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.
3 Chapel Pl., Marylebone
This indulgent arrival comes from the people behind the excellent chainlet, Burger & Lobster. Located in a subterranean space, the elevator doors open to tanks of live Alaskan King Crabs and a meat hanger full of serious Nebraskan steaks, marking the beginning of a meal that's best characterized by the word excess. Three long banquet tables span the cavernous, candle-lit space where diners share the pricey £75 set menu (vegetarians who come along for the ride pay only £25). The meal kicks off with pickled onions, artichoke hearts, olives, and a gigantic chunk of parmesan followed by beautifully marbled steak, undressed crab served family style, and a slew of veggie sides. There’s not a carb in sight, which is a godsend as the portions are huge.
71 Blandford St., Marylebone
Carousel is a fairly novel concept: a three-story creative hub that hosts a turntable of food pop-ups with a rotating cast of stellar international chefs monthly. Most recently, Carousel hosted Scott Smith of Scotland’s Norn, followed by Turkish chef Esra Muslu. Smith created a menu that looked like Scottish classics, but each dish was dressed up with the techniques of the moment—kombu and salt-baked hogget loin, buttered wild leeks and fried seaweed. The space itself is industrial and raw to accommodate the various cuisines that pass through, and polished, with long communal tables meant to encourage conversation with strangers and a gallery upstairs.
1 Chiltern St., Marylebone
Like the rest of André Balasz' hotels and restaurants (the iconic Chateau Marmont in LA and Mercer in NY, to name a couple), his first venture in London is undoubtedly one of the sceniest in town. Part of the allure is the decor, courtesy of Studio Ko, who seamlessly integrated original features like the fireman's pole, brick and tilework, and fire doors with velvet seating, glitzy marble bars, and old-fashioned, flower-print carpeting. And part of it is chef Nuno Mendez' brasserie-style menu that's packed with his near perfect takes on the classics like Caesar Salad and Roast Chicken, plus some of the most delicious and inventive appetisers in town—the crab-stuffed doughnuts are a brunch favorite. A private dining room at a hotel like this is a must, and the elegant—though much less splashy—room here ticks all the boxes and accommodates 12.
22 Harcourt St., Marylebone
Tucked away in a converted townhouse in Marylebone is one of London's best-kept secrets when it comes to Japanese. While the interiors are nothing worth celebrating—the dark basement seating borders on claustrophobic—the small, tapas-style dishes, make it, and the price tag, worthwhile. The menu is extensive and the good news is they're more than happy to guide you if you don't know where to begin. Our picks: The beef cha-sia bun and the miso glazed eggplant (aubergine).
128 Allitsen Rd., St. John's Wood
Unlike most of Soho House’s buttoned-up and exclusive restaurants, the Dirty Burger brand is a series of down-and-out tin-clad locales churning out ridiculously tasty and super-cheap cheeseburgers. (Vegetarians can order the "Cop Out," which is just as satisfyingly dirty.) It’s very purposefully a no-frills situation that’s totally worth the wait. There are more locations in Whitechapel, Shoreditch, and Vauxville.
50 Marylebone High St., Marylebone
The sausages and schnitzels are good, but it's really the atmosphere that makes this Marylebone spot worthwhile. Modeled after an old-world Viennese café, it looks like a meticulously considered set from Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. There are dark wood booths, Tyrolean landscapes on the walls, and an old-school newspaper rack, which all help it achieve the feeling of a time warp. Not surprisingly, it’s from the team behind The Wolseley and The Delaunay, who are known for their cinematic spaces.
26 Paddington St., Marylebone
With its undulating brick ceilings (made to resemble a pizza oven) to it's tables with tree branch bases, the beauty of this restaurant's space is matched by the provenance of its ingredients. Owner Kurt Zdesar spent much time both in Italy and the UK sourcing the finest, organic ingredients in order to bring hand rolled pasta, stone baked pizza, and modern Italian cooking to London's happening Chiltern Street. Not only that, but he's opened up a 'pasticceria' next door where specialty goods, house rolled pastas, and breads are available for the converted.
43 Blandford St., Marylebone
Located on a quiet street in Marylebone, this place boasts full-on fancy décor and an overall upscale vibe. The food, and the pizza especially, is delicious. Kids feel like they're getting to experience something grown-up while adults get to enjoy great food and a cocktail or two.
19-21 Blandford St., Marylebone
Jikoni owner Ravinder Bhogal is of Indian descent and was partially raised in Nairobi ("jikoni" means kitchen in Swahili). And her food tells the story of her geographic biography: prawn toast freshened up with pickled cucumbers, chickpea chips with Bengali-style chutney, a Scotch egg made with venison instead of pork, scallops and congee. British and African influence is evident, but at its core, Jikoni serves up flavor-packed comfort food that transcends culture. The restaurant itself is a refreshingly colorful break from the cool minimalism sweeping the capital’s interiors. The tablecloths are brightly patterned, the cushions are colorful, and the tapestries that cover the walls are loud and cheerful. Like the food, the décor feels fresh and hopeful, definitely a welcome addition to a stretch of town that often seems akin to a one-note French village of bakeries and cheese stores.
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