10 Bucket List London Restaurants


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Classic London dining at The Ivy (Photo courtesy The Ivy)

Start planning now for your next trip to London with our pick of the best places to eat in the British capital. We’ve selected 10 of our favorite bucket list London restaurants, with delicious dishes to keep you going from morning until night. For a gourmet getaway, London Perfect can also serve up tempting London vacation apartment rentals near these stylish dining destinations.

The Ivy for British Classics

It’s hard to imagine a list of must-visit London restaurants that doesn’t include The Ivy. Championing classic British dishes in a modern way, this 1917-born Covent Garden icon has spawned sister brasseries, grills and cafés from Kensington to Chelsea, Marylebone and Soho. Martin Brudnizki Design’s decor is elegant, with a smart-casual dress code to match. You can dine from the à la carte, set or vegan and vegetarian menus, all with a seasonal slant. For trad English treats try The Ivy shepherd’s pie or deep-fried haddock and chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce. Puddings tap into English comfort food, such as apple pie with Devonshire clotted cream or sticky toffee pudding. You can even sample a top-notch English wine! 1-5 West Street, Covent Garden, WC2

An afternoon tea experience in London is a must! (Photo courtesy The Wolseley)

The Wolseley for Afternoon Tea

Bucket list London restaurants don’t come more gorgeous than The Wolseley, a fabulously glam gem in Piccadilly that’s ideal for afternoon tea. A former 1920s car showroom-turned-bank, the space is a wow, redesigned by late Irish architect David Collins in 2003 to channel the spirit of the grand European cafés. Today you can admire the room’s stunning original features, including black-and-white geometric-patterned floors, marble pillars, black lacquer décor and lofty arches, while enjoying top-notch British food and service. Come for the impressive breakfast, lunch or dinner, or indulge with a cream tea, classic afternoon tea or Champagne afternoon tea. Finger sandwiches, cakes, and scones with jam and cream are marvellous. 160 Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1

London brunch in style at Granger & Co. (Photo credit Petrina Tinsley courtesy of Granger & Co.)

Granger & Co. for Breakfast

Legendary for breakfasts and laid-back brunches, Granger & Co. was founded by Australian chef and cookbook author Bill Granger. His Bills cafés in Sydney paved the way for this charming, light-filled restaurant in Notting Hill, which dishes up his famous sweet corn fritters and avocado salsa, silky-smooth scrambled eggs on sourdough, and sinfully good ricotta hotcakes with banana and honeycomb butter. Healthy juices, great coffee and morning cocktails keep the breakfast joy coming. More substantial lunch and dinner offerings include crab linguine, coconut curry and white chocolate pavlova. Sister branches beckon in Chelsea, King’s Cross and Clerkenwell. 175 Westbourne Grove, W11

 

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Rochelle Canteen for Lunch

An insider secret, Rochelle Canteen in East London is the perfect spot for an intimate, relaxed lunch, with tables indoors and outside in a pretty, tree-fringed garden courtyard. Off Arnold Circus in Shoreditch, it was established by Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson in 2004, and occupies the converted bike shed of the Victorian Rochelle School (hidden behind a door in the high brick wall). The canteen serves breakfast and lunch daily, with dinner on select evenings. Lunch menus are always healthy and heavenly, with interesting meat, fish and vegetarian options. Dishes might include an asparagus starter, a main of courgettes with saffron and white beans, and blood orange sorbet for dessert. Wines are from France and Italy. 16 Playground Gardens, Shoreditch, E2 

Delicious fresh fare at Ottolenghi (Photo courtesy Ottolenghi)

Ottolenghi for Salads and Vegetables

Dreamy pink-and-white meringues, pastries and cakes are piled high in the windows of Ottolenghi’s restaurants, but it’s the generous platters of colorful salads and creatively prepared vegetables that make this an essential refuelling spot. The Israeli-British chef and cookbook author is renowned for his fresh Middle Eastern-inspired food, including healthy, organic produce and plant-based dishes. You’ll find free-range chicken, beef, salmon and prawns here, but look out for signature sexy salads such as turmeric-roasted cauliflower, chargrilled broccoli with chili and garlic, and beetroot with elderflower labneh. Soups and cooked vegetarian main dishes are also divine. White, bright branches span Notting Hill, Belgravia, Islington and Spitalfields. 63 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill, W11

 

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 The Quality Chop House for Steaks and Sunday Roasts

Long a favorite with London foodies, The Quality Chop House, set in a terrace house in Clerkenwell, is an intimate affair. This venerable diner celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2019 and has charming, heritage-listed interiors, from a mosaic doorstep to black-and-white tiled floors, wooden benches and vintage signage. Its reputation for meaty goodness is founded on its fabulous chops and large steaks, with daily changing menus at à la carte lunch and dinner. The splendid set menu selection of Sunday roasts is also hugely popular. They’re served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and hearty vegetables. Wines hail from Europe, Australia and South Africa. 88-94 Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, EC1

A taste of France right in the heart of London (Photo courtesy Brasserie Zédel)

Brasserie Zédel for French

In the heart of Piccadilly, Brasserie Zédel evokes the spirit of a grand, bustling Parisian brasserie. Traditional, good-value French food is the name of the game, served in a spacious subterranean restaurant boasting Art Deco interiors. Diners can choose between the seasonal à la carte menu, prix fixe two- or three-course menus, or vegetarian options. Classic dishes include French onion soup, Niçoise salad, prawn and avocado cocktail, rib-eye steak and whole lemon sole. Special plâts du jour (daily dishes) liven things up, from duck confit and Lyonnaise potatoes on Tuesdays to Breton fish stew on Fridays. Leave room for desserts such as chocolate mousse. Also here are ZL Café and US-inspired Bar Américain. 20 Sherwood Street, Piccadilly, W1

Randall & Aubin for Seafood and Fish

Soho institution Randall & Aubin has delighted diners since 1996 with its stellar fish and seafood. British and French classics include hand-picked Devon crab and moules marinière (mussels with garlic, parsley, white wine and cream). The vibe is fun, with casual luxury reflected in the marble-topped bar, 18th-century Parisian chandeliers, disco mirror ball and sidewalk terrace. Once a Victorian butcher’s shop, it still serves tasty rotisserie chicken and steak dishes, but the go-to here are the English and Irish oysters, Orkney scallops, seafood platters, lobster, crab and prawns. Fish ranges from haddock and chips to line-caught tuna, accompanied by Champagne, wine, beer, cider or cocktails. Order R&A Seafood Boxes for home delivery. 16 Brewer Street, Soho, W1

Elegant dining at Dishoom (Photo courtesy Dishoom)

Dishoom for Indian

London is packed with good Indian restaurants but Dishoom is one of the most stylish. Taking its cue from Bombay’s beloved Irani cafés of the last century, its gorgeous interiors are filled with vintage photos, quirky signage and atmospheric memorabilia. The first branch opened in East London’s Shoreditch, with an eclectic, bohemian terrace, but there are also inspiring outlets in Carnaby, King’s Cross, Covent Garden and Kensington (think a 1940s-inspired look)  – handy for comfy, two-bedroom London Perfect apartment Austen. The house black daal is a signature dish, perfect to accompany chicken tikka or biryani. A Bollybellini or Dishoom Espresso Martini makes an ideal cocktail. 4 Derry Street, Kensington, W8

 

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Circolo Populare for Italian

London restaurants are world famous, and many of the best are Italian. Sicilian trattoria Circolo Populare in Fitzrovia is a real wow, decorated with wall-to-wall bottles, hanging flowers and verdant plants. Rattan furniture, romantic pendant lamps and vintage Italian film posters complete the Mediterranean island look, with sixty seats out on the sunny terrace. The monthly-changing menus will get your attention too, from share-friendly antipasti starters to mains of fresh pasta and pizza, followed by decadent desserts. Even the G&Ts are inspired by Italy. There’s a sense of fun, with dish names including Yass Queen! and Dr Vealgood. It’s open daily for lunch and dinner, with a tempting weekend brunch. Seventies Capri-influenced sister restaurant Gloria in Shoreditch is equally special. 40-41 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia, W1

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