SquareMeal Gold Awards

The SquareMeal Gold Award is our top award given to ‘outstanding’ restaurants and bars that we recommend when only the very best will do – somewhere that we would be happy to travel across a city or county for.

Updated on 03 December 2018

The Gold awards are given to only a few establishments and are an assessment of the full experience: food – first and foremost – combined with ambience, service and value. SquareMeal’s Awards reflect a combination of professional critic opinion and current feedback from SquareMeal users/diners. As such, they reveal at a glance how strongly SquareMeal is recommending a restaurant or bar.

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

68 Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 4HP

Over £80
French
Three Michelin stars
Coq d

Coq d'Argent

1 Poultry, London, EC2R 8EJ

Aside from having one of our favourite addresses ever (No.1 Poultry), Coq D'Argent is a luxurious space in the heart of the City of London, boasting a chic bar, lavish restaurant and stunning roof terrace. The menu is spearheaded by head chef Damien Rigollet, with the award-winning wine list coming from head sommelier Giuseppe Iacona.

The restaurant itself is an elegant, refined space, with white tablecloths and discreet but attentive staff. The bar, meanwhile, is a more relaxed setting, ideal for a post-work drink with a colleague or catch-up with a friend. Finally, the terrace and garden offer stellar views of the London skyline, with alfresco dining all year thanks to blankets and heaters.

Those looking to dine on a budget can enjoy the extremely reasonable set menu, which offers three courses for under £40. Options mainly consist of French staples including snails with garlic and parsley butter, comte tart and creme brulee. For more decadent options, diners can opt for the a la carte menu, which features more global entries such as teriyaki glazed octopus or falafel with violet artichoke salad. Seafood lovers can indulge with Colchester rock oysters or bouquet prawns, while caviar connoisseurs can enjoy Baerii, Oscietra or even Beluga, which comes with Taittinger "Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs" 2005. 

For earlier visits, there is an excellent brunch menu. Diners can start their day with a Bloody Mary, Mimosa, Espresso or Aperol Spritz, before tucking into the likes of crab toast, eggs Royale Benedict, potato rostis, artisanal sausage and macaroons. The 38-page wine list is truly something to behold, offering grapes from all over the world at varying price levels. There is also an impressive range of sparkling, fortified and sweet wines, as well as a separate list of Taittinger Champagne, including a 2007 'Comtes de Champagne'.

£50 - £79
French
City Social

City Social

24th Floor, Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, City of London, London, EC2N 1HQ

Found on the 24th floor of Tower 42, right in the heart of London, Michelin-starred City Social boasts jaw-dropping, panoramic views of the London skyline and a classy modern British menu to match.

City Social is a particularly bright star in Jason Atherton's impressive Social Company restaurant group. As of 2019, Tomas Lidakevicius has taken over executive chef duties here, and he brings a wealth of experience to the role having worked at the likes of Galvin at Windows, Corrigan’s Mayfair and Texture. 

The menu at City Social is typical of Atherton's restaurants - elegant, modern British food that celebrates the best produce the country has to offer, and elevates it with a dash of international panache. Dishes include the likes of Devon crab with bitter leaf salad, nashi pear and brown crab toast on starters, braised short rib with watercress, alliums and olive oil mash for mains, as well as a pasta course and Hereford beef steaks from the josper grill. Naturally there's a choice of caviar options for those who are ready to push the boat out. City Social also caters well for vegetarians and vegans, offering dedicated vegetarian and vegan set menus as well as the vegetarian options on the a la carte. Don't forget to leave room for desserts like chocolate délice, miso caramel and black sesame ice-cream.

Within the same venue as City Social, you will find Social 24, a more casual bar that features equally stupendous views of London. As well as a terrific cocktail menu, the bar also includes a selection of beers, spirits, wines and Champagnes, along with a bar menu ideal for a relaxed bite with friends or a business lunch.

£50 - £79
Modern European
British
One Michelin star
Frenchie Covent Garden

Frenchie Covent Garden

16 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8QH

£50 - £79
French
The Cinnamon Club

The Cinnamon Club

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

When The Cinnamon Club opened in 2001 it offered up a fine-dining experience when the majority of Indian restaurants in the capital were still subscribing to the curry-house format that had propelled the popularity of the cuisine in the UK.

Classically trained in India, chef Vivek Singh understands the building blocks of age-old cooking techniques and couples them with contemporary twists on classics for unusual and surprising creations that have helped to push his restaurant into the premier league of London eateries. Additional accolades include Singh having authored five bestselling cookbooks and appearing regularly on cooking programmes such as Saturday Kitchen and Celebrity MasterChef.

The Cinnamon Club has recently undergone a £1million refurbishment to transform its home in the old Westminster Library into a bright and modern space that still retains much of its original character. Old books line two sides of the dining room while walls are painted bright white and a mezzanine level adds additional seating without detracting from the double-height space.

Priding itself in catering for every eventuality The Cinnamon Club offers all sorts of special menus, including a vegan one which offers a wonderful selection of plant-based Indian dishes. An early/late menu sees guests offered three courses for £38, including a pre-starter and a seasonal cocktail.

From the main menu you can expect creations like a Bengali-style lobster thermidor and a 48-hour marinated pheasant breast in pickling spices. For those who enjoy communal dining there is also a handful of signature sharing mains, like the Old Delhi-style butter chicken and a whole rack of lamb in a corn and yoghurt sauce.

The Cinnamon Club also offers private dining spaces for special occasions and serves meals from first thing to late into the evening, with a breakfast menu that includes unexpected dishes such as a full traditional cooked English breakfast.

£50 - £79
Indian
SquareMeal London Top 100
Spring

Spring

Somerset House, Lancaster Place, Covent Garden, London, WC2R 1LA

Spring can be found nestled inside the New Wing of Somerset House and is the brilliant brainchild of Skye Gyngell. Skye’s culinary experience spans London institutions The French House and Petersham Nurseries, but it was at the latter where she developed her reputation for creating hyper-seasonal dishes using the best of British produce. Such is the thinking behind her debut restaurant Spring, which adopts an environmentally-conscious ethos with everything that it does.  

The main a la carte menu features a curated range of Modern European dishes including the likes of fern verrow broccoli with white bean purèe, black olives and chilli oil to start, guinea fowl with broad beans, peas, poached radishes and aïoli  for mains and blood orange brûlèe custard tart to finish. There is also a set lunch menu available Wednesday-Friday, which constantly changes in line with what’s in season. On that note, Spring also offers its famous Scratch menu, which is available early evening from Wednesday to Saturday and is designed with the aim of using up surplus ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. For that reason, it always changes depending on what the restaurant has in that day. 

To drink, there is an extensive wine list with bottles from all over the world, including wines available specifically by the glass or the bottle. Seasonal soft drinks include clementine soda and apple and ginger juice, while house cocktails feature fruity concoctions such as a winter citrus vesper (housemade blood orange liqueur, Sapling gin, Sapling vodka, clementine bitters).  

Further examples of the restaurant’s sustainable initiatives include its Plastic Campaign, with the aim of eliminating single-use plastic from Spring entirely. From removing plastic straws and introducing bio-degradable cling film alternatives, to eradicating the use of plastic containers, all the above helped Spring to become the first single-use plastic free restaurant in London in 2019. 

£50 - £79
Modern European
SquareMeal London Top 100
Park Chinois

Park Chinois

17 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 8EA

Prepare to step out of modern-day Mayfair and into Golden Age Shanghai as the concierge at Park Chinois welcomes you with a tip of a hat. This glamorous spot is dedicated to celebrating the romance and etiquette of yesteryear, alongside the thrills and luxury of the present. Park Chinois, which comprises the elegant Salon de Chine and indulgent Club Chinois, is a unique dining experience popular with the well-to-do, so have your credit card at the ready.

The lavish décor within takes inspiration from a 1930s Shanghai speakeasy, so prepare to be ensconced in red velvet upholstery and flashy frills, as you take in one of the venue’s live shows and get acquainted with some seriously special Chinese cooking.

There’s a menu for every occasion at Park Chinois, from light lunches to long, luxurious dinners. For an all-round taste of what’s on offer, try the two- or three-course set lunch menu. The restaurant’s more expensive dishes won’t feature, but you’ll still get to try the likes of bang bang chicken salad,  Cantonese roast duck with Champagne and orange sauce, and an 85% chocolate fondant.

For those looking to make a serious dent in their bank accounts though, the sky is the limit. You’ll find rare caviars, prime cuts of meat including Japanese Hida Wagyu rib-eye, premium fish and shellfish, and other dishes containing the likes of foie gras, black truffle and venison.

Exquisitely-crafted desserts are a must for the sweet-toothed as they include creations such as the Granny Smith apple cheesecake served with vanilla and apple cream, apple gel and crumble, and a decadent dark chocolate fondant made with sweetcorn and Rémy Martin Cognac Sauce and decorated with gold leaf. Drinks are similarly glamorous whether you opt for a cocktail, a glass of Champagne or a pot of rare Japanese tea.

Over £80
Chinese
The Woodspeen

The Woodspeen

Lambourn Road, Bermont, Berkshire, RG20 8BN

Tucked in amongst the verdant countryside of West Berkshire, The Woodspeen is a Michelin-starred restaurant and cookery school, housed inside a lovingly restored 19th century farmhouse. Despite its credentials, this is a relaxed and welcoming space, which makes the most of its lush surroundings with large windows that frame the idyllic countryside views and an open kitchen which adds a touch of theatre to proceedings. Bare tables and pendant lighting add a rustic, countryside feel, while cosy banquettes on one side of the room and verdant greenery add warmth to the space.

The menu at The Woodspeen is a seasonally changing affair which is inspired by homegrown ingredients. Plenty of restaurants wax lyrical about the importance of provenance, but The Woodspeen really means it, often incorporating ingredients that have been plucked from the restaurant’s own garden. Otherwise, high-quality local suppliers are used wherever possible.

The Woodspeen is open for both lunch and dinner, offering an a la carte that showcases the best of what is currently in season. On your visit, you might begin with starters such as Cornish crab and spring vegetable risotto with lemon emulsion, or chicken and black pudding terrine en croute, before moving on to main courses including garden pea and caramelised onion lasagna with roasted morels or roasted lamb rump with white asparagus, local wild garlic salsa verde and rosemary potato rosti. If you still have a bit of room, round off the meal with a rhubarb and custard tart, or a strawberry and lime alaska with warm dark chocolate sauce.

A dedicated children’s menu is also available, as are plentiful vegetarian and vegan options, while on weekends, you can head here for a traditional Sunday lunch. Be sure to explore the illustrious wine list too, home to over 400 varieties.

£50 - £79
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
La Trompette

La Trompette

3-7 Devonshire Road, Chiswick, London, W4 2EU

£50 - £79
French
One Michelin star
The American Bar at The Stafford

The American Bar at The Stafford

16-18 St James's Place, St. James's, London, SW1A 1NJ

As the name suggests, The American Bar at five-star The Stafford in St James’s pays homage to the illicit speakeasies that became renowned in London and Paris during the 1920s and 30s. To truly immerse diners in prohibition era England, the bar has been designed with a distinctively vintage feel, boasting subtle lamp lighting, a wooden bar, brown leather seating and an all-round cosy ambience. It’s also one of the longest surviving American bars in London, just to add extra gravitas to its aformentioned credentials.  

Both food and drinks are served here, but let's start with the former. Bar director Benoit Provost and director of mixology Salvatore Megna oversee the cocktail menu, which comprises a mix of signatures and classics, both old and new. Sure, there are other drinks too, such as vintage Champagne, premium spirits and a whisky collection to put all others to shame, but cocktails are its ‘thing’. Choose from the Equilibrium menu for a series of perfectly-balanced drinks which are sub-divided by earth, air, water and fire. You might find one called Nimbus for example, which mixes gin, mangosteen, akashi-tai yuzu, citrus, peach and Champagne, or Sonus made with mezcal, cantaloupe melon, grasshopper salt, green yoghurt and fino sherry.  

You can also find a selection of signature, classic and after-dinner cocktails, as well as numerous twists on a negroni for lovers of the punchy drink.  

Michelin-starred chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen heads up the food menu, with the bar serving lunch, dinner and light bites throughout the day. Offering a selection of American-inspired dishes, smaller snacks might include BBQ Iberico pork ribs, sticky buffalo wings with hot sauce, sesame and soy, mini sausages with American hot sauce and loaded potato wedges. If you’re after a full meal, you can choose from main dishes such as a lobster thermidor sub, chicken parmigiana, a signature burger made with beef, cheddar and caramelised onions and a pastrami-cured smoked salmon bagel with soured cream and lemon.  

£50 - £79
British
Bars
The Wolseley

The Wolseley

160 Piccadilly, St James's, London, W1J 9EB

This all-day café-restaurant, found in Piccadilly, is renowned for its unique combination of British heritage teamed with European grandeur. The Wolseley still holds its reputation as ‘somewhere special’ to visit, many years since opening, and is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.

The iconic site of 160 Piccadilly began its story when it was commissioned in 1921 by Wolseley Motors Limited to English architect William Curtis Green, their desire was to create a prestigious car showroom that exuded luxury and grandeur. Marble pillars and archways teamed with Venetian-inspired details left an impressive finish, but alas the cars did not sell quickly enough and in 1926 the company went into bankruptcy. Barclays Bank took over the site in 1927 but it wasn’t until 2003 that restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King acquired the building and began a sympathetic renovation, later that same year The Wolseley opened its doors as the grand cafe-restaurant destination that we find today.

Breakfast brings iconic dishes to the table by way of eggs any way you can think of, hand made Viennoiserie, piles of pancakes and signature house dishes like the bubble and squeak with a fried egg or the delicately spiced kedgeree. Lunch and dinner centres around hearty serves like steaks, schnitzels and cheese savouries – including a very good Welsh Rarebit. If you happen to find yourself dining after-hours, the late-night menu does a very good job in quashing any before-bed hunger with a fun line-up of everything from burgers and omelettes through to ice cream coupes.

Known for its spectacular design, classic food and seamless service, The Wolseley remains an iconic and popular choice for both Londoners and tourists alike.

£50 - £79
Modern European
Central European
Afternoon tea
SquareMeal London Top 100
Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay

Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay

1 Kinnerton Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 8EA

Over £80
Modern European
French
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Le Comptoir Robuchon

Le Comptoir Robuchon

6 Clarges Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 8AE

The brand started by late French chef and restaurateur Joël Robuchon has bought what it calls an “evolved restaurant concept” to Clarges Street in Mayfair, with Le Comptoir Robuchon acting as an extended version of Robuchon’s original small plates concept.

The kitchen at Le Comptoir Robuchon is overseen by head chef Dario Avenca, as well as the brand's international head chef David Alves, who learned from Robuchon himself, working under the legendary chef for some years. The menu has a focus on accessibility,  with simplicity upheld as a key feature of each dish. Despite this said simplicity, there is sophistication here, and each plate deftly combines both French and Japanese cooking techniques and flavours - a marriage Robuchon pioneered. Locally sourced produce will be crafted into plates such as Le Thon; a smoked fresh tuna tart with avocado guacamole and citrus dressing, Le Poireau; smoked leek with mimosa eggs and Shitake mushroom and Les Langoustines; Raviolis with foie gras and savoy cabbage.  Elsewhere guests will be able to indulge in plates of high-end sushi followed by beautifully presented desserts like the house chocolate soufflé with pistachio ice-cream. A set lunch Wednesday-Friday gives diners a chance to try three courses for just £39. 

Le Comptoir’s Robuchon’s interiors have been designed by international design company Thurstan and is a luxurious space, featuring refined tones of burnt orange and clay, alongside banquette seating that’s great for groups and an elegant marble-top counter at the bar where guests can enjoy an aperitif.  

Joël Robuchon was a world-famous chef, having been awarded a total of 32 Michelin stars across 13 countries during his illustrious career, the most of any chef in the world. Robuchon is credited with reinventing French cuisine and acted as a mentor to several accomplished chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Michael Caines. Robuchon passed away in August of 2018 at the age of 73.

£50 - £79
French
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester

The Dorchester Hotel, Mayfair, London, W1K 1QA

For special occasion dining, it doesn’t get much better than the peerless three Michelin-starred temple of gastronomy that is Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. Any conversation about the world's most decorated chefs must include Ducasse, who holds three Michelin stars in a number of countries. Indeed, he is the second most decorated chef of all time, only being pipped to the post by the late, great Joël Robuchon.

Ducasse’s London restaurant finds its home in the classic, opulent surrounds of The Dorchester. Interiors are suitably elegant with a stunning floor-to-ceiling sculptural chandelier feature taking centre stage. Surrounding this you’ll find a mix of banquette seating and classic dining tables with white tablecloths, which are spaced widely enough for private conversations without losing the convivial buzz of the space.

Guests at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester are offered three menus to choose from - an a la carte menu, a full tasting spread, or a menu jardin, which showcases seven courses of seasonal vegetarian cooking. The a la carte gives diners the choice of three courses for £150, whilst the tasting menu is a selection of seven great Ducasse's dishes, including at the time of writing dishes such as lobster medallion, chicken quenelles, Périgord truffle and homemade semolina pasta, farmhouse veal fillet, green pea and mint condiment, and pineapple, galanga sorbet and kombu condiment. The tasting menu costs £210 and runs through hot and cold starters, a fish and main course, as well as an assortment of French cheeses and an elegant dessert.

World-class wines have been carefully chosen by in-house sommelier Vincenzo Arnese to complement the flavours on the menu and the helpful team are ever-present to make suggestions and pairing recommendations. Indeed, there’s the option to add a wine flight to your meal should you wish to take the element of chance out of things.

As you might expect the service here is top-class, with the team trained to the highest standards which results in personable but professional care throughout your time in the restaurant.

Over £80
French
Three Michelin stars
Hawksmoor Seven Dials

Hawksmoor Seven Dials

11 Langley Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9JG

Since opening originally in 2006, Hawksmoor has built a successful empire on expertly-sourced steaks served alongside more side dishes than you can count on one hand. Obviously, we know there’s more to its unrivalled popularity than that, but you can’t knock the people’s love for steak and chips, a truth that Hawksmoor has capitalised on exponentially. Now, with eight restaurants in London as well as multiple sites across the UK, this steakhouse giant shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.  

Hawksmoor Seven Dials can be found down a quiet street in the old Watney-Coombe brewery. Boasting a well-stocked bar where guests can slurp on signature cocktails (discover multiple twists on a Manhattan, highball and martini) before slouching over to one of its leather banquets to tuck into a meat (and fish) filled feast. The long dining room is decorated in a cosy art-deco style, with wooden parquet flooring, painted wood-paneled walls and a huge skylight above that floods the room with natural light during the day.  

Situated slap bang in the middle of Covent Garden, this branch occupies a prime spot for a quick dinner before heading to the theatre in the West End. Fortunately, an express two or three-course menu is perfect for pre or post-theatre dining.  

The a la carte menu, meanwhile, revolves around a selection of British-bred beef steaks and sustainably-sourced seafood. Go easy on the starters because the main event is guaranteed to be a feast! Kick off with smoked salmon with soda bread, or potted beef and bacon with Yorkshires and onion gravy before choosing your preferred steak. Larger cuts are generally 500g or more, perfect for two people to share, and include chateaubriand, T-bone and bone-in prime rib, while smaller options include fillet, sirloin and rib eye. Serve alongside a mix-and-match of sauces and sides – think tripled-cooked chips, mash and gravy, macaroni cheese and maple bacon.  

£50 - £79
Steak
British
The Little Fish Market

The Little Fish Market

10 Upper Market Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN3 1AS

No doubt one of Brighton's most celebrated restaurants, The Little Fish Market is true to its name - an small, 20-cover restaurant, run by Duncan Ray, who cooks a single tasting menu with a heavy lean towards south coast fish and seafood. Ray has worked under the likes of Marco Pierre White, John Burton Race and Heston Blumenthal in his career, before striking out on his own in Brighton.

Since opening in 2013, The Little Fish Market as scooped a bevy of awards, including a place in the Good Food Guide, the Michelin Guide, the National Restaurant Awards Top 100 and three AA Rosettes. These days Brighton boasts a rejuvenated restaurant scene, but The Little Fish Market was there right at the beginning, and alongside chefs like Michael Bremner and Steven Edwards, Ray has done a great deal to put Brighton on the national culinary map.

You'll find the restaurant just off the main road towards Hove, where its unnassuming double-front sits neatly next to The Old Market theatre. This old building used to be a fishmonger, hence the name, and though it has smartened up a bit it still retains that rustic charm. Though Ray has experience in some very fine dining establishments, his cooking at The Little Fish Market is more classic and restrained. The single tasting menu shows off a variety of fresh fish and seafood - whatever is best on each day - cooked in a way that shows it at its very best. The accompanying wine selection is ably curated by Noble Rot's Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew. 

Over £80
British
Fish
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Hutong at The Shard

Hutong at The Shard

Level 33, The Shard, London Bridge, London, SE1 9RY

Turn right when you exit the ear-popping elevator at The Shard and you’ll be greeted with the most spectacular view in London, a jaw-dropping panorama of the ever-evolving skyline of the Square Mile, with famous landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and Canary Wharf crowding the edge of your field of vision.

From the two dining options on offer – British-themed Aqua Shard and Szechuan-accented Hutong – we’d go Chinese very time, although no one should come here without first having a drink in Aqua Shard’s bar, which is where you'll find the best views.

That said, the views from Hutong aren’t exactly shabby, stretching westwards up the river from St Paul’s to the Millennium Wheel and Houses of Parliament, with Wembley Stadium and the hilltop villages of Hampstead and Highgate visible on the horizon on a fine day.

Minimally decorated surrounds of dark wood latticing and Chinese lanterns puts the emphasis firmly on the view, though we’ve always felt that the cooking would be worthy of attention even if it weren’t on the 33rd floor of London’s most iconic skyscraper.

The cooking is nominally northern Chinese, though in reality you’ll find many of your favourite high-street dishes done to an exceptionally high standard; Aqua is owned by a restaurant group based in Hong Kong, the spiritual home of Cantonese cooking.

