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Forget what you think you know about British cuisine – London today is one of the world’s great culinary capitals, with outstanding restaurants on almost every corner. With eclectic dishes ranging from the traditional British to the ultra-modern Japanese served in settings that are just as high on style as they are on top of their cuisine, here are the restaurants that make up Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ picks for the best places to eat in London.
1. Hawksmoor Seven Dials. For an introduction to great British food, head to Hawksmoor Seven Dials. Although it specializes in succulent steaks, the West End restaurant is also famous for fine local seafood like smoked mackerel, salmon, oysters and lobsters, as well as sublime desserts and cheese-platters. Expect to pay £60 for a good meal.
2. Bar Boulud. Perfect service, exquisite French food and mid-range prices in a chic Knightsbridge setting make this one of London’s best new dining experiences. Dishes range from the simple croque monsieur to the elaborate coq au vin, but it’s the meat that steals the show: every terrine, pâté, sausage and burger is simply sublime.
3. Ottolenghi. Cafés like Ottolenghi are the reason why London is such a great city in which to be a vegetarian. The salads here are perfect (try the butternut squash salad with sweet corn, feta, pumpkin seeds and chili), while mains vary in influence from Mediterranean to Caribbean to traditional British. There are four locations across London— Kensington, Belgravia, Islington and Notting Hill.
4. Bull & Last. The best gastro pub in the capital, the rustic Bull & Last specializes in charcuterie, with a meat-heavy menu including beef, pork and venison. Adventurous diners should try the duck hearts sautéed with sherry, crispy pigs’ ears or trotter wontons, washed down with a traditional ale. Visit after a walk through nearby Hampstead Heath; the Sunday lunch service is a great way to sample your way through the menu (or just stick to the superb fish and chips).
5. The Modern Pantry. Difficult to pin down, Clerkenwell’s The Modern Pantry serves dishes from every culinary culture imaginable – whether Italian, Thai, British or Argentinean. We recommend the Vietnamese-style braised pigs’ cheeks with pickles as a main, or the chorizo scotched quail eggs with tomato relish for a snack.