kitted out with arty chandeliers, leather chairs and mirrored walls. Diners descend on the place in search of “top-class contemporary food” from a chef who cooks with vigour, authority and audacious brio. Regulars suggest that tasting menus are the way to go: “every course is a surprise”, whether you begin with a Chantilly of oyster, sea bream tartare and frozen English wasabi or the “stand-out” flame-grilled mackerel with pickled cucumber, Celtic mustard and shiso. There is stupendous meat and game too, perhaps Herdwick lamb with salt-baked kohlrabi, Padrón pepper and garlic or a sanguine-toned dish of Berkshire roe deer accompanied by smoked bone marrow, cherries, red leaves and vegetables. As thoughts turn to sweetness, the kitchen obliges with masterstrokes such as blackcurrant-leaf ice cream paired with buffalo-milk meringues and mead. Impeccable staff “genuinely enjoy their job”, and it’s worth engaging with one of the knowledgeable sommeliers if you want to get the best from the endlessly fascinating list. What more could you want from a two-Michelin-starred sophisticate?

The Ledbury

The Five Fields

The Five Fields

“Still on the up and up” confirms a regular visitor to Five Fields – an elegant but homely neighbourhood restaurant that “really does feel very special”. Muted grey and beige colour schemes set a soothing tone in the bijou dining room, although all eyes are on the gloriously fresh-flavoured food coming out of chef/proprietor Taylor Bonnyman’s kitchen. Much depends on seasonal pickings from the owner’s Sussex garden – floral tributes and herbal embellishments that make an impact in dishes as diverse as Lindisfarne oyster with green herbs, sea lettuce and radish or a disarmingly simple ‘late summer’ plate of tomato, pea and watermelon. Bonnyman’s sense of adventure and his culinary intelligence also show in unexpected pairings such as beef with peanut, broccoli and tamarind or red grouse overlaid with the contrasting flavours and textures of carrot, yoghurt and cucumber. To finish, ‘chocolate, sesame and smoke’ sounds darkly dramatic, but there’s fruity freshness too – as in Charentais melon with orange flower blossom, raspberry and praline. Staff are gracious, genuine and accommodating – a real boon when it comes to picking from the comprehensive 500-bin wine list. “Surprising and charming in equal measure” says a fan – a verdict we’re happy to endorse.

The Five Fields

Seven Park Place by William Drabble

Seven Park Place by William Drabble

Embedded within the wedding-cake surrounds of the St James's Hotel, this freestanding restaurant drips sobriety and good manners. Restraint is the watchword – even if your eyes have to cope with a mishmash of patterned carpets, patterned banquettes and dramatic patterned wallpaper in the petite, nine-table dining room. William Drabble delivers “the most incredible, genuine French food”, sourcing from the UK, but applying several coats of contemporary Gallic lacquer to his Michelin-starred food: scallops are marinated in blood-orange vinegar and served with Dorset crab and blood-orange mayo; saddle of Lune Valley lamb arrives with onions, turnips and thyme; roast veal sweetbreads are studded with truffle and partnered by crispy chicken wings, salt-baked celeriac and roasted chicken emulsion. To finish, try coffee-soaked savarin with coffee cream and caramelised hazelnuts. “Professional, dedicated staff” provide the icing on the cake.

Seven Park Place by William Drabble

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Like its neighbour The Ivy, this hotspot hides its interior from the gaze of casual passers-by, so there's a delicious sense of anticipation as you arrive. To begin, sip a chic aperitif in the bijou bar with its secluded rooftop terrace. Located on the first floor, the restaurant is the largest space (good for groups or business lunches), but we think the ground floor holds most appeal, with its shiny red stools and open kitchen dramatically framed by sleek black decor. Meticulously choreographed chefs can be seen preparing intricate multi-layered plates notable for their complex flavours and textures: a silky poached egg coated in crisp rice batter topped with caviar; juicy tiger prawn spun in vermicelli and laced with exotic lime and sumac; velvety hot foie gras with a ‘rolled heart’ of tangy green apple and hibiscus juice. Service never disappoints, and satisfied customers rightly deem the whole experience “excellent”.