Roast duck carved tableside is a speciality of the house, served in a first course of pancakes and then stir fried. Otherwise, expect vegetable spring rolls, sautéed crispy shredded beef and chilli and some terrific seafood dishes such as king crab and chilled tofu or ma la crispy eel.

Dim sum is served at lunchtime, often made from luxury ingredients: Iberico pork or lobster xiao long bao, pan-fried Wagyu beef buns or baked Wagyu beef puffs – as well as more classic pan-fried chicken dumplings or scallop siu mai. Prices match the sky-high location, but so too does the top-drawer service.

£50 - £79
Szechuan
Chinese
Bars
Dim Sum
International
Terre à Terre

Terre à Terre

71 East Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1HQ

Under £30
Vegetarian
Vegan
Afternoon tea
Murano

Murano

20 Queen Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 5PP

Murano is Angela Hartnett’s Michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair, which serves up the chef’s signature honed Italian cookery. The space is warm and welcoming, and the simple style of the food does away with the commonly fussy dressings of traditional fine dining. The a la carte changes regularly and features just a choice few dishes per day, making the most of seasonal produce.

Over £80
Italian
One Michelin star
Wiltons

Wiltons

55 Jermyn Street, St. James's, London, SW1Y 6LX

British
Fish
Chez Bruce

Chez Bruce

2 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth, London, SW17 7EG

Bruce Poole was born in Guildford Surrey. After several years in hospitality, he started cooking at Bibendum, followed by The Square then Chez Max and finally his very own Chez Bruce in 1995. Since then, there have been many awards, recognising the culinary prowess of this Wandsworth restaurant. That being said, there is no resting on laurels at Chez Bruce. Poole, along with head chef Matt Christmas' sole focus is the business, and as such rarely appears in the media. It's an old school restaurant in the best of ways, where service is extremely efficient while remaining knowledgable and friendly. Regular staff tastings are key, so that every member of the front of house team knows the menu personally. So much so, in fact, that the staff offer other dining recommendations for London and further afield. 

You'll notice from the menu here that the menu is very much up to date. Starters might include miso-glazed aubergine with ginger, puffed wild rice, sesame, shiso and soy or a lobster ravioli with bisque, pickled fennel, brown shrimp and samphire. You will, however, see more traditional first course options like rabbit rillettes with Armagnac prunes and toast, or deviled lamb's kidney with crisp tongue. Similarly, main courses at Chez Bruce are traditional, featuring the likes of veal rump or stuffed pig's trotters. Unpretentiously, this Michelin-starred restaurant also offers options like steak and chips (admittedly a Chateaubriand with hand-cut chips). 

There are usually around seven dessert options like creme brulee, yoghurt parfait with blood orange and pistachio or Yorkshire rhubarb trifle, not to mention the famous 'grande assiette de fromage Chez Bruce'. There is a huge selection of wine here with plenty by the glass, ranging from affordable half-bottles to a magnum Chateauneuf du Pape. Head sommelier Victor Barre is more than happy to guide your choices. 

£50 - £79
Modern European
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Isaac At

Isaac At

2 Gloucester Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 4EW

£50 - £79
British
Bentley

Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill

11-15 Swallow Street, Mayfair, London, W1B 4DG

A true seafood institution, Bentley’s needs little introduction. Serving up the freshest seafood around for over 100 years will often have that effect. Headed up by Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan for more than a decade, Bentley’s shows no sign of slowing down. This is a restaurant where diners feel relaxed, but every detail has been examined before anything leaves the kitchen. Specialising in not just oysters but all seafood, this is widely considered one of the best places to enjoy the fruits of the sea in the UK.

An essential start to a meal at Bentley’s is, of course, oysters. Here there are over ten varieties to choose from, available individually or by the half dozen. Purists can enjoy theirs as nature intended, while those seeking something more flavoured can opt for theirs dressed or garlic-baked. Oscietra, Cornish and Iranian Beluga caviar is available for those wishing to go all-out for their meal.

From the raw bar, the delights of the sea continue with options like langoustine with ponzu and pink grapefruit or cherry clam with tomato and horseradish. Classic dishes like shellfish cocktails are elevated to new heights here, featuring Cornish crab, Atlantic prawns, lobster and brown shrimp. Starters include further elevated dishes like lobster bisque with brandy and tarragon chantilly or Cornish crab and mussel soup with coconut, ginger and lime.

Those wanting something more relaxed for their main course can enjoy classic fish and chips with tartare sauce and mushy peas or fish pie. However, the decadence continues with options like pan-seared turbot with olive oil mash and langoustine sauce. Meat dishes like a herb-crusted rack of lamb are also available, but seafood is certainly the main event here.

There is an extensive list of wines by the glass as well as bottle so that the ideal accompaniment for each course can be chosen. There are plenty of sparkling options as well as larger bottles for extravagant celebrations.

Over £80
British
Fish
SquareMeal London Top 100
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LA

Dinner by Heston has been one of London's most in-demand bookings since it opened in 2011, and the appetite for Heston's wild sensory creations shows little sign of abating. Dinner was initially headed up by Ashley Palmer-Watts, but Jon Miles-Bowring has been head chef since 2019 with Palmer-Watts left.

Nestled inside one of London's most opulent hotels, and the Dinner by Heston dining room is certainly a sight to behold. The dining room is subtle and elegant, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing ample natural light. A glass wall separates the kitchen and dining room, so diners can see the chefs at work and also, the unique pulley system that operates the open-fire and spit - a design lifted straight from the 16th century. Ivory walls are adorned with custom-made porcelain wall sconces in the shape of antique jelly moulds - another detail that brings Dinner by Heston's historical connections round full circle.

The menu follows a similar tack, with many dishes based on historical British dishes from the Tudor period and beyond. The kitchen at Dinner works with food historians and the British Library to make sure dishes are accurate to the history. The 'meat fruit' for example, is based on a recipe from the 1300s, but Dinner brings it into the modern day by creating a chicken liver mousse with mandarin jelly that looks exactly like an orange. Other dishes include 'Rice and Flesh' - almond, saffron, veal sweetbread and smoked eel, 'Frumenty' - octopus, spelt, smoked sea broth, pickled dulse and lovage, and 'Salmon Dressed in Champagne' with buttered leek, parsley, caviar and seaweed. 

Desserts follow a similar vibe, with the brown bread ice cream and a superb cheese board also proving popular.

Over £80
British
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal London Top 100
34 Mayfair

34 Mayfair

34 Grosvenor Square (Entrance on South Audley St), Mayfair, London, W1K 2HD

£50 - £79
Steak
International
Mere

Mere

74 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 4QH

Monica Galetti, Masterchef judge and former senior sous chef at the legendary Le Gavroche, has offered herself up for scrutiny with her first solo restaurant. Mere, pronounced Mary, is the French word for mother and the Samoan word for Galetti’s own mother Mary.

Kick things off on a deep-blue velvet chair in the elegant ground-floor bar where, à Le Gavroche, guests peruse the menu, perhaps over a glass of the richly rounded house Champagne that Galetti has produced with Duval Leroy.

The striking design continues downstairs where a double-height glass frontage removes any sense of eating in a basement and has transformed the site into a light-filled lunchtime rendezvous as well as an elegant setting for dinner.

But as expected, it’s the cooking that shines the most brightly, with Galetti’s Samoan and New Zealand heritage blended seamlessly with Gavroche-style haute cuisine for a contemporary take on high-end dining.

To start, a light ’nduja sauce highlights the meatiness of a springy curl of octopus, sticky from the plancha, while the accompanying caper and raisin jam is so good you’ll want to spread it over the mini bread loaves that arrive warm from the kitchen. Brined cabbage, pickled celeriac and a gribiche dressing are the perky contrasts to soft folds of ox tongue.

To follow, lobster is rescued from creamy sauce territory, simply poached and served with potato purée, cabbage and a bisque sauce in harmony of light sweetness, while 30-day aged sirloin comes with puffs of onion beignets, glazed cheek and a tarragon crème fraiche to keep all the richness in check.

Desserts have more conventional flavours but are no less good for it: chocolate and peanut cremeux with peanut praline, roasted cocoa nib ice cream, and a coconut cream pie filled with roasted banana and drizzled with rum caramel are the stuff of sweet dreams.

The letter ‘M’ appears everywhere in the restaurant, from the door handles of the loos to the lapel pins of the nattily attired waters. With Mere, Monica Galetti has stamped her own claim to one of London’s most famous restaurant addresses.

 

£50 - £79
Modern European
SquareMeal London Top 100
Angler

Angler

South Place Hotel, 3 South Place, Moorgate, London, EC2M 2AF

£50 - £79
Fish
One Michelin star
L

L'Ortolan

Church Lane, Shinfield, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 9BY

Located in the quaint village of Shinfield, just a short drive from junction 11 of the M4, L’Ortolan is a sophisticated operation that is set within a Grade-II listed building. L’Ortolan serves a high-end, well-executed menu of contemporary French dishes and is widely accepted as one of the best restaurants in Reading.

The main dining room here is a smart and intimate space, which features just 11 tables. High back chairs, soft lighting and windows which allow natural light to flow through (as well as offering views of the manicured grounds) set a romantic mood, while extra character is added to the space via the works of well-established artists, such as Richard Rowan and Bob Barker, which hang from the dining room walls. It is hardly a surprise then that L’Ortolan is a popular spot for couples, particularly those with special anniversaries to celebrate.

The kitchen at L’Ortolan has been overseen by a number of Michelin star chefs over the years, but currently heading up the team is James Greatorex. The chef oversees a regularly changing menu of modern French fare, with a focus on getting the best out of good produce and working in harmony with the seasons. The restaurant is also able to accommodate for most dietary requirements if notified in advance and includes vegetarian options as part of its offering.

On your visit, you will be able to choose from an a la carte, or two multi-course tasting menus (‘Gourmand’ and ‘Elegance’). Dishes you might come across include the likes of Orkney scallop with celeriac broth, kohlrabi and radish or guinea fowl with chestnut, wild mushrooms and leeks. To round off your meal, you might tuck into a Mirabelle souffle or a selection of British and French cheeses.

To drink? Expect paired wines or innovative house cocktails.

£50 - £79
French
Artesian at the Langham

Artesian at the Langham

The Langham, 1c Portland Place, Marylebone, London, W1B 1JA

A constantly evolving space, Artesian at the Langham is world-renowned for its award-winning cocktails served in a luxurious setting. Here, innovation is key, with the passionate team of mixologists coming up with new drinks list in line with the seasons, to keep things interesting. Indulging in a serve here is much more than the sum of its parts, it’s the collaborative experience of enjoying incredible service and world-class cocktails in one of London’s plushest hotels.

The drinks list is split into five sections centred around the theme of connection (Sustainability, Happiness, Wellness and Mindfulness, Celebrations and Community) and drifts from strong and straight up through to light and floral. Favourites include Golden Hour (gin, elderflower liqueur, jasmine, rhubarb, sandalwood, pepper and bittered sling Lem-Marrakesh) as well as Treat Yourself 2.0 (vanilla vodka, rose vermouth, clarified strawberry milkshake and rose Champagne). Aside from the billed ingredients you can expect polished presentation and a quirky garnish every now and then too.

In line with developing tastes, Artesian also offers interesting low- and no-alcohol options. The Cherry on Top mocktail combines Everleaf Mountain (a vodka substitute) with non-alcoholic Champagne and a cherry pistachio cordial.

Alongside the accomplished drinks list – which includes additional wines, Champagnes, spirits and beers – there is also a carefully curated menu of snacks to help keep hunger at bay. Here you’ll find crowd-pleasing light bites like Cornish crab on prawn toast or a crisp sole role with lemon mayonnaise and capers alongside heartier fare such as fried chicken with hot sauce and the Langham beef burger topped with cheese, burger sauce and pickles.

Verifying that you’re in the safest of hands is the slew of awards that the bar proudly displays – from a spot in The World’s 50 Best Bars list through to winning bar team of the year at Imbibe’s Personality of the Year line-up.

£30 - £49
Bars
Norma

Norma

8 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 2LS

Norma celebrates the coming together of flavours from the south of Italy and north Africa, a pairing that pays homage to the history of Sicily. This Italaian-inspired restaurant is overseen by chef Ben Tish, who previously ran the Salt Yard group and is now culinary director of The Stafford London hotel – Norma’s parent company.

Despite the definite foodie credentials, a visit to Norma is as much about the interiors and hospitality as it is the menu. The three-floor townhouse space looks to recreate the grand café culture found throughout Sicily, while staff are warm and charming in their manners, reminiscent of that signature Italian service. A crudo bar greets guests at the entrance, made up of strikingly clashing marble colours, while the dining room is awash with intricate mosaic walls, hanging pendant lighting, booth seating and cosy seating nooks found in carved-out arch spaces. Low lighting adds to the ambiance.

On the first floor you’ll find the cocktail bar where you can enjoy drinks and snacks, while the top floor hosts a private dining space. Here guests can work with the kitchen team to perfect their party menu from a selection of family-style sharing platters and will enjoy their meal in the warm and intimate surrounds of the mirrored-ceiling space.

Back in the main restaurant and the menu features Sicilian-inspired dishes made using seasonal Italian and British produce. While the menu might change from day-to-day, you can always expect sparklingly fresh seafood from the bar, dressed with high-quality olive oil or other deftly handled garnishes, while the antipasti options might throw up combinations like burrata with chicory, blood orange and coriander seeds. Homemade pastas are the kitchen’s signature serves, while mains like grilled salt marsh lamb or pan-fried stone bass feature as large plates. There is also a full vegan menu for plant-based eaters and a selection of tempting dessert for a sweet finish to your experience at Norma.

£50 - £79
North African
Italian
The Pem

The Pem

22-28 Broadway, Westminster, London, SW1H 0BH

Chef-to-watch Sally Abe is the brains behind The Pem, a high-end restaurant found within the Conrad London St James. Abe acts as consultant chef for the hotel and also oversees its in-house pub, The Blue Boar.

Having previously been head chef of Michelin-starred The Harwood Arms in Fulham, Abe now brings her culinary knowledge to The Pem, which serves a dinner menu that champions top-quality British produce and reworks classic dishes with innovative new spins. The menu changes seasonally, but on your visit, you can expect to find dishes that are underpinned by fresh produce from trusted suppliers - think poached native lobster with shellfish cream, heritage tomatoes and sweet olive or roasted John Dory with brassicas, lemon and sauce Choron. Desserts meanwhile, include the classic likes of black forest gateau topped with chocolate curls and served alongside English cherry ripple ice cream.

The Pem takes its name from suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, whose family used the pet name ‘Pem’ for her, and a commitment to showcasing female talent is reflected in Abe’s exclusively female senior team. The restaurant’s look is also distinctly feminine - the dining room boasts an art deco inspired design, including soft lighting and comfy banquettes and tub chairs, all decked out in romantic rosy hues. The main dining room seats up to 70 guests, while a private dining space has room for 24.

The Pem’s wine list combines highly sought-after fine wines with lesser known bottles from independent producers and has been curated from sommelier and wine consultant Emily Harman.

Speaking about the opening, Abe said: “I have the freedom to serve the food I’ve always wanted to cook. It’s me on a plate. I’m taking classic combinations and really making them my own, like steak and oyster, cheese and onion – I won’t be messing with the framework but trying to put a new spin on them without creating challenging or modernist dishes. I want to bring a sense of familiarity and transfer those flavours to high-end restaurant dining.”

Over £80
Modern European
SquareMeal London Top 100
The Five Fields

The Five Fields

8-9 Blacklands Terrace, Chelsea, London, SW3 2SP

Over £80
British
One Michelin star
Scott

Scott's

20 Mount Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 2HE

Scott’s is more than a restaurant, it’s a scene, a landmark, a legend.  Although it’s been around for half a century, it only struck gold when it reopened under Caprice Holdings (the owners of Thy Ivy, J Sheekey et al) in 2006. Mount Street was changing from stuffy residential enclave to fashion Mecca and Scott’s was there – catnip to fish-loving foodies, fashionistas and posh people who were instantly hooked on its infectiously buzzy ambience.

The interior is beguiling by day and night. An oval oyster bar with tall stools and a magnificent ‘high altar’ for shellfish dominates the light-filled front space. There are cosy tables at the rear and confident modern art on the walls, while a flower-filled pavement terrace attracts smokers and the ever-present paparazzi.

The menu nods to meat eaters with veal cutlets, steaks, chicken pie and venison fillet with celeriac purée. But this is essentially a seafood restaurant, serving up what readers say is “simply the best fish in town” – from homely potted shrimps and dressed crab to exotic octopus carpaccio and monkfish with spicy tiger prawn masala via oysters and caviar, lobster Thermidor, battered haddock and extravagant fruits de mer.

‘Fish on the bone’ might bring halibut and massive 22oz Dover soles, as well as delicate slip soles with capers and parsley butter, but the full repertoire covers everything from scallops in the shell richly doused in garlic and chilli butter to roast cod dressed with cauliflower purée and chorizo. There are also some imaginative vegetable dishes such as roast squash with quinoa and harissa. 

It’s also worth saving some room for totally tempting desserts such as gooseberry pie, peach Melba or a flashy take on Bakewell pudding with almond ice cream. With its completely reliable food, brilliant but unobtrusive service and a wine list that won’t break the bank, Scott’s is quite simply outstanding.  

£50 - £79
British
Fish
SquareMeal London Top 100
The Connaught Bar at the Connaught

The Connaught Bar at the Connaught

The Connaught, 16 Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL

Bars
Kai

Kai

65 South Audley Street, London, W1K 2QU

Over £80
Chinese
One Michelin star
£30 - £49
Timberyard

Timberyard

10 Lady Lawson Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9DS

£50 - £79
Modern European
British
Min Jiang at the Royal Garden Hotel

Min Jiang at the Royal Garden Hotel

Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London, W8 4PT

£50 - £79
Chinese
Dim Sum
Restaurant Fraiche

Restaurant Fraiche

11 Rose Mount , Oxton, Merseyside, CH43 5SG

Over £80
French
Salt

Salt

8 Church Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6HB

£50 - £79
Modern European
One Michelin star
Padella Borough

Padella Borough

6 Southwark Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 1TQ

Before Padella came along, pasta was something that impoverished students ate or restaurant diners would order as an alternative to a main course (with the greedy eating pasta as part of the traditional four-course Italian meal).

Padella changed all of that. The big idea here is to shrink pasta down to small-plate size and order it as one would any sharing-plates, tapas-style menu. The pici cacio e pepe, squidgy cylinders of pasta slicked with cheese and scattered with pepper, is the house speciality, while other classics include pappardelle with beef-shin ragu and tagliarini with Dorset crab, chilli and lemon.

Vegetarian options are good – gnocchi with nutmeg butter or straci with sweet onion, thyme and Gorgonzola, say – while non-pasta dishes extend to some salady antipasti and a trio of puddings.

To drink, there are four wines available on tap, British beers and some rather alluring aperitivi, from prosecco or homemade lemonade to fruity spins on the Negroni, Americano and Spritz.  

The food and drink isn’t the only aspect of Padella that is bang-up-to-date. Like nearly every hot new opening in London, Padella is no bookings, though given how reasonable the prices are – over half the pasta dishes cost under £8 – it’s not surprising how many people are willing to wait for a table here.

Expect to queue not only at peak times but any time. Even before the doors open, a line of would-be diners stretches round the corner well into Borough Market, while waits of two hours are not uncommon if you turn up at a time you may actually wish to eat, such as 7pm.

The solution? Arrive by yourself and you may very well be shown straight to a stool at the counter by the open kitchen. Even better, you won’t have to share any of your food.   

Under £30
Italian
SquareMeal London Top 100
Orasay

Orasay

31 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2EU

Orasay is named after an island found off the west coast of Scotland, spelled Orosay. The menu is inspired by the Outer Hebridean region surrounding the island and focuses heavily on seafood. You can expect to tuck into the likes of scallops, oysters, crabs and lobster, while some produce (vegetables, honey, etc.) comes from the business’ own organic farm in West Sussex, which is also chef Jackson Boxer’s family home.

The simple interiors see lime-washed walls and antique French oak, while a 60-bin wine list features Euro-leaning bottles available both by the glass and carafe.

£50 - £79
British
Fish
Imperial Treasure

Imperial Treasure

9-10 Waterloo Place, St James's, London, SW1Y 4BE

Over £80
Chinese
Dim Sum
Zuma

Zuma

5 Raphael Street, Knightsbridge, London, SW7 1DL

Zuma was a sensation when it first opened in 2002 and while some of the buzz has died down in the almost 20 years since it launched, it’s still one of the foremost party restaurants in the capital.

The excitement builds before you’ve even crossed the threshold thanks to an unpromising location on a Knightsbridge backstreet which whispers rather than shouts 'insider secret'. Once inside, a bar to the right of the entrance creates an immediate sense of buzz and, if you’re not in the mood for a full meal, serves some knockout Asian-accented cocktails as well as providing access to the restaurant's carefully curated wine list. Should you feel peckish, you can also eat here too, either up at the bar or one of the leather sofas.

The dining room proper stretches out behind. Larger groups sit at tables and chairs while solo diners, couples and curious foodies might be seated at the long, U-shaped counter which wraps around the open kitchen and gives a bird’s eye view of the chefs at work as they meticulously slice sashimi or craft exquisite morsels of sushi.

Zuma’s success, however, has always relied upon the combination of traditional Japanese culinary techniques grafted on to a western sensibility. As well as the expertly prepared raw fish, the long, long menu deals in beguilingly delicious signature dishes. Small plates include warm aubergine with sweet miso; seabass with yuzu, truffle oil and salmon roe; and crispy fried squid with green chilli lime. Meat dishes are just as good: chicken wings with saké, sea salt and lime, and rib-eye steak with wafu sauce and garlic crisps, are never likely to leave the menu.

The downside to all the good-time vibes is that when it’s at full tilt, eating here can feel like dining in the middle of a very loud party, and if being surrounded by the international super-rich is not your idea of a good time (or budget), then walk on by. But almost everyone who enters into the upbeat spirt of the place leaves vowing to return.  

