SquareMeal Restaurant Gift Vouchers

Discover the list of fantastic restaurants that accept SquareMeal Gift Vouchers in London and the UK

Updated on 01 January 2020

Rather than searching for the best restaurant gift vouchers and gift cards that tie the recipient to one restaurant, why not gift a SquareMeal restaurant gift voucher? You can choose a bespoke gift voucher amount and this can be redeemed at a variety of restaurants.

The perfect present idea for the foodie in your life, the restaurants that accept our gift vouchers have been approved by us so you can trust that whichever restaurant the recipient chooses to redeem their voucher at, they will be getting a quality meal at one of the best restaurants. Take a look at the wide selection of restaurants below that will accept SquareMeal restaurant vouchers.

Canto Corvino

Canto Corvino

21 Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, London, E1 7HA

This low-key Italian eatery is found just a few metres away from bustling Spitalifields Market. Canto Corvino is a restaurant full of well-heeled City types, but it’s also an inviting spot for more casual diners who seek a reasonably priced cocktail in a chic Shoreditch setting. The compact menu incorporates classic Italian dishes such as bread, olive oil, mozzarella and arancini but also includes some luxury takes, such as the lobster paccheri and truffled pig’s head linguine.

£30 - £49
Bars
Italian
The Chequers at Burcot

The Chequers at Burcot

Abingdon Road, Burcot, Oxfordshire, OX14 3DP

The Chequers at Burcot accepts SquareMeal Resaurant Gift Vouchers for Dining & Accommodation Originally an inn for farm labourers, servants, and river workers, this 400-year-old-pub is a draw for locals and visitors alike, both for its rich history and top-notch food and drink. Situated in the Thames-side hamlet of Burcot, just a short distance from the pretty village of Dorchester and its famous abbey, the pub offers a charming blend of old and new. Original beams and an ancient open fireplace (complete with a fire that burns all year round) keep the spirit of the inn alive, while the contemporary decor makes it a comfortable space in which to enjoy a meal or a drink with friends. From sharing boards to classic mains, the menu is full of the kind of comfort food that goes hand in hand with rustic pub surroundings. Starters include Scotch egg, prawn cocktail and chicken liver paté, while sharing boards can be put together from items including giant queen olives, rosemary focaccia, Black Bomber cheese and calamari. Mains are generally meaty, including favourites such as fish and chips, made from Torbay haddock cooked in beef dripping and served with pea purée and tartar sauce, and Wiltshire pork belly served with mash, greens, crackling and apple purée, though there is a vegetarian lasagne and a number of gluten-free options as well. The menu’s pièce de résistance, however, is the selection of British steaks sourced from farms located in Sussex, Cornwall and the Hundred of Wixamtree (an area in Bedfordshire which dates back to Anglo-Saxon times). The cattle are 100 per cent grass-fed and slowly reared, resulting in rich, succulent aged beef. There are six cuts to choose from and no fewer than 22 side dishes to complement them, from tenderstem broccoli to buttery star anise carrots, melted cheese mash with crispy Wiltshire bacon and shallots, and cauliflower cheese. Desserts are just as tempting, with crowd-pleasers such as sticky toffee pudding and crumble sitting alongside more adventurous creations including lemon and lime posset, and almond milk rice pudding with spiced prunes.
£30 - £49
British
Gastropub
Comptoir Gascon

Comptoir Gascon

61-63 Charterhouse Street, Farringdon, London, EC1M 6AH

Comptoir Gascon’s foodie ethos “comes straight from the verdant pastures of Gascony”, writes a fan of starry Club Gascon’s rustic upstart cousin. It’s all about la douceur de vivre (‘the sweetness of life’) as the kitchen delivers textbook versions of the regional classics in a shabby-chic setting of brick walls, blue velvet chairs and heavy timber tables. Duck, foie gras and truffles get top billing on a menu that’s noted for its “bounteous portions” and “really good value”: the famous ‘deluxe’ burger is an “elegant proposition”, while piggy treats, rillettes, confits and cassoulet turn the carnivorous dial up to 11. Elsewhere, dishes such as cuttlefish with chicory, Padrón peppers and Basque sauce pander to other palates, while everyone adores the duck-fat chips blasted with “speckled flavour-bombs” of salt. Fascinating regional wines and a ‘foodhall’ crammed with provisions are further reasons to visit this laid-back bolthole.

£30 - £49
French
Il Convivio

Il Convivio

143 Ebury Street, London, SW1W 9QN

The name alludes to Dante’s unfinished masterpiece, and there are quotes from the great poet all around this modern Italian – although most diners simply appreciate the ‘convivial’ atmosphere and admirable space between tables (“one can truly have a private conversation here”, notes a fan). There’s also some “excellent” Italian regional cooking to be had, from indulgent plates of San Daniele ham accompanied by bouncily soft burrata, or crunchy octopus with a rich nduja sauce, to a risotto with roast quail and red onion purée, or veal chop with fresh artichokes (“as good as I get in Venice”, notes one traveller). Handmade pasta is a sound shout for those that want it (we suggest pappardelle with seafood and raw Sicilian pachio tomato sauce), while zabaglione semifreddo drizzled with espresso coffee sauce make a fine finish. The “reasonably priced” wine list lacks informative notes, but staff are more than happy to suggest a decent Italian match for food and pocket.

£50 - £79
Italian
M Victoria Street

M Victoria Street

Zig Zag Building, Victoria Street, Westminster, London, SW1E 6SQ

The second behemoth establishment from Martin Williams (ex-Gaucho) has landed in chain-heavy Victoria Street, incorporating cavernous basement dining rooms, public and private members’ bars and a mezzanine wine shop upstairs. As at the original City operation, dining is divided into two distinct areas: M Raw serves Japanese and Peruvian small plates from an open-kitchen; M Grill is devoted to meat, complete with an amphitheatre-style dining room. Choose either the raw or grilled route before taking your seat. A muted slate colour palette, softened by dusky blues and copper finishes, will please the corporate crowd, as will a standalone bar serving wallet-busting cocktails. The raw-bar menu of sushi and sashimi has been boosted by Wagyu steak tartare, which arrives under a smoke-filled cloche, laced with sweet-sour apple and topped by a glowing orb-like egg yolk. Over at M Grill, punters can opt for beef from one of six countries (Italian is a new addition); our rosy slab of USDA black Angus fillet (£49) sliced like butter. Delve further into the meaty menu and you’ll discover pig’s head served as salty crisp pulled-pork croquettes, slow-cooked cheek and moreish pig’s ear crackling. The dessert list is short yet not especially sweet; dulce mousse with buckwheat, bacon and sweetcorn ice cream is an acquired taste. Oenophiles fare better, thanks to a varied global wine list and the option to try before you buy. M looks set to nail the corporate market, but whether locals too will meet here remains to be seen.