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

MARCUS

MARCUS

Marcus Wareing’s one-Michelin-starred flagship brings together “the best of British and French culinary traditions” in an imposing high-ceilinged dining room done out in shades of chestnut brown with swathes of dark panelling, frosted glass panels and leather chesterfields. Wareing’s cooking is an “extraordinary celebration of flavour” as he applies tweezer-like precision to the very best ingredients – from a pairing of scallop, apple and lemon verbena with roasted beef dressing to Cumbrian rose veal embellished with beetroot, liquorice and parsnip. Readers also have their own “fabulous favourites”: a daring veggie creation involving Sharpe’s 1900 potatoes with girolles, Tunworth cheese and truffle; octopus with beef tea; Herdwick lamb with crispy breast, chimichurri and hispi cabbage; a dessert combo of toffee, peanut, milk chocolate and nougat (“heaven on a plate”). From nibbles of sourdough with Dorset snail and cap to pre-desserts such as lightly smoked milk and mandarin, every dish is a marvel of culinary dexterity. The mighty wine list is a pricey paean to global viticulture managed by a genius sommelier, while ultra-professional staff never miss a trick: “our waiter was incredibly smooth and charismatic”, noted one reader. In short “a truly delightful dining experience”.

MARCUS

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught is the legendary hotel’s flagship restaurant and it continues to live up to its two-Michelin-starred credentials, with effortlessly efficient staff overseeing the cosseting wood-panelled dining room. The food bears all the hallmarks of Darroze’s signature style – artisan ingredients, beautiful presentation and pinpoint cooking with subtle eclectic nuances. Flavours and textures sing throughout, from the soft folds of Bayonne ham delivered as an appetiser to sweet strawberries topped with fragrant basil and olive-oil Chantilly for dessert. Elsewhere, grouse carries North African ras-el-hanout spicing balanced by the sweetness of dates, and velvety cubes of Wagyu beef are served with crispy puffs of potato laced with truffle for a thoroughly decadent take on steak-frites. Wine pairings chosen by a team of talented sommeliers make Hélène Darroze at The Connaught an oenophile’s delight, and there’s a huge selection of vintage bottles from top producers on the pricey list.    The Ayala SquareMeal’s Best Female Chefs Series: Hélène Darroze

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

Le Gavroche

Le Gavroche

Stoically eschewing the cult of the new, Le Gavroche remains a bastion of haute cuisine in all its ancien régime finery – although you may need a certain worldly-wise mindset to fully appreciate this grandee’s many attributes. The dark exclusivity of the cocooned dining room, the fastidiously dutiful service and the indulgent extravagance of the food all seem to evoke a time gone by. As ever, Michel Roux’s Jr’s kitchen is intent on delivering classical cooking of the highest order, although he does allow the occasional flirtation with contemporary themes: trendy bottarga, two kinds of beetroot and ‘late-harvest’ Canadian vinegar balancing a dish of marinated and seared sea trout; ras-el-hanout spices adding exotic fragrance to a plate of stone bass, roasted peanuts enhancing some “incomparable” breast and leg of pigeon. Still, we take comfort in the classics – the ever-present and ever-gorgeous soufflé suissesse, the brilliantly succulent pig’s head terrine with braised snails, lemon and “inimitable” parsley purée, a perfect strawberry dessert highlighted with vanilla cream. Yes, eating here can be frighteningly expensive (especially if you dip into the aristocratic wine list), but readers also extol the virtues of the all-inclusive set lunch. With its two Michelin stars, fans say Le Gavroche is “quite simply the best”.  

Le Gavroche

sketch: Lecture Room & Library

sketch: Lecture Room & Library

Hidden at the summit of the Conduit Street pleasure dome, Sketch Lecture Room & Library is a two-Michelin-starred homage to glorious gastronomic excess and indulgence overseen by super-chef Pierre Gagnaire. His highly stylised, whimsical dishes arrive as miniature banquets: ‘perfume of the earth’, for example, is a cornucopia involving hay-smoked ravioli of foie gras and redcurrant on borlotti beans and mushrooms, snails braised with wild mushrooms, basil and datterini tomatoes, a mouthful of bone marrow and croûtons on nettle purée, and even a thick slice of textbook pâté en croûte with tamarillo sorbet – wow. Ample mains such as hare ‘in three services’ or aromatic rack of salt-marsh lamb with ‘green crumble’, piquillo-stuffed Portobello mushroom, aubergine and Marguerite potatoes maintain the thrilling momentum, while dessert yields a six-plate sugar-rush of wildly creative patisserie like you’ve never seen before. The dining room is an opulent, ballroom-like show-stopper, and the wine list is extensive but manageable – thanks to sage guidance from genuinely passionate staff. Sketch Lecture Room & Library is rightly dubbed “one of the best places in London” by admiring fans.

