Londoners have been eating for centuries, and while new restaurants pop up left right and centre, a handful of stalwarts have stood the test of time. From classic British eateries to celebrity hotspots, here are some of the capital?s most famous restaurants.

A-list celebrities flock here for everything from lobster to a scrumptious crab doughnut. The food might have dated, but the décor and service remain as timeless as they come.

Lake Restaurant

You’ll have a spot of people-watching at this riverside restaurant in Hyde Park. Book a table on the spruced-up parquet terrace or inside the modern Italian-accented restaurant to admire boats and ducks bobbing by in the water.

Look back to the city’s historic docks at this classy Thames-side eatery, which boasts a sought-after terrace, a conventional brasserie-style bar and grill and a posh restaurant serving up modern dishes with French flair.

Dine with a view of the London skyline at this elegant dining room, which offers seasonal British sharing plates and cocktails alongside the dramatic vistas.

Tuck into fresh pasta and a glass of wine while you watch yachts and pleasure cruises slip in and out of St Katharine Dock at this waterside spot. Guests can choose between the a la carte menu and a dedicated all-day menu, which includes snacks, drinks and a separate lunch set menu.


Long before Instagram existed, Sketch in London’s Mayfair was already famous for its incredible interiors. Founded by Mourad Mazouz (who earned his stripes setting up 404 in Paris) and French chef Pierre Gagnaire, the restaurant, bar, and art destination is renowned for its imaginative spaces that bring together food, drink, and design in a feast for the eyes.

The most iconic – and instantly recognisable – room at Sketch is probably the egg-shaped pod loos, which are covered in David Shrigley’s shrewdly funny artwork and have an almost-futuristic feel to them. But there are plenty of other rooms to explore, from the regal-looking parlour to the enchanted glade and the millennial pink gallery, each with their own personality that stands out in the most spectacular way.

This year, the restaurant has partnered with a variety of designers to create a special exhibition exploring ‘Crafted Wonder’. From installations by La Manufacture Cogolin and Lasvit to the work of Yinka Shonibare, these new works play off and complement the existing rooms. From embroidered portraits to wood carvings, the result is truly spectacular.


In an Instagram- and Michelin star-hungry world that often rewards fads and incubates gimmicks, traditional English eateries tend to be pleasingly immune to frivolity. That’s certainly true of the venerable Rules, which opened in 1798 and counts Charles Dickens, Laurence Olivier and Charlie Chaplin among its famous guests. It’s an old-school restaurant in the best sense of the word, offering a set menu of game dishes and oysters as well as pies and puddings.

A newer, but no less impressive example is Brat, a Shoreditch restaurant that ticks all the hipster boxes with its open wood fire grill and vaguely Basque theme. Chef Tomos Parry, who hails from Wales, earned a Michelin star within six months of opening, thanks to his outstanding cooking that celebrates British ingredients.

Other must-visit restaurants include Claridge’s for a glamorous meal fit for royalty, Wilton’s for its palace-style décor and the Helix restaurant, 39 floors up in the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building for great views of St Paul’s along with top-notch dining. Another must-visit is the Galvin brothers’ Warehouse in the heart of the City, for modern British dishes like smoked salmon with rhubarb and free range chicken with carrot crumble.


If you’ve ever wandered around Borough Market, chances are you’ve seen a line of people waiting to be seated at Padella. This restaurant serves fresh pasta dishes for reasonable prices and is a favorite among locals. You should get there early because the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but the line moves quickly and the staff is friendly.

Designed as a pasta bar, Padella serves stand-out Italian dishes with a focus on unfussiness and quality ingredients. Its pappardelle with eight hour Dexter beef shin ragu is particularly delicious, but you should also try the pici cacio e pepe (handmade pasta with marjoram, lemon and gold garlic) and the ravioli of Wiltshire ricotta with raw peas and mint.

The duo behind the restaurant, Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda, previously launched Italian-inspired resto Trullo in Highbury, which helped popularise a new breed of London Italian that favoured simplicity and superior ingredients over nostalgia and cliche. They have just opened a second branch of Padella on Phipp Street in Shoreditch. You can even peek thru glass panels to watch fresh pasta being made!

Simpson’s Tavern

Located in Ball Court, Simpsons Tavern is London’s oldest chophouse. Founded in 1757, this restaurant is famous for its dark wood panelling and communal tables. It also serves great beer and traditional food like calves liver and bacon, Edwardian pork chop, and gammon with tomato.

The place has been frequented by famous people such as Charles Dickens, Laurence Olivier, and Charlie Chaplin. But this year, it received a Michelin star, making it one of the city’s most famous restaurants. It’s a must for anyone visiting the city.

The owners of Simpson’s Tavern have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the restaurant. They want to reopen it so that the public can enjoy this piece of history. But they are facing a difficult time due to the perfect storm of energy bills and inflation. It’s not just Simpsons Tavern that is under threat. Many of the iconic eateries in the capital are closing down. Without them, the city would become a vast hotel for tourists and nothing else. It’s important that we preserve these restaurants, and try to find solutions to the current problems in the hospitality industry.

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