£50 - £79
Steak
Ginza Onodera

Ginza Onodera

15 Bury Street, St. James's, London, SW1Y 6AL

The corner of the West End where Mayfair segues into St James’s has become the spiritual home of London’s slick, modern Japanese restaurants. And so, after 23 years on Bury Street, traditional teppanyaki outfit Matsuri closed for six months, emerging £2.5m later as the London outpost of globe-spanning Ginza Onodera. Out go the tabletop hot plates, replaced by contemporary trappings including a robata grill, marble sushi bar, pale woods, monochrome furnishings and high-spec private rooms. However, this is not the place to come for California rolls or blow-torched tuna; rather, the kitchen deals in exquisite updates on the Japanese hallmarks of delicacy and refinement, alongside ultra-respectful versions of classic sushi and tempura. Our favourites included tuna tartare with spicy miso sauce and a crunch of roasted pine nuts, sticky chunks of yakitori made with Norfolk Black chicken skewered on cocktail sticks, and black cod with miso that actually tasted like fish, rather than just something very sweet. A wine cabinet groaning under the weight of Super Tuscans, sakés and Japanese single malts reveals Onodera's greatest asset: eye-opening food and drink matching. Just ask the enthusiastic staff (many from the Matsuri days) to recommend their favourite dishes. A ‘Tsubaki’ set menu for £45 offers an affordable way in, while the £250 ‘Takumi’ indicates how much one could easily spend here.
£50 - £79
Sushi
Japanese
Afternoon tea
Cinnamon Kitchen City

Cinnamon Kitchen City

9 Devonshire Square, Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 4YL

Bold open kitchen at the back, big glass doors at the front, exposed ducting and brickwork everywhere – this is the very model of a modern-day restaurant, with the rejuvenated Battersea Power Station forming a dazzling backdrop. It might be part of a growing group, but the design is entirely bespoke, high on wow factor – note the mezzanine floor in the centre – and with warm lighting and classy banquettes, it all feels high on glamour.

The cooking is as striking as the setting is beautiful. Pitch-perfect chicken breast delivered straight from the tandoor comes with a zingy mint and chilli korma though, for flavour and star-appeal, it was trumped by a melt-in-the-mouth clove-smoked lamb rump served with a fennel and nutmeg sauce.

We shared a series of starters, of which the wild African prawn with coriander and garlic crust was the standout, with its deep and warm but delicately wrought flavours. We loved the soft-yielding texture of aubergine contrasted with a sesame, tamarind and peanut crumble, while ceviche of black bream paired with mango, nigella and pomegranate was as fresh as daisy. A chocolate mousse with cinnamon ice cream delivers a dab of heaven on the tongue to finish, or opt for spicy Indian-inspired craft cocktails, devised by master mixologist Tony Conigliaro.  

This is a generous-spirited restaurant, not least because of a top team of smart staff – efficient, knowledgeable and friendly in equal measure. We’re already looking for an excuse to return.  

£30 - £49
Indian
Taberna Etrusca

Taberna Etrusca

9-11 Bow Churchyard, London, London, EC4M 9DQ

Like some of the racing cars pictured on its walls, Taberna Etrusca has come to be regarded as a 1960s classic. The setting couldn’t be more Cockney (note the lovely courtyard almost beneath Bow Bells), but at heart this is a “typical” City trattoria with chummy service, good wines and “tranquil” evening sessions in contrast to busy lunchtimes. “Massive portions” satisfy on a basic level, but the kitchen has merits beyond mere sustenance: “full-flavoured” dishes often embrace international influences, as in a confit duck salad with peanut, orange and chilli dressing or anchovy tempura atop grilled Shropshire chicken with Caesar salad. There’s fresh homemade pasta too – try the chitarra spaghetti with sliced beef fillet sautéed in garlic, chilli and plum tomato. With its noticeable Italian tilt, the wine list provides gratifyingly wide choice at the lower end – a sensible approach to pricing that’s much-valued by regulars.

£30 - £49
Italian
Galvin La Chapelle

Galvin La Chapelle

35 Spital Square, Spitalfields, London, E1 6DY

Set in the “atmospheric” surrounds of a grandiose converted Victorian chapel, this Michelin-starred, Grade II-listed high flyer from the Galvin brothers comes complete with stone archways, iron chandeliers and awe-inspiring “ecclesiastical vaulted architecture”. As such, it provides a suitably lavish backdrop for a menu of highly worked, “expertly prepared” and intricately presented dishes culled from the lexicon of modern French cuisine – from the signature Dorset crab lasagne with creamy beurre nantais and pea shoots or pressed terrine of Landes guinea fowl, foie gras and Bayonne ham with sauce gribiche to tagine of Bresse pigeon with couscous, confit lemon and harissa sauce or poached chicken breast with herb gnocchi, kale and sauce suprême. To conclude, the perfectly caramelised tarte Tatin with Normandy crème fraîche is a must, while the enviable cheese trolley provides the perfect excuse for a glass of Hermitage La Chapelle from the mighty French-led wine list – although a few more “modestly priced” offerings would be appreciated. Some dissenters find Galvin La Chapelle “bland and deeply earnest”, relying on “snob value and French-derived gravitas”, but we’re with those who reckon it’s a triumph in the City.  