sketch: Lecture Room & Library

The Ritz Restaurant

The Ritz Restaurant

Nobody goes to the unimaginably opulent Ritz Restaurant on the off-chance – this is proper special-occasion dining, where chaps wear smart suits and ladies don their poshest back-of-the-wardrobe frocks. The pay-off is, of course, Michelin-starred food served in a “truly exquisite” fin de siècle dining room with cherubic pink-hued lighting and legions of tail-coated staff pandering to your every whim (service is “beyond this world”, drools one fan). Exec chef John Williams MBE is a master of the ever-present haute-cuisine classics (beef Wellington, Bresse duck, baked Alaska etc), but he’s no conservative – witness thrilling ideas such as poached langoustine topped with pickled fennel on crushed broad beans and verbena, veal fillet with girolles and Grelot onions or Dover sole with truffles and grapes and unctuous cauliflower purée. After that, there is much flambéing of crêpes Suzette in the grand Escoffier manner, although modernists might prefer coconut mousse with compressed pineapple and passion-fruit sorbet. If money’s tight (heaven forbid!), opt for the sommelier’s wine pairing; if not, indulge in the patrician glories of the full list. Either way, The Ritz Restaurant delivers “a night to remember”. 

The Ritz Restaurant

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse

It has sported two Michelin Stars since 2004, so expectations invariably run high at The Greenhouse. However, the arrival of new head chef Alex Dilling (ex-Hélène Darroze at The Connaught) has taken the set-up to a different level. Of course, some things never change: the sense of Zen-like calm as visitors arrive at this Mayfair “oasis” via a beautifully landscaped garden; the spacious and light dining room, and the highly professional attitude of the staff. What felt notably different, though, was the buzz – it was encouraging to see almost every table occupied on a midweek evening.      Dilling’s culinary approach involves sourcing the very best ingredients, combining them with an innovative flourish and presenting them beautifully. A super-soft yet deeply flavoursome smoked sturgeon mousse with crab and dill set the tone, and there were several high points to follow: we were bowled over by a breath-takingly original truffled egg concoction and a plate of Brittany turbot with boudin noir, girolles and young sorrel.     The vegetarian options also impressed, as did the wine pairings, drawn from one of London’s more voluminous lists (clocking in at 3,400+ bottles). On the downside, our A5 Gunma Wagyu beef was rather bland, and impatient diners may be troubled by the relatively long waits between courses. Still, The Greenhouse remains a bastion of serious fine dining – just be prepared to fork out handsomely.  

The Greenhouse

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

“The top of Everest, the Roger Federer of fine dining” declares a fan of Gordon Ramsay’s three-Michelin-starred Chelsea flagship, adding that it’s “hands-down” the best place to eat in London. Former chef/patron Clare Smyth has moved on to open her own restaurant, Core in Notting Hill, but the kitchen is in safe hands under the stewardship of Matt Abé – a chef who has proved his worth as an alumnus of both Ramsay and Smyth. If proof were needed, consider the ever-delectable ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon (now enlivened with oxalis and sorrel), the pressed foie gras with green apple, turnips, watercress and smoked duck or roast pigeon pointed up with sweetcorn, lavender, honey and apricot. Vegetarians might be treated to gnocchi “as light as pillows of clouds”, while desserts are miracles of clarity and sweetness (a lemonade parfait with honey, bergamot and sheep’s milk yoghurt, for example). It’s all about consummate craftsmanship, combined with an acute eye for visual detailing. The dining room is cool and classy, with silky-smooth service to match, although it would be nothing without the gleeful attentions of genial overlord Jean-Claude Breton – a master orchestrator and a legend among maître d's. Like everything else at this gilded wow-inducing superstar, the staggeringly comprehensive wine list and the sommelier’s astute recommendations are “hard to beat”.

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay