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Happy Days! Top 10 Best Restaurants in Central London

Picture of Happy Days! Top 10 Best Restaurants in Central London

Stop typing “restaurants near me” into your phone! You’re playing a game of chance and might end up with a dud. The list below gathers together all the top restaurants in central London into one handy guide; from bottomless brunch restaurants, to Michelin star restaurants; from late night restaurants, to romantic restaurants. When arranging to meet up with your friends, loved ones and families in Zone 1 or the West End, keep this handy top 10 in your favourites so that you can book at a moment’s notice and still come up with the goods. You’re the shining star of knowing where to eat out in London. Don’t let the side down; get out there and do some yummy eating (and drinking)!

Image of Balans Soho Society

Soho
Bar / Restaurant
European

Balans Soho Society restaurant and late night bar on Old Compton Street is a well-known Soho institution, open on most days until dawn. When you come out of the bars, clubs and pubs of Soho or the West End late at night/early in the morning and type "brunch near me" into Google, this is the place you want to head for. Brunch, lunch, breakfast, supper, dessert, tea, coffee, cocktails, wine, beer, champagne; you name it, they will provide. It offers all the comforts of a relaxing central London restaurant yet with a lively atmosphere, well into the early hours of the morning. The semi-decadent, draped booth tables allow a modicum of privacy as you chit-chat about your night out with pals.

Image of Inamo - Soho

Soho
Bar / Restaurant
Pan Asian

You'll find this fun, Asian restaurant and bar also in Soho. Due to its proximity to the West End theatres and shopping on Oxford Street and Regent Street, this is a top restaurant in central London for families and hot dates. The main reason is the interactive table. Order your favourite pan-Asian dishes simply by pressing the tabletop. Your octopus takoyaki, Sichuan chicken, or Korean ribs can be summoned by your fingertips. The Tasting Menu is recommended, which includes six of the chef's best dishes. Add more digital fun by booking a session in the games room downstairs, where 150 games can be played on 150-inches of projection screen via PS4, Wii, Atari Gold, Chromecast and Apple TV.

Image of Hawksmoor Air Street

Piccadilly
Restaurant
Steak House

Hawksmoor restaurant near Piccadilly Circus is one of the best steak and seafood restaurants in London. It is a quintessential modern British dining experience. The bar and restaurant have a undeniable poshness about them - dark interiors, moody lighting - and yet this is casual dining, where your airs and graces are left outside where they belong on Air Street. Be warned, it is not cheap; but this is truly a five-star experience. Top tip: order the pork belly ribs, the lobster mac and cheese, or the grilled bone marrow and beef dripping fries (with steak, obvs). The cocktail list is also stupendous! Everyone loves a Disco Drink or a Pre-Prandial (Google it!).

Image of Quaglino's

St James
Bar / Restaurant
European

Quaglino's in St James' is the most famous of London's society restaurants and one of the top restaurants in central London for decadent dining. Glam up and enjoy the lavish brasserie-style dining experience enjoyed by celebrities and royals in years gone by. If cocktails are more your thing, then Quaglino's bar is a stunning destination oozing sophistication with superb views over the restaurant, the grand stage, and a cocktail menu recalling Quaglino's illustrious history. With live entertainment every Tuesday-Saturday, Quaglino will impress even the hardest to please.

Image of Yauatcha

Soho
Bar / Restaurant
Chinese

So many restaurants will claim to be "at the heart of Soho" but if you look at a map, it's clear to see Yauatcha is the only restaurant that can actually claim that crown, being equidistant from Regent Street, Oxford Street, Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road. This amazing, high-end Chinese restaurant is near Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus. The authentic Chinese cuisine is popular with Chinese guests, which is always a fair sign of good taste. Also, retaining a Michelin star for more than a decade is no easy feat. Chef Alan Yau is gave us Hakkasan, Busaba Eathai and Wagamamas. Well played, Alan. Now, hand over that awesome Dim Sum!

Image of Kitchen Table

Fitzrovia
Restaurant
European

Hidden beneath the casual dining of Fitzrovia's Bubbledogs (hot-dogs-and-Champagne), Kitchen Table is a Michelin star restaurant with a difference; it's not really a restaurant. As the name suggests, it is a kitchen in which the chefs prepare your food directly at your table. The cosy, U-shaped kitchen allows you a full vantage point from which to see the tasting menu created. The team are at the top of their game and using the most exquisite, delicate ingredients. This is definitely a dining experience for those who are adventurous in their eating habits. Book this event for a special occasion and enjoy the theatre of it all.

Image of Clos Maggiore

West End
Restaurant
French

Often lauded as the most romantic restaurant in London, Clos Maggiore near Seven Dials and Covent Garden will appear on your to-do list immediately after you've completed a Google image search for the restaurant. That conservatory! Those flowers! Ahh, dreamy. Be warned though, there is a 6-month waiting list for that reservation. Book it now and that gives you plenty of time to find someone worthy enough to take with you. But wait, the beautiful setting is but a bit part in your evening of romance. The extensive wine list, the top class service, the satisfying modern French cuisine and your amazing one-liners should help to seal the deal.

Image of The Gallery at Sketch London

Mayfair
Bar / Restaurant
Modern European

Quite possibly one of the most Instagrammed restaurants in London, Sketch in Mayfair is as quirky, inventive and flamboyant as they come. If you don't visit for the afternoon tea or the toilets (you'll see), then at least come to admire the David Shrigley artworks that adorn The Gallery restaurant. His playful sketches take up most of the pink walls; conversational icebreakers to ease you deeper into the plush velvet pink banquettes. As for the food; well, Sketch holds two Michelin stars so it's fair to assume that you're in safe hands. Probably one of the most bonkers restaurants you'll ever visit.

Image of Asia de Cuba

West End
Bar / Restaurant / Hotel
Latin

Your top night out in central London should always start in style. Enter the glass frontage at the St Martin's Lane hotel near Leicester Square and head for Asia de Cuba restaurant, where the flavours of Latin America and Asia create a festival in your mouth. Plus, you can order three courses for only £30. Bargain! The restaurant's proximity to cultural institutions such as the English National Opera, Garrick Theatre, Wyndham Theatre, The Duke of York Theatre, the National Gallery, and Leicester Square cinemas mean you're only a short walk to show time. You can also order breakfast, brunch, lunch and a variety of thrilling cocktails.

Image of The Riding House Cafe

Fitzrovia
Restaurant
Cafe

Shopping on Oxford Street and Regent Street: what's your game plan? Start early, strong, and hold on until your feet can't take any more? Mere moments away from the busy Oxford Circus intersection and the mania of Topshop and Nike Town, discover the New York vibes of The Riding House Cafe, down a quiet street in Fitzrovia, a relatively well hidden gem that only the kool kids know about. Enjoy kedgeree, smashed avocado on sourdough, or shakshuka for breakfast or brunch; pop by for sriracha wings or mac and cheese for lunch; or toast your days' killings with cocktails, chorizo hash and poutine for dinner.

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