£50 - £79
French
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Le Bar

Le Bar

59 West Smithfield, Barbican, London, EC1A 9DS

Lovers of all things Gallic should swing by Club Gascon's ‘annex' , a sophisticated cocktail bar offering French small plates. The menu is proudly regionalist, with a great line in charcuterie, artisan cheese and all manner of ‘piggy' and ‘ducky' delights: pick from snacks of pig’s trotter cake and truffled cheese baguette, or go for heartier options, such as oyster, mushroom and black pudding salad, or foie gras with mussels. The ‘express lunch’ menu remains a steal for a dish of the day, plus a starter, glass of wine and pudding such as baked brandy custard. Other deals, including monthly wine dinners and oyster evenings, are also well worth considering. “Great for date nights”, says a fan.

Bars
French
£50 - £79
Benares

Benares

12a Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, W1J 6BS

A beacon for Asian fine dining since 2003, Michelin-starred Benares brings French-inspired refinement to spice-based cooking “without depleting the authenticity of Indian flavour”. The kitchen delivers “awesome food” and “real creativity” across the board, although tasting menus are the undoubted showcase for the kitchen's talents – from pan-seared scallops with broccoli couscous and pine-nut podi (dry powder) to a crisp, puffy chicken tikka pie or tandoori lamb cutlets with rich, rogan-inspired jus and creamy black dhal makhani. Inventive set lunches might include piri-piri quail with smoked beetroot or prawn curry with Bengali-spiced kimchi, while a dessert of tarte Tatin infused with anise and fennel typifies the crossover approach. Kindly, engaging staff deliver “spotless service” in the slick, smart, white-on-black dining room, while street food and quirky cocktails are the main business in the lounge bar. Wine picks tackle the spicing admirably. “Pricey, but perfect for special occasions”, says a fan.

£50 - £79
Indian
Halal
Caravaggio

Caravaggio

107-112 Leadenhall Street, London, London, EC3A 4DP

For two decades Caravaggio has been a favourite with Leadenhall locals, not least on account of its grandiose, art deco-style setting, much appreciated by readers as an “exceptional” place for discussing the day’s affairs. It’s a very well-proportioned room, with its own sense of drama provided by big windows, a flamboyant central staircase – leading to a mezzanine floor – and a stylish marble bar. On the culinary front Caravaggio’s “good-sized” dishes chime with the sort of up-to-date offerings served in trendier surrounds across town. Start with Jerusalem artichoke soup, al dente asparagus with quail’s egg and hollandaise, or octopus carpaccio and you’ll get the measure of a kitchen that challenges the stereotypes of the City Italian. To follow, there’s a comforting saffron risotto with asparagus, grilled calf’s liver with luganica sausage, or nicely sauced caramelised breast of Gressingham duck with celeriac mash. Desserts include Amalfi lemon tart with soft meringue, and a glass of Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos ’08 – a bargain at under a fiver. There’s further value in a set menu for under £20.

£30 - £49
Italian
The Restaurant at The Capital

The Restaurant at The Capital

The Capital Hotel , Knightsbridge, London, SW3 1AT

Set within the five-star Capital just a stone’s throw from Harrods, this revamp of the hotel’s dining room exudes classic British hospitality, from the setting through to the menus and staff. It’s ideally located for lunch following a morning’s sightseeing and shopping around Knightsbridge and South Kensington, while hotel guests, locals and Londoners who fancy a taste of the high life might like to stop in for dinner.

As is de rigeur, The Restaurant at The Capital relies heavily upon independent local suppliers and farmers for its ingredients, which are then carefully crafted into classic British dishes by head chef Adam Simmonds and his team. In order to showcase the freshest seasonal produce and newest creations from the kitchen, the menus change frequently, but an idea of the kinds of dishes you might encounter on your visit include oysters with cucumber, English wasabi and lardo or veal sweetbreads with watercress, lemon and liquorice to start, and the likes of salt-aged duck with grapefruit, turnip and fennel, or John Dory with curd, cuttlefish, kohlrabi and caviar to follow.

Desserts such as elderflower ice cream with blossom honey, oats and yogurt, and white chocolate brownie with peanut parfait and cocoa sorbet ought not to be missed, though if you’re in the mood for something savoury, a British cheese plate should do the trick. A seven-course tasting menu affords a treat for those looking to splash out, while the set lunch menu is ideal for corporate lunches or anyone struggling to choose à la carte.  

A very impressive collection of wines, many from small artisan producers, rounds off the dining experience nicely, so whether you allow the team to guide you to a bottle to share, or opt for a carefully curated wine flight to accompany your meal, you’re sure to land on something delicious.

£50 - £79
Vegetarian
British
Theo

Theo's Simple Italian

34–44 Barkston Gardens, Earls Court, London, SW5 0EW

For the past decade, Theo Randall has wowed punters in his flagship restaurant at the Park Lane InterContinental with some of London’s most accomplished Italian cooking. So the arrival of Theo’s Simple Italian – offering all the authentic, bold flavours at wallet-friendly prices – should have fans shouting ‘Fantastico!’. The interior is a cluster of cosy sections within Hotel Indigo, with wood-panelled walls and low-hanging industrial lights. Charming Italian staff guide you through the regionally inspired dishes. We began with a Negroni Sbagliato (Campari, vermouth, Prosecco), then moved on to a bruschetta topped with impossibly rich tomatoes and plentiful chunky, crunchy fritto misto. For secondi, rich, meaty fish stew stole the show, but the line-up of expertly cooked pasta – especially linguine with clams, artichoke and bottarga – is exceptional too. For dessert, white chocolate tart with a gentle chilli kick is divine. A stunning little package, well worth a trip to Earl’s Court.

