You haven’t experienced London until you have immersed yourself in its buzzing food and drink scene. We surveyed discerning guests of Millennium hotels to discover their favourite places to eat in London, and here are some of the best places to get a flavour of the city’s neighbourhoods, according to our well-travelled guests.
4 Princes Street W1B 2LE
Why we love it: Sample the extensive sushi, sashimi and sake menus at one of the most authentic Japanese restaurants in the city.
What to try: In addition to super-fresh raw fish, you’ll find noodle soups and grilled dishes that are perfect for sharing izakaya-style.
What our members say: James Beale chose Chisou for its “fresh produce, traditional but creative dishes bursting with flavours, and its quiet, relaxed and authentic Japanese environment."
Bentley’s Oyster Bar
11-15 Swallow Street W1B 4DG
Credit: Bentley's Oyster Bar
Why we love it: Shucking and serving more than 1,000 deliciously fresh Loch Ryan oysters a day, it’s no wonder this seafood institution has gained a loyal London following since opening in 1916. From the Oyster & Champagne Bar to the Grill and private dining rooms, it’s the history and ambience that our guests really love about this place.
What to try: Choreographed by Michelin-starred chef Richard Corrigan for the past decade, the fine dining seafood dishes are all exceptional. For something quintessentially British, try the locally sourced fish and chips.
What our members say: Gordon Mackenzie loves the quality of the food, saying “the fish dishes are exceptional”.
La Boudin Blanc
5 Trebeck Street, Shepherds Market W1J 7LT
Why we love it: Rustic yet refined French fare is on offer here – from the escargot starter with garlic and parsley butter, to a rich and creamy chicken and duck liver parfait and mains of braised lamb shank or a confit duck leg.
What to try: The desserts really tickle our guests’ taste buds – so be sure to leave room for Gallic gourmet offerings, including vanilla crème brûlée and red wine-poached pear. You can also pick up a bottle of the Ligurian olive oil that is pressed exclusively for the restaurant.
What our members say: Stephanie Borg says she always heads here when in London, due to the “excellent food, wine, service and ambience”.
77 Brewer Street W1F 9ZN
Why we love it: The Danish steakhouse puts meat front and centre – quite literally – thanks to the two glass meat lockers hung with ageing beef that divide the bar and restaurant.
What to try: Specialising in prime cuts of matured beef, this place is a carnivore’s dream. Simply order a steak and select your sides and sauces.
What our members say: “The steaks are perfect and the homemade fries and sauce – wow! The atmosphere is just amazing… you actually feel like you are in the US. There are good vibes – also from the waiters.” – Charlotte Sorensen
45 Great Malborough Street W1F 7JL
Why we love it: The vibrant interiors of London’s Ping Pong restaurants make for a fun night out as you and your guest pick out baskets of fried dumplings and steamed buns as they do the rounds.
What to try: Our guests especially love Ping Pong for their sticky, savoury char sui buns and delicate flowering teas.
What our members say: “Delicious food, a great drinks menu including non-alcoholic cocktails and excellent service in comfortable, lively restaurants.” – Caoimhe Fahy
8 Hanway Place W1T 1HD
Why we love it: Executive head chef Tong Chee Hwee and his team have been cooking up Cantonese cuisine with a contemporary twist since 2001, opening a sister branch in Mayfair just a few years ago. The menu is peppered with full-on flavours and punchy dishes, but the interior is simple and stylish.
What to try: Dumplings, noodles, steamed buns – arrive hungry as you’ll find all your favourite Chinese classics elevated to specialties of refined beauty.
What our members say: Maryam Rab is a fan of Hakkasan thanks to the “fusion food, the ambience and the service”.
12 Upper St Martin's Lane WC2H 9FB
Dishoom. Credit: Nic-Crilly Hargrave
Why we love it: Bringing a cool, contemporary vibe to Britain’s beloved curry house, the incredible interiors of Dishoom can also be found in Shoreditch, Carnaby Street in Soho and behind the recently redeveloped King’s Cross train station.
What to try: The all-day menu hops from samosas to slow-cooked biryanis to creamy-cool kulfi ice cream, while the popular breakfast bacon roll is served wrapped in naan bread.
What our members say: “It's contemporary, stylish and delish Indian street food with a very modern and sleek touch,” says Shabana Javed.
28-34 St. Martin's Court WC2N 4AL
J.Sheekey. Credit: Sim Canetty-Clarke
Why we love it: Having been in operation for the past 120 years, this fish restaurant started life as a humble market stall before evolving into the stylish operation it is today as one of the West End’s most beloved restaurants. Check out the horseshoe-shaped central dining bar of the more informal J. Sheekey Oyster Bar next door.
What to try: A half pint of Atlantic prawns, Oscietra caviar with blinis and sour cream, or maybe a Cornish fish stew – all the seafood is sparklingly fresh.
What our members say: Shaenn Gaber says the Covent Garden institution is “always reliable”, thanks to its “first rate service and food quality”.
