London's Mayfair; it's the most sought after location on the Monopoly board and with its high fashion, impressive buildings and decadent eateries we can't say we're surprised. Its 70 leafy and elegant streets make up London's top neighbourhood for luxury and sophistication, sitting in between the iconic Hyde Park and the trendy Soho. So, if you are in the mood to ditch the pubs and clubs and opt for more elegant wine bars and sophisticated restaurants then this is the place for you to be. Take a look at our guide for dining out in style in London's Mayfair.
Dating back to 1854, Claridge's is the most iconic 5 star hotel in Mayfair and with flawless service and beautiful design extending to every detail, its dining areas are no exception. Inspired by 1930s Art Deco and boasting a huge Chihuly light sculpture, the Foyer is a truly enchanting dining space. For the full Foyer-experience, be sure to indulge in their renowned afternoon tea, where the chefs at Claridge's have stayed loyal to this much-loved British tradition for the past 100 years, honing their skills and knowledge to bring the best afternoon tea in London. But don't fear, if afternoon tea's not your thing, they have a full à la carte menu available for you to sample and enjoy. If you're looking for a more intimate dining experience you can try the Reading Room, where you can lounge on one of their inviting banquettes; perfect for a light meal or to enjoy one of their glorious cocktail creations in their grand cocktail bar.
Fera, meaning 'wild' in Latin is the perfect name for this restaurant as it prides itself on its connection with the rhythm of nature. The ever-changing menu is inspired wholly by the different seasons, focussing on ingredients that are in their prime and at their best. Amidst much anticipation, Simon Rogan opened this restaurant in 2014 and did not disappoint. The dining room is stunning; an Art Deco style with stained-glass ceiling panels and walls adorned with mossy green and grey colours that perfectly represent the 'wild' theme throughout. You can choose from either à la carte or tasting menus that are ever-changing, aligning with the time of year. These are perfectly complemented by an award-winning wine list that features many English options. In the mood for a bit of theatre? Try out the 'Fera Development Kitchen' experience and witness the magic happen. You can be a spectator behind the scenes and watch the chefs cook for you, where they will explain new dishes and cooking techniques. For the foodies amongst you, it will be an experience forever etched in your memory.
Want a Michelin-starred experience but with a less formal approach? This contemporary bistro could be the one for you. Jason Atherton first opened Pollen Street Social in 2011 and it earned its Michelin star within 6 months. Since then Jason's Social Company has grown into an empire and a global restaurant group. The menu is focused on modern British cuisine, which is both elegant and rich in flavour. Each dish has a sense of fun and playfulness about it, which definitely mirrors their less-conventional approach. If you are usually put of by the formality of Michelin starred restaurants but love fine-dining food, then you can definitely have your cake and eat it at Pollen Street Social and have the best of both worlds.
Tasting menu 8 course
Hebridean halibut, sweetcorn and squid, shellfish minestrone (A La Carte)
Sophistication and elegance; not words that would automatically spring to mind when you think of Chinese food, but owner Bernard Yeoh has been delivering exactly that to diners for over 20 years. The ground floor dining room is quiet and tranquil, complete with an aquarium, relaxing music and unassuming service. With its imaginative and confident menu, there's a feeling of quiet self-assurance about Kai Mayfair; it's not your average Chinese food. Warning: the menu prices are not for the faint-hearted; be prepared before you open that wine list! However, there are a number of 'posh' Chinese restaurants in Mayfair but Kai fits the Michelin-starred bill a bit better than the rest. So although your wallet will be lighter upon leaving, you'll enjoy an evening of dining that's a step above its competitors, making it totally worth it.
If you're a fan of authentic Indian cuisine, Gymkhana is the real deal. Gymkhana was awarded its Michelin star in 2014 and has never looked back. It is Patron-chef Karem Sethi's newest venture and follows the success stories of its two sibling restaurants; Trishna in Marylebone and Bubbledogs in Charlotte Street. Gymkhana is reminiscent of the colonial clubs in East India, which is where the highest in society frequented, drank and dined. Surrounded by wooden panels, retro ceiling fans and beautiful marble table-tops, you really feel as though you've taken a step back in history. The menu is full of imaginative dishes that are luxurious and elegant but you still get the kick and complexity of flavour that we all love about Indian cuisine. Must-try: one of their beautifully made Indian punches, sealed in a medicine bottle. Pour away into your ice-filled goblet and savour the fragrance and flavour of India.
Set over two grand floors of a converted 18th century building, Sketch is a unique destination hub for food, art and music. And it definitely has the wow-factor. Super-team restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and chef Pierre Gagnaire came together to open Sketch in 2002. And open it did, with a very loud bang; fantastically OTT with a motto of 'why have less when you can have more?' There are a whopping five separate dining areas, from the up-market Lecture Room to the more arty Gallery, you can take your pick from afternoon tea, Michelin starred cuisine, brunches and breakfasts, all the while surrounded by art and music. Top tip: the dress code is 'art smart' and they require their guests to dress with a sense of style and character, so you better get digging around that closet. The food, to put it simply, is ground-breaking; bold and delectable, with a trademark international vibe. Match that with the must-see décor of bold colours and the flawless service and you really do get an all-round experience.
Angela Hartnett really won the people of London over with this Michelin-starred flagship restaurant that opened in the heart of Mayfair in 2008. Hartnett is known for her simple yet sophisticated style of Italy-inspired cooking and this restaurant does not disappoint, celebrating Italian cuisine in all its glory. The space is luxurious and sophisticated in an art deco style, filled with fine leather, crisp linens and 'oh-wow-that's-comfortable' furniture. The service is faultless, with the waiting staff sailing between tables, so you feel well-looked after and at home. The dishes are as elegant and special as the ambience here at Murano; in our opinion, a winning combination.
Neither for the vegetarians or the plant-based-dieters among you, this Mayfair hotspot's main focus is British game, meat and fish, all cooked on an imported Argentinian grill. It is Richard Caring's latest stroke of genius and he ensures that you will get top quality and beautifully prepared food using the best ingredients out there. The prices are eye-watering - so definitely not a choice if you're on a budget. On the other hand, you can chill out slap bang in the middle of Mayfair alongside the rest of the Mayfair royalty, whilst you listen to modern Jazz and sample exceptional cuisine. It doesn't get much more decadent than that.
The Hawksmoor Group are renowned for housing London's best steakhouses - and they've done it again, but this time with a twist, delivering "A steakhouse serving the best fish in London." This huge 235 cover venue is lucky enough to be situated in a breathtaking Art Deco room overlooking London's Regent Street, complete with floor to ceiling stain-glass windows. Hawksmoor Air Street is also home to its own cocktail bar; a venue in its own right serving world-class cocktails in beautiful vintage glasses. The 'Toddy Timetable' shows recommendations for different cocktails best at different times for the day - perfect for the adventurous out there.
As far as we're concerned, Iran Restaurant is the hidden gem of Mayfair. Since opening in 2001, the frequenters of London have enjoyed the trendy vibe that you get with Iran; delighting diners with their Iranian and Persian grilled meats and mezze dishes. Its culinary history traces roots back to Ancient Persia, serving meals that explode with colour, texture and flavours. Absolutely everything is highly delicious and spiced and seasoned to perfection, if we had to pick something to recommend, try out the traditional Baklava - truly amazing. The pricing across the board is great and totally fair, including the wine list, which can be a rarity in London. Be sure to book in advance as although cosy and homely, there is limited seating available.