£30 - £49
Italian
Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

51 Parsons Green Lane, Fulham, London, SW6 4JA

Few localities suit a neighbourhood Champagne bar quite like Parsons Green. Burberry-clad couples, sharp-suited bankers and the odd Made in Chelsea cast member all gather here to be seen through large, concertina windows. With its stripped-back walls and low-hanging lights, Amuse Bouche also cuts it as an informal and upbeat spot to quaff high-class bubbly. The list starts with Mabis Prosecco and climbs all the way up to Louis Roederer Cristal, via the usual big-name Bollingers and Taittingers. A handful of rosés offer something different, as does a selection of classic Champagne cocktails. Red oysters and lobster nuggets are on hand to counteract all those bubbles – but the real foodie action takes place Upstairs At Amuse.
£30 - £49
British
Wine Bars
Club Gascon

Club Gascon

57 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9DS

Famous as one of the best places to eat duck and foie gras since opening in 1998, Club Gascon is moving with the low-waste and sustainable times, re-opening from a refurb with a ‘Garden’ section of the menu featuring six veg-focused starters and mains. Rest assured, however, that if slow-cooked egg with plankton, seaweed and bitter leaves doesn’t float your boat, all things duck still form the core of the menu – and are far and away the best things to eat here, foie gras especially: a smooth-as-butter terrine served with banyuls, fig and Argan oil to start or, spectacularly, served with a Bailey’s and mandarin sauce for pudding, beguilingly sweet and savoury; thick lobes of pan-fried foie gras sitting under a shell crammed with razor clams is another flavour bomb. Non-ducky options such as roasted sturgeon with leeks, bone marrow and Craster sauce, and roast grouse with popcorn, Guinness and oyster sauce seemed less appealingly individual and more fine-dining-by-numbers, but a kitchen that excels with pudding ensures things end on a high note, from a pre-dessert variation on prunes and Armagnac that left us wanting much, much more to a ‘millionaire’ dessert made from 72% Colombian chocolate with black olive, lemon gel and thyme ice cream, so rich it demanded to be savoured slowly. Eye-opening wine matching remains a strength, while the restaurant’s new look has a timeless modernity that should last for another 20 years. 

 

£50 - £79
French
One Michelin star
£50 - £79
M Threadneedle Street

M Threadneedle Street

2-3 Threadneedle Walk, 60 Threadneedle Street, City of London, London, EC2R 8HP

£50 - £79
Steak
Yatri Indian Restaurant

Yatri Indian Restaurant

9 Chalton Street, King's Cross, London, NW1 1JD

Indian restaurants can have a difficult job to make themselves stand out. Yatri, based in a slightly odd location in the no man’s land between Euston and King’s Cross stations, overcomes this challenge by introducing diners to the cooking of the north-west regions of India, meaning that is doesn’t serve the run-of-the-mill curry house menu you can find on pretty much every London high street. Yatri has gone for a rather minimalist look with stripped wooden tables, small flashes of exposed brickwork, a brightly lit bar down one side of the room and antique bulbs hanging from above. The look creates a relaxed ambience which is further helped by laid-back staff. Get a plate of the miniature disco poppadoms and sauces to snack on whilst you peruse the menu and you’ll quickly discover that Yatri likes its spice. The starters have a street-foody feel to them; the bhel puri chat balanced the crunch of puffed rice with gently spiced chickpeas, and then the tang of tamarind added a little sharpness. We particularly enjoyed the tandoori prawns, which were wonderfully tender and lathered in a spicy marinade. Whilst the main courses didn’t quite live up to the promise of the starters, the railway chicken had the pleasant addition of potatoes hiding in the coconut-based curry sauce, and the paneer butter masala was a delightfully indulgent dish. The peshwari naan must also get a mention – crisp on the outside and fluffy within, it was the ideal implement to mop up any remaining dregs of curry. Camden Hells, served on tap and priced very reasonably for the area at £5, is the ideal accompaniment to a fiery meal. Yatri manages to keep its prices all very modest making it a great option if you want a quick, inexpensive meal near King’s Cross.
£30 - £49
Indian
Hot Stone

Hot Stone

9 Chapel Market, Angel, London, N1 9EZ

At first glance, Hot Stone appears to be just another low-key Japanese local. Classic minimalist interiors are matched with faux cherry blossom trees climbing the walls and cutesy chopstick stands in the shape of animals. But cheery staff (who, Nobu-style, offer a Japanese greeting in unison to everyone that comes through the door) and the skilful output of the kitchen lift Hot Stone well above the generically Japanese and prove that there’s more to this Islington gem than meets the eye.

Guests can watch the chefs' work by dining at the counter or choose to sit at a handful of tables towards the back of the restaurant. As the name suggests, hot stone dishes are the thing to try – sizzling, super-heated slabs of granite which arrive at the table with your choice of protein, with diners left to cook the food to their liking. We opted for the luxe, startlingly tender A5 Japanese Wagyu, but we could have had Scottish sirloin or rib-eye, or a seafood mix of scallop, king prawn, tuna and salmon. 

If that doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of other dishes which impress. Take the supremely flaky black cod (another nod to Nobu), marinated for 48 hours and slicked with homemade miso. Sushi, meanwhile, exquisitely presented in smart wooden boxes with a blob of fresh wasabi, ranges from the classic to the contemporary: yellowtail, eel or fatty tuna, say, or a Suzuki roll involving seared seabass slices with pomegranate and yuzu miso. 

Moments from Angel tube station, Hot Stone is well worth a look for anyone looking for an intriguing and intimate alternative to central London's party crowd of frenetic, fast-paced modern Japanese. And while it's by no means a cheap eat, prices are not outrageous for the high quality of the ingredients (fresh 100% Japanese wasabi features prominently), while the short and straightforward list of saké and international wines is worth exploring. 

Over £80
Sushi
Japanese
Sagardi

Sagardi

Cordy House, 95 Curtain Road, Old Street, London, EC2A 3BS

Massively popular in Spain, the Sagardi steakhouse chain has chosen Shoreditch to open its first London branch. But this is no routine grilled-beef joint – the gastronomic hotspot of The Basque Country provides the culinary know-how behind the menu. The capacious dining room can seat more than 140, yet the dark-wood and slate interiors and leather-clad benches produce a warm, inviting atmosphere. As do the staff, who are keen to provide pairing suggestions for each course from the Basque-focused wine list. Charcuterie and pintxos (Basque tapas) account for starters. We began with moreish ham croquettes, plus some spicy grilled morcilla (black pudding) before the main act. Txuletón is what to order here: steak from cattle that are at least six years old, which is then seared on a Basque-style grill (over an oak-wood fire). The massive 800g cut we enjoyed is initially served medium-rare, with staff happy to cook it for longer if required – but our beautifully tender slab needed no extra grill-time. Sides of spiced potato wedges and salad make ideal accompaniments. Grilled fish is also an option, and the list of ‘grandma’s home cooking’ Basque dishes shouldn’t be ignored: braised lamb’s trotters in Biscay sauce, perhaps. Desserts stick to Basque country traditions too, and we loved the melt-in-the-mouth goxua sponge cake. Is there space for another steakhouse chain in London? Given Sagardi’s singular contribution to the genre our answer is ‘yes’ – or, as the Basques would say, ‘bai!’
£50 - £79
Steak
Spanish
Oldroyd

