Already getting a headache thinking about the money you’re about to splurge on dinner in Mayfair’s best restaurants? The secret to dining out in an all-frills postcode designed for expense accounters and the international super-rich is mind over matter, so savour the joyride and when it comes to the bill – hey, no regrets. Here are our Mayfair winners.
RECOMMENDED: Find more fun nearby with Time Out’s Mayfair area guide
The best restaurants in Mayfair
One of Caprice Holdings’ many Mayfair baubles, 34 is favoured by fortune-laden foreigners who don’t mind paying for reassuringly familiar dishes cooked just so. The emphasis here is on steaks, which range from pure-breed Yorkshire sirloin to (prepare to remortgage – oh, that’s right…) Japanese wagyu fillet; however, luxury versions of global favourites steer 34 away from full-on steakhouse territory.
Oysters rock at Richard Corrigan’s backstreet bar. This is Mayfair, remember, so when we say ‘backstreet’ we’re hardly talking spit and sawdust, but the location does mean fewer tourists, more Londoners. This historic restaurant (there’s also a swanky grill upstairs) is laid-back in spirit, with engaging staff serving unfussy plates of pristine seafood to diners at the close-packed tables.
Venue says: “Simply the best burger and lobster in town. See our Facebook page for the latest news and updates.”
A £16 burger is a bargain in Mayfair – especially when it’s one of this calibre, and the fries are included. But for our money, the best value dish is still the lobster part of the B&L equation, at £28 for a pound of flesh. We love this branch of Goodman’s luxury-for-less chain for its energy, unpretentiousness and excellent cocktails.
This timeless favourite is to the jet-set what Pizza Express is to hoi polloi: a culinary comfort blanket when travelling abroad (except its branches are only found in ultra-glam destinations). Cecconi’s is a consummate crowd-pleaser whose white-jacketed staff ensure everything runs with minimum fuss so that you can concentrate on its excellent Italian classics while counting the Ferraris and facelifts.
China Tang’s glam art-deco decadence and sumptuous a la carte come at an unforgiving price. But just go for it: signatures such as the Peking duck, ceremoniously carved at the table, are among the best versions in London, while YOLO orders such as jellyfish reward the more daring. The near-certainty of spotting vintage slebs adds extra value for money.
When staff here offer you valet parking, lie like a pro and say your chauffeur awaits. At this pastiche of a 1920s American grill – where comfort food, art deco and an old-school vibe are given the Corbin & King magic – it’s easy to adopt a new persona (one who craves the likes of meatloaf, chicken pot pie and bananas Foster…).
Oh, the luxury. The marble bar! The baby grand! The honey-gold lighting! The starched tablecloths and bottom-caressing chairs! God, Corrigan’s is a turn-on. The dishes are, too, from the toast-of-the-town soda bread to the sighing rhubarb-crumble soufflé. And the happiest ending? Although spending your way through the a la carte is easy, set lunches and Sunday roasts have come-hither prices.
The Galvin lads like a little bit of beurre, so a meal at one of their French-accented gourmet restaurants is always a treat. This addition to their empire goes a bit ‘Allo ‘Allo’ (without the farce) dishing up British ingredients in mainly French disguises – think Dedham Vale steak tartare, or cassoulet stuffed with Gressingham duck and Gloucester Old Spot sausages.
Michel Roux Jr’s flagship is the Tom Hanks of fine dining: perennially successful, wholly professional and able to charm anyone with whom it comes into contact. Le Gavroche’s diners are out-of-towners with a bucket list and something to celebrate; moneybags regulars who heart this old timer’s consistency and exclusivity; and skint foodies tucking into the best-value gourmet set lunch in town.
Like a sleeper-cell KGB spy, this Russian-backed steakhouse is more American than meeting your therapist for a wiener on Madison Avenue. The mahogany and leather interiors set the scene for deluxe gustatory spoils: truffled wagyu, say, followed by Black Angus porterhouse with a side of butter-drenched lobster tail. You get the picture, and we know you want to be in it.
Find more amazing restaurants in London
In the list below – surely the ultimate guide to the best restaurants in London – you’ll find it all: zeitgeist-defining celebrity haunts, the best new restaurants in London, glitzy destinations in London's best hotels, Michelin star restaurants with starched linen napkins and restaurants serving down-to-earth cheap eats. What they all have in common is that they serve some of the best dishes in London at fair prices, with service befitting the setting. In short, if you’re looking for a great meal, you’ve come to the right place.
This 'sky bar, kitchen and club' at the M by Montcalm Hotel comes from a collaboration between Anthony Demetre (of Arbutus and Wild Honey) and catering-cum-restaurant group, Searcy's. The focus is on British food and drinks. Dishes on the a la carte range from ox tongue with green vegetable salsa and oyster mayo to ricotta gnudi with endive, pear, parmesan and walnut vinaigrette, roast halibut with mussels, sweet onions and parsley, and belly of pork with heritage carrots, cavolo nero and grapefruit relish. Cocktails also feature, alongside a wine selection offering a good number by the glass and carafe. Keep an eye out for prix-fixe lunches, too.
Venue says: “Bottomless mimosa brunch and spectacular views! Choose three dishes and enjoy bottomless mimosas for two hours for £37 per person.”