SquareMeal Award - Restaurant Of The Year

SquareMeal features thousands of restaurant reviews, but this is truly our cream of the crop in London. The SquareMeal Restaurant of the Year award is given only to those restaurants that have proved themselves to be at the forefront of innovation and taste in the London dining scene. Take a look at all of the restaurants which have won The SquareMeal Restaurant of the Year award below, click through to read the full reviews and book a table with SquareMeal today. 

Updated on 30 November 2017

SquareMeal Award - Restaurant Of The Year

The SquareMeal Restaurant of the Year award is only given to those restaurants that have impressed both our readers and our editorial team beyond measure. Each of the restaurants in our list of winners of The SquareMeal Restaurant of the Year award have been tried and tested by professional critics and everyday diners, so take a look at the reviews and then book a table online with SquareMeal today. 


Pollen Street Social

Pollen Street Social

Pollen Street Social
£50 - £79
British
One michelin star

8-10 Pollen St, Mayfair, W1S 1NQ

Secreted beside a discreet Mayfair alleyway since 2011, Jason Atherton’s imperious Michelin-starred flagship, Pollen Street Social, remains “bang on the money” – a “masterpiece of fine dining” and a worthy winner of the SquareMeal Restaurant of the Year 2017. Step through the glass door and the good vibrations hit you straight away, while the clean-lined metropolitan dining room shows its cosmopolitan class with dramatic lampshades and eye-catching arty exhibits. Atherton may oversee a global empire these days, but he still puts in the shifts at PSS, and is often to be seen at the pass – a world-class hands-on restaurateur in his rightful place. Culinary influences and cross-fertilisation abound, but everything is underpinned by indigenous ingredients, from a witty Cockney riff involving smoked eel, buttermilk, beetroot reduction and jellied eel to South Downs fallow deer with pear, cocoa and chocolate vinegar or “staggeringly good” Lakeland lamb with beetroot, blackcurrant, savoy cabbage and a mini hotpot on the side – scintillating, exuberant food of the highest order, with maximum flavour delivering maximum satisfaction. To start, the ‘fruits of the British sea’ is a delirious array of maritime delights presented on a special stand – we love the oyster ice cream dressed with an oyster leaf, the lobster cocktail, and the Orkney scallop with pickled radish and jalapeño; to finish, the dessert bar promises close encounters with the likes of Brogdale pear sorbet, goats’ cheese ice cream, honey and bee pollen. Service plays it ‘social’ without ever losing its professional cool, and there are treasures galore on the ever-expanding wine list curated by the group’s whizz-bang sommelier Laure Patry. “Few places are such a treat” concludes one admirer of Pollen Street Social– amen to that. 

More about Pollen Street Social

Book now

Gymkhana

Gymkhana

Gymkhana
£50 - £79
Indian
One michelin star

42 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4JH

A “classy”, low-lit contemporary Indian from the multi-talented Sethi family (Trishna, Bao, Lyle’s et al), Gymkhana channels colonial clubbiness over two floors on Albemarle Street – with a dash of “French brasserie” thrown in.

Food-wise, fans reckon that the “real stars are the starters”, and we have to agree after sampling the kid-goat methi keema piled into buttered buns, and soft (almost scrambled) duck egg bhurji with lobster and Malabar paratha. Happy customers also appreciate the flexibility of the service, with “efficient”, unflappable staff willing and able to accommodate last-minute changes to party sizes and orders.

In these situations, add a muntjac biriyani with pomegranate and mint raita (an instant classic) to your order of paneer tikka with cashew nut and corn chaat, partridge pepper fry, a “fiery, blow your head off” wild boar vindaloo or tiger prawns with red pepper chutney, then sit back and watch the contentment set in. Thoughtfully chosen wines and specially brewed Gymkhana lager get top marks, or you could try a Quinine Sour with fresh curry leaves in the atmospheric basement bar.

More about Gymkhana

Book now

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse
Over £80
Modern European
Two michelin stars
£30 - £49

27a Hay's Mews, London, W1J 5NY

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.  

More about The Greenhouse

Book now

Zuma

Zuma

Zuma
£50 - £79
Sushi
Japanese

5 Raphael St, Knightsbridge, London, SW7 1DL

Fifteen years on and London is still deeply in love with world-class Zuma: “fabulous” says one fan, “can’t beat it” exclaims another avid supporter. And the waves of adoration stretch far beyond the capital itself: this high-gloss, big-money rendezvous draws in a global cast of A-listers and jetsetters, all attracted by the age-defying industrial-Zen interiors and the sleek designer mix of rough-hewn wood, polished granite and shiny steel. Tables are predictably hard to come by, but we prefer chancing our arm with the no-bookings ringside seats by the kitchen. Kick off with a trend-setting cocktail (perhaps Wild Yasei, a macho yet graceful blend of rye bourbon and wild-cherry tea syrup), and expect to pay top dollar for the food. In return you’ll be offered some of the finest Japanese cuisine in the capital: sliced seared tuna with chilli, daikon and ponzu; warm aubergine in sweet miso (an umami-laden masterpiece); robata-grilled jumbo tiger prawns with yuzu pepper; marinated baby chicken roasted on cedar wood, and – of course – the much-imitated, but never-bettered black cod. Service is flawless, and for the final flourish, we suggest asking the dedicated saké sommelier for a tour of his exquisite list. In a word, awesome.

 

More about Zuma

Book now

The Five Fields

The Five Fields

The Five Fields
£50 - £79
British
One michelin star

8-9 Blacklands Terrace, London, SW3 2SP

“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.

