From decadent Michelin starred dining rooms to quirky neighbourhood hangouts, when it comes to food, nowhere does it better than London. Want to know which ones are worth booking? Tatler recently announced the winners of its 15th annual restaurant awards revealing the best places to eat in the capital. So clear a space in your diaries, these are the restaurants worth forking out for…
Rising Star: Eran Tibi at Bala Baya
Serving up a vibrant selection of traditional Tel Avivian fare with a cool, contemporary twist, chef Eran Tibi’s Bala Baya is one of the best places in the capital for Middle Eastern food. Having just been awarded the title of ‘Rising Star’ for his colourful Israeli-inspired cuisine – the bottomless brunches are off the scale – Bala Baya scores top points for weekend dining.
Old Union Yard Arches, 229 Union Street, Southwark, SE1 0LR
Tatler's ‘Small is Beautiful’ Award: The Franklin Restaurant by Alfredo Russo
Forming part of the discreet 35-bedroom Franklin hotel in Knightsbridge, Michelin-starred chef Alfredo Russo’s glamorous, intimate restaurant is a celebration of seasonal ingredients with a balanced mix of simplicity and sophistication; each dish executed flawlessly and presented as a beautiful work of art. Hole up at the mirror-specked martini and Champagne bar for a cocktail or two before devouring Alfredo’s lavish tasting menu.
The Franklin Hotel, 24 Egerton Gardens, Knightsbridge, SW3 2DB
Best Front of House: Margot
Expect first-class service and delectable Italian fare at this extravagant Covent Garden eatery. Luxuriate in the vintage setting – there are plush booths and leather banquets-a-plenty – whilst sampling small plates of antipasti, fresh handmade pasta dishes and succulent cuts of roasted meats.
45 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AA
Best Nosh, Least Dosh: Padella
One of our favourite Italian dining spots, there’s no better place to indulge your pasta fix than Padella in Borough Market. With small plates of perfectly formed pasta at budget-friendly prices – main dishes start from just £5 – this no-book restaurant always has a queue snaking down the street, but believe us, once you’re in, you’ll realise it was well worth the wait. Their small plates of fettuccini with Cobble Lane cured nduja and ravioli with ricotta and spinach are to-die-for.
6 Southwark Street, Southwark, SE1 1TQ
Most Civilised Restaurant: The Game Bird
Expect all-out elegance and traditional game at this swanky Piccadilly outpost. Interiors are as glamorous and chic as they come with dark woods, rich velvets and sumptuous leathers, and a meat-heavy menu designed to impress. There’s a strong focus on British produce so look forward to fresh oysters, with varieties from all over the UK, cured fish served on a trolley with caviar and garnishes, and delicious cuts of top quality meats – be sure to try the venison stew, steak tartare or roast grouse served with braised onion, paté, brioche, game chips and creamy bread sauce.
The Stafford, 16-18 St James’s Place, Piccadilly, SW1 1JN
Best Newcomer: Kiln
Get a piece of the fiery action at self-taught chef Ben Chapman’s – of Smoking Goat fame – no-booking barbecue joint. Specialising in rural Thai cuisine, with barbecued meats and sizzling, spicy curries, this is a must-visit.
58 Brewer Street, Soho, W1F 9TL
Best Vibe: Isabel
This Mayfair fashion crowd favourite is a place to see and be seen. A seductive 70s palette of soft gold, dark navy, bottle green and vibrant red delivers maximum impact, whilst the dainty collection of dishes, including everything from beef tartare, raw scallops, pistachio pasta and seared venison carpaccio, guarantees flavour in its most exquisite form.
20 Albermarle Street, Mayfair, W1S 4HY
Test of Time: Rochelle Canteen
Attracting artists, designers and A-listers in their droves, this not-so-secret Shoreditch hideaway has creative types propping up the communal-style dining tables almost every night of the week. Once a simple canteen housed inside a former bike shed, now a go-to foodie hotspot, this light airy space, which serves up an incredible menu of inventive, seasonal dishes, has since become a firm favourite for chefs and foodies alike. The menu changes daily and could include everything from nettle soup and snails, to roast chicken with green beans and aioli.
Rochelle, Arnold Circus, Shoreditch, E2 7ES
Tatler's Restaurant of the Year: 108 Garage
Last, but not least, winning the accolade for Tatler’s coveted ‘Restaurant of the Year’ award is Notting Hill’s 108 Garage – a former garage converted into an effortlessly cool industrial-style restaurant. Bare brickwork is offset against corrugated metals, storage cages and old taps creatively upcycled into quirky coat hooks. Chef Chris Denney – Nuno Mendes’s former protégé – brings an artistic twist to his ever-changing menu of British seasonal classics, fusing unusual-yet-clever flavour combinations from all over the world. Look forward to palatable plates of buttermilk-brined rabbit with miso tahini dressing; barbecued beef short rib topped with beef tartare; and Isle of Skye scallop ceviche with blood orange, fennel and pillowy pockets of rich lamb-heart agnolotti.
108 Golborne Road, Notting Hill, W10 5PS