£50 - £79
Sushi
Japanese
The Fumoir at Claridge

The Fumoir at Claridge's

Claridge's, Brook Street, London, London, W1K 4HR

Bars
Hotel Bars
Claridge

Claridge's Bar

Claridge's, Brook Street, Soho, London, W1K 4HR

Bars
Hotel Bars
£30 - £49
Stovell

Stovell's

Windsor Road, Chobham, Surrey, GU24 8QS

£50 - £79
Modern European
Kiln Soho

Kiln Soho

58 Brewer Street, Soho, London, W1F 9TL

Pint-sized Kiln has become one of London's most popular restaurants. At one time Kiln took walk-ins only, resulting in long queues down Brewer Street - thankfully these days it's possible to book, though the real fun remains at the counter, which is still for walk-ins only. 

Kiln is the brainchild of chef and restaurateur Ben Chapman, who is also behind popular Thai eatery Smoking Goat, which can be found in Shoreditch. Taking up residency on Soho’s Brewer Street, Kiln finds itself in good company alongside the likes of Randall & Aubin and El Camion. Much like its sibling, the menu here focuses on stir fries, curries and barbecue dishes cooked over open flames, championing dishes from a grill, seafood and clay pot alike.

To fans of Smoking Goat, it should come as no surprise that the food at Kiln is punchily spiced. The menu also changes regularly, with the offering evolving depending on what produce is currently in season. You can visit Kiln for either lunch or dinner, and while you’re there you might come across the likes of slow grilled chicken and soy, Tamworth pork belly curry with kapi, or wild ginger and beef neck curry which finds its roots in Burma.

One dish that you will always find on the menu is Kiln’s signature serve – clay pot baked glass noodles topped with Tamworth pork belly and brown crab meat. Kiln doesn’t serve desserts, but it makes up for that with a truly delightful drinks list. Accompany your meal with a glass from Kiln’s list of European-leaning wines, or opt for one of its house-made cocktails which experiment with fermentation and pickling.

Perhaps you’re in the mood for a Turmeric Gin & Tonic, or maybe it will be the Thai Basil & Peppercorn Mojito that takes your fancy. Competitive pricing, on both the drinks and food, is a further draw. 

£30 - £49
Thai
Burmese
SquareMeal London Top 100
Bocca di Lupo

Bocca di Lupo

12 Archer Street, Soho, London, W1D 7BB

Opened over a decade ago, this Italian establishment continues to wow patrons with their honest, authentic representation of Italian cuisine in the heart of London. Located in buzzy Soho, this restaurant is superbly located in the mecca of foodies, and holds its own very well – having won many awards and accolades over the years.

The interior of the restaurant is modest for its well-known reputation, with a family-run atmosphere that exudes a great passion for service and good food.  Dressed simply with an understated colour palette of muted greys and wood, the most dramatic feature of the room is stunning, round glass chandelier that disperses light around the low-key restaurant.

The menu claims to offer punters a taste of the twenty main dialects of Italian cuisine, and with a twice-daily changing menu according to season, Bocca fares well. While you cannot expect the same menu every time you go, you will notice that a location is attributed to each dish, so that punters can learn about the regional differences within Italian cuisine.

In true Italian style, the menu offers plenty of courses for punters to dine on for hours. To begin, the crudi and salumi (raw and cured) plates offers tuna tartare, Galician sea urchins, and confit tuna for patrons to whet their appetites with, while the fried section offers red prawns and squid with blood oranges slices. Swiftly moving on, the pasta selection is modest – as all the pastas are handmade – featuring a variety of shapes and sauces such as cime di rapa orecchiette and agnolotti dal plin. From the oven, you can order a pigeon and bread lasagne topped with truffle or a polenta with wild boar stracotto from the stewing pot section. The menu perpetually seems all-encompassing, as it changes from lunch to dinner, and you can be guaranteed authenticity with every bite. Plus the all-Italian wine lists truly seals the deal.

£50 - £79
Italian
Pollen Street Social

Pollen Street Social

8-10 Pollen Street, Mayfair, London, 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 award in 2011 and 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.

Provenance is absolutely key to Atherton, who believes that a menu can only ever be as good as its ingredients and has taken the time to foster long-term relationships with suppliers across Britain in order to obtain the very best produce the UK has to offer, from Colchester crab to Buccleuch beef, Jersey oysters, Orkney scallops and Goosnargh duck from Lancashire.

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 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. 

Over £80
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Lyle

Lyle's

The Tea Building, Shoreditch, London, E1 6JJ

The aim of Lyle’s is simple: to ensure British food has a place in this day and age. This Michelin-starred London restaurant offers a ‘micro-seasonal’ daily menu, celebrating whichever ingredients that are fresh and available that day. Matching the trendy surroundings of Shoreditch, this pared-back space was once a factory for Lipton’s tea. Wooden tables and chairs, large windows and simple lighting adorn the white-walled space. Clearly, this is a place where the food speaks for itself.

Due to the ever-changing menu, you likely won’t know what’s on the menu until you arrive. But you can expect simple, elegant dishes using only the finest British produce. There is typically a mixture of familiar flavours like anchovy, cider or chard and less familiar tastes like crab apple, ewe’s cheese or quince. Top-quality meat features at Lyle’s too, but this is certainly a vegetarian-friendly place.

Previous vegetable dishes at Lyle’s have been combinations like Tema artichoke, chard and preserved lemon or radicchio with apple and Berkswell cheese. Seafood is handled with care, pared with the likes of sweet oroblanco and smoked roe or sea beet and seaweed broth. Meat is typically paired with somewhat punchier flavours, such as dried winter tomato and black pepper or liver and broccoli.

Desserts at Lyle’s are certainly not to be missed with previous creations like blood orange and panela sugar millefeuille, bee pollen ice cream with pear and meringue or caramel ice cream with expresso.

At lunch, there are choices of dishes, but in the evening this is not the case. Instead, you hand the reigns over to James Lowe and the team (there is still a vegetarian menu to opt for). The primarily European wine list is refined, with a fair few options by the glass before you get onto the big-hitters. Aperitifs, beers, ciders and non-alcoholic options are also available.

£50 - £79
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Swift

Swift

12 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 4TQ

Bars
Endo at the Rotunda

Endo at the Rotunda

101 Wood Lane, White City, London, W12 7FR

Born in Yokohama, Endo Kazutoshi is a third-generation sushi master, specialising in the centuries-old Edomae style of sushi - a technique particular to Tokyo. After years spent as the executive sushi chef for the Zuma group, Kazutoshi struck out on his own with Endo at Rotunda and soon after, fulfilled his ambition of winning a Michelin star.

You'll find Endo at Rotunda perched on the top floor of the former Television Centre in White City. The space is designed with a graceful minimalism by multi-award-winning architect Kengo Kuma - as soon as you walk in the eye is drawn to the stunning 200-year-old Hinoki wood counter in the centre of the room, above which cloud-like light installation hangs. Meanwhile, panoramic windows on one side of the room give an incredible view across London.

'Omakase' translates as 'I leave it up to you' - the omakase menu at Endo at Rotunda leaves you in Kazutoshi's safe hands as takes you on an odyssey of Japanese flavours. The menu is ever-changing, seasonal and artistic, and guests get to watch a master at work as Kazutoshi prepares each dish by hand. Not only does each dish continue the journey, it also tells a part of Kazutoshi's personal journey.

To drink, there's an international wine list and a short list of signature cocktails such as the Satsuma, which blends whisky with mandarin, green tea and kumquat. In addition, Kazutoshi has developed personal relationships with some of Japan’s finest saké breweries, with many of those labels now only available in the UK at The Rotunda. Prices are as high as you might expect for an experience like this, but seats at the counter sell out pretty soon after being released.

Photo credit: Great British Chefs

Over £80
Sushi
Japanese
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall

Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall

Grantley Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 3ET

Words like ‘sumptuous’ and ‘opulent’ are often banded around by marketing teams, but here we use them with purpose and sincerity since it really is five-star treatment all the way at this magnificent hotel. Set within beautiful, well-tended parkland, 17th-century Grantley Hall exudes luxury, from the polite, plaid-uniformed staff to the lavish decor and furnishings within.

It’s easy to see how the transformation from a privately owned estate to a grand hotel cost such a staggering amount, since Grantley Hall possesses everything you’d expect from an upscale country house hotel, and then some. Three restaurants, several bars, a state-of-the-art gym and spa, and even a rather tasteful nightclub are just some of the draws for the well-heeled seeking a gold-standard stay, though it’s the partnership with critically acclaimed chef Shaun Rankin that sparked our excitement.

Rankin is Yorkshire born and bred but left the surrounds of the countryside to pursue his ambitions of becoming one of the country’s top chefs. Ambitions achieved via a handful of Michelin stars, he returned to open his eponymous restaurant in 2019 where he's since added another star to his collection. 

Rankin’s fine-dining restaurant is situated at the front of the hall in a plush room that’s as warm and inviting as it is beautiful. The original ornate ceiling sports twinkling chandeliers which come together with the rich drapes and heavy, scalloped chairs to create an air of hushed serenity.

A dedication to sustainability and quality means all meat (organic, naturally), cheese and seafood is sourced from local suppliers and, like the discernibly fresh fruit and vegetables, comes through in the superb flavours. It’s a tasting only affair here, with an optional – but advised wine or non-alcoholic drinks pairing. While dishes flex with the seasons, guests can expect the usual run of bread and butter into fish, meat and sweet plates that span ten courses and finish with a trolly of petite fours enjoyed at your table or in the next door lounge.

Over £80
British
One Michelin star
Cornerstone

Cornerstone

3 Prince Edward Road, Hackney, London, E9 5LX

£50 - £79
Fish
One Michelin star
sketch: Lecture Room & Library

sketch: Lecture Room & Library

9 Conduit Street, Soho, London, W1S 2XG

Over £80
Modern European
Three Michelin stars
Chiltern Firehouse

Chiltern Firehouse

1 Chiltern Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 7PA

When it opened in 2014, Chiltern Firehouse was the first restaurant since Scott’s to cross over from being a must-visit in the reasonably niche world of upmarket restaurant-goers to become a bona fide cultural event, its name known to the sort of people who might never dream of eating in a posh West End dining room.

The initial tsunami of celebrity may have slowed to a trickle but the hotel upstairs remains a favourite of visiting A-listers and means that you’re still likely to see a famous face in the dining room. But even if your meal isn’t dusted with a sprinkling of stardust, there’s still much to enjoy here.

Punters adore the clever outdoor-themed interiors and the lively atmosphere, which brings an infectious energy to proceedings. We also love the subtle nods to the venue’s original incarnation as a fire station, with ceiling patterns inspired by hoses and a fireman’s pole forming the centrepiece of one corner table.

Right on cue, the open kitchen serves up wave after wave of likeable successes. Snacks such as the famous coral-dusted crab doughnut kick things off nicely, but there are other highlights too: BBQ pork skewers are served with brown-butter mayo, flaky salmon is cooked tandoori-style and complemented by a puddle of cooling lime yoghurt, cucumber and puffed rice, while a plate of burrata is given a summery makeover thanks to piles of juicy heritage tomato and a lively chilli jam.

Early risers pack in for breakfast (courgette and spinach scrambled eggs topped with aged Parmesan), freelancers take advantage of the indulgent lunchtime offers (Ibérico pork with red pepper mayo and barbecued peach on toast, say) and we’d also recommend a pre/post-meal trip to the botanically themed bar for cheekily named cocktails (hotel guests are given priority, but it’s easier to slip in on quiet nights).

£50 - £79
International
Coya Mayfair Pisco Lounge

Coya Mayfair Pisco Lounge

118 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7NW

Bars
Kerridge

Kerridge's Bar & Grill

10 Northumberland Avenue, Westminster, London, WC2N 5AE

Kerridge's Bar & Grill is renowned chef Tom Kerridge’s first London restaurant and finds its home within the Corinthia London hotel in Whitehall. Famous for his pubs of exceptional standards, like The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, Kerridge’s love of big, bold flavours are seen in his latest venture too, something akin to pub classics punters know and love. Helping him take things to new heights is his head chef Nick Beardshaw who joins Kerridge in his love of British cooking.

Interiors have been created with luxury in mind, so that guests feel calm and comfortable in the cosy space. Rich red leather banquette seating is built in curves to allow for a feeling of privacy around round tables, while a chef’s table is open to a section of kitchen that allows VIP guests an insight into the workings of the skilled professionals making their meals. Elsewhere wooden bookshelves hold cookery tomes and encase wine fridges, while there’s also a generously sized bar for guests to unwind at after a long day of sightseeing or business.

With everything from pre- and post-theatre menus through to vegetarian and vegan sets there is something here for everyone. The classic chef-chosen six course option begins with chicken liver parfait before moving through dishes like mushroom risotto and treacle roasted fillet of beef with chips and béarnaise sauce. The feast is finished off with a tonka bean panna cotta with rhubarb sorbet, honeycomb and ginger. Sundays, as you might expect, bring elevated roast dinners; pork belly with roasted onions and horseradish cream, say, or dry aged rib of beef with Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes.

For guests enjoying drinks at the bar there is also a small snacks menu which includes pub favourites like pork crackling (with Kerridge’s signature twist coming in the form of gherkin ketchup), devils on horseback or Welsh rarebit on toast.

£50 - £79
British
SquareMeal London Top 100
A. Wong

A. Wong

70 Wilton Road, Pimlico, London, SW1V 1DE

Arguably serving up some of the best Chinese food in the whole of London, A. Wong is a fine dining restaurant named after head chef and owner Andrew Wong.

Located in the heart of Pimlico, it was first opened in 1985 by Wong's parents under the name Kym's, before being reopened with a new name in 2012 by Wong and his wife. In 2021 A. Wong was awarded a second star in the Michelin guide making it the first Chinese restaurant in the UK to hold such a title. Serving a highly innovative menu of modern Chinese food, the restaurant aims to showcase a diverse selection of dishes from the many different regions of China. Its not overly formal ambience makes A. Wong a brilliant spot for special occasions when you want to avoid hushed voices and silver service.

Found on the busy Wilton Road, the outside of the restaurant is surrounded by trees and greenery, while there is some outdoor seating, allowing for al freso drinking and dining when the weather allows. A Wong's large windows and light interiors provide a bright and airy feel to place, with an open kitchen allowing diners to see the chef's at work and a few seats up at the counter.

There are a variety of different menus on offer at A.Wong throughout the day including a dim sum lunch menu, an evening a la carte, and a lengthy tasting menu. Expect creative savoury dishes such as Shaanxi pulled lamb ‘burger’ with Xinjiang pomegranate salad and Anhui province red braised fermented wild seabass, while sweeter treats might include poached meringue with fruit textures.

The drinks offering is equally innovative as the food with a range of Chinese-inspired cocktails available alongside an impressive selection of wines by the glass and bottle. You can either enjoy your drinks at the table or head down to the Forbidden City bar on the lower ground floor before or after your meal.

Over £80
Chinese
Dim Sum
Two Michelin stars
The American Bar at The Savoy

The American Bar at The Savoy

Strand, London, WC2R 0EZ

Bars
Osip

Osip

1 High Street, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AB

Located in the Somerset village of Bruton, Osip is a tiny restaurant owned and run by ex-head chef of London favourites Portland and Clipstone, Merlin Labron-Johnson. The 22-cover restaurant is housed in a charming stone building which used to be the village ironmonger and brings top-quality cooking to this idyllic rural spot.

The interior is typically understated, as Labron-Johnson’s restaurants tend to be: tiled walls, a flash of exposed brickwork and muted blue and white tones strike a bright and airy pose that makes the most of the small dimensions.

Serving a refined line-up of farm-to-table food, the 22-cover restaurant works grows much of its own produce, and works closely with local suppliers to source the rest for a predominantly vegetarian menu. A variety of tasting menus are on offer - lunch diners can choose between a four course 'menu du jour' or a six course tasting menu, whilst dinner offers up a full nine course taster, as well as the six course. Osip has taken the decision to make the tasting menus completely blind - you leave yourself in the hands of Labron-Johnson and his expert kitchen team here (though you get a lovely printed menu to take away with you afterwards). 

Dishes at the time of writing include roasted vegetable tea with burnt garlic oil, young leeks with almond praline and ricotta, roast chicken with hen of the woods mushroom, bearnaise, chicken sausage and cider mustard. The menu is bookended by snacks and petit fours. 

The drinks menu is similarly focused - the wine list is almost exclusively European, and there are West Country ciders and beefs on offer too, as well as aperitifs and cocktails.

£50 - £79
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Brat

Brat

64 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, London, E1 6JJ

Brat is a Michelin-starred restaurant in Shoreditch, housed within a former strip club and headed up by chef Tomos Parry. Brat is largely based around applying the techniques of Basque cooking to British produce with a focus on wood-fired cooking, while also celebrating the Welsh ingredients and food experiences that Parry holds so dear (the chef hails from Wales originally). The restaurant gained its Michelin star within six months of opening, which says a lot about the calibre of cooking here.  

Diners are immediately alerted to the restaurant’s main focus on cooking with fire thanks to a huge grill taking up a wall of the open kitchen, designed to fill the restaurant with fantastic aromas when entering. The interiors are cosy, rustic and wood-heavy, with large paned windows and a traditional feel reminiscent of the seafood restaurants in Portugal.  

The food at Brat exemplifies simple cooking done well. The menu doesn’t give much away in its descriptions of each dish, and instead highlights the main ingredient used in each one. For example, starters include fresh chorizo, leeks with walnut and fresh cheese and beef tartare with raddichio, while mains feature John Dory, aged duck and lemon sole with little else to identify the finished dish. The mains are designed to be ordered with sides though, with things like bread and burnt onion butter, smoked potatoes and grilled red peppers on offer to complete the meal. For dessert, look out for burnt cheesecake and rhubarb, caramel cream and rice pudding with blood oranges and fennel.  

The wine list is incredibly generous and features wines from across Europe, from ‘easy drinkers’ and ‘classics’ to ‘off the beaten track’ options. Choose from red, white, rose and sparkling as well as sweet wines and sherry.

£50 - £79
Spanish
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Coupette

Coupette

423 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 0AN

Bars
The Latymer

The Latymer

Pennyhill Park, London Road, Bagshot, Surrey, GU19 5EU

Located inside Surrey's luxurious Pennyhill Park Hotel, The Latymer is a fine dining restaurant serving a choice of inventive menus designed by head chef Steve Smith. With a Michelin star to its name, The Latymer prides itself on providing only the highest level of service and a suitably formal atmosphere to best showcase the award-winning food. The restaurant is committed to showcasing only the finest local produce and also has a real focus on seasonality, which means that the menus change every day based on availability of ingredients.

Found in one of the oldest parts of the house, The Latymer's dining room has a snug yet grand feel to it with rustic exposed beams on the ceiling contrasting with the opulent décor below. A mixture of brightly upholstered chairs and banquettes sit on a turquoise carpet while tables are topped with white table cloths and wooden panels line the walls.

Having taken over as chef in 2020 Steve Smith completely redesigned The Latymer's food offering. There is now a fixed-price à la carte menu available at lunchtime, as well as separate discovery tasting menus on offer at lunch and dinner which comprise of six regularly changing courses. Expect dishes such as calve's sweetbread with pea and pine nut risotto and madeira, foie gras cream served with strawberry and timut pepper and a duck salad, and Herdwick lamb with broccoli, artichoke and anchovies. Sweet dishes might include compressed strawberry with nitro buttermilk and a basil salad, or itakuja chocolate delice and mango sorbet.

When it comes to drinks at The Latymer, you can opt for a wine pairing designed by head sommelier Aurel Istrate to perfectly complement every dish on the tasting menu, or you can choose a bottle from the extensive wine list. There are also plenty of other drinks available for those who don't want wine and for non-drinkers.

Over £80
Modern European
One Michelin star
The Three Chimneys

The Three Chimneys

Colbost, Isle of Skye, Highlands & Islands, IV55 8ZT

The Three Chimneys is enviably positioned enjoying striking rural views across the Isle of Skye. Petri, Sarah and Chef Scott warmly welcome you to enjoy their retreat, hotel and restaurant, serving many authentic local dishes from their fresh and simple seasonal menu.

Head Chef Scott Davies has designed a responsibly sourced, quality menu to reflect the striking rural location and natural larder of the Highlands. The Three Chimneys menu includes many locally sourced ingredients such as natural oysters, scallops and mussels.

An example of the seasonal menu includes dishes such as scorched langoustine served with cauliflower panna cotta and pickles, and Black Isle beef served with parsley and onions. Sides include a locally foraged salad and a whipped potato with bacon jam.

There are plenty of homemade tempting looking desserts available such as apple and custard parfait, and a selection of local cheeses served with oatcakes, quince and honey.

Head Chef Scott Davies and his team are happy to adapt dishes to suit dietary requirements, so please contact the restaurant prior to your visit to discuss your needs.

The restaurant strives to preserve the local area and community, they are assessed under Green Tourism regulations which is a sustainable tourism certification scheme committed to continuous improvement of the surrounding environment.

Cyclists and walkers are welcome at The Three Chimneys. There is indoor and outdoor seating available, the perfect place to relax and take in the natural landscape and surroundings.

£50 - £79
Modern European
Scottish
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

Church Road, Great Milton, Oxfordshire, OX44 7PD

Over £80
French
Two Michelin stars
Ondine

Ondine

2 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1AD

£50 - £79
Scottish
Fish
The Boat Inn Lichfield

The Boat Inn Lichfield

Walsall Road, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS14 0BU

£50 - £79
British
Berners Tavern at The London Edition

Berners Tavern at The London Edition

10 Berners Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 3NP

£50 - £79
British
Hoppers Soho

Hoppers Soho

49 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4SG

Housed in a popular little spot on Frith Street, Hoppers Soho is largely responsible for putting Sri Lankan food well and truly on London’s map. The small and cheerful venue with its wooden furniture, bright yellow walls and framed Bollywood posters is inspired by the village toddy shops on the backstreets of Sri Lanka and the restaurant serves a laid-back informal menu of traditional and authentic dishes from the country including hoppers, dossas, kothus and roasts – all complimented by a tropical drinks list focussed around the popular native spirits Genever and Arrack.  The restaurant is the brainchild of the Sethi siblings, best known for their Indian restaurants Gymkhana and Brigadiers, and the success of their casual small plate outpost has seen Hoppers replicated in St Christopher’s Place and soon to be King’s Cross.

