London's top 50 restaurants: Best brasseries

Out-of-hours dining is no problem at London's always open, always brilliant brasseries



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Fancy breakfast somewhere special? Or how about elevenses, or afternoon tea? In fact, why not make a meal of it at these open-all-day, Continental-style brasseries. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

© Michael Franke

Bistro Union

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Claphamites are lucky indeed to have such a good neighbourhood restaurant. Self-styled as a British bistro, the staff are chummy, the look rustic and the clientele ever appreciative – it’s seriously popular. The food at this second Clapham venture from Adam Byatt (who also runs the even smarter Modern European restaurant Trinity) riffs on a range of hearty Anglo, American and French influences, but given a British makeover. The likes of toad in the hole and fish pie sit comfortably besides chicken liver parfait and mac ’n’ cheese – all are prepared with impressive precision. For the best spectator seats head to the tall stools by the bar.

When to go: When you’re after an excellent plate of comfort food in the company of a few neighbours.

What to have: Don’t miss the bar snacks, they are bound to surprise and impress. The menu changes regularly, so ask the staff for the latest recommendations.

  1. 40 Abbeville Road, SW4 9NG
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The Delaunay

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 4/4

The team behind The Wolseley have done it again with this elegant all-day brasserie in Aldwych. It’s not the place to go for an innovative modern menu, but if you’re in the mood for a nostalgic taste of mittel-European fare like schnitzel, sachertorte and strudel, The Delaunay will be happy to oblige.

When to go: Pop in for a spot of afternoon tea in a fine setting, or settle in for an evening meal.

What to have: An oldie but a goodie, the wiener schnitzel is just how it should be.

  1. 55 Aldwych, WC2B 4BB
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Michael Franke

The Wolseley

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

It looks like it’s been there forever, and the polished service seems to be from another era too. However, The Wolseley only opened in 2003 and painstakingly recreates the fin-de-siècle brasserie of popular imagination. It’s open for early breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea, and while the food won’t get the pulse racing (it’s largely European classics with some decadent touches – oysters, game, caviar – thrown in), the strikingly opulent interior and film-star treatment won’t fail to impress. Oh, and famous people go there, apparently.

When to go: Breakfast at The Wolseley should be on everyone’s London must-do list.

What to have: Cream tea, for the luxe experience at a friendlier price, although nothing’s extortionate.

  1. 160 Piccadilly, W1J 9EB
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