25 Swallow Street W1B 4QR
Why we love it: Promising a ‘true taste of Argentina’, this steakhouse has a number of outlets across London – from the business centres of Broadgate and Chancery Lane and the sparkling high rises of Canary Wharf, to Soho’s Charlotte Street and the leafy surrounds of Hampstead and Richmond.
What to try: Pick your cut of meat – from lomo (fillet) to ancho (rib-eye) or cuadril (rump) – and a marinade such as the punchy chimichurri, and enjoy an authentic South American feast. Gaucho also stocks a range of Argentine wines and serves a hearty all-you-can-eat brunch.
What our members say: “Superb food – very fresh, extremely tasty and excellent service,” says Vanessa Preece.
16 Bury Street SW1Y 6AJ
Why we love it: This European brasserie features live acts and some truly talented cooking, and has a long-standing reputation for getting the glamorous party started. The interior is the vision of design extraordinaire Sir Terence Conran, and is worth visiting in its own right.
What to try: There are some classics from across the continent, such as bourride fish soup and white Alba truffle risotto, while Asian influences in some dishes bring the menu smack up-to-date – try the seared yellow fin tuna with a lotus crisp, and pickled Japanese radish in a yuzu and grapefruit dressing.
What our members say: “Lovely surroundings, good atmosphere, excellent service and a good menu.” – Linda Scott
55 Jermyn Street SW1Y 6LX
Why we love it: Old-school elegance meets expert service at this seafood stalwart, which launched as a restaurant in the 1840s.
What to try: Head to the Oyster Bar or see what the trancheur is serving up from the retro-style carving trolley – it might be marinated roast leg of English lamb or salmon coulibiac depending on the day you visit.
What our members say: Reto Strub loves Wiltons for “the combination of excellent quality of food, friendly staff and the ambience of a very traditional British restaurant”.
150 Piccadilly W1J 9BR
Why we love it: From the Art Deco-interior of the Rivoli Bar to the extravagant gold-ceilinged Palm Court, the many eating areas of The Ritz have tempted decades of hungry Londoners looking for a taste of the good life, and it’s no wonder our guests love it for the sense of privacy and the elegant atmosphere it affords.
What to try: Established by Auguste Escoffier, one of history's most influential chefs, the Ritz assures you that you will be in safe hands. The competent cooking allows British produce to shine; expect Welsh spring lamb, game birds reared on Scotland’s heathlands and native lobster from the surrounding seas. And for a sweet treat, there’s always afternoon tea.
What our members say: “The taste and presentation of the food, the welcoming atmosphere, the cleanliness of the restaurant and the attire of the staff, all that adds to my enjoyment at The Ritz,” says William Rafidi.
160 Piccadilly W1J 9EB
Credit: The Wolseley
Why we love it: Step back in time at this café-restaurant that is decked out in the grand European tradition and prides itself on offering perfectly polished service and a refined yet relaxing ambiance.
What to try: Service runs from early breakfast to lunch and late-night dinners, not forgetting of course the establishment’s acclaimed afternoon tea service. Feast on finger sandwiches, fruit scones, a selection of pastries, and a wide range of teas before moving on to classic cakes, such as Battenberg or Sacher torte.
What our members say: Sarah Williamson says: “Every aspect about The Wolseley is superb – particularly the atmosphere – and a lot of that has to do with the great personality of the waiting staff. The food is incredible - good size portions, and all in all reasonably priced!”
Thames Wharf, Rainville Road W6 9HA
Credit: River Café
Why we love it: Take in views of the Thames from this iconic Italian eatery where the emphasis is on seasonality, fresh vegetables and delicious delicatessen items.
What to try: Look out for regional dishes from across Italy, such as Tuscan bread soup ribollita or risi e bisi, a Venetian dish of rice and peas with mint, stock and vermouth.
What our members say: “The service is impeccable – good ratio of staff to tables – and the food excellent with a very interesting choice of seasonal vegetables,” comments Marisa Cardoni.
Courtfield Road SW7 4QH
Why we love it: For a pre-dinner cocktail, the Raj-inspired Bombay Bar is a must, before you head to a table in the main dining room decorated with exotic accents, or the attractive conservatory area.
What to try: Authentic Bombay dishes inspired and influenced by regional cuisines from across India: including slow-cooked curries, grills and kebabs, as well as tandooris that have been prepared in a traditional clay oven.
37-45 Kensington High Street W8 5ED
Why we love it: A favourite among ‘ladies who lunch’, this is a great rest-stop when in Kensington for business or pleasure. You can also find outlets of the restaurant in Chelsea on Brompton Road and just off Regents Street.
What to try: Classic bistro-style dishes such as moules marinière and chicken paillard (cooked with pistachios, pesto, olives and sundried tomatoes) are the order of the day and, thanks to the onsite bakery and patisserie, there are heaps of freshly made French desserts on offer too.