A very reasonable express lunch menu is a good way to experience a broad range of the restaurant’s popular dishes comprising mutton rolls, goat or veg Kothu rotis, a hopper or dosa, choice of Kari and selection of sambols or chutneys; but for those with more time on their hands the Taste of Hoppers feasting menus are an absolute must. For just £35 a head the whole table will be served a selection of signature dishes to share that showcase the very best of authentic Sri Lankan cusine. Choose between a meat or vegetarian option and look forward to sharing dishes that include hot butter chilli paneer; devilled squid; goat Kothu roti; Kappa cutlets; and bone marrow varuval. Next guests can choose between a traditional hopper- a large bowl shaped fermented rice and coconut milk pancake- or dosa – a pancake made from a fermented lentil and rice batter. Finally diners can choose a Kari (the Tamil term for a curry) of their choice to round off the feast with some Sri Lankan heat.

£30 - £49
Indian
Artichoke

Artichoke

9 Market Square, Old Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP7 0DF

Located in the old town of Amersham in Buckinghamshire, Michelin-starred Artichoke is owned and led by Chef Patron Laurie Gear and his wife Jacqueline. They opened the restaurant originally in 2002 with the aim of providing the very best neighbourhood dining experience, a feat largely undertaken by chef patron Laurie Gear and head chef Chris Chegwin. While Laurie runs the kitchen team, Jacqueline oversees the day-to-day management of Artichoke with a strong background in business.  

The restaurant is set inside a 16th century Grade II listed building with many of its original features left intact inside. The style, however, is slightly different to its historic foundations, with the interiors designed by Fiona Johnston Parke in a Scandi-chic style. Drawing on Laurie’s time spent in Scandinavia, expect lots of soft tones of walnut, grey and lilac, with finishing touches including amethyst glass and hand-crafted pottery.  

The menu is modern European in style and uses top quality ingredients that are locally sourced and hyper-seasonal. For dinner, there is only one nine-course tasting menu available while for lunch there is a slightly shorter lunch set menu, ‘Artichoke’ menu or the tasting menu. There are also vegetarian equivalents of all the above. Most start with chiltern ale black bread with malt vinegar and cultured butter while other signature dishes might include mushroom tortellini with fennel, carrot, golden enoki and trumpet mushrooms, roast cornish cod with clams, crisp potato, clam and chervil sauce as well as goosnargh duck breast with duck leg croquette, leek puree and blood orange. On the sweet front, guests are treated to apple tarte tatin with Somerset apple brandy caramel and vanilla ice cream. 

To drink, there is an international wine list that is broken down by region and can be ordered by the glass, half bottle or bottle.

Over £80
Modern European
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Fhior

Fhior

36 Broughton Street, Bonnington, Edinburgh, EH1 3SB

Fhior, meaning ‘true’ in Gaelic, is a Scottish restaurant located just north of Edinburgh city centre that celebrates modern dining via an ever-evolving set tasting menu. The restaurant was opened in 2018 by couple Scott and Laura Smith and is based around the concept of being ‘true’: whether that’s to its ingredients and producers or own artistic expression.  

One of the main elements that makes Fhior stand out from the rest is its commitment to using local and seasonal produce. In fact, it even boasts its own kitchen garden, which it launched in 2020 so it could gain even more visibility over where its produce comes from, while ensuring it's grown organically without any chemicals. Anything that can’t be grown in the garden is sourced from producers who take true pride in their craft and share Fhior’s same ethical ethos.  

Fhior aims to take its diners on a journey via a menu of innovative dishes. It encourages individuals not to look at the menu before dining to increase the element of surprise, but that’s not to say knowing what to expect takes away from the dining experience. For dinner, there are both seven and 10-course tasting menus available, while for lunch guests can choose between four or seven courses. Examples of dishes might include langoustine with kohlrabi and lovage, courgette with fresh cheese and herbs, cod with chicken butter and aster as well as aged duck with turnip and scurvy grass. Dessert is likely to revolve around something fruity: think strawberry with crème fraiche and sweet cicely.  

All great food requires a drink to match. Fhior’s wines are selected from small-scale producers that are made naturally with minimal intervention. For that reason, the menu is ever-changing in line with what’s best at the time, with many bottles only being made in small batches.

Over £80
Scottish
British
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Sorrel

Sorrel

77 South Street, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 2JU

Michelin-starred Sorrel in Dorking offers a modern approach to fine dining, the execution of which is overseen by head chef Steve Drake. Steve has numerous culinary credentials to his name that have led him to this point, from working in some of the world’s best kitchens (Chez Nico at Ninety Park Lane, the Oak Room with Marco Pierre White and Pied a Terre) to winning the Roux Scholarship in 2001. Before Sorrel, Steve worked a 14-year stint at Drake’s (now named The Clock House) where he won a Michelin star and retained it for all that time. Sorrel is the culmination of 25 years of culinary experience.  

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and there is a choice of menus available. For lunch, guests can choose to dine from the a la carte or tasting ‘Discovery’ menu, while for dinner only the tasting menu is available. The Discovery Menu really is where the true Sorrel experience lies and takes the diner on a journey from ‘Departure’ to ‘Journey’s End’. The dishes are based around seasonal ingredients which Steve combines using unusual and unexpected flavour combinations. Look out for things like apple and curry meringue with chicken liver, hand-dived scallop with crushed apple, turnip, miso, anchovy and turnip leaf oil, and pork belly with smoked cauliflower, ponzu, cockles and monk’s beard. Expect a surprise by the time you reach the sweet courses as well, such as blueberry ice cream with lavender cake, oregano and ginger beer. 

The setting at Sorrel is designed to be just as engaging as the food. The dining room features an open kitchen which allows guests to chat to the chefs and ask them questions about the food. The restaurant itself is housed inside a beautiful 300-year-old grade II-listed building and offers rustic period features throughout, from wooden beams to an old fireplace.  

What’s more, Sorrel is only open four days a week to provide better working hours for the chefs and allow the team a fairer work-life balance.  

Over £80
Modern European
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
KOL

KOL

9 Seymour Street, Marylebone, London, W1H 7BA

While there are plenty of places to grab tacos and tequila in London, there are fewer Mexican restaurants serving up fine-dining fare. KOL, having opened in the somewhat challenging year of 2020, hopes to bring a whole new kind of innovative Mexican cuisine to the UK’s capital.

The venture is headed up by chef Santiago Lastra who is keen to showcase Mexico’s food culture while simultaneously celebrating the best of British produce. The well-respected chef previously oversaw the launch of world-renowned restaurant Noma’s seven-week pop up in Mexico. While KOL will serve Mexican food made with ingredients sourced mainly in the UK it will also champion ingredients that are often looked upon as simple or low-end. Its approach to food is referenced in the name. KOL is a play on the Spanish word ‘col’, which translates as ‘cabbage’. Lastra revealed in an interview that he chose the name because he wants to show that “an average ingredient can be incredible”.

When dining at KOL, guests are given the choice between a five or six-course tasing menu, and there is an option to add a wine pairing. While the food at KOL may flex and fluctuate with the seasons, guests can expect dishes offered to include the likes of langoustine tacos with smoked chilli, kohlrabi with pink mole and confit pork cheek carnitas.

Aside from the food offering, guests with a keen eye for detail will surely be impressed by the care taken over the interiors. Here you’ll find warm Mexican colours brought to life by the design team at A-NRD Studio. From rattan light shades and rough pottery ornaments (sourced from indigenous communities in Mexico) to the wooden bar, the whole restaurant is an escape from the buzz of London outside. Nice touches include works from Mexican artist Fernando La Posse, whose full-length heritage corn husk mosaic hangs in the reception, and the tableware which has been gathered from 18 artisan potters across the UK.

Kol also boasts a bar, which has a focus on mezcal and natural wines.

£50 - £79
Mexican
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
The Fat Duck

The Fat Duck

1 High Street, Bray, Berkshire, SL6 2AQ

The Fat Duck is a three-Michelin-starred restaurant by Heston Blummenthal who is best known for pushing the culinary boundaries with his experimental cooking. Located in Bray, Berkshire, The Fat Duck finds its home inside a 16th-century building, originally opening in 1995 where it used to resemble something a little more similar to a French Bistro. Over the years, Heston has added his special signature touch, with the restaurant receiving its first Michelin star in 1999, its second in 2002 and its third and final star in 2004 – the ultimate culinary accolade. In 2006, Heston received an OBE for his contribution to British gastronomy.  

The first thing to know about eating at The Fat Duck, is that it’s not a meal, but an experience. Heston’s unique approach to cooking is centred around science and experimentation with the aim of changing diners’ perceptions of food. Booking a ticket to experience the restaurant entitles guests to enjoy either The Anthology Menu or The Fable Tree Menu which features plenty of classic Fat Duck dishes. Signatures include Heston’s nitro-poached green tea and lime mousse, red cabbage gazpacho with pommery mustard ice cream, ‘Sound of the sea’ featuring tapioca sand, sea vegetables and foam, while the grand finalee might be a selection of petit fours named ‘Like a kid in a sweetshop’. 

Far from simply a gimmick, The Fat Duck has stood the test of time and is one of Berkshire’s most famous - if not the most famous - dining destination. The restaurant plays on playful memories and adventure from your childhood and the unexpected dishes are designed to bring back that awe and magic you experience as a child. 

The Fat Duck is a fairly intimate restaurant and can only cater for tables of 2, 3, 4 or 6. It recommends that diners allow around three hours in which to enjoy the full dining experience. 

Over £80
British
Three Michelin stars
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Lake Road Kitchen

Lake Road Kitchen

Lake Road, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0AD

£50 - £79
Modern European
The Man Behind The Curtain

The Man Behind The Curtain

68-78 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7JH

As restaurant names go, The Man Behind The Curtain is among one of the most avant-garde. Perhaps we shouldn’t expect anything less from chef Michael O'Hare though, who has built his career on playing with the expectations and perceptions of diners who walk through the door.

In case you were wondering, the restaurant takes its name from classic film The Wizard of Oz, although you won’t find any corny tributes to the yellow brick road here. Instead, the dining room is a stylishly appointed space that is flooded with natural light thanks to large windows. Exposed wooden beams and concrete flooring add to the industrial-chic vibe, while graffiti splashed across the walls adds a much-welcomed burst of colour. There is also the benefit of sweeping views across the city’s rooftops, thanks to the restaurant’s position above clothing store Flannels.

Some parts of the menu at The Man Behind The Curtain change with the seasons, but the main draw here is the Permanent Collection – a 10-14 course tasting menu that deals in curious and sometimes challenging dishes. Examples of plates you might be served up include halibut with chorizo and pickled onion, a pairing of foie gras and raspberry, and oysters topped with a strawberry kimchi.

Desserts are equally as arresting (think milk chocolate with violet and honey), while the extensive wine list is made up of bottles from lesser known regions and styles. There are a few house cocktails too, that are as Instagram-friendly as they are tasty.

True fans are also invited to shop at O’Hare’s dedicated shop, which features a handful of products he has created himself. You could get your hands on a Man Behind The Curtain branded skateboard, or a candle designed by the chef himself. There’s even a collaboration between the restaurant and Slingsby Gin (presented in a sleek monochromatic bottle) which you can bring home with you.

Over £80
International
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Orwells

Orwells

Shiplake Row, Binfield Heath, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 4DP

With a slew of awards to its name, Orwells is no stranger to critical acclaim and has managed to do what many fail to do – maintain its momentum. Since it opened in 2010, this sweet Oxfordshire restaurant has drawn diners from across the country.

What, then, is the key its success? We think it’s most likely the personality on every plate. Headed up by Ryan Simpson and Liam Simpson (not related), the duo is invested in creating a laidback yet fine dining experience for their guests and the unpretentious, upbeat service helps to buoy this. Ryan’s experience lies in Michelin starred French kitchens, while Liam’s journey has included time at one of Liverpool’s best restaurants and a stint in Devon at five star hotel Bovey Castle.

The dining room at Orwells is found inside an 18th Century pub, with the traditional wooden bar still the centrepiece to the space. Elsewhere, neat tables and chairs adorn things while there’s a blue colour scheme that reflects the deliberate simplicity of the menu.

Passionate about province and sustainability, both Ryan and Liam have been known to change the entire menu on a daily basis to keep up with what’s best in season. With its own patch of land the restaurant is able to grow much of what it uses, while meat and fish are sourced as locally as possible. 

With both a la carte and tasting menus on offer, Orwells provides something for every occasion, and there’s even a garden where you’re welcome to grab drinks and snacks should the weather be playing ball. Vegans and vegetarians are all catered for too via dedicated billings. While dishes change regularly, example mains include Devon duck breast with Roscoff onions, purple sprouting broccoli and truffle or a salt baked celeriac with cheddar, onions, hen of the wood mushrooms, hazelnuts and kalettes.

£50 - £79
Modern European
British
Gastropub
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Gidleigh Park

Gidleigh Park

Gidleigh Park, Chagford, North Tawton, Devon, TQ13 8HH

Over £80
Modern European
Oxeye

Oxeye

14 New Union Square, Vauxhall, London, SW11 7AX

You might recognise chef owner Sven-Hanson Britt from his time on the 2014 series of Masterchef: The Professionals when he narrowly missed out on the winner’s title. Not one to accept defeat, Britt came back fighting in Masterchef: The Professionals Rematch in 2019 where he first showcased his Oxeye concept, a style that gained him the coveted crown of the competition.

Three years and a crowdfunding campaign later and Britt was ready to open the London outpost of his Oxeye brand (which had originally called South Derbyshire home). Found at Embassy Gardens in Vauxhall, the restaurant joins the rank of other top-rated eateries like Robin Gill’s Darby’s next door. Bringing together food, drink and art, the space combines a fine-dining restaurant, shop, bar, private dining room and gallery space.

With a CV that boasts time at The Ritz, Britt is passionate about British fine-dining and making the most of local produce. His tasting menus have been created in collaboration with his partner Kae Shibata, who he met while working at The Ritz. Although menus will change with the seasons, the pair’s vision includes snacks like salted walnut oil cracker withh marinated walnuts or Cornish yarg churros with fresh nettles and sea beet. Starters might include dishes such as Irish coast sea urchin with potato dumplings and smoked butter or raw razor clams with apple marigold, egremont russet and Tokyo turnip.

Hoping that their cooking will give people a new perspective on British cookery, the pair have created mains that champion high-quality produce. Think hen of the woods glazed in jus gras with wild onion or a Derbyshire longhorn flat rib with black mustard, preserved seeds and ‘sauce rouennaise’.

With a passion for art – hence the gallery upstairs – the interiors have been lovingly designed to incorporate pieces collected by the couple over the years, including Japanese ceramics made by Shibata's uncle and skins from their own animals.

Over £80
British
SquareMeal London Top 100
Paul Ainsworth at No. 6

Paul Ainsworth at No. 6

6 Middle Street, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AP

Paul Ainsworth is one of the most recognisable chef names in these parts, operating a clutch of restaurants around Cornwall including Padstow Townhouse, Caffe Rojano, The Mariners Public House at Rock and his chef training academy in Truro.

Located in a gorgeous Georgian townhouse in the heart of Padstow, Paul Ainsworth at No 6 is the Michelin-starred jewel in the crown of his restaurant portfolio, serving contemporary British fare which champions locally sourced Cornish produce. Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, the dining room here is a light and airy space which blends old world Georgian aesthetics with luxe modern finishes. There are no tablecloths or silver trays zipping around the room, which helps diners to feel relaxed, but the likes of studded black leather club chairs and plush light fixtures, plus beautifully plated dishes reassure you that this is a special occasion experience.

The menu at No 6 consists of a set four-course offering which is available at either lunch or dinner. A dedicated children’s menu is also available upon request and while the restaurant cannot currently cater to vegan diets, the team are able to accommodate most other dietary requirements. The menu evolves with the seasons, depending on which produce is available at the time, but you can always expect to find intriguing and visually pleasing dishes, including plenty of fish and seafood options (this is Cornwall, after all).

To start, you might tuck into the likes of morel farcie with roast chicken and manzanilla sherry, or red onion fondant with salt-baked celeriac. More substantial dishes meanwhile, might include wild turbot with mashed potato and onion gravy, or fillet of beef with seaweed savarin. Come dessert, don’t miss the showstopper titled ‘a fairground tale’ - a selection of dainty sweet treats served on a miniature revolving carousel.

After dinner, head to CiCi’s Bar upstairs for an after-dinner cocktail. Ainsworth also added the Mahe chef's table and development kitchen to the No 6 setup in 2019, where groups of up to 10 private diners can get a glimpse of dishes before they arrive on the menu in the main restaurant. 

Over £80
Modern European
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
St John Smithfield

St John Smithfield

26 St John Street, Farringdon, London, EC1M 4AY

A iconic of London's restaurant scene, St John has been going strong for over 25 years now, and it remains just as essential to the capital as it was when it opened in 1994. Very little has changed here in a quarter of a century - Fergus Henderson may no longer be behind the stoves, but the brutalist wood and whitewash vibe remains ever present, alongside a menu full of the barebones, rustic British cooking that made the restaurant a hit in the first place. 

Before you climb the wrought iron steps up to the main dining room, you'll also find a smaller bakery area with some al fresco dining tables and the St John bar, which serves a curated lineup of wines (many of them St John wines) by the glass and the bottle. 

St John has always been about honouring ingredients by not wasting anything, and using them when they're at their seasonal best. The belief is also that what grows together goes together, and certain seasonal pairings will rear their heads every year. Offal is also a common occurance on the menu, with dishes like rabbit offal, dandelion and roast shallot, or pickled tripe and radishes for example. St John has accrued plenty of legendary dishes over the years - the roast bone marrow and parsley salad, the Welsh rarebit, the game and pigeon pies. That's not to mention the desserts, which are so hard to leave room for, but impossible not to order - iles flottante, Eccles cakes with Lancashire cheese and brown paper bags of baked-to-order madeleines. 

With an extensive wine list to match (with many excellent St John wines sourced from small suppliers in France) and smart, attentive service, it's no wonder St John remains packed to the rafters on most evenings.

£30 - £49
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Amaya

Amaya

Halkin Arcade, Belgravia, London, SW1X 8JT

£30 - £49
Indian
One Michelin star
The Kitchin

The Kitchin

78 Commercial Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6LX

£50 - £79
Modern European
One Michelin star
Nola

Nola

107 Roman Road, London, E2 0QN

Bars
Below at HIDE

Below at HIDE

85 Piccadilly, Green Park, London, W1J 7NB

Bars
Number One Restaurant

Number One Restaurant

The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, EH2 2EQ

Over £80
Modern European
Scottish
Pine

Pine

Vallum Farm, East Wallhouses, Northumberland, NE18 0LL

Head chef Cal Byerley and his partner (and restaurant manager) Siân Buchan are the brains behind Northumberland restaurant Pine. It is the couple's first restaurant and a highly successful one at that. Pine earned itself a Michelin star within nine months of opening and is also the owner of a Green Michelin star for its commitment to sustainable practices. 

The restaurant is set inside an old cow barn with views of the surrounding Northumberland countryside thanks to huge glass windows. It uses local produce from Northumberland or homegrown produce from its very own kitchen garden and indoor poly tunnels wherever it can, and practices whole-animal butchery to minimise food waste. 

In the evenings, a generous tasting menu is available using foraged ingredients from the surrounding area. Diners can watch the chefs hard at work in the open kitchen while they cook up the likes of sugar kelp dumpling with North Sea trout and sour cream, langoustine claw with artichoke and cured pork belly and yoghurt whey sorbet with elderberry, sorrel and hyssop granita. The menu has been designed by head chefs Cal Byerley and Ian Waller who met and worked at Michelin-starred Forest Side previously.  

Diners can opt to add a bespoke wine flight to the tasting menu, which has been expertly chosen by Pine’s head sommelier Vanessa Stoltz. Vanessa grew up in Alsace and has previously worked at Hipping Hall and Forest Side, before winning the Champagne Gosset Matchmakers competition with her partner Ian Waller.  

During the day, Pine offers a refined afternoon tea experience with a modern approach. It’s a three-tired affair, but the sweets and savouries are guaranteed to one-up this classic British tradition. You might start with a roast garlic crumpet with North Sea crab, roe and oxalis, for example, while fine patisseries include ‘apple’ cheesecake with caramelised apple and pine centre.  

Over £80
British
International
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Kwant

Kwant

25 Heddon Street, Mayfair, London, W1B 4BH

Under £30
Bars
Fallow St James

Fallow St James's

2 St James’s Market, St. James's, London, SW1Y 4RP

Founded by two Dinner by Heston alumni, Fallow is a restaurant in St James's that first started out life as a long-term residency at 10 Heddon Street in Mayfair. The brand began when Will Murray and Jack Croft met over the stoves of Dinner by Heston and shared a similar passion for cooking sustainably while retaining very different approaches to their style of food. Four years later, with Dinner by Heston behind them, the pair came up with the idea of Fallow and distilled their individual talents into one coherent concept.

Then, just ten days after Fallow opened officially for the first time at 10 Heddon street, the team had to close the doors to their band new venture due to Coronavirus. During that time – as many other businesses did – the restaurant pivoted to start selling produce and began creating home cooking kits. Once the doors reopened, the team came back with a creative, constantly evolving menu packed with lesser-used ingredients to minimise waste in the industry. Making use of elements like cod’s head and dairy cow beef, the line-up is full of interesting combinations that elevate humble produce to nnew heights.

