155 Bar & Kitchen
155 Farringdon Rd., Clerkenwell
The labyrinthine 155 has a lot going for it. First there's the space itself, which is split into several distinct, thoughtfully and meticulously decorated sections: a dining room, wine cave, piano bar, and martini bar. Then, there's the food, shepherded by Fifteen vet, Gavin Gordon, who has designed a seasonal, British menu that's heavy on the meat and fish, served up in a contemporary, visually arresting way. What's most impressive, though, may just be the restaurant's sheer versatility and the span of its opening hours: You could pop in here for an early breakfast just as easily as you could hit the Martini bar late night. It's the work of the Clerkenwell London collective whose design and clothing concept store is part of the complex on 155 Farringdon Road.
45 Jermyn St.
45 Jermyn Street, Mayfair
Fortnum & Mason, which had, of late, started to fall into the "tourist trap" arena, is making a comeback, and a major one at that with their splashy new restaurant, 45 Jermyn St. Suddenly, F&M is a destination for (well-heeled) locals again as well. Once inside the palatial Martin Brudnizki-designed bistro and seated at one of the luscious orange booths, the stuff of old-fashioned storybooks awaits: You can summon a cart of caviar and have your pick of the best, or ask for an ice-cream sundae (spiked, if you like) with the works. Of course, all the basics are available as well from British classics like rib steak to modern favorites like avocado on toast. It's the sort of place you go on a special occasion and wear your "Sunday Best."
8 Mount Street (Closed)
8 Mount St., Mayfair
This splashy new brasserie is on one of Mayfair's most exclusive streets, near the Berkeley hotel, the Celine flagship, and a number of other upscale shops and institutions. The cozy space practically glistens, covered in bronze tiles and a long leather banquette that spans the room. The menu is equally comforting, as it's certainly not out there to break any boundaries with its familiar dishes and mediterranean bent—there's lobster linguini, grilled langoustines, and a phenomenal Dover Sole. It's a welcome addition to the area which needs more lunch/dinner/drinks spots.
136-138 George St., Marlybone
The grilled meat and chicken shawarma here is scrumptious, but you will need a cold drink unless you really like spicy food. The nice thing is that you can get your food to-go in a tinfoil container, so you can have a couple bites, then put it to one side, and when you get peckish, finish it off. It's great for a working dinner after a late night at the office. Photo: Michael Rehfeldt.
Halkin Arcade, Motcomb St., Belgravia
Nestled in the heart of Belgravia on the absurdly charming Motcomb street, Amaya is one of our favorite spots for Indian food. Most of the dishes are grilled, which lets you enjoy Indian flavors without the gut bomb that the cuisine can sometimes deliver. Favorite menu items: the grilled fish, the duck, and the grilled broccoli.
1 Redchuch St., Shoreditch
The first of its kind in London, Andina offers up the concept of Andean “picanterias”—casual, family-run community restaurants. Serving up fresh juices and smoothies, a variety of ceviches, Quinoa Burgers, and the like, it’s one of our go-tos for a healthy, well-priced meal in Shoreditch.
30 St. Cross St., Clerkenwell
Beautiful, Modern British is what you can expect at this new Farringdon joint. The dark, spare space, decorated almost exclusively with black Tom Dixon hanging lights, is a perfect blank canvas for the artfully plated, Instagram-worthy cuisine. Go for dinner, where a delectable daily changing set menu is served each night, at a very affordable—by London standards—£45. And definitely don't skip out on the sourdough bread with yeast butter at the start.
44 Berkeley Sq., Mayfair
Founded in 1963 by London hospitality legend Mark Birley, Annabel's is something of a London institution. Generations of London royalty from Princess Di and the Rolling Stones to Poppy Delevigne have turned up there to rub elbows on its intimate and tiny dance floor. Annabel's may not be as red-hot as it was in the old days, but it retains its sense of history, its exclusive clientele, and the impeccable service and style that made it famous in the first place. If you're lucky enough to be a member (or a friend of one), do remember the dress code—men will need a jacket to get in.
2 Harrington Rd., Kensington
It looks more Soho than South Ken in this well-designed, underground restaurant, as the exposed whitewashed brick, Spanish tiles, and blue leather lend a distinct Mediterranean feel. The elegant and shareable Med plates focus on bold tastes (fried zucchini, salted focaccia with fragrant olive oil, and more). It's a great place to meet for dinner or to come to for the amazingly-priced £10 two-course lunch.
April’s Café at Boutique 1
127/128 Sloane St., Belgravia
One of the latest trends in fashion is for boutiques to become all-day hangouts, boasting all the necessary parts: good food, coffee, and cocktails. The gang at Boutique 1 have gone all out and teamed up with East London's Bistrotheque, masters of the boozy brunch and weekend fashion hang. In their new, tIny Sloane Street location, the décor's brighter and leafier but the cocktails, strong coffees, and the indulgent snacks, like classic cheese toasties, remain. In addition, they've added tea to the menu for a girly afternoon treat.
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