London's top 50 restaurants: Modern European
Contemporary cuisine doesn't come cheap, but for celebrations and romance, these fine-dining establishments can't be beat
For smart dining, special occasions, stand-out dishes and great wine lists, these are the places to book ahead for. Reservations recommended. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.
- Rated as: 5/5
It’s not big, it’s not showy, but it is clever. This no-booking spot in Soho is the kind of place you’ll want to come back to time and again. Headed up by Australian chef Cameron Emirali, there are only a handful of dishes on the seasonally changing menu, but chances are you’ll still have trouble choosing between them – they all look good. Dish descriptions are kept simple, as is presentation, but there’s plenty to admire in Emirali’s cooking skills. Be prepared to get friendly with your neighbours as the tables are pretty tightly packed and its no-bookings for dinner, but that’s all part of the charm.
When to go: To enjoy well-constructed small plates in an unpretentiously convivial atmosphere.
What to have: Order a handful of plates from the regularly changing menu, and you’re bound to find plenty to satisfy.
- 10 Greek Street, W1D 4DH
- Rated as: 4/5
- Price band: 3/4
This Pied à Terre offshoot positively purrs with the pleasure and efficiency of a restaurant at the top of its game. Marcus Eaves’s Modern European cooking is accomplished and precise, with imaginative yet well-considered flavours. They look good too: try translucent poached egg sat upon a vibrant green bed of crushed peas and broad beans. The surroundings are like a French take on an Oriental theme, with screens and dark wood; all that’s missing is Kato springing out of a cupboard.
When to go: With friends who admire both style and substance.
What to have: The lunch and pre-theatre menus (6-7pm) are particularly good value at £20.95 for three courses.
- 5-7 Blandford Street, W1U 3DB
- Rated as: 4/5
Bordeaux-born chef Bruno Loubet has a lofty reputation for artfully prepared dishes, and his latest venture does not disappoint. Housed in a cavernous Victorian warehouse in King’s Cross brimming with hip factor – also home to Caravan and St Martin’s School of Art – the menu is a pick ’n’ mix of ingredients and cuisines all perfectly prepared. Vegetables play a starring role and there is plenty to dazzle both vegetarians and meat-eaters. Excellent cocktails at the bar are supervised by innovative mixologist Tony Conigliaro of 69 Colebrooke Row.
When to go: For an understated meal in the new hipsville with exceptionally well-rendered dishes.
What to have: The vegetarian dishes on the seasonally changing menu put many dedicated vegetarian to shame.
- Granary Square, (1-3 Stable Street), N1C 4AB
- Rated as: 5/5
- Price band: 2/4
- Critics choice
Even if you don’t live near Chelsea, you should try to visit this exceptional restaurant at least once. The decor is understated: soothing grey-green colour scheme and unobtrusive artwork. The real artistry arrives on the plates, which are astoundingly good. Though dish descriptions run long, you’d be hard pushed to find a flavour out of place in the impressively executed French-skewed dishes. Both savouries and sweets are handle with confidence, and they’ll even accommodate off-piste requests. The wine list is of a calibre to match the food and includes a high-quality selection of wines under £30.
When to go: When you’re after world-class cooking with exceptional flavour combinations.
What to have: Save room for the wonderful puds.
- 438 King's Road, SW10 0LJ