Now, Fallow has found a permanent home in St James's Market (on the former site of Duck & Waffle Local). As well as the traditional a la carte there are also private dining menus you can choose from should you want to celebrate with friends in a more intimate setting. These start from £55 per person and represent good value for money as they include starters, small sharing plates, large sharing plates, sides, dessert and cheese. Sharing plates might be things like salmon belly with horseradish, bone marrow and parsley or Denver steak with caramelised cauliflower cheese. The house signature dessert of a lemon peel pudding finishes things off, or you’re able to swap your cheese to have two sweets and treat yourself to the chocolate ice cream.

The 150-cover site is open all day and boasts a main dining room and a wraparound terrace, while a seven-seater chef’s counter overlooks the open kitchen, should you want to be up close to the action.

Photography by Steven Joyce

£50 - £79
British
SquareMeal London Top 100
The Elephant

The Elephant

3-4 Beacon Terrace, Torquay, Devon, TQ1 2BH

£30 - £49
Modern European
One Michelin star
The Ritz Restaurant

The Ritz Restaurant

The Ritz London, 150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BR

Over £80
French
One Michelin star
The Palomar

The Palomar

34 Rupert Street, Soho, London, W1D 6DN

The Palomar is a true London institution and arguably still one of the best middle eastern restaurants in the capital. Dedicated chefs turn out dishes inspired by Spanish, North Africa and the Levant. The best seat in the house is one of the 16 at the counter, where you can watch the magic happen up close. For a more refined dining experience, however, there is also a 40-cover dining room in the back.

Kick things off with an exciting house cocktail like the Soho kiss, a mix of whiskey, tequila, lillet rouge, sumac, lime, orange and soda, and some delicious snacks from the 'rip and dip' section of the menu. These handmade pitas, green olive labneh with za'atar and caramelised pistachios and even lamb brisket with white bean M'sabacha, harissa and pickled egg. Seafood at The Palomar is a must, with options like Metugan bream with Israeli kimchi and green harissa, or Yemeni crab labneh with herb salad, pickled carrots and amba yoghurt. Those seeking meat won't be disappointed either, with options like beef tartare with harissa aioli, shifka, sunflower seeds and mustard herbs or Persian lemon chicken with spicy chickpeas, cured lemon, aubergine and mint. 

From the 'field and garden', you'll see highly affordable vegetarian dishes like radicchio with saffron aioli and truffle oil or slow-cooked cabbage with Jerusalem artichoke and tahini puree, dates and macadamia. To finish, diners can enjoy some exotic treats like malabi with fruit coulis, coconut and roasted pecans or a sumac and lemon tart with orange blossom mousse. There is a pleasing mix of old and new world wines, including some bottles from the middle East. Those who prefer beer should try the Maccabee lager, which comes from Israel. If you're looking for a drink before or after, head to The Blue Posts, which is the group's pub.

£30 - £49
Middle Eastern
International
SquareMeal London Top 100
HRiSHi at Gilpin Hotel

HRiSHi at Gilpin Hotel

Crook Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3NE

£50 - £79
Modern European
International
One Michelin star
Daphne

Daphne's

112 Draycott Avenue, South Kensington, London, SW3 3AE

£50 - £79
Italian
The River Café

The River Café

Thames Wharf, Hammersmith, London, W6 9HA

Michelin-starred The River Café has long held the status as one of the best Italian restaurants in London, originally opening in 1987 and retaining its iconic reputation pretty much ever since. Located on the banks of the River Thames in Hammersmith, it’s known for its exceptional Italian food, excellent-mannered service and its stunning terrace, which is a must if you’re dining at the restaurant on a balmy day (although you might have to join a waiting list to get a seat). Head chef and founder Ruth Rogers is at the fore of the kitchen, and has been for the last 35 years, with The River Café spawning some of the UK’s greatest chefs including Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Theo Randall.  

The interiors are simple, minimalist and a little dated, which is all part of the canteen-style charm that the restaurant was originally built to imitate. Bright colours draw the eye to certain features in the room, such as a bright pink wood-fired oven, while stainless steel finishes bring a slightly industrial, café-like edge to the dining room.  

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and the menu changes with the seasons. Expect rustic Italian fare that’s unfussy yet elegant and made with exceptionally high-quality ingredients. The menu is divided into antipasti, primi, secondi, dolci and gelati. Dishes might include the likes of Carpaccio di Manzo (finely sliced beef fillet crusted in thyme & black pepper with rocket and Sardinian winter tomatoes), Tagliatelle al Ragu (fresh pasta with veal, rabbit, pancetta and radicchio slow-cooked in red wine) and Coda di Rospo con Vongole (monkfish and clams roasted in white wine with capers, anchovies and cima di rape). Dessert span many gelato flavours and classics such as lemon tart or pannacotta with Grappa and Champagne rhubarb.  

The wine list, meanwhile, features varieties from Italy’s many wine-making regions and also includes port, masala and sweet wines.  

Over £80
Italian
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Untitled

Untitled

538 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AH

Bars
Sticky Walnut

Sticky Walnut

11 Charles Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH2 3AZ

£50 - £79
Modern European
Cecconi

Cecconi's Mayfair

5a Burlington Gardens, London, London, W1S 3EP

Located just away from the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly Circus, Cecconi’s is a modern but classic Italian restaurant which focuses on using the finest ingredients to create dishes that you can’t help but love. At Cecconi’s the service and ambience is just as important as the food and adds to the real sense of occasion when you eat there.

The outside of the Burlington Gardens restaurant looks old-school smart from the moment you approach it, with large windows allowing you to see into the smart dining room. The interior of the restaurant continues the feeling of traditional fine dining with white tables cloths covering every table, mirror-covered walls, and a large dark wood bar in the centre of the room; servers wear classic black and white uniforms.

When it comes to the food menu, you can expect everything from Italian dishes you will have tasted often, to more decadent plates of food. The all-day menu begins with cicchetti such as meatballs with tomato sauce, and whipped ricotta with truffle honey and crostini. In terms of starters you might go for Cornish crab with avocado and lemon, or there is of course a classic burrata on offer too. There is also a selection of raw meats available such as tuna tartare, as well as a plant-based section which includes grilled cauliflower with salsa verde.

Appealing pasta dishes vary from a tagliatelle bolognaise to casarecce with wild boar. Whereas other main courses option include dishes such as fish stew and veal Milanese. If you still have any room, desserts range from tiramisu to crème caramel. As well as the all-day menu, Cecconi’s also offer a breakfast menu full of brilliant Clarence Court egg dishes.

Drink-wise, there is of course a wine list covering many different regions with bottles, glasses, and half bottles available, and also a great selection of cocktails to pick from.

£50 - £79
Italian
Rules

Rules

35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7LB

Nostalgic, traditional, and full of pomp, this splendidly antiquated institution purrs along like a vintage Rolls Royce, serving the kind of Bulldog British food that makes tourists dewy-eyed with admiration. Specialising in game, oysters, puddings and pies, Rules' menu isn't designed with vegetarians in mind, but one would expect nothing less from London's oldest restaurant.

Opened by Thomas Rule in 1798, Rules would no doubt still be familiar to former patrons such as Charles Dickens, who looks down over the plush, panelled dining room from walls crowded with old sketches and paintings. A wonderfully soothing atmosphere pervades the whole place – no wonder several scenes from TV’s Downton Abbey were filmed here.

There’s consistency across the board and quality is guaranteed, especially if you are feasting on confidently rendered staples such as Dorset crab salad, chicken and ham hock pie or roast tranche of turbot with hollandaise. Game from the restaurant’s Lartington Estate is a real draw in season, when specials such as braised pheasant with lentils or roast grouse with game chips, bread sauce and redcurrant jelly make their time-honoured appearance.

Desserts are mostly dear old friends such as bread and butter pudding and apple crumble – all served with custard, naturally – while the wine list is stuffed with bottles from Old World producers. There are also various house cocktails dedicated to royal spouses, including The Duchess of Sussex.

Expect to be treated like an old friend from the moment you're greeted by the top-hatted doorman to the moment you leave, sated and satisfied with a big smile on your face, whistling Rule, Britannia! under your breath. 

£50 - £79
British
Ynyshir

Ynyshir

Eglwys Fach, Powys, SY20 8TA

Ynyshir needs little introduction. As the only two Michelin-starred in Wales (and one of eighteen in the entire UK), five AA rosettes and regular features in the UK's top five restaurants, its culinary prowess is well-established. However, the big factor that sets Ynyshir apart is its remoteness, which makes staying the night pretty much essential. Luckily, this restaurant is also a four-star hotel, with cosy rooms in which to sleep off the evening's four-hour meal. The kitchen, headed up by the equally well-renowned Gareth Ward, turns out pyrotechnic creations, heavily influenced by Japanese cuisine, with meat front and centre. 

A typical menu at Ynyshir is a true culinary journey, typically consisting of about twenty micro-courses. Aside from meat, there is also a focus on seafood. Earlier entries may include raw lobster tail with nahm jim, shrimp green curry and a chilli crab bun. These lighter bites then slowly blend into slightly meatier ones, with the likes of scallops with duck liver, aged bluefin tuna belly and miso cured black cod with shiitake.

Moving to the meat dishes, you will typically see the likes of a duck larb, pork char siu, Welsh lamb spare rib or chicken katsu, before beef takes over. In this section, you can expect none less than A5 beef (the wagyu of all wagyus). It could take any shape: a single bite burger, ribs with black bean or a sirloin with ponzu and caviar. Dessert is also usually spread across multiple tiny courses, which could take the form of buttermilk whey with Thai spices, Bramley apple with duck custard or tiramisu. 

The wine list is extensive and surprisingly reasonably priced, with a paragraph for each highlighting its background and best use. The back page of this list features fortified and sweet wines, but the whole list is only a few pages, showing Ynyshir's confidence in its decision-making. 

Over £80
Pan Asian
Japanese
British
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal UK Top 100
64 Degrees

64 Degrees

53 Meeting House Lane, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1HB

£30 - £49
Modern European
Maison Francois

Maison Francois

34 Duke Street, St. James's, London, SW1Y 6DF

In an enviable St James’s spot formerly occupied by Green’s restaurant and bar, Maison Francois draws inspiration from the grand brasseries of Paris, Lyon and Alsace with MasterChef: The Professionals 2018 finalist Matthew Ryle taking up the helm in the kitchen.

The name behind the new venture is Francois O’Neill, whose pedigree in the restaurant industry should stand him in good stead. O’Neill’s father Hugh was co-founder of Brasserie St Quentin in Knightsbridge which later became Brompton Bar & Grill when Francois took over in 2008.

Chef Matthew Ryle also has an impressive heritage, having trained at The Dorchester before becoming head chef at Mayfair fashion hangout Isabel at the tender age of 22.

Maison Francois serves a menu of French brasserie classics such as Reblochon gougères, oeufs mimosa and ravioli dauphine alongside a selection of fresh seafood, hearty terrines, patés and homemade charcuterie to keep patrons happy from lunch through to dinner. A wood-fired grill turns out cuts of meat and whole fish, while vegetarians are well catered for with the likes of pea fricassee with broad beans, gem lettuce, Riesling and tarragon.  

For something sweet diners can look forward to the arrival of a traditional pudding trolley serving all the adored French classics: praline Paris-Brest, gateau Marjolaine and a selection of seasonal fruit tarts. The restaurant also houses an in-house bakery serving breads and patisserie, available all day but perfect for breakfast.

The decor is equally traditional, with art-deco chandeliers suspended from the 20ft-high ceilings, mirrored arches and off-white drapery.

Downstairs, Frank’s wine bar offers up rustic sharing plates of cold meats and terrines with carefully matched wines and sherries. Both restaurant and bar are watched over by the eager eye of Ed Wyand, former maître d’ at Scott’s and owner of Verden wine bar, who heads up the front of house team.

According to O’Neill: “Maison François will be everything a brasserie should be – welcoming, fun and hospitable, with classic dishes made with the best seasonal produce we can get our hands on – while also ripping up the rulebook when it comes to service.

“We’ll show great respect for the legendary restaurants we admire, while marrying this heritage with our love for the dining culture of cities across France. Brasserie St Quentin is a hard act to follow, but I’m looking forward to putting my own stamp on the brasserie tradition.”

£50 - £79
French
Morston Hall

Morston Hall

Morston, Holt, Norfolk, NR25 7AA

Over £80
Modern European
Sushisamba City

Sushisamba City

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate (38-39th floor), City of London, London, EC2N 4AY

Occupying the 38th and 39th floors of the tallest building in the City – Heron Tower – SUSHISAMBA City boasts the highest outdoor terraces in Europe, so if you’re looking for unparalleled, 360-degree views of the City, it’s a must-visit. Guests can take advantage of the views from the moment they step into the panoramic glass elevator that whisks its occupants up 39 floors in a jiffy before opening out on to the show-stopping main dining room.

SUSHISAMBA’s main dining room capitalises on its spectacular views of London with floor-to-ceiling windows.  Pendulum lights hang through the gaps of the spectacular bamboo ceiling at varying heights, making the space look more like an art gallery than a restaurant. The impressive design doesn’t stop there though; bright orange banquette seating around the windows and hanging plants add vibrant pops of colour that offset the black and white floor.

It’s not just a few carefully-chosen plants that create the indoor-outdoor theme of this high-rise restaurant either – the structural orange tree on the west terrace is a work of art designed to reinforce the earth-to-sky motif this restaurant projects.

There’s more to SUSHISAMBA City than its interiors and views, though these are undoubtedly a draw both for locals and visitors to London. The food is a colourful blend of Japanese and South American cuisine, meaning guests can look forward to the likes of Japanese tempura and sushi, Brazilian churrasco and moqueca, and Peruvian anticuchos and ceviches. The open kitchen, with its hot robata grill, churns out chargrilled meats, vegetables and fish, while the restaurant’s small-plates concept encourages a shared dining experience. There’s a separate vegan menu and a menu for the gluten-conscious too, plus a dessert menu brimming with cleverly-designed sweet treats that often look too pretty to eat. The bar is as well-stocked as can be, so be sure to try a cocktail while you’re there.

£50 - £79
South American
Japanese
The Clove Club

The Clove Club

380 Old Street, Shoreditch, London, EC1V 9LT

£50 - £79
British
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal London Top 100
Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle

110 Bishopsgate, City of London, London, EC2N 4AY

For an iconic dining destination with breath-taking views of the capital, Duck & Waffle is at the peak (if you’ll pardon the pun) of the pack. Finding its home on the 40th floor of 110 Bishopsgate in London you would be hard pressed not to be impressed by the space, which is reached by a swiftly moving glass lift that prompts stomach-flipping views of the city below as it zips out of sight during the brief 40 second assent.

As one of the only 24/7 restaurants in London, Duck & Waffle gives diners the ultimate flexibility in fine dining. Whether you find yourself browsing the menu after a few drinks on a Friday night or prefer to start the day with a sunrise breakfast, you’ll be treated to a playful British menu with international influences. Of course, the obvious choice is the house signature duck and waffle, but outside of this there are other gems to discover. A raw bar throws up Angus beef tartare and Jersey oysters, while small plates see combinations like a spicy ox cheek ragu packed into a savoury paprika-sugar-dusted doughnut and seared scalloped with potatoes, chilli and garlic. If you’re not the sharing type or want to skip starters, then the main menu features larger plates that include excellent cuts of meat cooked in the wood oven and inventive vegetarian serves. As if wanting to push proof of its popularity, the restaurant group boast having sold over a million dishes worldwide and now includes a Hong Kong site in its portfolio.

If preferred guests can also enjoy the indoor/outdoor bar area which has dazzling views of the city below whatever time of the day you find yourself at it. Compliment cocktails with the selection of temping bar snacks like crispy BBQ pig ears or cauliflower and red onion pakora.

£50 - £79
International
Umu

Umu

14-16 Bruton Place, Mayfair, London, W1J 6LX

Over £80
Sushi
Japanese
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Moro

Moro

34-36 Exmouth Market, London, London, EC1R 4QE

£30 - £49
North African
Tapas
Spanish
Where the Light Gets In

Where the Light Gets In

7 Rostron Brow, Stockport, Greater Manchester, SK1 1JY

Where the light gets in is a Michelin Green-star restaurant located in Old Stockport Town, serving a selection of quality, contemporary British dishes which will make up part of your WTLGI dining experience.

Cosy, modern and inviting, this loft-style location has been thoughtfully designed to function as one large space that incorporates both the kitchen and the dining room – serving up to 30 people.

Located on the top floor of a Victorian coffee warehouse, Where the light gets in shares a thoughtfully crafted seasonal changing menu, they work closely with farmers and fishermen to ensure the story of each dish is carefully told by the team.

Due to the seasonality of the dishes, you will find a varied and changing set menu, which will include plenty of locally harvested produce depending on weather patterns and sea conditions. Customer favourites include the freshly-made sourdough bread and home-churned butter, it is worth noting that many ingredients are directly sourced from the WTLGI farm.

The set multi-course menu has been designed by head chef, Sam Buckley. If you have any specific dietary requirements the WTLGI kitchen is happy to accommodate, please contact the restaurant prior to your visit to share any needs you may have.

Where the light gets in has a good selection of wine available, all of which has been carefully and ethically sourced. Your meal can be served with paired wines, however if you’re looking for something specific from the cellar the restaurant has a good range to choose from.

Where the light gets in currently has a set price of £65.00 per head for their menu which includes a series of small plates and carefully crafted dishes. 

£50 - £79
British
Brat x Climpson

Brat x Climpson's Arch

374 Helmsley Place, Hackney, London, E8 3SB

£50 - £79
Spanish
British
Mingary Castle

Mingary Castle

Mingary Castle, Highlands & Islands, PH36 4LH

Over £80
Scottish
L

L'Enclume

Cavendish Street, Cartmel, Grange-Over-Sands, Cumbria, LA11 6PZ

L’Enclume from acclaimed British chef Simon Rogan was awarded three Michelin stars in 2022, but has retained its Michelin-starred status since 2005 when it was awarded its very first star. Located in Cartmel in Cumbria, it’s one of the top restaurants in the UK and serves an ever-changing tasting menu inspired by British seasonality. The ingredients used in the dishes at L’Enclume are sourced from Simon Rogan’s very own farm up the road, Our Farm, so you can rest assured that anything you eat hasn’t had to travel far. It’s one of the reasons the restaurant was also awarded a Michelin Green Star in 2021, an accolade that recognises restaurants that are leading in their industry for their sustainable practices.  

There is only one tasting menu available and it can be taken for lunch and dinner. It’s comprised of more than ten courses and can be paired with multiple wine flight options if desired – choose from the taster wine pairing, signature wine pairing or select wine pairing. Taking inspiration from British produce and dishes, expect exciting, inventive and unexpected creations such as Chalk Stream trout, pine cured, gooseberry tart, cherry belle radish and marinated trout roe (and that’s just one course!). Other dishes might include the likes of seaweed custard with beef broth and bone marrow, Porlock oysters and caviar; Aged Cornish duck with Cylindra beetroot and Kalibos cabbage, aromatic herbs and seeds, smoked beetroot and elderberry vinegar; and Chamomile cake with cobnut cream, candied pumpkin, pumpkin juice and sea buckthorn. 

The dining room is cosy and traditional, with low ceilings and dark wooden beams to create a country house feel. It provides a relaxing contrast to the high-calibre of cooking here, encouraging guests to feel relaxed while they make their way through multiple courses of Michelin-starred food.  

Guests can also book into Aulis Cartmel, which is a chef’s table experience adjacent to L’Enclume.  

Over £80
British
Three Michelin stars
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Tast

Tast

20-22 King Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 6AG

Under £30
Spanish
Restaurant Story

Restaurant Story

199 Tooley Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 2JX

Originally opened in 2013, Restaurant Story is the brainchild of wunderkind chef Tom Sellers, who took the restaurant world by storm with his innovative, high-concept dishes, bagging a Michelin star just five months after opening its doors.

The concept of Restaurant Story is to offer a fine-dining experience that is a feast for the eyes as much as it is for the taste buds, as evidenced by Sellers’ signature dishes, such as the beef dripping candle, which is lit at the table and melts to become a dipping sauce for sourdough bread. Despite the initial success of his restaurant, Sellers also developed a reputation for being somewhat difficult - he famously launched an online tirade against former Evening Standard restaurant critic Fay Maschler after she wrote a lukewarm review of his Restaurant Ours concept (although Ours still operates, Sellers is no longer involved).

It seems that Sellers has grown up since then though and so has the restaurant that first made his name. In 2018, Restaurant Story underwent an extensive refurbishment, which saw more luxurious tables and seating being added to the dining room, as well as the addition of a feature ceiling showcasing an installation of swallows taking flight. Sellers has also ditched the traditional a la carte format, instead offering guests a blind tasting menu (you will have time to warn your waiter of any dislikes or allergies).

Longtime fans of Restaurant Story will be glad to know that several of the signature dishes remain, which are served alongside seasonally inspired plates. It seems all of Sellers’ efforts have paid off, because Restaurant Story was awarded a second Michelin star in 2021. Prices are as high as you would expect in a place like this, but the relaxed, unstuffy service will help to soften the blow of the bill.

Over £80
British
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal London Top 100
The Harwood Arms

The Harwood Arms

Walham Grove, London, London, SW6 1QP

Built in 1866 as a ‘beer house’, The Harwood Arms has been a pack leader on London’s gastropub scene for many a year, thrilling Chelsea locals and others with its stellar ingredients-led food and handsome gentrified interiors (a full-length bar, bare-boarded floors, mismatched furniture, monochrome photos on green-panelled walls). It also benefits from having some starry backers including Brett Graham (of The Ledbury) and TV chef/food-hunter Mike Robinson (of The Pot Kiln, Frilsham).

The kitchen specialises in wholeheartedly seasonal British fare – including veg, soft fruit and herbs from the pub’s rooftop garden, plus foraged pickings and bags of furred and feathered game (roast Yorkshire grouse with creamed root vegetables, stuffed cabbage and elderberries, for example).

Other highlights from the daily fixed-price menu might range from whipped chicken livers with onion jam and thyme ‘hobnobs’ or salt-baked beetroot with pickled cherries, hazelnuts and duck ham to poached Cornish cod with sweetcorn, cockles and lemon thyme or slow-cooked shoulder of Herdwick lamb with creamed courgettes and basil. Also, take a peek at calendar-tuned desserts such as strawberry and camomile trifle or blackcurrant jam doughnuts with citrus cream.

