The Michelin Guide UK and Ireland is the country's official handbook to gastronomic cuisine. Stars of excellence have been handed out to the best of the best for over half a century, resulting in London earning its crown as one of the highest-ranked places in the world for fine dining. As London has transformed into a capital scattered with stars of prestige, it goes without saying the competition has intensified amongst contenders. All the while, anonymous inspectors spend the year dining out in secret at establishments that encompass everything incredible about modern food and drink. I know, we want their job too. From world-famous eateries to new talents starting out, we've put together a guide to showcase the most highly acclaimed restaurants in London, meaning you can treat yourself to award-winning food in the capital, safe in the knowledge it will be a meal to remember.
Sitting on Park Lane at the luxury hotel, The Dorchester, this impressive restaurant has been flying the flag for traditional fine-dining in London for the past 10 years. Its modern French cuisine oozes both creativity and elegance, with intricately prepared seasonal ingredients and generous, yet refined portions. The main dining room area is a magnificent sight; contemporary and elegant, with soft lighting and beautiful views looking over Hyde Park. If you're looking for that extra special dining experience, try out for size the hidden gem of the restaurant, the Table Luminère, a beautiful private dining room with 4,500 fibre optics that fall from floor to ceiling, adorned with Saint-Louis crystal. The level of professionalism and attention to detail from staff is such that you leave feeling thoroughly spoilt. This is definitely one to impress.
Not sure whether fine-dining is for you? Restaurant Gordon Ramsay might just be the place to convert you. Arguably one of Britain's most famous chefs, Gordon Ramsay brought his flagship restaurant to Chelsea in 1998, where its 3 Michelin stars are held and retained to this day. The dining area is a square, glass-fronted room, that projects an intimate and rather homely setting, seating only up to 45 guests. Be sure to ask for recommendations, as the staff show such passion and knowledge when talking about the food and drink they are serving. Flavour is definitely at the front of the agenda with Ramsay's classic French cooking, whilst still ensuring sophistication and elegance worthy of its star status. There is no doubt that you're in for an all-round exceptional dining experience, and contrary to popular belief, there was not a single obscenity heard from the kitchen!
Over the years, Le Gavroche in Mayfair has become a London institution in the fine-dining world. Initially opened by the famous brother combo, Michel and Albert Roux in 1967, the reigns were then taken over by Michel Roux Jr, and there's no doubt that he stepped up to the challenge. There is an air of timeless quality in the dining room and you definitely feel as though you are experiencing something exceptional. Expect to be surrounded by luxurious and rich produce - there's definitely no holding back with this signature menu. And what would a classic French restaurant be without cheese and wine? Luckily at Le Gavroche that's not a concern you have to worry about; the selection is out of this world. In fact, for the cheese lovers among you, you'll be booking another visit just to try what you couldn't manage before. Le Gavroche certainly possesses a charm that comes only with success and time, setting it apart from the other more modern-day establishments of its ilk. Just keep in mind that you have to book 3 months in advance!
Le Gavroche operates a smart dress code, jackets and ties are optional and they do not permit any t-shirts or sportswear. Any decision regarding permitting entry to the restaurant is entirely at the management's discretion and guests found complying with the dress code but are not attired appropriately may be denied entry.
Heston Blumenthal is widely known in the culinary world for wild flavour combinations, his use of scientific techniques and multi-sensory cooking; 'Dinner' is no exception. Within a year of opening, it gained its first Michelin star and didn't stop there. The food is inspired by British culinary history, drawing from dishes as far back as the court of Henry VIII. The 'meat fruit' starter, both intriguing and delicious is a must-try, made from a sphere of chicken liver parfait, reformed to represent a mandarin. It's definitely a show-stopper. The kitchen is home to a pulley system that rotates a spit on an open fire, which can all be viewed by diners through floor to ceiling glass walls. All the while you can take in the beautiful views of one of London's most famous landmarks, Hyde Park.
