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Best London Restaurants

AOL PICK from our Editors

London restaurants reflect the city’s melting-pot culture: You can find food from practically anywhere here (Polish-Mexican, anyone? An Argentinean steak or a Tibetan momo?). It’s not hard to put your finger on the best London restaurants for stellar Indian food outside India, as well as delicate dim sum, innovative Italian, Vietnamese pho joints and delectable Turkish ocabesi grills. How about the homegrown, much-maligned British table? British eats range from the spectacular, reinvented plates of some of the country’s finest chefs to the basic greasy spoons, where you can dine on sublimely simple fish and chips or savor a great British breakfast, at any time of day you fancy.

The Wolseley Dominic Bolton

The Wolseley

Neighborhood: West End
Price: Expensive

The Wolseley, whose owners also run celebrity favorite the Ivy, is housed in a stunning art deco former Wolseley Motors showroom, hence the name. It still has va-va-voom, with something of the feel of a turn-of-the-century Viennese tearoom—exquisite interiors of Venetian and Florentine influences with soaring high ceilings, polished wood and discreet booths. The food is perfectly executed British and brasserie favorites, and the spot makes an excellent choice for a refined afternoon tea with silver teapots, but at reasonable prices. 

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The Wolseley  
Hakkasan Dominic Bolton

Hakkasan

Neighborhood: Fitzrovia Price: Expensive

One of the best London restaurants for eclectic Chinese fare, Michelin-starred Hakkasan is not only about divine morsels of Cantonese dim sum. It’s enjoyed in the restaurant’s deeply slinky interiors—a basement that channels turn-of-the-century Shanghai, with its dark salons, its carved rosewood screens, its cinematic, vintage-style Chinoiserie all with a decoratively modern edge. But what of the food? The dim sum is like morsels from heaven.

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The Cinnamon Club Dominic Bolton

The Cinnamon Club

Neighborhood: Westminster Price: Expensive

Housed in the Grade II-listed former Westminster Library, the Cinnamon Club, brainchild of restaurateur Iqbal Wahhab, feels ideally complemented by its venerable, wood-paneled interior. It offers modern Indian cuisine in a menu that always brings a surprising confluence of complex flavors and spices in beautiful presentations. Dishes include such taste sensations as roasted plaice flatfish with Bengali spiced crab, or roast saddle of “Oisin” red deer with pickling spices. You can also summon up colonial ghosts by taking afternoon tea in the library bar, or nurse a cocktail in the club bar.

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Min Jiang Dominic Bolton

Min Jiang

Neighborhood: Kensington Price: Moderate

A wow-factor restaurant with a reasonable price tag, this 10th-floor dining spot has big views over the endless green of Hyde Park. It serves perfectly respectable, if not astoundingly good, Chinese food, with tasty regional Chinese dishes such as handmade noodles. Best here is the dim sum. However, you are really here for the views, and so this is a restaurant best sampled during the day, as at night you’ll only see darkness, and your reflection.

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Min Jiang  
Babylon at the Roof Gardens Dominic Bolton

Babylon at the Roof Gardens

Neighborhood: Kensington Price: Moderate

This is a stunning place that’s worth visiting if only to see the gardens: 1.5 landscaped acres on a London rooftop complete with horticultural themes and wandering flamingoes. The set menus offer sophisticated Modern British cuisine that isn’t too outrageously priced, and just about manages to live up to its surroundings. We’re talking dishes like pea and mint risotto with crème fraiche and mint oil and a pea shoot salad, and tarts of mushroom puree, roasted green tomato and cherry tomatoes in black olive dressing and basil cress: two courses for £38, three for £45. If you can’t afford to eat here, you can always pop by for a look or to have a drink.

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Atari-Ya Dominic Bolton

Atari-Ya

Neighborhood: Mayfair Price: Moderate

Sushi aficionados know about this little, mainly takeaway place near Bond Street. It supplies some of London’s best sushi restaurants with fish, and has just a few small tables here or you can take out: sublimely fresh sliced fish in all sorts of variations of sashimi and sushi, at lip-lickingly cheap prices.

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Atari-Ya  
Bocca di Lupo Dominic Bolton

Bocca di Lupo

Neighborhood: Soho Price: Moderate

The "Mouth of the Wolf" has a nice contemporary-vintage feel, a grown-up place that nevertheless is relaxingly informal. The menu is inordinately inventive and clever, though Italians might not necessarily approve. It’s not that it does creative things with classics, rather it presents a scattergun array of classic regional dishes: fritti (fried dishes) from Roma, cime de rape (a kind of bitter broccoli) from Puglia and so on. And another clever stroke: you can dine tapas style. Portions are available in two sizes—small and large. Molto chic and molto popular, so book ahead.

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Bocca di Lupo  
Lahore Kebab House Dominic Bolton

Lahore Kebab House

Neighborhood: Whitechapel Price: Budget

This Pakistani barbecue is an East London institution and has been keeping kebab-hungry punters happy for more than 40 years. It’s also BYO, which renders it even more of a bargain: Some regulars will happily work through a bottle of whisky as they eat. Barbecue meat dishes are what the crowds are here for, particularly the lamb tandoori chops, but masalas are also tip top, mopped up with freshly baked piping-hot breads. It’s not just a meat feast, so vegetarians can tag along for the ride: tucking into sag aloo, chana masala and so on. Don’t expect a fancy interior.

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Royal China Queensway Dominic Bolton

Royal China Queensway

Neighborhood: Queensway Price: Budget

You can see by the queues here for lunchtime dim sum (you can’t book for lunch) that it’s going to be good. Once you’ve given your name to the stern-faced door-person, waited your turn (usually only around 20 minutes), been ushered into the black-and-gold, full-to-the-brim interior, and ordered from the list of dim sum delights, you’ll start to see how good it can be. Enjoy delicious morsels and parcels of treats. The Chung fun and pork puffs will make you want to order more and more. If you don’t go mad, this is still a budget option. It’s popular with families, and your baby/toddler might even garner a smile from the wait staff.

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Kiasu

Neighborhood: Bayswater Price: Budget

Thought it's not a great date night option, with an interior that’s all about clean surfaces and a quick turnover, Kiasu is nonetheless a place for food lovers. It features scrumptious dishes from the Straits of Malacca. Munch on otak otak (spicy fish cakes), gado gado (vegetables in peanut sauce): so good they named them twice. Chicken satay also wins plaudits, spring rolls are splendidly light and ungreasy, and noodle (mee) dishes are the finest in Asian comfort food. 

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Kiasu  
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