It may tout a Michelin star, but The Harwood Arms still trades as a proper local boozer, holding regular quiz nights and pleasing the drinkers with pints of real ale and plates of stupendous venison Scotch eggs, as well as bringing the house down with its thumping Sunday roasts – although the knowledgeably curated 200-bin wine list would put most local pubs to shame. The Harwood Arms has also been alma mater to some impressive names, including Sally Abe and James Cochran. 

£30 - £49
British
Gastropub
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Kricket Soho

Kricket Soho

12 Denman Street, Soho, London, W1D 7HH

Despite its Asian credentials, Kricket was set up by two British friends whose Anglo-Indian approach to small-plates dining propelled it into becoming one of the most talked-about restaurants on the London scene. With a host of celebrity fans, including Pierre Koffmann and Michel Roux Jr (who apparently cited the restaurant as one of his favourite restaurants, saying that ‘places like this are the reason why London is the envy of Paris and New York), Kricket’s ability to pull the crowds seems to have lost no magnitude since its opening in 2015.

As with many popular eateries in the capital, Kricket started out as a pop up, in this case a shipping container in POP Brixton. Just one year into trading the team made moves to open a bigger sister site in the thriving heart of Soho. This venture was backed by The White Rabbit Growth Fund, a company founded by an ex-Soho House commercial director.

The small dining room attracts a mix of locals and tourists, but is always heaving, with a queue of people trailing out the door keen to wait for a spot at the bar or in the basement dining room. The counter dining allows you to view the chefs at work or gaze onto the street ahead for some people watching while the handful of booth seats upstairs and tables downstairs allow for more relaxed dining.

The menu changes periodically with the season but some standout dishes have become so popular that they are a permanent feature. Small plates like the samphire pakora and the Keralan fried chicken have acquired cult-like status and are served up to nearly every table in the joint as far as we can tell. Kricket is open for lunch and dinner daily, taking a break to refresh the kitchen in between, except Sundays when it’s closed all day.

£30 - £49
Indian
Prawn on the Lawn Padstow

Prawn on the Lawn Padstow

11 Duke Street, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AB

The Padstow location of Prawn on the Lawn first opened its doors in 2015, two years after the debut of the concept’s original incarnation in the London borough of Islington. Following the success of the London site, husband and wife team Rick and Katie Toogood decided to open a second site in Cornwall’s Padstow, where the restaurant is obviously much closer to the maritime suppliers that underpin its menu of seafood and fresh fish.

Prawn on the Lawn Padstow is similar in look and feel to its London counterpart, showcasing relaxed and cosy interiors - think white tiles, overhead fans and slate flooring, all of which makes you feel like you are sat in a traditional fish and chip shop. The menu at Prawn on the Lawn is made up of a selection of shellfish and oysters, small plates, fish for the table and side dishes. However, the offering changes constantly (sometimes even hour to hour), depending on what produce is available that day.

Local fisherman supply fish and seafood daily for the restaurant, allowing Prawn on the Lawn to serve the likes of seared tuna with soy, mirin, spring onion and chilli or hake with truffle oil, parmesan, cauliflower and a porcini crumb. Alongside the small plates, you will find some larger fish dishes which can be served family-style to enjoy at the table, served whole or filleted and with the option to have them cooked classic, Thai or Chinese-style. Choose from the likes of John Dory, wild sea bass, plaice or brill.

To pad out your meal, you can add side dishes such as homemade soda bread served alongside seaweed butter, or a tomato and tarragon salad. After your meal, explore the European-led wine list or sip on one or two of Prawn on the Lawn’s delectable house cocktails.

£30 - £49
Fish
Holy Carrot

Holy Carrot

2-4 Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 0LH

Virtuous Holy Carrot is a sleek vegan restaurant found in Knightsbridge, serving a plant-based menu which is free of gluten, sugar, preservatives and additives.

Found inside Urban Retreat, a wellness and beauty destination, guests at Holy Carrot can choose to dine in the restaurant itself, or enjoy some dishes in between their spa treatments. The dining room here is a gorgeous, traditional space complete with calming pale blue walls, an original stone fireplace and an installation of dried flowers which hang from the ceiling.

The menu at Holy Carrot is driven by seasonal organic British produce, although the dishes themselves draw inspiration from across the globe. On your visit, you might enjoy the likes of crispy and holy maki ponzu with a spiced mayonnaise, organic glazed tofu with an aubergine, red pepper and peanut sauce or a raw red pepper burrito.

After your main courses, you can enjoy a selection of tempting sweet treats, including the Homemade Candy Set (a selection of desserts made on site) and the Holy Carrot Cake. To help you wash it all down, you can take your pick from a selection of fresh juices, smoothies and cocktails. If you are wanting to stay away from the booze, opt for the Dream Green, which blends spinach, kale, cucumber, avocado, vegan protein and flaxseed. If you are in the mood for alcohol though, opt for the Rose Negroni: gin, rhubarb liqueur, little rose and rose vermouth.

Talking about the new opening, Irina Linovich, the founder of Holy Carrot, said: “When we came up with the idea to launch a vegan restaurant in Knightsbridge, we wanted to make sure that we brought an element of fun to eating vegan food. The menu is very much led by seasonal organic British produce and we take great care to ensure that the produce is ethically sourced and sustainable.”

£30 - £49
Vegan
Isabel

Isabel

26 Albemarle Street , Mayfair, London, W1S 4HY

Wealthy people like to eat where the owner is, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, “one of us”, which is why Casa Cruz and Isabel, the London duo of restaurants from investment banker-cum-interior designer-cum-restaurateur Juan Santa Cruz, have proved such a hit.

Santa Cruz has an instinctive understanding that for a certain type of well-heeled diner, the look of the restaurant is as important (perhaps even more so) than the food that is being served. For the London fashion crowd – whether that’s staffers on the magazines from nearby Vogue House, Bond Street shoppers with money to burn or the photographers and models who make up the biannual jamboree of London Fashion Week – Isabel is a restaurant where the interior design is as striking as the designer clothes modelled by its customers.

Which isn’t to suggest that there isn’t some accomplished cooking on offer at Isabel, though be aware that the portion sizes lean towards size zero, while the kitchen’s formula of low-carb, high-protein dishes will not be a recipe for success for lovers of creamy sauces and indulgent side dishes.

That said, diners who eat out a lot for either work or pleasure will be relieved that the likes of radicchio salad with anchovy, parmesan and grapefruit, or cod with sprout tops, capers, black olives and pine nuts, won’t send them out onto Albemarle Street needing an afternoon nap or falling asleep on the tube home.

Breakfast and weekend brunch add to Isabel’s all-day appeal – there are pastries, French toast and a full English if you don’t want to go down the healthy eating route – while evenings offer the opportunity to sit up at the bar with a cocktail or glass of wine and some ‘para picar’ nibbles. Like all of the food here, however, the cost of the small plates is likely to lead to a very large bill.       

£30 - £49
International
J Sheekey

J Sheekey

28-32 St Martin's Court, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4AL

£50 - £79
Fish
Kitchen Table

Kitchen Table

70 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 4QG

Open kitchens have become all the rage in the UK over the last decade or two, but Kitchen Table takes counter dining to a whole new level. This is as much a theatre production as a restaurant - guests sit at a horseshoe-shaped counter and watch chef James Knappett and team prepare, serve and talk about every aspect of that evening's tasting menu. 

A restaurant doesn't win two Michelin stars through theatre alone though. Knappett has worked at some of the world's most highly regarded restaurants, including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Petrus, Thomas Keller's Per Se, Rene Redzepi's Noma and Brett Graham's The Ledbury. As such, Kitchen Table presents a unique opportunity to watch such a well-versed chef at work. 

The Kitchen Table team leverages Knappett's incredible network of suppliers from day boat fishermen to farmers to woodland foragers, to bring in the best of British ingredients. A new tasting menu is devised each day depending on what the team get hold of, and as such, diners won't know what's on the menu until the day they head to the restaurant. Each course focuses on a single ingredient, and is designed to amplify that ingredient to show it at its very best. 

Meanwhile, Kitchen Table's front-of-house and drinks are managed by award-winning sommelier (and wife of James Knappett) Sandia Chang. The wine list offers a world-leading selection of Grower Champagnes alongside wines by the bottle and the glass, whilst the bar menu riffs on house-made spirits and liqueurs. There's also a soft drink pairing for each course, for those who don't wish to drink alcohol.

As well as winning Michelin stars in 2014 and 2018, Kitchen Table was also awarded Michelin’s ‘Welcome and Service Award’ in 2018 for exceptional service.

Over £80
Modern European
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal London Top 100
Locanda Locatelli

Locanda Locatelli

8 Seymour Street, London, London, W1H 7JZ

£50 - £79
Italian
One Michelin star
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

The Connaught, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL

Having taken over the restaurant at The Connaught in 2008 as part of a mass refurbishment, Hélène Darroze has now been overseeing the kitchen at the luxury London hotel for well over a decade. During that time, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught has become regarded as one of the Capital’s finest restaurants and currently holds the highest accolade of three Michelin stars.

Serving creative dishes which are each focused around one main ingredient, the restaurant offers a bespoke menu which reflects each diner’s personal tastes and preferences to create a truly unique dining experience. This combined with the world class service and impressive interiors at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught make it a restaurant for the most special of occasions.

A tenth-birthday facelift from designer Pierre Yovanovitch has seen the dining room become warmer and slightly more relaxed in feel; the light wooden panels play host to two collages by British artist Damian Hirst, while the leather and velvet chairs sit around exposed wooden tables. An impressive blue glass-blown chandelier hangs from above providing a stylish yet contemporary edge to the restaurant. Hélène Darroze at The Connaught now also boasts a stunning chef’s table which overlooks the pass and allows diners to question the chefs as they prepare the food.

Showcasing some of Britain’s finest produce, the food offering consists of a lengthy menu from which you can choose either five or seven dishes to create your perfect tasting menu. Meanwhile the lunch menu provides three courses for £65 without any beverages. You can expect dishes on offer such as caviar with langoustine, oyster and runner bean, Denbighshire Pigeon with beetroot, wild blueberry and Mexican mole, and Tainori chocolate with hazelnut and voatsiperifery pepper.

The restaurant’s drinks offering is equally elaborate as the food with a variety of different drink pairings available, trolleys of spirits being wheeled table-to-table, and an impressively expansive wine list.

Over £80
French
Three Michelin stars
SquareMeal London Top 100
Nightjar

Nightjar

129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB

Bars
The Princess of Shoreditch

The Princess of Shoreditch

76-78 Paul Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 4NE

Just a short amble from Old Street station, The Princess of Shoreditch is an 18th-century boozer that’s all about serving great quality food and drink, while maintaining a traditional feel. Based over two floors, the downstairs area offers a more relaxed ambience where East London locals can pop in for a drink or two, and enjoy the odd bar snack; while the upstairs dining room is more of formal vibe offering high-level restaurant quality food.

Illuminated in the evening by the glow of various lanterns, the pub has an appealing facade which is bound to lure plenty of passers by inside. The open plan ground floor space has plenty of tables  and a well-stocked bar at one end, and is linked to the second floor via a discreet spiral staircase in the corner. Once upstairs, the décor is slightly grander yet the space still has a bright an airy feel thanks to the eggshell colour scheme and a number of oversized bulbs hanging from above.

When it comes to food, the menu has been designed by head chef Ruth Hansom, who previously worked in kitchens including The Ritz, and the now closed Pomona’s in Notting Hill. Downstairs’ bar snacks menu includes tempting treats such as truffle popcorn and chicken date and peanut terrine, and can accompanied by a cocktail from the appealing list.

The dining room’s menu makes for more serious reading; dishes on offer include a venison haunch tartare, with mustard seed, fennel, and nasturtium for starters, and main courses such as hake served alongside pickled grapes and confit artichoke. Meanwhile desserts range from a fig leaf and Earl Grey trifle, to a set garden ginger custard with gooseberry, rhubarb and sorrel. This all comes accompanied by a varied wine list covering a number of different regions, as well as a selection of other alcoholic and soft drinks.

£30 - £49
British
Gastropub
SquareMeal London Top 100
Etch by Steven Edwards

Etch by Steven Edwards

216 Church Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 2DJ

£50 - £79
British
The Forest Side

The Forest Side

The Forest Side Hotel, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9RN

Set inside a fairytale gothic mansion, The Forest Side is both a hotel and award-winning restaurant set against the stunning surrounds of the Lake District. The Forest Side restaurant has held onto its Michelin star since 2017, with head chef Paul Leonard at the helm of the kitchen. Serving food that’s firmly rooted in the landscape of the lakes, utilising the best seasonal produce and pairing it with wines from small organic and bio-dynamic producers, The Forest Side’s commitment to sustainability and innovation has led it to be considered one of the best restaurants in Cumbria.  

Diners are made to feel as connected to their surroundings as possible. The bright and airy restaurant overlooks a terrace which offers views of lush green lawns and beautiful woodland. A muted colour palette inside, as well as lots of reclaimed timber and steel tables, earthenware plates and a stunning centrepiece table made from a windblown tree contribute to the sense of the restaurant's place amongst nature.  

Only tasting menus are available, although guests are able to choose between six and eight courses for lunch and dinner respectively, with vegetarian options available, too. Examples of dishes you might find include spring peas with Herdwick lamb and smoked yoghurt, BBQ Shetland mussels, salt-aged duck roasted on the crown with morels glazed in truffle juice, and first-of-the-season rhubarb with cultured buttermilk and shiso.  

The wines share the same philosophy as the food with a focus on local, all-natural products. Each one is sourced from artisan makers who produce quality wines on a small scale and are made with no artificial chemicals, minimum sulphur dioxide and natural fermentation techniques. The cocktails, meanwhile, feature foraged ingredients, including one aptly named Forager made with pineapple week infused vodka, homemade ginger beer and lime. 

Over £80
Modern European
British
One Michelin star
The Lighthouse - Aldeburgh

The Lighthouse - Aldeburgh

77 High Street, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, IP15 5AU

£30 - £49
Modern European
HIDE Above

HIDE Above

85 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London, W1J 7NB

Hide in Mayfair is comprised of three main spaces: the ground-floor restaurant (Hide), the bar downstairs (Hide Below) and a slightly more high-end dining experience upstairs (Hide Above). At its core, Hide is a Michelin-starred, multi-floor restaurant serving refined plates using the freshest ingredients. Hide Above is the fanciest of its dining offerings, serving both a la carte and tasting menus, as well as a set lunch menu if you’re looking for an in-and-out meal. 

With tranquil views over Green Park, Hide Above offers a relaxed and calming setting for diners to indulge in its dishes, which is accentuated by its all-natural décor. To reach the restaurant upstairs, guests must climb the spiral oak staircase to be greeted by a swathe of wooden furniture and flooring. All these soft surfaces are complemented by a colour palette of similar beige hues, via earthy-toned seating and lampshades. Finally, the glass-fronted ‘show window’ floods the space with plenty of natural light, which feels like the most appropriate lighting for a space like this. 

The tasting menu changes seasonally and features a range of innovative and, occasionally, theatrical dishes. Formulated by head chef Ollie Dabbous, there are both five and seven course menus available. If you prefer to retain a little more choice over what you want to eat, then the a la carte menu is just as special and made up of classic Hide Above dishes from the tasting menu. Examples of dishes include golden turnip shavings with borage flower honey, pine and marigold, Herdwick lamb cooked over charcoal with roast garlic, violet artichoke and three-cornered leeks or Gigha halibut with citrus fruit and imperial caviar. Desserts are a similar artistic affair, with the likes of sherbet of mastic crystals with fresh blood orange and pine on the list. Both vegetarian and vegan versions of the a la carte menus are also available, and the tasting menu can be complemented with a wine pairing chosen by the sommelier team.  

Over £80
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Happiness Forgets

Happiness Forgets

8-9 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch, London, N1 6NU

Bars
Sushi Tetsu

Sushi Tetsu

12 Jerusalem Passage, Farringdon, London, EC1V 4JP

Arguably the most sought after seat in London, Sushi Tetsu is a seven-seat sushi bar in Farringdon headed up by ex-Nobu sushi master Toru Takahashi. In this tiny restaurant, he prepares every single dish himself, while his wife Harumi serves drinks. For the full experience, diners are recommended to opt for the omakase (which translates to 'I leave it up to you'). In this format, the chef essentially makes you whatever they want. This usually comes as lots of tiny courses, like a single piece of nigiri. 

While the omakase changes along with the seasons, you can definitely expect a mixture of sushi and non-sushi dishes. You might start with a mini selection of fresh sashimi, perhaps including sea bass or bream with a light ponzu or soy dressing. A non-sushi starting dish could be raw squid and noodles in cold dashi broth. This would likely come topped with a sprinkle of chives and nori. Later sushi courses will most likely feature richer entries like fatty o-toro tuna belly or snow crab. These could arrive with a heavier, miso-based sauce.

On to the proper sushi, where each course is one piece, you will likely be given almost every type of sushi you can think of. Salmon, tuna, prawn and all the other usual suspects will likely come as nigiri, splayed over a small blob of rice. Less common ingredients, such as salmon roe (or ikura), might come as gunkan (basically a loose seaweed cup with some rice, then the main ingredient). 

For a truly intimate sushi omakase experience in London, this might be the best around. Perfectly paired sake, served by Toru's wife Harumi makes this a beautiful dining experience. A la carte is also available here, but we think being taken on a journey by a sushi master is much better. 

Over £80
Sushi
Japanese
Luca

Luca

88 St John Street, Farringdon, London, EC1M 4EH

Luca is an Italian restaurant located in Farringdon serving high-quality ingredients from around the British Isles and Italy. With a restaurant, bar and outdoor terrace, it’s a multi-faceted dining destination where you can stay, eat and relax for a sit-down dinner, pop in for some drinks and snacks at the bar or enjoy a plate of pasta bathed in sunshine in the stunning courtyard.  

The main dining area offers bright and spacious interiors that marries Italian-meets-art deco design, with red leather banquette seating, wooden floors, exposed brick walls and large light fixtures to illuminate the space. It is here where guests can indulge in Luca’s modern Italian plates all year long. Kick off with a plate of Italian salumi with pickled giardiniera vegetables to nibble on while you decide what to order. Starters include tempting combinations such as burrata with winter tomatoes, tropea onions, taggiasca olives and schiacciata, while the ‘primi’ course includes many impressive pasta dishes including agnolotti carbonara with speck and puffed quinoa and red wine paccheri with braised octopus, Italian courgettes and black olive. For ‘secondi’, opt for the likes of Hereford beef fillet and braised cheek, smoked potato, calcot and salsa al pepe verde.  

When the sun is shining, guests can also reserve a table alfresco in the secluded, foliage-adorned terrace surrounded by olive trees and jasmine. There is even an open fire for when it gets chilly in the evenings. Or, plump for a meal at the bar for an occasion that’s a little more relaxed, where you can order classic Italian cocktails or a glass of wine from one of its many wine-making regions. A range of aperitifs and digestifs are also available, and food can be ordered from the bar's ‘express menu’ for lunch if you want to taste the food but can't stick around for long. 

£50 - £79
Italian
SquareMeal London Top 100
Lunar Stoke-on-Trent

Lunar Stoke-on-Trent

Lunar World of Wedgwood, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST12 9ER

Lunar is a fine dining restaurant and dining concept which takes residence in the former dining hall at the World of Wedgwood visitor attraction in Barlaston. Inspired by the spirit of Wedgewood, the name of the restaurant comes from the Lunar Society supper club, of which Josiah Wedgwood was the founder. Lunar is overseen by two Michelin-starred chef Niall Keating. 

The restaurant is divided between an 80 seat dining area serving large and small plates and sharers, plus a smaller bar area serving drinks and light bites. There is also a chef’s table for up to 12 people. Open from Thursday to Sunday, Lunar is a modern and inviting looking restaurant.

The seasonal changing menu is designed using many local suppliers and producers, carefully crafted and changed on a regular basis by Head Chef Niall Keating, you will find a good selection of dishes celebrating local produce, and flavourful seasonal ingredients. Starters may include a Cornish crab salad served with sea herbs and sesame, or a chicken terrine served with brioche. Main dishes vary, however you may find a roasted sirloin of Aberdeen Angus beef on the menu served with all the trimmings, or a butternut squash ravioli served with parmesan and red pepper. Desserts may include a caramel chocolate cremeux served with raspberry, and a roasted pineapple and passionfruit salad. 

Lunar is conveniently located in the World of Wedgwood, as well as being positioned close by to a number of other attractions such as the Wedgwood Cricket grounds, Hem Heath Woods and Trentham Lock. Whether you’re looking for a sumptuous three-course dinner or a light bite and drinks, you will find a good selection of quality dishes on the menu at Lunar. 

£50 - £79
British
International
The Ivy

The Ivy

1-5 West Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9NQ

£50 - £79
British
International
The Dining Room at Whatley Manor

The Dining Room at Whatley Manor

Easton Grey, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 0RB

Wiltshire's Whatley Manor has long been a fixture of the UK's luxury hotel scene, but it was only relatively recently that it became a fixture on the fine dining scene too. Under the leadership of former executive chef Niall Keating, the Dining Room at Whatley Manor rose to two Michelin star status courtesy of precise tasting menu odysseys and crisp service. Keating has since departed to work on a new project, but the Dining Room remains a destination for exceptional food, under the watchful eye of new executive chef Ricki Weston. 

As you'd expect from this picturesque country manor retreat, beautiful views of Wiltshire abound, and the dining room feels natural and organic, with a gentle, serene colour palette matching pristine white tablecloths and two elegant teardrop chandeliers hanging from the tall ceiling.

The menu gives hints of what's to come via short descriptions and lists of ingredients. The experience kicks off with a series of snacks - beetroot, suet, pine and thyme, then caviar, chicken and parsnip - before gliding easily into five 'main' courses. Dishes are cooked with absolute precision and there's an emphasis on unique and interesting flavour combinations. This is certainly an experience for adventurous eaters who are willing to put their evenings in the safe hands of the Dining Room kitchen, but that said, there are vegetarian and pescatarian menus available for those who choose not to eat meat.

