4 St. James's Market, St. James
Mayfair and St. James have a reputation for being stuffy and formal (which they are), but these days, some of the capital’s best food is hiding behind the neighborhoods' shiny storefronts. That’s Scully. Chef Ramuel Scully is a global citizen, with Chinese, Indian, Irish, and Balinese heritage plus a Sydney upbringing, and you can taste all that on the plate. Dinner at Scully might look something like: slow-cooked eggplant paired with preserved lemons and spoonfuls of creamy curd, chili-marinated goat tempered with cooling labneh, the best tomato salad of your life, and a wine list that stands up to the food. And the interior is that classic medley of elegant greys and an open kitchen synonymous with upscale dining from London to Los Angeles. But the jars of pickles and ferments, the sheer artistry of each plate, and the feverish excitement when you finally get to dig in push Scully to the top of our reservation list.
16-18 St. James Pl., St. James
The Stafford is a well-kept secret. So well-kept, that despite a decade of near constant travel to London, many staffers had never heard of it. Hidden down a quiet residential street in Mayfair, the hotel has 107 rooms and occupies a collection of 17th-century townhouses. The rooms are spacious, with beautiful vintage wallpaper, separate dressing rooms, and all-marble bathrooms. And despite being in the middle of the city center, The Stafford is blissfully quiet. History buffs, or anyone else for that matter, shouldn’t miss Winston Churchill’s former home, a few doors down.