What our members say: “Good value, handy when staying at Copthorne Tara Hotel London Kensington. Tasty food, well-presented, attentive staff who are so polite and welcoming.” – Christine Foulkes Jones
6 Old Court Place W8 4PL
Why we love it: This cute-as-a-button restaurant has been offering a warm, rustic ambience for more than 40 years. Expect candles in old wine bottles, mismatched chairs, and antiques hanging from the ceiling – it’s a quirky and cozy choice.
What to try: Affordable starters, mains and desserts that regularly change with the seasons. Look at the blackboard to see the day’s specials.
What our members say: Claire Kelly says the lovely food and lovely staff are complemented by the décor and relaxed ambiance.
The Floral Hall, Stoney Street SE1 1TL
Credit: Roast Restaurant
Why we love it: Overlooking the hustle and bustle of London’s famous Borough Market – a must for visiting foodies – this stylish restaurant celebrates classic British cooking and seasonal ingredients.
What to try: A traditional roast dinner, of course! Whatever your meat of choice, you will find it served here with heaps of tasty trimmings. There are also plenty of fish and vegetarian options, and a fine selection of UK cheeses from nearby dairy Neal's Yard.
What our members say: “Excellent ‘ordinary’ food, great service, great specials served throughout the week,” says Sean McCool, who is a fan of the mouth-watering suckling pig and breakfast served fresh from the frying pan.
87 Tower Bridge Road SE1 4TW
Why we love it: A time-wrap eatery that oozes charm, the pie and mash recipes it serves haven’t changed since the establishment was opened in 1902 by Michele Manze – the present owner’s grandfather. Expect a no-frills white-tiled interior featuring black-and-white photographs taken decades ago.
What to try: This place serves Cockney classics including pie, mash and liquor, and stewed or jellied eels to eat in or takeaway.
What our members say: “I went there with my grandparents over 40 years ago, and it’s the place I always return to when I can.” – Peter Nicholls
20 New Change Passage EC4M 9AG
Why we love it: Enjoy some of the best British roasts and American barbecue dishes as you take in spectacular views of St. Paul’s Cathedral from the floor-to-ceiling windows. The drinks menu features US and UK craft beers and a strong dose of classic cocktails and aged whiskies.
What to try: One of the UK’s first barbecue-focused steakhouses, Jamie Oliver’s fine dining restaurant in the heart of the city is all about aged and grilled meats – from a variety of steaks to ribs, pulled pork and chicken all charred low and slow over the in-house pit.
What our members say: “The food is American, barbecue-based with a twist, and the kitchens are open so you can see the food you are going to eat being cooked. All of the staff are friendly and happy to make your eating experience a wonderful one.” – Clare Al-Baggou
350 King’s Road SW3 5UU
Why we love it: Having hit the nearby designer boutiques of this fashionable neighborhood, it’s time to recharge at bistro-style eatery The Bluebird. Dine in the alfresco café and courtyard for a spot of people watching or head upstairs to the spacious dining room. Before you leave, pick up gourmet supplies from the food store and wine cellar.
What to try: This is classy comfort food as its best – from The Bluebird burger and truffle and wild mushroom lasagna to the Goan monkfish curry.
What our members say: Henry Hodgkins loves this high-quality venue thanks to its “excellent food and service”.
7 Langton Street SW10 0JL
Why we love it: Founded by Alvaro Maccioni, thought of by many as the pioneer of Italian cuisine in Britain, this restaurant’s Tuscan menu has attracted many celebrities and socialites looking for a taste of the dolce vita for years.
What to try: The handmade pasta dishes are a real highlight.
What our members say: “It is just a nice, friendly restaurant with well-cooked food,” says David Clarke, “simple but special.”
1 City Road, EC1Y 1AG
Why we love it: Housed in the headquarters of the first Singer sewing machine factory, this popular pub sees suited City workers rub shoulders with the cool crowd of Shoreditch as they enjoy the huge selection of craft beers and European wines.
What to try: Classic pub dishes served in welcoming surroundings. Head downstairs for cocktails at the stylish 5cc Old Street.
What our members say: “Great range of craft beers, really well-kept and surprising, different food with really friendly staff. I also really enjoyed talking to the bartender who was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the beers.” – Vivian Woodell
335 Fulham Road SW10 9TW
Why we love it: Decked out with lanterns, this compact Lebanese restaurant transports diners to somewhere altogether more exotic than Fulham Road.
What to try: A range of oven-baked and cold mezze, which come flying out of the kitchen at a speedy rate, before moving on to grilled Middle Eastern specialties. Be sure to round things off with an Arabic coffee.
What our members say: “The restaurant is cosy, the food is excellent and healthy, the service is good and the price is reasonable for the quality of food.” – Alessandra Grossi
So regardless of whether you are north or south of the river, on business or simply visiting for pleasure, armed with our members’ recommendations, you are never far from a great London restaurant.