Lost amid the hype around the Dining Room's many awards is its Green Michelin Star - awarded by Michelin to restaurants that show a real commitment to sustainable practices. The Dining Room is designed to be as efficient as possible, with 4 beehives and on-site orchard providing honey, fruit and wild flowers. They also use local, ethical producers whenever possible, and convert all food waste into methane gas for fuel.

Over £80
Modern European
One Michelin star
Chutney Mary

Chutney Mary

73 St James's Street, St James's, London, SW1A 1PH

Chutney Mary is a fine dining Indian restaurant in St James’s which first opened back in 1990, in its then Chelsea location. With a comfortable dining room and modern plating it quickly became a popular choice among London foodies and continues to be held in utmost regard on the capital’s dining scene.  

£50 - £79
Indian
Trinity

Trinity

4 The Polygon, Clapham, London, SW4 0JG

Trinity is a Michelin-starred neighbourhood restaurant in the heart of Clapham. Headed up by Adam Byatt, whose focus is delicious and sustainable food, this elegant eatery also boasts a more relaxed space upstairs (which is called Upstairs and has a Michelin Bib Gourmand award). Adam also teaches at culinary schools and was appointed chef director of Brown's Hotel in Mayfair. 

While the cuisine at Trinity is essentially modern European, the kitchen team aren't afraid to venture further afield. Meals at Trinity are four courses, with a pre-starter, starter, main and dessert, but diners can opt for three courses at lunch if they so choose. Dishes blend traditional ingredients such as sweetbreads or quail alongside more modern components like Amalfi lemon or oyster mushrooms. 

Your first course at Trinity might be a dressed globe artichoke, beef tartare with pickled mushrooms and caviar or cured halibut with salt-baked white beetroot, ginger and lime. With whetted appetites, you will then be served up something a little heartier for your second course. This might be a ricotta raviolo with egg yolk, wild garlic and buttered leeks or strozzapreti with new season morels and aged parmesan. A non-pasta option might be warm semi-smoked salmon with beurre blanc, capers and dill or quail pissaladiere with oyster mushroom bolognese and truffle sabayon. 

Mains at Trinity are often lavish, celebrating meat, seafood or vegetables with perfectly-matched accompaniments. A meat option might be pot roast chicken with leek hearts, morels and salt-baked turnip, veal loin with Jerusalem artichokes, hazelnuts and truffle celeriac or spiced Anjou pigeon with preserved lemon, dates and green olive. In terms of seafood, you might see fresh Cornish cod, paired with white sprouting broccoli, mussels and lemon. 

Finally, finish with a decadent dessert like a salted caramel custard tart, a selection of artisanal cheeses, or an amalfi lemon souffle with beeswax ice cream.

Over £80
Modern European
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Bob Bob Ricard City

Bob Bob Ricard City

Level 3, The Leadenhall Building , City of London, London, EC3V 4AB

French-Russian restaurant Bob Bob Ricard has two sites in London, with its opening in the city offering as much glitz and glamour (if not more!) as the original restaurant in Soho. The £25 million project lives on the third floor of the Leadenhall building (aka The Cheesegrater) and is dressed in the same ostentatious style as its sister restaurant, taking inspiration from the Royal Yacht Brittania. Blue booth seating allows parties of all sizes to feel a sense of privacy while dining, while shiny marble floors, a million different light fittings and a wall of mirrors are like an optical illusion designed to arrest and beguile from the moment you enter the foyer. Perhaps its most famous feature is the ‘press for champagne’ button at every table – push the all-powerful button and receive champers poured from a magnum for maximum effect.  

It says a lot about a restaurant when the menu boasts dedicated sections for caviar, oysters and vodka shots chilled specifically to 18 degrees (and that’s before you’ve even reached the starters). Whet your appetite with one of the above, or opt for the likes of French onion soup, steak tartare, escargots and croque madam to start, all created by head chef Ben Hobson. 

The extensive main course list continues with the classic French theme. Seemingly straight-forward dishes get a luxurious upgrade: chicken pie is made with a splash of champagne, charcoal-grilled sea bream comes with a side of tomato fondue and there are two types of macaroni cheese on offer, one made with truffle and the other with lobster.  

A host of classic French desserts include tarte tatin with calvados ice cream, flaming crème brulee, tarte au chocolat and crepes suzette (which are, of course, flambeed at the table for dramatic effect). Guests who opt for an Armagnac doughnut can infuse their sweet course with a choice of Armagnac vintages from 1888 to 2005 – what fun! Nothing is done by halves at Bob Bob Ricard City.  

Price wise, while you can dine somewhat sensibly from the food menu, the wine list is sure to blow any budget out the water with very few bottles coming in under £50. The cheapest option is a £28 chenin blanc - white wine lovers rejoice!

There is a dress code, although it’s not as demanding as one might imagine for such an extravagant place. It specifies ‘elegant’ attire, ties not necessary, with formal or casual wear both welcome.

£50 - £79
Russian
French
Black Rock

Black Rock

9 Christopher Street, London, EC2A 2BS

Bars
Beaufort Bar at The Savoy

Beaufort Bar at The Savoy

Strand, Covent Garden, London, WC2R 0EZ

£30 - £49
Bars
Benedicts

Benedicts

9 St Benedicts Street, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 4PE

£50 - £79
British
The Coach Marlow

The Coach Marlow

3 West Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 2LS

£30 - £49
Pubs
British
Gastropub
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
The Ledbury

The Ledbury

127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2AQ

The Ledbury in London’s Notting Hill has long held a rather impressive two Michelin stars and is ranked amongst the top 50 restaurants in the world. It was with great reluctance, then, that it was forced to take a hiatus between 2020 and 2022 because, like so many other restaurants during the pandemic, it was hit hard by the effects of social distancing measures.  

But at the beginning of 2022, chef-owner Brett Graham reopened the legendary restaurant to the public, with a rejuvenated look and feel as well as a brand-new food and drink offering. The restaurant is focussed on offering tasting menus only, starting with an eight-course offering that comes with an optional wine pairing (and a hefty price tag). Graham has brought in former Kitchen Table head chef Tom Spenceley to run the kitchen, with many of The Ledbury’s former staff returning to their positions once again. The restaurant is open for dinner service from Tuesday to Saturday, and for lunch on Friday and Saturday only.  

Graham has said that his decision to remove the a la carte offering is only temporary, but will allow him to focus on giving his customers the best experience possible. Details about the exact dishes have yet to be revealed, but Graham has said that he wants to focus on using whole animals where he can so as to support artisan farmers.  

The Ledbury has had a bit of a makeover too, with London-based design studio These White Walls enlisted to give the dining room a total revamp. Not sure what that entails? They were also the studio in charge of the décor at Hide, so imagine lots of natural materials, warm lighting and a rustic yet luxurious feel. The restaurant has also diminished its covers from 45 to 55.  

The Ledbury originally opened back in 2005 and has held its two Michelin stars since 2010.

Over £80
Modern European
Two Michelin stars
Elystan Street

Elystan Street

43 Elystan Street, Chelsea, London, SW3 3NT

Michelin-starred Elystan street is the work of acclaimed chef Phil Howard, whose previous restaurant The Square (opened in 1991) held two Michelin stars for 17 years. Elystan Street is his slightly more casual follow-up and has now established itself as a Chelsea essential - the sort of restaurant to go to for supper on the way home or something more challenging for a special occasion. 

The dining room is a relaxing space that boasts a soft-hued colour palette of blues and pinks, warm wooden floors and lots of natural light. The menus, meanwhile, are overseen by head chef Aaron Potter, who is one of Phil’s early protégées and brings with him a wealth of classical training. There are both a la carte and tasting menus available, with options for both lunch (there is a set menu) and dinner.  

Examples of dishes might include the likes of terrine of dover sole with skate wing, smoked eel, tarama, pickled cucumber and lemon to start, sweet and sour breast of duck with a tarte fine of caramelised endive, burnt orange and kohlrabi for main course and a dessert comprised of a chocolate, peanut and caramel bar with hazelnut ice cream. If you opt for the six-course tasting menu, you will be able to sample some of the restaurant’s greatest dishes (the menu is titled ‘six of the best’ after all), with an optional wine pairing available if liked.  

If you’re not sampling the tasting menu, there is an excellent wine list to choose from which can be ordered by the glass, half bottle or bottle. A range of European and international wines are on the menu, with the generous choice meaning you’re bound to find something you like. The restaurant also mixes up a selection of mean cocktails, with many fine London beers on offer, too

£50 - £79
Modern European
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
TEMAKI

TEMAKI

12 Market Row, Brixton, London, SW9 8LB

London’s first – and to our knowledge, only – handroll bar finds its home in Brixton Village. TEMAKI is headed up by Shaulan Steenson, the restaurant’s executive chef who also happens to be a Japanese rice specialist.

While rice might seem like a filler food, here it has been elevated to hero status and is the focus of the main dish – the handrolls. Instead of being treated in the normal way (with salt, vinegar and sugar), using his experience in some of Tokyo’s best sushi restaurants, Steenson has devised a signature style to elevate the rice in his restaurant. The secret lies in the use of Japanese red vinegar, which gives each grain a golden hue and a rich, aromatic flavour that pairs perfectly with fresh fish.

Fillings for the handrolls – aside from the rice – are premium. Combinations include white and brown crabmeat with egg yolk and white soy; tuna, fresh wasabi and Nikiri soy; and ‘Unagi’ eel, with its own sauce, cucumber, wasabi. Aside from the crowd-pleasing favourites, there is also a innovative monthly specials to ensure the menu continuously evolves. A small selection of additional plates completes the food line up, featuring things link salmon skin crisps with chilli and salt and sashimi options.

Interiors are pared-back for a modern minimalism that creates a calming atmosphere. Think industrial concrete flooring and a central bar where the chefs work from. Each wrap is hand-prepared in front of guests and handed over immediately to ensure utmost freshness (while also adding a little theatre too). Tables are both inside and outside, allowing guests to enjoy the vibrancy of Brixton Village (which you might be pleased to know is covered).

The food menu is accompanied by a range of wines, sakes and Japanese beers as well as batch-made cocktails created specifically for TEMAKI.

£30 - £49
Sushi
Japanese
SquareMeal London Top 100
Barrafina Dean Street

Barrafina Dean Street

26-27 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 3LL

£30 - £49
Tapas
Spanish
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Sexy Fish

Sexy Fish

Berkeley Square House, Mayfair, London, W1J 6BR

If somebody was to compile a list of London restaurants which are known for attracting the rich and famous, Sexy Fish is sure to be placed somewhere near the top.

Found on Berkeley Square, glamorous Sexy Fish is part of the Caprice Holdings Group, which also looks after the likes of Scott’s, J Sheekey and The Ivy Collection. The restaurant has gained a reputation as a bit of a celeb-magnet, while it also courts the Instagram crowd with its famously lavish interiors – think a giant gold-plated crocodile hanging from the wall, an ocean blue mermaid statue draped over the bar and more gold accents than Midas himself could rustle up.

Billed as a pan-Asian brasserie, although it is safe to say that the menu is replete with contemporary and luxury updates on classic Asian fare, while authentic renditions are perhaps harder to spot. Nonetheless, there’s no denying the appeal of the menu; kick things off with a helping of caviar, before moving on to the likes of tuna tataki, glazed pork belly skewers spiced with pear and ginger, or a crispy duck and watermelon salad. Naturally, the à la carte also offers a roll call of luxury ingredients, with lobster, Wagyu beef and sprinklings of black truffle shavings all present and correct.

To go alongside the food, it boasts what claims to be the world’s largest collection of Japanese whisky, while its cocktail menu (designed to look like a high-fashion magazine) features a seasonally changing selection of sips that includes innovative creations and twists on the classics, like an Old Fashioned made with passionfruit juice.

Apart from the regular menu, the restaurant also offers a tasting menu and a range of sophisticated bar snacks. Watch out for special seasonal and festive menus too, celebrating the likes of Veganuary or Valentine’s Day.    

£50 - £79
Pan Asian
Fish
Prawn on the Lawn

Prawn on the Lawn

292-294 St Paul’s Road, London, London, N1 2LL

£30 - £49
Fish
Casamia

Casamia

The General, Redcliffe, Bristol, BS1 6FU

Casamia has been the crown jewel of Bristol's resurgent dining scene for years now, but somehow it still manages to be perpetually underrated - one suspects that if Casamia were in London, it might have doubled its Michelin star quota and received considerably more attention. 

Casamia was first opened by Paco Sanchez-Iglesias in 1997 as a neighbourhood Mediterranean restaurant. His sons Peter and Jonray were soon employed in the kitchen as chefs, and both took to the trade like ducks to water, elevating the restaurant with more modern, technical cooking. By 2009, the brothers had led Casamia into the hallowed pages of the Michelin Guide with elaborate, sensorial tasting menus. 

Jonray passed away tragically after a long battle with cancer in 2015, and Casamia moved from the suburbs to a central Bristol location a year later. The COVID-19 pandemic inspired another renovation in 2020 - guests to Casamia now can expect the same precise, exceptional tasting menu, but gone is the quiet, fine-dining ambience of the past. The whole restaurant has been painted black, Peter has installed a loud sound-system, and new head chef Zak Hitchman has started cooking large swathes of the menu over open fire. This is Casamia 2.0 - new, and improved.

As for the food, well, your guess is as good as ours. Casamia likes to keep the menu under wraps, so that everything you experience inside those jet-black walls is a complete surprise. But you can expect a full-on sensorial experience, with music, visual art installations and, of course, some of the most exciting food in the country.

£50 - £79
Modern European
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Restaurant Coworth Park

Restaurant Coworth Park

Coworth Park, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7SE

The Dorchester Collection’s first foray into country-house hospitality has a location “to die for” – 240 acres of lawns, meadows and woodland surrounding a quirkily restored Georgian manor (“chic but unstuffy”, says one fan).

At its heart is a special-occasion dining room done out in autumnal shades with orange leather, mirrored copper walls, gold-leaf sculptures and oak-leaf plaster reliefs. Head chef Adam Smith arrived here from The Burlington Restaurant at The Devonshire Arms and he’s now the recipient of a Michelin star for his assured top-notch cooking, which adds plenty of modern British oomph to premium British ingredients: heritage beetroot is paired with smoked eel, horseradish and blackcurrant; aged beef sirloin comes with brown-butter mash, oxtail and pickled turnip; John Dory is accompanied by fennel, artichoke and lemon verbena.

Steep prices go with the territory, although all-inclusive ‘Best of British’ fixed-price menus are “startlingly good value” given the surroundings. Service is “charming and attentive but not overpowering”, while the full wine list has been priced with luxury in mind.

Over £80
British
One Michelin star
Restaurant Andrew Fairlie

Restaurant Andrew Fairlie

Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scottish Borders, PH3 1NF

Andrew Fairlie is a two-Michelin-starred restaurant by the chef of the same name. Although it is an entirely independent venture, the restaurant is located within the iconic five-star Gleneagles hotel in Scotland and set against the backdrop of the stunning Perthshire Hills. Andrew Fairlie is the only restaurant in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars (which it has held for the last 15 years), a success that can be attributed to work of the Scottish chef, who was awarded a Roux Scholarship at the young age of 20 and accrued a series of accolades throughout his lifetime. Andrew sadly passed away in 2019 due to a brain tumour.  

The restaurant is his greatest legacy and continues to serve outstanding food under his name. There are multiple menus available including both a la carte and tasting options, as well as vegetarian alternatives. The tasting menu features a selection of the restaurant’s greatest dishes, with examples being crab claw and razor clam with golden oscietra caviar, ballotine of fois gras with rhubarb and pistachio, herb crusted lamb loin with lamb bon bon and pearl barley and chocolate parfait with yuzu and pistachio.  

To drink, diners can opt for a wine flight to be paired with the tasting menu, or choose to sample the drinks list which includes a selection of aperitifs, digestifs and fine wines.  

The restaurant is open six nights a week for dinner and can be accessed via its own private entrance within Gleneagles. Andrew Fairlie pays as close attention to its thoughtful service and attention to detail as much as the food, so expect to be treated like royalty for the night if you dine here. And if that doesn’t do it, the royal interiors, complete with plush seating and dimmed lighting, just might.

Over £80
Modern European
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal UK Top 100
The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz London

The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz London

The Ritz London, 150 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9BR

Bars
The Muddlers Club

The Muddlers Club

1 Warehouse Lane, Belfast, Co Antrim, BT1 2DX

Tucked away in the historic back streets of Belfast's Cathedral Quarter, The Muddlers Club takes its name from a secret society that used to meet in this very spot over 200 years ago. This Muddlers Club isn't quite as secret as the original - in fact, it's safe to say that the secret is well and truly out thanks to a litany of awards, including a coveted Michelin star, received in 2020.

The interiors stay true to the secret society inspiration, with masonic street art painted over exposed brick, and an all-seeing eye that watches over the restaurant from a far wall. The post-industrial dining room is designed by Oscar & Oscar - a well-regarded Belfast outfit that have designed many of the city's most appealing restaurants and bars, including Ox, Edo, Haptic Coffee and Ora.

Diners have a choice between a regular tasting menu and a vegetarian or vegan tasting menu, with chef Gareth McCaughey and team picking the best seasonal produce each day to ensure that ingredients are at their peak. Muddlers Club has been designed with an open kitchen, so guests get a sense of theatre as they dine. 

The menus aren't short of bold flavours, with dishes like scallop, Iberico pork and white beans, venison, hazelnut and salt-baked celeriac and chocolate, passionfruit and dulce de leche featuring on the seasonal taster, and salsify, truffle and egg yolk, onion, dill and kohlrabi and cabbage, dukkah and beurre blanc appearing on the vegetarian menu. A drinks flight is available with either menu for an extra charge, and there's an innovative cocktail list on offer too.

£50 - £79
Modern European
British
Irish
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Scully

Scully

4 St James's Market, St James's, London, SW1Y 4AH

“Fusion flavours and textures to restore even the most jaded of palates” – that’s how one fan describes the food at this solo venture from ex-Nopi head chef Ramael Scully. Inside, all is cosily shabby-chic, with copper pendant lighting, potted plants and a fascinating glass-fronted pantry, stocked with herbs and spices. A large sharing table and an open kitchen create a communal vibe, but the marble-topped chef’s counter is undoubtedly home to the best seats in the house.

On offer is an intriguing menu that references Scully’s multicultural heritage, while confounding expectations when it comes to mixing and matching ingredients. Nearly all the seasonally changing sharing plates impress, from a tomato and coconut salad with green strawberries (summer in a bowl) to barbecued beef tendons, hidden by a dollop of smoky oyster mayo and served with salty fried tendon puffs for dipping – which are “like nothing else on earth”, according to one convert.

Elsewhere, there’s lusciously fatty pork belly with house-made XO sauce concealing a subtle flash of heat, and an outstanding plate of monkfish rubbed with sambal belacan, a tongue-tingling shrimp paste. Others single out the “audacious” arepa (a Venezuelan cornmeal pancake topped with aubergine relish and bergamot-infused labneh).

To finish, there’s a love-it-or-hate-it dessert of parsnip and coconut ice cream, although we were more impressed by a grapefruit sorbet which was paired up with a scoop of indulgent caramel ice cream – a delightful mix of sweet and sour. Fastidious sourcing, impressively well-informed staff and an unflappable kitchen team swapping jokes while turning out plates of pure wonder all help to make dining at Scully a thrilling and eye-opening experience.

£50 - £79
International
Yauatcha Soho

Yauatcha Soho

15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0DL

Yauatcha is an international brand which has bases in London as well as Indian, the US and Saudia Arabia. Their winning combination is found in the pairing of traditional dim sum with larger Chinese plates, like stir fried rib eye of beef in black bean sauce or kung pao prawns with cashew nuts. This chain of high-end restaurants are also famous for their bakeries, which churn out deliciously delicate tea time treats, which are served up with a range of hot beverages – perfect for an afternoon snack.  

£50 - £79
Chinese
Dim Sum
Cail Bruich

Cail Bruich

725 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G12 8QX

After winning Glasgow's first Michelin star in 17 years, it's fair to say that Cail Bruich is leading the charge in the city's rejuvenated dining scene. Scotland has long been home to some of the world's very best produce, and Cail Bruich harnesses the potential of that produce and combines it with precise cooking and relaxed, informal service.

You'll find Cail Bruich in Glasgow's West End, just across the way from Glasgow's Botanic Gardens. In charge of the kitchen is head chef Lorna McNee - a supreme talent who earned her stripes as a protégé of the late, great two Michelin-starred chef Andrew Fairlie, as well as a two-time finalist and 'Champion of Champions' on BBC's Great British Menu. McNee took over the kitchen at Cail Bruich in 2020 and the restaurant has never looked back.

McNee's elegant cooking makes the most of Scotland's seasonal bounty, and the menu at Cail Bruich pays great respect to ingredients, working with an extensive team of butchers, fishmongers, farmers, and foragers to source the best produce possible. Cail Bruich offers two menu options - a five course tasting menu and a seven course chef's menu, which both lean heavily into Scottish seafood, meat and local specialities like mushrooms. Dishes at the time of writing include raw Orkney scallop with dashi, hazelnut and citrus, Isle of Skye langoustine with apple, pork and bisque, and morel mushrooms with black truffle and Madeira. McNee's experience in the pastry kitchen at Restaurant Andrew Fairlie is also evident in the exquisite, details desserts.

Meanwhile, the wine team is on hand with smart pairing options to complement the tow tasting menus.