Oldroyd

344 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0PD

Wedged between two inconsequential outlets, Tom Oldroyd’s first solo venture after leaving Polpo is tiny and easily missed on chain-heavy Upper Street. But its diminutive size produces a convivial buzz – as does the open-plan layout and the draw of seasonal, modern European sharing plates. The food fills the minute tables: golden, crunchy smoked pork belly and pea croquetas are a must, soothed with truffle mayonnaise; chilli coriander prawns (a special) arrive shell-on: fortunate, given the piquant juices lurking within. Larger offerings include crab tagliarini dotted with succulent white flesh, sitting on a brown crab rouille that made us want to lick the plate. For dessert, salty pistachios and fresh raspberries cut through a decadent chocolate mousse, and a sweet, white-peach Bellini from the refined cocktail list also does the job. Oldroyd is surely set to become integral to Islington’s dining scene. Whether you can bag a table is another matter.
£30 - £49
Modern European
Cigalon

Cigalon

115 Chancery Lane, Blackfriars, London, WC2A 1PP

With its olive trees, ivy-clad trellises and airy glass-roofed dining room, Cigalon transports diners to sunny southern France – you’ll even hear a soundtrack of chirping cicadas in the background. Local legal eagles and regulars from the nearby French Chamber of Commerce choose from a first-rate regional menu that includes Provençal specialities such as pissaladière Niçoise alongside Corsican charcuterie and cheeses, plus excellent seasonal dishes ranging from red-mullet carpaccio topped with shavings of poutargue (pungent smoked mullet roe) to rustic lamb shoulder with artichokes and trompette mushrooms. Pretty desserts might include nectarine poached in rosé wine with lemon verbena and blackcurrant sorbet, while the drinks list is stuffed with rare regional tipples. Cigalon does most of its business at lunchtime, thanks to wallet-friendly set menus and an express ‘plat du jour’ (£12 for two courses), although service ‘could improve’.

£30 - £49
French
La Piazzetta Midhurst

La Piazzetta Midhurst

West Street, Midhurst, West Sussex, GU29 9NQ

La Piazzetta is a delightful gem in the centre of Midhurst, bringing proper Italian flavours from Sicily to West Street. The restaurant is well located too, just a short drive away from West Lavington and easy to access for locals. The family-run Italian restaurant is a local Sussex favourite, as the food is authentically made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. The interior is vibrant with pops of burnt orange and blue, while the atmosphere is buzzy and friendly with satisfied punters and eager staff. The wine list helps too, a good selection of Italian reds and wines for pairing with each of the courses. The team is from the port city of Catania and endeavour to do their Italian roots justice with a wonderful offering of pastas, pizzas, and more. Patrons quickly turn into regulars at this restaurant, as the restaurant brings an authentic offering to town, and good service to boot. The pizzas are definitely the highlight of the restaurant, freshly made to order in a stone oven, and topped with stunning ingredients such as the toothsome Fiorentina and the Caprino with tangy goat’s cheese, vibrant asparagus, and punchy sundried tomatoes. The rest of the menu heavily relies on Italian classics such as risotto and frittura mista, and well-executed pasta dishes. Highlights of the second courses include the grilled lamb rack served with a mixed herb gravy jus, and the tenderised veal wrapped in Parma ham with a butter and sage dressing. Punters should definitely make space for dessert, as the restaurant doles out the usual offering of traditional Italian desserts with finesse; think hearty tiramisu and caramel panna cotta, and the less traditional sweet treats do well, such as the sticky toffee bombe covered in rich Belgian chocolate. La Piazetta is a wonderful option for casual dining amongst family or friends, or to celebrate happy occasions such as birthdays.
Under £30
Pizza
Italian
Blind Spot

Blind Spot

45 St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4HX

If you’ve got it, The St Martin’s Lane Hotel’s bar is where to flaunt it. This sister to The Mondrian and The Sanderson has a ‘secret’ door behind its lobby’s tea counter, which swings open to reveal a late-night speakeasy. The cocktail list comprises 25 world-inspired flavours, from a Peruvian pisco blended with lavender syrup, to a thoroughly British earl grey tea-infused beefeater gin with raisin syrup and pimm’s. Similarly eclectic snacks, including Thai chilli crackers and crispy baby squid provide the nourishment but, it really is all about the booze. Effervescent with bling bubbles, Blind Spot is where to bender it like The Beckhams.

Hotel Bars
Ormer Mayfair at Flemings Mayfair

Ormer Mayfair at Flemings Mayfair

Flemings Mayfair Hotel, Half Moon Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 7BH

Mayfair was a sound choice to open a second site for Jersey chef Shaun Rankin’s restaurant Ormer (the original has since closed). A glance around the luxuriously appointed basement dining room within Flemings Hotel reveals diners who are doubtless as familiar with Jersey’s exclusive restaurant scene as they are with London’s. Yorkshire-born Rankin, with his wealth of experience (Longueville Manor, Bohemia, Charlie Trotter’s), knows how to cook for this crowd and has a network of Jersey suppliers providing stellar produce: oysters, lobster, crab, fashionable sea vegetables and, of course, Jersey royals. Ormer explores such ingredients in a repertoire that includes £29.50 lunch, £75 tasting menu, à la carte, and both vegetarian and vegan menus. Rankin’s ‘signature’ plates are the best place to start, whether a classy dish of poached oysters with caviar and saffron linguine, or assertively flavoured lobster ravioli with an Asian-style shallot salad. Newer plates such as ibérico pork ‘secreto’ with squid and Asian pear are just as beautifully executed. The rather pedestrian treacle tart, a winner for Rankin on BBC’s Great British Menu, feels incongruous in such company. Flemings has backed a thoroughbred in Ormer, but whether this plushest quarter of W1 has space for another top-rankin’ restaurant is another matter.
£50 - £79
British
Mere

Mere

74 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 4QH

Matching her food to the setting, masterchef Monica Galetti’s HQ displays restrained elegance throughout. The unassuming frontage of a Charlotte Street terrace conceals a ground-floor bar that is a destination in its own right, though star billing goes to the basement dining room, cleverly opened up to daylight by a double-height window and furnished with cool blue upholstered seating, mirrored walls and gold-edged tables that somehow look subtle.

