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London’s best British restaurants

From hearty pies to complex seasonal cooking, British cuisine has never been so widely lauded – and here’s why

By Time Out London Food & Drink |
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Yeah, greasy spoons are great – but our national cuisine is about way more than fry-ups, bangers and mash and even (whisper it) fish and chips. London is a veritable goldmine of national culinary treasures: from 220-year-old aristo joints and top-hatted doormen to smoked eel sandwich-slinging brasseries and modern British steakhouses, we’ve rounded up 42 eateries that will make you come over all weirdly patriotic.

Restaurants, British

Fish Lounge

icon-location-pin Brixton

Keenly upholding a singular British tradition, this breathtakingly spotless Brixton chippy gets everything right: fish is delicately battered, chips are pleasingly thick and fluffy, tartare sauce is extra-zingy and delightful staff treat everyone like lifelong friends. Offers like ‘gluten-free Mondays’ show it’s in tune with the times too.

Restaurants, British

Galvin at The Athenaeum

icon-location-pin Piccadilly

The high-flying Galvin brothers may be famed for their French-accented food, but this outlet within the grand Athenaeum Hotel flies the flag for Albion – for the most part, anyway. What you get with the Galvin name is reliably impressive cooking backed by spot-on service in classy (if somewhat soulless) surroundings.  

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Restaurants, British

Great Queen Street

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

Although it launched on the back of the noughties gastropub boom, this perennially popular Covent Garden hangout is a proper sit-down restaurant with bookable tables. A produce-led daily menu promises British cooking without frills or furbelows, all backed by a slate of affordable wines. Value counts for a great deal here.

Bars and pubs, Gastropubs

Harwood Arms

icon-location-pin West Brompton

Is it a pub? Is it a restaurant? In truth, this upmarket Fulham boozer is a bit of both – although with a serious wine list and a Michelin star to its name, we know where its priorities lie. Prime British produce is the key, with furred and feathered game receiving special attention in season.

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Restaurants, British

Hawksmoor Borough

icon-location-pin Borough Market

Like its meaty siblings in Guildhall, Seven Dials and Spitalfields, this branch of the Hawksmoor bandwagon puts mighty slabs of British-reared beef above all else. Still, if you can resist the drool-worthy steaks, burgers and bone marrow, there are loads of ‘market’ specials to divert your attention in this converted fruit warehouse.

Restaurants, British

Hawksmoor Knightsbridge

icon-location-pin Knightsbridge

Following its cousin on Air Street, this branch of the beefy Hawksmoor chain adds a net full of luxury seafood to its carnivorous offer. Oysters, caviar and lobsters chime with the postcode, but the kitchen also knows how to spoil its customers with plates of gooey mac ’n’ cheese and wickedly indulgent desserts.

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Restaurants, British

Heirloom

icon-location-pin Crouch End and Hornsey

Championing the revivalist British cause, the heritage-minded Heirloom dishes up rare-breed meats, obscure varieties of veg and Cornish fish alongside British craft beers and Old World wines. Classic roasts also have their moment, while old-fashioned puds come straight out of Enid Blyton – sometimes with the odd contemporary twist.

Restaurants, British

Hereford Road

icon-location-pin Notting Hill

Quietly confident and refreshingly laidback – and that’s just the service at this much-loved Notting Hill favourite. Ex-St John chef Tom Pemberton’s ‘use every cut’ training shows in a menu of unfussy, but stylish British dishes cooked with real panache. Set lunches are an absolute steal, although prices are all-round neighbourly.

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Restaurants, British

Hix Soho

icon-location-pin Soho

British food crusader Mark Hix has an empire to manage these days, but his beloved Soho outpost is still the real deal – the ‘essential Hix’, nicely buzzy, dotted with YBA artworks and with the bonus of Mark’s Bar in the basement. Sprightly heritage flavours and charming service add to the feelgood vibe.

Restaurants, Seafood

J Sheekey

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

After well over a century of service, J Sheekey’s status as a West End institution is assured. From the top-hatted doorman and the legions of obliging white-aproned staff to the glamorous theatreland vibe and the bounteous menu of top-drawer super-fresh British seafood, everything is as it should be.

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