London's Best Restaurants According to Top Chefs
Jamie Oliver recommends Frenchie
It was Oliver who gave chef Greg Marchand the nickname that’s now synonymous with lighter, healthier French cooking. At Marchand’s Covent Garden restaurant, that style mixes with influences from the UK - bringing in lamb from Wales and rainbow trout from Scotland. “The food is exquisite,” Oliver says. “I knew Frenchie was a clever boy, but he’s just gotten better and better.”
Pierre Koffmann recommends Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester
This three-Michelin-starred hotel restaurant is a surprising choice for French chef Koffmann, who held three stars at La Tante Claire before abandoning fine dining in favor of the rustic cuisine of his native Gascony. But a recent lunch at Alain Ducasse’s newest space has him reconsidering. “I’m not interested in Michelin restaurants anymore,” Koffmann says, “but it was the best meal I’ve had in a year.” The lobster with chicken quenelles is “perfection,” he says.
Michel Roux Jr. recommends Kricket
This tiny cafe tucked inside a shipping container in edgy Brixton is one of the most exciting restaurants in town. “It’s 100 times better than you would expect,” says Roux, the two-star Michelin chef at Le Gavroche. A traditional Indian meal of fried pakoras is given a British makeover by using samphire, a salty sea vegetable from the parsley family. “Places like this are the reason why London is the envy of Paris and New York,” Roux says.
Clare Smyth recommends Clove Club
The inspired British dishes at Isaac McHale’s new spot are delighting crowds in this former town hall in East London. “Isaac loves to eat, and it shows in his cooking,” says Smyth, who recently left her post running Gordon Ramsay’s three-star flagship restaurant to open her own with Ramsay’s backing. “It’s great food in a fun environment, and every time you go back, there is something new.” Try the Orkney scallops paired with kelp, oyster cream, horseradish, and carrots.
Danny Meyer recommends Kitty Fisher’s
The Shake Shack mogul loves this Mayfair restaurant, where the basement dining room’s ceiling is so low you bang your head on the lights. “When you walk in, you wonder what all the fuss is about,” Meyer says. “But you give up every ounce of resistance when the food is on the plate.” Due to space constraints, young Welsh chef Tomos Parry cooks on an open-wood charcoal grill as it’s often done in Basque country, giving the Galician beef (it’s not on the menu—ask for it) a gamey and delicious flavour.
Gastón Acurio recommends Barrafina Adelaide Street
This Spanish tapas restaurant, led by young female chef Nieves Barragán Mohacho, has an inviting atmosphere and inventive menu. “With new food concepts coming along every day, it’s not easy to find one that stays in your mind,” says Peruvian chef Acurio. “But Barrafina stays in your heart, too.” Don’t miss the milk-fed lamb kidneys, which come on a charcoal grill to be cooked at the table. This outpost is one of three locations in Soho and Covent Garden.
Ruth Rogers recommends Ikeda
This traditional Japanese restaurant in Mayfair receives little media attention, yet it is a favorite of some of London’s most respected chefs, including St. John's Fergus Henderson and Ruth Rogers of the River Café. “I like the quality of the fish and I like the simple décor,” says Rogers. “It is excellent Japanese food without all the stuff that usually goes with it in London. It is pared down. We always have the sashimi, and the sea urchin if it is on the menu.”
Neil Perry recommends Park Chinois
Everything in this glamorous Mayfair establishment—from the server uniforms to the elaborate table lamps at the bar—was made in France at an alleged cost of more than $50 million. “It feels like you have stepped back into Shanghai in 1920,” says Sydney-based chef Perry. “All the food is beautiful, and the standout is the Park carbonara, a contemporary Chinese version of the Italian classic” that uses udon noodles instead of pasta and Iberico ham instead of bacon.
Article by Richard Vines, Bloomberg's chief food critic