Over £80
Modern European
Scottish
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
The Araki

The Araki

12 New Burlington Street, London, W1S 3BH

Over £80
Sushi
Parkers Arms

Parkers Arms

Hallgate Hill, Newton-in-Bowland, Lancashire, BB7 3DY

£30 - £49
Gastropub
Portland

Portland

113 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 6QQ

£30 - £49
International
One Michelin star
Hakkasan Hanway Place

Hakkasan Hanway Place

8 Hanway Place, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1HD

The Hakkasan brand, a global entity with locations in the likes of New York, Las Vegas and Dubai, is arguably one of the most instantly recognisable restaurant names out there. Loved by celebrities, moneyed Mayfair residents and Londoners looking for a taste of the high life, Hakkasan’s popularity has endured when other long-standing restaurants have faltered.

London is blessed with two Hakkasan locations (there’s another in Mayfair), but this Hanway Place original still draws in the crowds. While the discreet entrance just off Tottenham Court Road may not look up to much, it soon gives way to a stunning subterranean dining room, decked out in a sleek blue and black colour scheme. The dimly-lit dining room is given added character via gold accents and lattice work which divides up the different dining areas, resulting in the overall feel that you’re in one of London’s sexiest dining haunts.

Hakkasan Hanway Place is certainly not a case of style over substance though, with the expansive menu featuring everything from expertly prepared dim sum to Chinese classics revisited with luxury ingredients. On your visit, you can kick-start your meal with the likes of a crispy duck salad, sesame prawn toast or golden friend soft-shell crab. Next up, choose from Hakkasan Hanway Place’s masterful selection of dim sum, with luxury options including langoustine har gau with Prunier caviar and a Wagyu beef dumpling.

There are more substantial dishes to try too though, such as roasted silver cod drizzled with a Champagne and honey sauce, or black truffle roasted duck. Vegetarians shouldn’t feel left out either though, as there are plenty of meat-free options to choose from. Tuck into the likes of a tofu, aubergine and Japanese mushroom clay pot or a black pepper and yellow bean stir fry.

To drink, there are Asian-inspired cocktails such as a Lychee Martini, while Hakkasan’s wine list traverses the globe.

Over £80
Chinese
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Clos Maggiore

Clos Maggiore

33 King Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8JD

£50 - £79
French
The Seafood Restaurant Padstow

The Seafood Restaurant Padstow

Riverside, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8BY

First opened in 1975, The Seafood Restaurant is where it all began for chef Rick Stein and his then wife Jill (although the pair have since divorced, they are still in business together). Rick Stein is now synonymous with Cornwall and Padstow in particular, owning and operating a number of restaurants in the area, as well as at other beachside locations across the UK.

The Seafood Restaurant is perhaps the most well-known and well-liked location amongst his vast property portfolio though, boasting an international reputation for serving up only the freshest fish and shellfish, using locally sourced ingredients to craft uncomplicated seafood dishes that are packed with flavour. Stein himself has long since departed the kitchen, instead leaving it in the more than capable hands of head chef Pete Murt and his team, who champion seasonal and local produce in all that they do.

The restaurant’s USP is undoubtedly the no-bookings seafood bar, where the team of chefs put together pallets of oysters, langoustines and sashimi for guests to feast on. The Seafood Restaurant is also well placed to take advantage of Cornwall’s famous summer sunshine too, thanks to an upstairs terrace which overlooks the gorgeous coastal beauty of the Camel Estuary.

On the menu, you will find a blend of British and globally-inspired dishes such as shellfish soup or Cornish crab with a wasabi mayonnaise, followed up by the more substantial likes of traditional fish and chips or an Indonesian seafood curry. Prices are high, but those on a budget can take advantage of set lunch menus.

If you are really looking for the full Seafood Restaurant experience however, you can opt to stay overnight in one of the coastal-inspired bedrooms on location (designed by Jill Stein) and soak up every inch of those aforementioned views. Check out the restaurant’s ‘dine and stay’ packages for more information.

Over £80
Fish
Northcote

Northcote

Northcote Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB6 8BE

Over £80
British
Afternoon tea
One Michelin star
Bar Termini Soho

Bar Termini Soho

7 Old Compton Street, London, W1D 5JE

Bars
Gloria

Gloria

54-56 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3QR

This new site from French restaurant group Big Mamma is found on the corner of Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch, in the space which formerly housed Red’s True BBQ. The restaurant is split over two floors and seats around 150 diners. The interiors are inspired by the Italian island of Capri in the 1970s, while on the menu, you can expect to find over-the-top versions of Italian classics.

Take the 10-layer lasagne, or the cacio e pepe, which is served in a giant wheel of cheese. Desserts are just as epic, including the likes of a singular giant profiterole, and a hefty wedge of lemon meringue pie. Drinks are fun too, and include a classic Negroni topped with truffle foam. 

Interior image: Jerome Galland
Food image: Joann Pai 

£30 - £49
Italian
Gymkhana

Gymkhana

42 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 4JH

Mayfair restaurant Gymkhana originally opened its doors in 2013, and the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star just a year later, which it retains to this day. In the summer of 2019, Gymkhana was struck by disaster when a fire in the restaurant forced the Mayfair hotspot to close down – luckily, no one was injured in the blaze. Gymkhana underwent a significant refurbishment and reopened in February 2019.

Restaurant guests can expect to find a striking dining room kitted out in tones of jade green and polished dark timber, matched with metallic accents and marble tabletops. Gymkhana’s original booth seating has survived, and provides a degree of intimacy and privacy in the restaurant - no doubt a reason why Gymkhana remains a popular celeb-haunt. Head down the mirrored steps and you'll find Gymkhana's much-lauded bar area - a great place to enjoy a gin and tonic with some Indian snacks.

When it comes to the menu, Gymkhana offers a range of menus from a daily a la carte to special lunch and tasting menus. Gymkhana is inspired by the elite social clubs of colonial India, and the a la carte offers a range of snacks, kebabs, curries and game dishes to suit all comers. Dishes from the reinvigorated menu include the likes of venison keema naan with cucumber and cumin raita, quail seekh kebab with mustard and mint ketchup, and kasoori chicken tikka with moong sprouts and kasundi kachumber. Curries may suit those who want something a little more familiar - pork cheek vindaloo, venison biryani, chicken butter masala and lamb shank rogan josh all make an appearance, all accompanied by a wide choice of sides, from perfect steamed basmati rice to channa masala and Rajasthani bhindi.

Desserts are equally luxurious - saffron pistachio kulfi, and cardamom and basmati rice kheer, for example - and come accompanied by a choice of digestifs, dessert wines or fine tea blends.

 

£50 - £79
Indian
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Dukes Bar at Dukes Hotel

Dukes Bar at Dukes Hotel

Dukes Hotel, St James's Place, London, SW1A 1NY

Bars
Noto

Noto

47A Thistle Street, New town, Edinburgh, EH2 1DY

Noto in Edinburgh is an independent wine bar and restaurant serving Asian-inspired small plates alongside a portfolio of small domaine wine producers and signature cocktails. The concept is inspired by chef-owner Stuart Ralston’s time spent living and working in New York, with the menu drawing on the city’s after-hours food scene and the dishes he would eat after a night’s service. In fact, the restaurant is named after Stuart’s friend and roommate at the time Bob Noto, who took Stuart under his wing when arriving in the Big Apple. 

Noto is not Stuart’s first, or indeed only, restaurant. He originally opened highly-acclaimed Aizle in Edinburgh in 2014 (Noto’s sister restaurant), a fine dining Scottish bistro designed to draw together Scottish produce with the chef’s famed internationally-inspired cooking style. Noto is his more casual follow-up to Aizle.  

The interiors are clean, minimal and effortlessly trendy with neutral tones, wooden tables and seating and single exposed lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling. Cool, right? The unembellished interiors encourage the focus to be kept on the food and drink. 

On the menu is an exciting collection of sharing dishes which blend Asian flavours with modern European touches. For example, you might find the likes of fresh burrata spiked with romesco, chilli and toasted sourdough, or beef tartare with jerusalem artichoke and black garlic. Other, dishes include sesame prawn toast with katsuobushi, chicken yakitori with umeboshi and egg yolk and hand dived scallops with yuzu kosho and pumpkin. There are a couple of sweet dishes too: think chocolate with miso and hazelnut.  

To wash it all down, Noto’s drinks list offers an expertly-curated selection of small-producer wines and bespoke cocktails. Finally, the restaurant earned itself a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2021, which recognises restaurants that offer fantastic food for a good value price.

£30 - £49
Pan Asian
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Roka Charlotte Street

Roka Charlotte Street

37 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1RR

ROKA Charlotte Street is part of a small London mini chain which has sites in Aldwych, Canary Wharf and Mayfair too (with an additional restaurant planned for Dubai). The space is dominated by a robata grill where meat and fish are cooked with flair, with the kitchen focusing on high quality ingredients elsewhere to turn out plates of the very freshest sushi, soups and salads.

Over £80
Sushi
Japanese
The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

Little Bedwyn, near Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 3JP

£50 - £79
Modern European
The Cliveden Dining Room

The Cliveden Dining Room

Cliveden House, Taplow, Maidenhead, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 0JF

£50 - £79
Modern European
Evelyn

Evelyn's Table at The Blue Posts

28 Rupert Street, Soho, London, W1D 6DJ

Hidden away in the basement of The Blue Posts pub on the edge of London's Chinatown, Evelyn's Table is an intimate chef's table restaurant from the team behind hotspots The Palomar and The Barbary. Having first opened in 2017, the restaurant reopened in 2020 with a brand new team. The kitchen is now run solely by a team of three, namely ex-head chef of HIDE Above and Great British Menu finalist Luke Selby and his two brothers Nathaniel and Theo. Serving a menu which champions British produce and takes its inspiration from Luke's time spent in Japan, Evelyn's Table aims to provide a fine dining experience that's great value for money.

Accessed via a set of stairs on Rupert Court, the small dining room consists of just ten seats around a counter which overlooks the open kitchen. There is little by way of decor at Evelyn's Table apart from a few lamps providing a glow up at the marble-topped counter. Due to the nature of the restaurant there are only two sittings each night, at 6pm and again at 8:30pm meaning that you're likely to be sat up at the counter with people you haven't met before. Who knows, you might even get chatting with some of the other customers.

The five-course food menu, which costs £95 per head, changes every month to make the most of seasonal ingredients. Expect Japanese-inspired dishes such as marinated mackerel served with plum umeboshi and shisho, and squid noodles with a mushroom dashi. Meanwhile sweeter plates might include tarte tatin with clotted cream and miso. The drinks offering at Evelyn's Table comes courtesy of Honey Spencer, who as well as running wine bar The Mulwray above, has curated a list of predominantly naturual wines which has been designed to perfectly complement the flavours of the food.

Over £80
Japanese
French
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Le Gavroche

Le Gavroche

43 Upper Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 7QR

Founded in 1967 by brothers Michel and Albert Roux, Le Gavroche is, by many accounts, the birthplace of the British gastronomy we see today. Reel off some of the names that have rattled pans on these stoves and you'll hear a who's who of influential chefs - Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, Pierre Koffmann, Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti, Bryn Williams and Jun Tanaka, to name but a few. And of course, Michel Roux Jr himself, who has overseen the kitchen here as Le Gavroche chef-patron for many years now.

When Le Gavroche first opened, London's dining scene was almost non-existant in international terms. Today, the capital boasts one of the most eclectic and exciting food scenes in the world, and a great deal of that started with Le Gavroche.

Though the city has changed a great deal, Le Gavroche has the same elegance, opulence and Gallic charm that it had over 50 years ago. Paintings of the Roux brothers still adorn the walls, The menu, too, has retained many of the same iconic dishes. The iconic souffle Suisesse, for example, has never left the a la carte at Le Gavroche. The coquille St. Jacques - seared scallop, nori sable, sea vegetables and smoked eel sauce is another classic. Main dishes on the a la carte are all north of £40, but Le Gavroche is as much about being part of history as it is the exemplary food and perfect service. 

As you'd expect, Le Gavroche also boasts an extraordinary wine collection, and the cheese trolley is legendary. With two Michelin stars and an unassailable reputation, Le Gavroche remains a bucket list London restaurant.

Over £80
French
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal London Top 100
Kricket Brixton

Kricket Brixton

41-43 Atlantic Road, London, SW9 3JS

£30 - £49
Indian
Olive Tree Bath

Olive Tree Bath

Queensberry Hotel, Bath , Somerset, BA1 2QF

The Olive Tree restaurant is part of the magnificent townhouse that houses the Queensberry Hotel in Bath. This boutique hotel is one of the most popular in the city, and sits just a stones throw from famous Bath landmarks like The Circle, the Georgian Gardens and the Royal Avenue.

Inside the hotel, The Olive Tree is fast making itself just as popular to visitors as the aforementioned attractions - this remains the only Michelin-starred restaurant in the city and with Chris Cleghorn at the helm it seems likely to retain that award for some time. Chris honed his skills with the likes of Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park and James Sommerin, as well as spending time at Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck. His cooking combines the essential ingredients of those experiences - the precision of dishes at The Fat Duck, combined with a style that honours great West Country ingredients. Bath is fortunate to be surrounded by exceptional farmland, and The Olive Tree aims to show great local produce in its best light.

There's a six-course and a nine-course tasting menu, as well as a smaller four-course menu available at lunch on Fridays and Saturdays. Dishes include the likes of veal sweetbread, Westcombe ricotta, salted lemon and mint as a starter, Cornish monkfish with sea herbs and vin jaune as a main, and yuzu, Szechuan pepper, meringue and nasturtiums for dessert.

The Olive Tree is also a past winner of The AA’s Overall Best Wine List, so as you'd expect, the wine choice is varied here, with new and old world wines well represented, as well as biodynamic, organic and vegan wines.

£50 - £79
Modern European
One Michelin star
SquareMeal UK Top 100
The Black Swan at Oldstead

The Black Swan at Oldstead

Oldstead, North Yorkshire, YO61 4BL

Over £80
British
One Michelin star
The Waterside Inn

The Waterside Inn

Ferry Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 2AT

Over £80
French
Three Michelin stars
SquareMeal UK Top 100
Social Eating House

Social Eating House

58 Poland Street, Soho, London, W1F 7NR

Following the unprecedented success of his first solo venture Pollen Street Social, which achieved Michelin-star status in less than six months, world-renowned chef Jason Atherton went onto open Social Eating House, a more relaxed setting where diners can enjoy the same top-quality British food for which he has become known.

The restaurant is located in the heart of Soho and is influenced by the buzziness of this vibrant area of London. Low-lit interiors with exposed brickwork, traditional white-washed copper ceilings and weathered leather banquette seating give the space a cosy and intimate ambience whilst the friendly and relaxed service add to the informal atmosphere.

Social Eating House is split across three floors with the popular Blind Pig cocktail bar on the first floor, the restaurant at street level and an exclusive chef’s counter dining space in the basement overlooking the open kitchen.

The kitchen is helmed by chef patron Paul Hood who has worked closely with Jason Atherton over the last decade. The duo have collaborated to create and develop dishes on the contemporary bistro menu that showcase both chefs’ personal styles of cooking while celebrating the very best seasonal and locally sourced produce. 

Starters from the ever-changing a la carte menu could include roasted foie gras, sesame-dressed vegetable salad, salted kombu kelp, pickled ginger and a bonito dashi; or Scottish scallop ceviche with smoked avocado, raw artichoke, sunflower seeds and horseradish.

From the main courses, highlights include slow-cooked Cornish venison loin, spiced red cabbage, salsify olive oil mash and candied walnuts; and roasted Cornish day-boat brill with cep, pearl barley, chipirones, charred baby leek and mushroom tea.

Finally, for something sweet, temptations include a caramelised milk tart with ginger wine gel, fromage frais sorbet and almond crack; or an autumn berry “cheesecake”, with blackcurrant sorbet, blackcurrant curd, and star anise.

£50 - £79
Modern European
Claude Bosi at Bibendum

Claude Bosi at Bibendum

Michelin House, Chelsea, London, SW3 6RD

Located on the 1st floor of Michelin House, Bibendum is one of London's most extravagant and iconic restaurants, with a significant history to match. Many great chefs have worked a service here, among them Simon Hopkinson and Jeremy Lee, but now Claude Bosi has taken the reins, returning Bibendum to it's rightful place as a temple of British gastronomy.

Stunning stained glass windows former the centrepiece of Bibendum's dining room, which retains its white tablecloth smarts but with less of the stuffiness of yesteryear.

Whilst Bibendum of the past was British with classical French underpinnings, today's menu is unashamedly French, with Bosi taking great inspiration from his upbringing in Lyon. Right from the get go, the a la carte doesn't gold back on the decadence with a selection of amuse bouches, followed by starter dishes like beetroot, smoked eel, burrata and caviar, and duck jelly with onion, smoked sturgeon and (more) caviar. Some classic Bibendum dishes remain - the turbot a la Grenobloise, for example, and the Brittany rabbit with langoustine and tarragon too - but Bosi throws in a few twists and turns, like a Devonshire farm Peking duck with celery and celeriac. 

Desserts are equally extravagant - the Bibendum double chocolate souffle is a chocolate lovers dream and surely must go down as one of the most decadent desserts anywhere in London. Add in the extensive cheese trolley, pitch perfect service and a humongous wine list, and Bibendum looks to be well worth its two Michelin stars.

Over £80
French
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal London Top 100
The Sportsman

The Sportsman

Faversham Road, Seasalter, Kent, CT5 4BP

The Sportsman, based just outside the small seaside village of Seasalter, may not look like much from the outside but is in fact widely regarded as one of the UK’s finest gastropubs. Having held a Michelin star since 2008, the pub serves a menu of classic British food in a relaxed environment. Set in what feels like the middle of nowhere, The Sportsman gives guests a real sense of escape and also maintains the cosy feeling of a traditional country pub. This makes it a glorious spot to enjoy chef Steven Harris’s bold plates of food.

The outside of the large pub is painted white, with a large conservatory dining area running around two sides of the building. The interiors however, are far more rustic with large wooden tables surrounded by a variety of mismatching chairs spread out around the bar area and menus written up on a blackboard.

The Sportsman offers three different food menus: an a la carte, a daily 5-course tasting menu, and a longer full tasting menu which needs to be ordered in advance. The a la carte menu begins with starters such as salt baked celeriac, apple and fresh cheese, and slip sole grilled in seaweed butter, as well as a choice of local oysters. When it comes to main course options, expect big dishes like roast saddle of lamb with mint sauce, and roast chicken with sausage and truffle cream sauce. Whereas seafood dishes might include roast gurnard fillet with bouillabaisse sauce and green olive tapenade. If you have room for dessert, you might be tempted by the warm chocolate mousse with salted caramel and milk sorbet.

The food is of course accompanied by an extensive list of wines by both the bottle and glass, as well as a huge selection of local ales, spirits and soft drinks.

£50 - £79
British
Gastropub
One Michelin star
Da Terra

Da Terra

8 Patriot Square, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9NF

Bethnal Green Town Hall has housed many great restaurants over the last decade or so - both Viajante and the Typing Room held Michelin stars here in the past, but Da Terra eclipsed them both when it earned a second Michelin star in 2021. Italian chef Rafael Cagali was born in Sao Paolo and worked at The Fat Duck and Aulis before taking on Da Terra as his debut solo restaurant, and he brings his eclectic background and wealth of experience to the menu here.

Da Terra's dining room is remarkably simple, almost spartan by comparison with the plush, white tablecloth vibe in most hotel restaurants. Dark wood chairs surround smooth, circular marble tabletops, and a polished herringbone parquet stretches out underfoot. 

The setting places the food at centre stage, and diners have a choice between seven and ten course tasting menus. Dinner opens with an array of snacks - a cod croquette, a beef taco, a taleggio doughnut - before diving into dishes largely inspired by Cagali's Italian and Brazilian roots, as well as his time in Spain with star chefs Quique Dacosta and Martin Berasategui.

The resulting menu finds some fascinating pairings as a result - arctic charr comes with courgette and tucupi (a sauce made from Brazilian yellow manioc), and there's a custard with mussels, trout roe and sake kasu (the lees produced when making sake, which is often discarded). Wild halibut moqueca (a Brazilian fish stew) comes with palm hearts and farofa - a toasted cassava flour condiment, also from Brazil. It's a menu for the more adventurous, but service is simultaneously friendly and disarming, highlighting the casual fine dining movement that East London does so well.

Both tasting menus are available with or without accompanying drinks pairings.

Over £80
Modern European
Brazilian
Two Michelin stars
SquareMeal London Top 100
Core by Clare Smyth

Core by Clare Smyth

92 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London, W11 2PN

Core is the first solo restaurant from Northern Irish chef Clare Smyth. Since opening in 2017, following Smyth’s departure from Restaurant Gordon Ramsay where she had held three Michelin stars for nine years as head chef and then chef patron, Core has become renowned for its contemporary style of British cuisine. Winning two Michelin stars after being open for just one year, the London restaurant was awarded its third Michelin star in the 2021 guide. Combining the highest level of service, with ground-breaking culinary prowess and a relaxed fine-dining setting, Core by Clare Smyth aims to provide guests with a truly memorable dining experience.

Located in Notting Hill, Core is based inside a stunning period building with steps leading up to the restaurant’s front door. Inside, the elegant interiors of the 54-cover dining room strike a careful balance between being luxurious but not overly formal. Exposed wooden floors play host to circular tables which aren’t adorned with white table cloths, and there is little by way of décor apart from the odd shelf stacked with plants and books.

British produce is at the centre of all of Smyth’s menus, with a particular emphasis on natural, sustainably sourced food. There is the choice of two tasting menus and an a la carte menu at Core, all of which change regularly depending on the season. Dishes on offer range from starters such as Isle of Mull scallop tartare with a sea vegetable consommé, to main courses including Rhug Estate venison red cabbage and Tasmanian mountain pepper. In terms of sweet dishes, you can expect playful desserts such as lemonade parfait, and a dish known as the ‘Core-teaser’.

The food is accompanied by an extensive French-led wine list, with the option to opt for a pairing with the tasting menus. Meanwhile Core’s well-stocked bar can rustle up everything from classic cocktails to non-alcoholic delights.

Over £80
British
Three Michelin stars
SquareMeal London Top 100
Sabor: The Counter

Sabor: The Counter

35 Heddon Street, Mayfair, London, W1B 4BS

£30 - £49
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