She might have a reputation on TV as ‘Scary Monica’ but Galetti is lovely in person (she comes out to greet diners when she’s in the kitchen) and her front-of-house team, marshalled by husband David, offer easy manners and helpful suggestions when needed – and they know David’s wine list inside out.

The menu, meanwhile, reads like a shopping list you wish you made weekly: lobster, white anchovies, softshell crab, black garlic and heritage tomatoes might all feature. Sweet roast scallops are seasoned with salty, crispy chicken skin, paired with cauliflower and the gentle warmth of curried mayonnaise.

Butter-poached lobster is another triumphant layering of flavours and textures, dressed with heritage carrots, a crispy claw and coconut shavings and perfectly complemented by a mild peanut dressing and rich lobster bisque. It is generously portioned to boot – a whole crustacean per person.

Elsewhere, wild Cornish cod was moist and perfectly cooked, while veal sweetbreads were glazed in an umami-rich sauce cut through by the freshness of peas. Veggies who feel underserved by only one option per course might be better off with the six-course vegetarian tasting menu. 

A killer line-up of puddings makes it hard to choose just one, but we’d recommend going for the lemon baked Alaska, delivered with a flourish of theatre. Vodka is warmed at the table before being set alight and poured over the meringue casing, toasting it as the alcohol burns off.

Make time to finish in the bar upstairs, with its rich petrol-coloured velvet seating and mixologists who give as much care to the drinks they serve as the kitchen does to the food it presents. There’s also a small menu of bar snacks that makes a comfortable start to any evening, whether dining at the restaurant or not.

£50 - £79
Modern European
SquareMeal London Top 100
The Mole Inn

The Mole Inn

Toot Baldon, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX44 9NG

Sitting in a pretty garden surrounded by countryside just five miles from Oxford, this pristine 300-year-old inn sports scrubbed wooden tables, rough-hewn walls and a goodly assortment of local drinkers – although long-standing owners and easy-going staff make everyone welcome, with care and attention evident in everything from the local real ales to the please-all menus. Proper unaffected pub grub is the lunchtime deal (think burgers with aïoli, minute steak sandwiches or fish and chips), while the evening carte features dishes with a modern British flavour – perhaps a goats’ cheese 'panwich' with beetroot, orange and pea shoot salad ahead of roast cod with saffron risotto, prawns and chorizo or rosemary- crusted pork tenderloin and belly with mash, apple and onion soubise. It’s a good idea to book ahead, even if you’re simply planning a quick lunchtime snack.
£30 - £49
Pubs
Modern European
Vegetarian
Vegan
Steak
Burgers
British
Gastropub
Fish and Chips
Fish
Wine Bars
Baranis

Baranis

115 Chancery Lane, Temple, London, WC2A 1PP

We can't promise you a year in Provence, but a game of pétanque is certainly on the cards at Baranis – home to London's only indoor court. Things can get competitive after you've kicked off with a few shots of Pastis Janot or a French-themed cocktail – perhaps Julie's Mamou (a gin and elderflower sparkler), Applejack & The Green Fairy (a punchy mix of Calvados, crème de cassis and, of course, absinthe) or Le Pagnol (lychee liqueur, vodka and anise). The 'carte des vins' has a brilliant selection of characterful Corsican and Provençal bottles, while the food is supplied by the kitchens at Cigalon upstairs, so you can expect anything from top-notch charcuterie and French cheeses to socca (crispy chickpea pancakes) and anchovy-topped pissaladière. Sadly, St Tropez sunshine isn't on offer, but brightly lit brick arches give the basement space a cheerful feel.

Bars
The Jones Family Project

The Jones Family Project

78 Great Eastern Street, Old Street, London, EC2A 3JL

“I love the space” declares an advocate of this multifunctional bar-restaurant, which fuels Shoreditch’s creatives from breakfast until bedtime. The ground-floor bar acts as a café/workspace (with plug sockets) during office hours, but at night the cases holding teas and coffees behind the bar swing around to reveal spirits. Diners head for the huge basement, which feels cavernous when quiet. Here, a carefully edited menu of international crowd-pleasers awaits. To start, spiced crispy squid with chilli pepper sauce and lime mayonnaise is a masterclass in texture and tang. The Josper grill dominates main courses, working its magic on meat from the renowned Ginger Pig butchery, including prime steaks and rump of spring lamb. Fish specials are cooked daily, while weekends bring brunches and roasts. Correspondents report variable service, so best use any waits to peruse the wine list where the impressive choice includes more than 25 by the glass.

£30 - £49
International
Kahani

Kahani

1 Wilbraham Place, Belgravia, London, SW1X 9AE

Peter Joseph is the latest brave soul to try his luck with this challenging site tucked behind Cadogan Hall (RIP Le Cercle and Canvas), though as the former head chef of Tamarind in Mayfair, he already knows a thing or two about enticing well-heeled customers into basement dining rooms.

 

Kahani’s website describes how Joseph wanted to fuse Indian recipes with British ingredients and Spanish-sized portions of tapas, though when the staff asked the inevitable question of whether we were familiar with the menu’s concept, this information was not forthcoming; a shame, as advance knowledge of the Indian-European approach would be a useful preparation for the restrained spicing in much of what we ate.

 

While we enjoyed pairs of chubby lamb chops, cigar-shaped seekh kebabs and chunks of chicken tikka, we weren’t left with the impression of eating food that tasted especially Indian; better, perhaps, to instead order dishes such as creamy butter chicken, silky tarka dal or slow-cooked lamb shank that rely on richness of flavour for effect and can be scooped up with excellent breads, warm from the tandoor oven.

 

Prices reflect the Sloane Street location, although on our visit, some of the well-meaning staff lacked the knowledge and polish to back that up, and while the high-ceilinged space looks glitzy, not all of the finishes bear close scrutiny. Basement dining rooms are a hard sell at the best of times, and even Belgravia diners want bang for their buck.

