Thanks to London's rich mix of cultures, the capital's restaurants serve up delicious food from all corners of the globe. Whatever cuisine you fancy, you're sure to find it in London – be it Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Caribbean, Polish, French, Italian, Afghan, Ethiopian, American, Spanish, South African, Persian… the list goes on.
There's also an exciting buzz on the British culinary scene in London, with innovative chefs rethinking traditional British classics and creating new favourites – all with an emphasis on fresh, local produce.
Plus with Michelin-starred restaurants, family-friendly eateries, cosy gastropubs, fast food joints and quirky cafes dotted all over the city, there's something for every budget too.
OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie
Dine in true British style with a beautiful raised view across the River Thames. This restaurant, bar and brasserie is a great place for a romantic meal, especially when combined with a casual stroll along the South Bank before and after your meal. Book ahead to make sure you get an alfresco table on the outdoor terrace and enjoy the scene with St Paul's Cathedral in the background. You can also expect to enjoy live jazz in the brasserie.
Masala Zone - Bayswater
Colourfully decorated with Indian folk art and collages of firecracker labels, the Bayswater branch of Masala Zone is as warm and welcoming as the other restaurants in this growing chain. The menu takes inspiration from Indian street food and home-cooked dishes, with Indian grills and regional curries as well as tapas-style Thali platters.
Rainforest Cafe brings the sights and sounds of the jungle to London's famous Piccadilly Circus, with elephants, gorillas, jaguars, crocodiles, butterflies, tropical fish tanks, an indoor waterfall and roaring thunderstorm sounds. Feeding time is a fun, family-friendly affair, with steaks, burgers, pasta and salads on the menu.
Inamo is a pioneering Oriental fusion restaurant and bar where the control of the dining experience is placed firmly in your own hands, thanks to an interactive ordering system. Instead of reading a long list of dish names, you simply pick your favourite from an illustrated food and drinks menu projected onto your table surface. The pan-Asian menu includes influences from Japan, China, Thailand, Korea and beyond.
Housed in a former car showroom on Piccadilly, The Wolseley is an elegant café-restaurant inspired by the grand European style of years gone by. The food follows the same classic European thread, with favourite dishes including veal Holstein and chicken soup with dumplings. Pop in for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner... any meal you fancy.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
If the name alone doesn’t sell it, the three Michelin stars that Restaurant Gordon Ramsay was honoured with should. Located in affluent Chelsea, the restaurant serves up modern French food in an elegant, intimate atmosphere - under the masterly gaze of head chef Clare Smyth.
Rustic yet elegant modern British food is the focus at Jamie Oliver's East London restaurant Fifteen. Under the helm of Jon Rotheram, the restaurant uses top British meat and fish (butchered and prepared on site every day) and fresh ingredients to create delicious dishes such as grilled plaice, Jerusalem artichoke & brown shrimp; Lindisfarne oysters, sweet & sour apple vinaigrette; and Chocolate & malt mousse.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Heston Blumenthal's Knightsbridge restaurant Dinner is known for its inventive menu of historically inspired British dishes. Choose from dishes such as Earl Grey Tea cured Salmon (c.1730), Spiced Pigeon (c.1780) and Tipsy Cake (c.1810) - or let the chef do the choosing by going for the Set Lunch Menu or splashing out on a seat at the Chef's Table, which directly faces the restaurant's custom-built show kitchen.
Gaucho - Piccadilly
The glitzy Piccadilly branch of Argentinian restaurant Gaucho is spread over four floors. Alongside the main restaurant is the Cavas De Gaucho wine boutique, a ground-floor wine bar and a supper lounge on the top floor. Steaks, of course, are high on the menu - but there are many other dishes to try too, from Ecuadorian ceviche to Scamorza and potato ravioli.
Sketch is an eccentric, original and elegant venue off Regent Street founded by French master chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Mazouz. The unique space comprises five dining areas: The Parlour patisserie and restaurant, The Glade bar, The Gallery brasserie, the two Michelin-starred Lecture Room & Library dining room and The East Bar.
Porters English Restaurant
Porters English Restaurant is located in bustling Covent Garden and serves good, traditional English food in relaxed surroundings. On the menu of this popular restaurant you'll find classical dishes such as Steak, Guinness and Mushroom Pie; Toad in the Hole and Spotted Dick.
Sarastro is renowned for its flamboyant interior - part stage set, part old curiosity shop. Taking a nod from the nearby West End theatres, the dining room features opera boxes, luxuriant velvet tablecloths and cosy booths. The menu is Mediterranean and live shows regularly take place, with live opera on Sundays and Mondays, swing and Motown on Thursdays and Latin rhythms on Fridays.
Tucked away between Leicester Square and Covent Garden, J Sheekey has been in business since the 1890s and is the place to go for sustainably sourced fish, oysters and shellfish. From Sheekey's Fish Pie to potted shrimps (plus vegetarian and meat options), there's plenty of selection for everyone.
Michelin-starred restaurant Locanda Locatelli serves top-quality, traditional Italian food created with panache by head chef Giorgio Locatelli. Stand-out dishes at the Central London eaterie (according to the Michelin guide) include scallops, celeriac purée and saffron vinaigrette; and wild sea bass baked in salt and herb crust, escarole, sultanas and pine kernels.
Since it opened on Valentine's Day 1968, Mr Chow has become a London institution. The menu is authentic Beijing cuisine, featuring original recipes such as Green Prawns, Chicken Satay and Mr Chow Noodles. The interior is worth a visit too, with its smoked mirrors, walnut furniture and elegant ambience, and every night a chef comes out to perform original hand-pulled Beijing-style noodle making.
Duke of Cambridge
The Duke of Cambridge is the first and only British pub to be certified as organic by the Soil Association. The menu at the Islington gastropub unsurprisingly features an excellent range of delicious organic food and drinks, and changes daily according to what seasonal food is available.