Roast Iberico Pork Chop (c.1670)
Fillet of Hereford Beef (c.1830)
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park 66 Knightsbridge SW1X 7LA show on Google Maps
The Ledbury is a creation by Australian Chef Brett Graham, based in Notting Hill. It boasts the impressive achievement of being featured as 14th in the prestigious San Pelligrino World's 50 Best Restaurants. You can expect to be taken on a 'tour of British produce', celebrating British vegetables and wild English game. The portions are very generous, definitely more on the Australian side of fine-dining than French, but we're not complaining! The interior is smart and modern, with classic brilliant white adorned tables against shades of deep polished wood. Although not cheap, the tasting menu is the star of the show and takes you on a genuine journey of what exactly Graham has to offer as a chef; a mix of Australian background, British influence and the unique Ledbury charm. And in our opinion, the balance is just right.
Marcus is housed at the Berkeley hotel and underwent a huge revamp in 2014, with the aim of creating a more relaxed and contemporary space, putting a hold on the formality. It is one of London's most acclaimed restaurants, with a focus on high-end French style cuisine. The food manages comforting and healthy portions, whilst retaining its refined, Michelin star level. The service is flawless and attentive, very much in line with reputation. For something really special, treat yourself to private dining at the chef's table; a secluded area overlooking the working 2 Michelin starred kitchen, where you can watch the dishes being created and then presented to you and your party. If wine is your thing, the Sommelier is happy to talk you through some wine pairings - just be prepared for potentially tipsy results!
The very first thing worth mentioning about Galvin at Windows? The view is nothing short of exceptional. High up on the 28th floor of the Hilton on Park Lane, you can take in a 360 degree, birds-eye view of London, where you can admire some of the capital's most iconic landmarks. Opened in May 2006, it has become one of the most talked about dining experiences in London. Head Chef Joo Won focusses on seasonally inspired modern French haute cuisine, providing fine dining service with all the frills. If you're in the mood for some 1930s glamour and elegance - think almost Gatsbian-like - then this restaurant should most definitely be on your list. Even if it's just to enjoy the view and vibe with a drink at the bar there is an impressive array of cocktails, made by expert mixologists using the finest ingredients. Whilst on the more expensive side, there is both a set lunch menu and a bar express menu available, which means that you can still take in the panoramic view without breaking the bank. You can't ask for more than that.
This unique Nordic-style chic establishment came to Tooley Street in 2013 and within 5 months of opening had achieved its Michelin star. As the name suggests, Restaurant Story is all about telling a tale. Chef Tom Sellers tells the story of British food, with each dish coming with its own individual message. Diners are even asked to leave a book behind after their to 'evoke inspiration in others'. Seasonality is a huge theme in the menu and Sellers aims to evoke memory through his dishes. The food manages to find a balance that suggests a modern art piece, whilst being as addictive as your favourite snack. The dishes are incredibly diverse and it is evident how much work goes in to the creation of every single one.
If sushi is your thing, then this just may be the ultimate dining experience for you. Sushi Master Chef Mitsuhiro Araki closed his 3 Michelin star restaurant in Toyko and moved to Piccadilly, and we are very glad he did. Although easily the most expensive out of our list at £300 per diner, the entire experience is one that will hold a place in your memory for a very long time. The subtle and tranquil dining area seats only 9 people, with merely 2 dinner settings per evening. Green curtains separate the kitchen from the sushi counter, which is made from beautiful 200 year old cypress wood. The food is made and then presented by the very relaxed and courteous Mr Araki himself, making it a very personal and memorable performance. Unlike other restaurants of the same vein, Araki doesn't use imported fish from Japan but celebrates more local ingredients, such as Scottish salmon or tuna from the coast of Spain. The signature dish, by a clear mile, is the tuna sashimi, which is made from 3 different cuts of the fish.
Pied à Terre opened in 1991 in the Fitzrovia district of London and had gained 2 Michelin stars by 1996, definitely an accolade to be proud of. The focus is on modern French cuisine, with a special nod to vegetarian and vegan diets. The restaurant makes a point of sourcing all their ingredients from local and independent suppliers, which clearly pays off, as the quality is a cut above many other establishments. The food is simply and perfectly crafted, full of artistic flair and colour. If you're looking for value, it has to be said, It has to be said, Pied à Terre is one of the best for a Michelin starred set lunch menu. A three-course meal, including cheese or a dessert, currently sits at £37.50. Unbelievable value without taking away from the deluxe quality of the dishes. Relax in the elegant dining room under intimate low lighting, perfect for those who are looking for the all-round luxury of the Michelin experience.