£50 - £79
Indian
Vasco & Piero

Vasco & Piero's Pavilion

15 Poland Street, Soho, London, W1F 8QE

A resident of Poland Street since 1989, this unassuming low-key Soho Italian still exudes the comforting vibe of a well-loved neighbourhood restaurant. Tables are tightly packed in the long-narrow dining room (those at the rear are the best for privacy), while the kitchen delivers “comforting traditional food” with a strong regional slant. Expect a succession of delicately rendered Umbrian dishes from a menu that changes twice a day – perhaps handmade tagliatelle with a rich ragù or roast Tuscan sausages with black truffle butter and Pecorino. Elsewhere, a crisp endive salad with Gorgonzola, walnut and sweet mustard dressing shows the kitchen’s lighter side. The menu’s layout invites flexibility, although we recommend a conventional sweet finish – perhaps a serving of gooey bonet (chocolate, coffee and Amaretto mousse). Prices are modest considering the location, an all-Italian wine list explores the regions, and “superb” switched-on service will please West End diners looking for a mature, but thoroughly modern, Italian experience.

£30 - £49
Italian
The Cinnamon Club

The Cinnamon Club

The Old Westminster Library, Westminster, London, SW1P 3BU

Vivek Singh’s effortlessly sophisticated Cinnamon Club is not only one of the very few gastronomic destinations in Westminster, it’s also one of those rare Indian restaurants that is just as busy at lunchtime as it is in the evening, not to mention breakfast.

The setting within a galleried, book-lined room (formerly the Old Westminster Library) is a key part of the appeal, with quiet corners for anyone in need of privacy and a “good ambience” everywhere else for diners in search of more liveliness. “Excellent customer service” is also a given, from the friendly greeting full of smiles in the elegant entrance to the efficient, helpful waiting staff.

That said, the big selling point is Singh’s modern cooking, which evolves traditional approaches and techniques without losing sight of what makes each dish distinctly Indian. A plate of Herdwick lamb fillet atop a square of mille-feuille pastry might look European, but the flavour is totally authentic: ‘fabulous food with a twist”, combining “fantastic presentation” with “expert spicing”.

Other hits include wild king prawns, blackened from the grill but deliciously juicy, a delicate chicken breast in korma sauce, coated in a garlic naan crumble (“like Indian chicken Kiev”), and tandoori octopus tentacles fanned around a fennel salad. Sides, meanwhile, include renditions of superior breads, vivid chutneys and comforting dhals, as well as a chilled bitter melon salad to cut through all the richness.

Criticisms tend to focus on steep prices for small portions, but a restaurant that offers this sort of professionalism across the board is never going to come cheap. Breakfasts, masterclasses, guest chef dinners and a vegan tasting menu are some of the initiatives to keep regulars interested; there’s also an elegant bar majoring on gin and whisky, while private dining offers an experience every bit as slick as the main restaurant. A “sure-fire winner” all the way.

£50 - £79
Indian
SquareMeal London Top 100
Bustronome

Bustronome

Coach bay 40B, Embankment, London, WC2N 6PB

Don’t you just love it when London restaurants have great views? It makes for awesome pictures, it’s something pretty to look at while you eat and proves a good talking point between guests. If it's a yes from you, you will adore Bustronome, which not only gives epic views of London, it takes you on a sightseeing trip of the entire city during your meal. High on the immersive dining scale, Bustronome is a double-decker bus kitted out as a fine-dining restaurant. You embark at Victoria Embankment and get whizzed around London to see all the major attractions such as London Eye, Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral. We particularly like the glass roof, which allows you to take in the sights in all their glory. Won’t the food go flying every time the bus makes a turn, you ask? Not at all. The bus is fitted with special suspension to make breaking and turning as smooth as possible for guests. Besides, plates rests on non-slip place mats and there’s a (surprisingly pretty) rack on the table for you to slide your glasses into. The menu is constantly changing, but always seasonal and creative, with a strong local feel. Various chefs are invited to help develop dishes, under the helm of chef and creative director Vincent Thiesse. What we tasted on our visit was delicious – particularly so when taking into consideration it was cooked in a mobile kitchen on board a bus. You can hop on the bus for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. A four-course lunch is served every day daparting at 12.15pm for £65pp (it's £85pp with wine pairing). Afternoon tea is only served on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 3pm, and has both vegan and halal options. Prices start at £60pp. For dinner, you can expect six courses starting at £105pp, kicking off at 7.15pm. Make sure to be there at least 15 minutes before departure. Oh, and for those of you wondering – there’s a toilet downstairs.
Over £80
Modern European
British
Afternoon tea
French
Cinnamon Bazaar

Cinnamon Bazaar

28 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7JS

Cinnamon Bazaar spices up Covent Garden's foodie hotspot, Maiden Lane, with this appealingly vibrant and relaxed bonne bouche that is Vivek Singh’s [Cinnamon Collection] most casual format restaurant to date. The budget menu revolves around different sized sharing plates, snacks and chaats (street food), with sides such as creamy black dal, mopped up with roti or paratha.

Dishes have settled into a consistently well-executed groove, with recent favourites including: papdi chaat topped with yogurt, watermelon chaat with amaranth seeds, date chutney and masala cashew nuts, and a heart-warming samosa that marries vegetables, curried white peas and a tangy tamarind chutney. For mains, we recommend double-cooked 'Koorg-style' pork belly, succulent and judiciously spiced, if it’s on the menu, and a melt-in-mouth lamb kebab with flaky saffron paratha.

Other innovations include an Indian-style afternoon tea or chaat trolley, as well as cocktails, courtesy of star mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan) – we loved the mango-infused Gin Julep. Colourful drapes and painted walls in the high-ceilinged room recreate the bustle of an Indian market, with plenty of noise and service that is kindly and knowledgeable even when busy. 