More about The Five Fields

Book now

Frenchie Covent Garden

Frenchie Covent Garden

Frenchie Covent Garden
£50 - £79
French

16 Henrietta Street, London, WC2E 8QH

More about Frenchie Covent Garden

Book now

The Square

The Square

The Square
Over £80
French
One michelin star

6-10 Bruton Street, London, W1J 6PU

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.

 

More about The Square

Book now

The Clove Club

The Clove Club

The Clove Club
£50 - £79
British
One michelin star

380 Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT

It’s all happened so quickly for The Clove Club. From supper club to pop-up to successfully crowdfunded launch in the space of three years, Isaac McHale’s Michelin-starred Shoreditch destination now rubs shoulders with the high flyers on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. It has achieved its success by doing things differently, such as adopting a pre-paid ‘ticketed’ booking system for dinner reservations (a first for London). The food’s experimental, with multi-course tasting menus promising a cavalcade of thrilling, enthralling and seriously on-point seasonal cooking along the lines of flamed mackerel with gooseberry and English mustard, Aylesbury duck ‘three ways’ (consommé, breast and smoked sausage) or apricot sorbet with burnt honey and bee pollen – all offered with imaginative wine pairings. Some find it precious, some too challenging, but nobody could fault McHale’s commitment. The dining room is chilled-out and surprisingly serene, with the bar even more so serving on-trend cocktails and racy snacks: we love the venison sausages with greengage ketchup and the buttermilk fried chicken with pine salt. In short, an unmissable one-off that chimes perfectly with cosmopolitan 21st-century London.

More about The Clove Club

Book now

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Over £80
British
French

68 Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HP

“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”.

More about Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Book now

Scott

Scott's

Scott's
£50 - £79
Fish

20 Mount Street, London, W1K 2HE

Under the awning or amid polished oak panels, glamorous Scott’s is a top choice if you want to take clients out for some “sublime” seafood and a thorough spoiling, backed by service that’s “second to none”. Staff “really care”, so rest assured that the “best fish in town” will be delivered with seamless care and attention. The sight of glistening crustacea displayed at an ice-heaped bar serves as a reminder that it’s sometimes best to leave well alone. In that spirit, purists also enjoy potted shrimps, lobster mayonnaise and dressed crab, while more elaborate starters might bring tempura langoustine tails, char-grilled squid with ‘nduja or “delicious” sautéed monkfish cheeks with snails and bordelaise sauce. ‘Turf’ is always an option (try the chicken, mustard, bacon and quails’ egg pie), but many customers return to the sea for halibut with dashi broth and shrimp gyoza, battered haddock or fish for two on the bone. Despite the obvious luxury, Scott’s is widely judged to be “great value for money” – something to bear in mind when leafing through the wine list. In short, a “unique experience”.

More about Scott's

Book now

Pétrus

Pétrus

Pétrus
Over £80
French
One michelin star

1 Kinnerton Street, London, SW1X 8EA

High expectations are matched by high standards at this Michelin-starred outpost of the Gordon Ramsay empire – a thickly carpeted, richly hued room with long skirted tables, sound-baffling furry walls and a huge circular wine store stacked with the titular Ch. Pétrus (and much, much more). Menus come topped and tailed with a panoply of dainty extras intended to supplement and complement “faultless” standouts such as seared curried scallop atop an umami-rich savoury sabayon with braised kombu and bacon, big-flavoured Herdwick lamb with beetroot and black garlic or fillet of Brixham turbot with pickled clams, samphire and lemongrass – all perfectly cooked and “meticulously presented” in the grand Ramsay manner. To finish, don’t miss the seasonal quince tart with poached rhubarb and ginger ice cream or the genius take on Black Forest gateau involving a light kirsch mousse, a dark cherry sorbet and more besides – although the small but interesting cheese selection is also worth a sniff. Those wanting the ultimate Pétrus experience should consider booking the eight-seater chef’s table in front of the kitchen – just brace yourself for a serious bill.  

More about Pétrus

Book now

The Fat Duck

The Fat Duck

The Fat Duck
Over £80
British
French

1 High Street, Bray, Maidenhead, SL6 2AQ

“Words can’t describe how incredibly entertaining a trip to The Fat Duck is” – so writes a fan who was “made to feel like royalty” at Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin-starred wonderland. To say it’s pricey is an understatement: prospective diners currently have to shell out £325 up front for a ‘ticket’ that allows access to the 17-course itinerary. In return, the lucky ones are whisked away on an imagined day out, a holiday trip evoking lots of playful childhood memories with “incredible” staff acting as grown-up guides. It’s the “little touches” and personalised wizardry that really count, in fact the whole show is one gasp-inducing, side-splitting bonanza – although the theatrics are never at the expense of flavour. ‘Rise and shine’ means fun-pack cereal boxes (all crisp grains and jellies) as well as ‘cold… and hot tea’, while a trip to the beach involves the now-famous ‘sound of the sea’ (cured seafood nibbled while listening to the sound of surf through headphones). Later on, a proper three-course ‘dinner’ touts everything from hay-smoked veal sweetbread with baby gem to a boned and crisped chicken’s foot with red-wine mayo, before ‘counting sheep’ sees a meringue resting on a pillow floating above the table thanks to magnetic levitation. And we haven’t even mentioned the mushroom truffle log, the whisky gums or the sweets from the custom-built doll’s house. The verdict? “Five hours of sheer magic”. Yes, eating at the Duck is an immersive, multisensory fantasy, but we’re with readers who dub it a must-do “experience of a lifetime”.

More about The Fat Duck

Book now