Under £30
Afternoon tea
Indian
Mango Tree

Mango Tree

46 Grosvenor Place, Victoria, London, SW1X 7EQ

Mango Tree's extravagant entrance gives way to a small bar where spiky-haired Thai bartenders are ready to indulge their clientele with devilishly potent cocktails. Meanwhile, hungry guests descend into the enormous dining space, with its plush leather banquettes, showy floral arrangements and beautiful bamboo blinds. The kitchen serves up Thai classics, but with some added panache when it comes to flavour and presentation: a green curry of corn-fed chicken, aubergine and sweet basil arrives in a freshly cut pineapple, while pad thai is gussied up with spiky spring onions, red chillis and a mound of crushed peanuts. Otherwise, order from the chef's special menu, which takes a whistle-stop tour of Thailand. Mango Tree also delivers top-class service: sleek staff armed with walkie-talkies stay unshakably polite despite the high-decibel atmosphere.
£30 - £49
Thai
The Restaurant at Sanderson

The Restaurant at Sanderson

The Sanderson, 50 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 3NG

The restaurant at this Berners Street hotel hasn’t gained such a reputation as a hip hang-out as the bar has, but it’s still worth a look. The room and the menu have an international feel (in a good way). Start with crispy pig's head with burnt apple puree and move on to a seriously good beef fillet and a side of triple-cooked chips. It may not be original, but it takes a confident chef to serve this sort of food in such a high-end restaurant, and the quality of the cooking and ingredients don’t let it down. Those looking for wackiness should instead head for the afternoon tea, where English tradition has been given a makeover by the Mad Hatter. Expect the unexpected – marshmallow mushrooms tasting of strawberries and cream, a mocha chessboard gateau and an adorable cinnamon, apple and peach “Drink Me” potion.

Image credit: Niall Clutton

£30 - £49
Modern European
Galvin HOP

Galvin HOP

35 Spital Square, Spitalfields, London, E1 6DY

When Galvin Hop first opened its doors, it was a pub de luxe serving up gourmet hot dogs and draught beers. Now, it’s switched gears to become a modern bistrot, with updated interiors which are funkier than before (note the brightly coloured chairs). From the daily-changing menu, guests can dine on a selection of small plates, including chorizo croquettes with saffron aioli, before moving on to the heartier likes of baked halibut with Kalamata olive, fregola and saffron.

 

To drink, there are copper tanks above the bar which house unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell, while the fridges are stocked with a wide range of craft beers from popular London breweries such as Truman’s and Beavertown. If your preferred tipple is vino, a selection of red and white wines is available on tap, or by the bottle. 

£30 - £49
Modern European
French
Cinnamon Kitchen Oxford

Cinnamon Kitchen Oxford

Westgate, Castle Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 1NZ

The first out-of-London site for Vivek Singh’s Cinnamon Collection (which includes The Cinnamon Club and Cinnamon Bazaar) finds its home in the Westgate development in Oxford. Boasting a calming colour palette of whites, greys and greens, the restaurant features a bar at its centre, with a huge ice block centrepiece featuring the fish-of-the-day and ceviche. The all-day menu serves modern-Indian cuisine peppered with British influences. Alongside a tasting menu of signature dishes, there is also an à la carte which serves the likes of Chukka-spiced 35 day dry-aged Hereford beef rump steak, and char-grilled sea bass in a banana leaf parcel. A trolley will also make its way through the restaurant, serving Kerala-spiced lobster soup and flambéed desserts tableside. The bar, meanwhile, offers spiced-infused cocktails alongside a range of locally-sourced Oxfordshire wine. The site also features a chef’s table and a semi-private ‘Pagoda’ room which seats up to six guests. For those looking to dine alfresco, Cinnamon Kitchen enjoys the benefit of a large rooftop garden terrace, overlooking the Oxford spires.

£30 - £49
Indian
Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea

Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea

Arch 758, Railway Arches, Battersea, London, SW8 5BN

Bold open kitchen at the back, big glass doors at the front, exposed ducting and brickwork everywhere – this is the very model of a modern-day restaurant, with the rejuvenated Battersea Power Station forming a dazzling backdrop. It might be part of a growing group, but the design is entirely bespoke, high on wow factor – note the mezzanine floor in the centre – and with warm lighting and classy banquettes, it all feels high on glamour.

The cooking is as striking as the setting is beautiful. Pitch-perfect chicken breast delivered straight from the tandoor comes with a zingy mint and chilli korma though, for flavour and star-appeal, it was trumped by a melt-in-the-mouth clove-smoked lamb rump served with a fennel and nutmeg sauce.

We shared a series of starters, of which the wild African prawn with coriander and garlic crust was the standout, with its deep and warm but delicately wrought flavours. We loved the soft-yielding texture of aubergine contrasted with a sesame, tamarind and peanut crumble, while ceviche of black bream paired with mango, nigella and pomegranate was as fresh as daisy. A chocolate mousse with cinnamon ice cream delivers a dab of heaven on the tongue to finish, or opt for spicy Indian-inspired craft cocktails, devised by master mixologist Tony Conigliaro.  

This is a generous-spirited restaurant, not least because of a top team of smart staff – efficient, knowledgeable and friendly in equal measure. We’re already looking for an excuse to return.

£30 - £49
Indian
The Den

The Den

St Martins Lane Hotel, 45 St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4HX

This classically British, oak-panelled snug within St Martin’s Lane Hotel is an ideal meeting place, with its comfortable leather sofas and warm lighting. Majoring in afternoon tea, the selection includes fresh savoury bites such as focaccia topped with roasted courgettes, piquillo peppers, feta and mint. Sweets-wise, nibble on raspberry and matcha tea tarts and clotted cream-slathered scones. In summer, the terrace is an excellent place to try out the G&T selection, which is inspired by the vibrant artworks on the walls inside.

Under £30
Bars
Afternoon tea
Courtyard Garden at the Sanderson

Courtyard Garden at the Sanderson

The Sanderson, 50 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 3NG

 

Every summer, the folks who frequent the Courtyard Garden award themselves a smug smile. The large, clear roof seems to make summer last that bit longer, keeping out the cold on those bright but breezy days. A good thing, too: the people who congregate in this Japanese-style enclave tend to have the sort of hair that doesn’t take kindly to inclement weather. Smartly dressed staff glide around the central pond, delivering Mad Hatter-themed afternoon tea (think Queen of Hearts rose and strawberry Jammy Dodgers) and heartier bites from the hotel restaurant, such as corn-fed chicken with bacon, and potato gnocchi with truffle. Come evening, any vestiges of Zen-like calm are blown away by the dangerously cool, cutting-edge sounds pumping out of the speakers.

Bars

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