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 premium steaks, ranging from Argentinian grass-fed Angus sirloin to Japanese wagyu fillet – although top-end seafood and luxury versions of other global favourites steer 34 away from full-on steakhouse territory.
Freshly shucked oysters steal the show at Richard Corrigan’s immensely civilised and carefully polished seafood veteran – especially if you’re grazing at the marble-topped ground-floor bar or carousing alfresco on the chic, heated-and-covered terrace. Otherwise, head upstairs for old-fashioned service, clubby wood-and-leather cosiness and unfussy plates of pristine seafood in the more formal Grill restaurant – don’t miss the fish pie.
It’s love at first whiff once you step inside this casual offshoot of swish Jamavar. There’s plenty of bustle and noisy chatter too, while the fragrance and smoky aromas speak of killer Indian cooking. Our current faves? The dense goat keema served with buttered buns, the Goan-style stone bass tikka and the moist, chunky lamb biryani. Bombay Bustle is also darned affordable by Mayfair standards – and it’s great fun.
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 £27 for more than a pound of wild Atlantic flesh. We also love this offshoot of the Goodman steakhouse chain for its energy, unpretentiousness and excellent cocktails.
Venue says Bring on Christmas feasting at Burger & Lobster! Forget the turkey, throw out the sprouts and enjoy a burger and lobster this Christmas!
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.
Unforgiving prices come with the territory at this glam art-deco mock-up of decadent 1930s Shanghai in the bowels of The Dorchester. Still, we say ‘go for it’: signatures such as the Peking duck, ceremoniously carved at the table, are among the best in London, while YOLO orders of abalone or cold jellyfish with drunken chicken reward those who dare. Vintage celeb-spotting is a free-of-charge bonus.
A great escape from the West End’s shopping bedlam, calming Chisou is an unobtrusive shoo-in for aficionados of pure-bred traditional Japanese cuisine. There’s excellent sushi-grazing for singletons who pitch up at the counter, but izakaya-style sharing is the way to go amid the harmonious neutrality of the blond-wood dining room. We’re talking chawan mushi ‘custard’, hijiki quinoa salad, salted mackerel teriyaki, and so on.
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.
Although multi-gonged Simon (L’Enclume) Rogan is no longer involved, luxury-priced brilliance is still the deal at Michelin-starred Fera – an über-expensive sombre-toned dining room within super-swanky Claridge’s. This place is a haven for foodie pilgrims who are happy to pay top dollar for tiny works of gastronomic art fashioned from wild, seasonal and esoteric ingredients – anyone for stewed rabbit with lovage or beetroot, chocolate and verjus?
The high-flying Galvin brothers like a little bit of beurre, but this hotel-based addition to their empire also flies the flag for old Albion as the kitchen dishes up British ingredients in mainly French disguises (think Goosnargh chicken with tempura courgette flower and sauce vierge). What you get with the Galvin name is reliably impressive cooking backed by spot-on service in classy (if somewhat soulless) surroundings.
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: lobster bisque followed by a Chilean Wagyu rib-eye with truffle chips, plus a cookie and caramel sundae for afters. You get the picture, and we know you want to be in it.
At this luxe Indian, whirring ceiling fans, sepia sporting photos and exotic, medicinal-style punches recall a colonial world heady with privilege (happily minus the ideological racism). The food is fittingly decadent: beautifully cooked, modern renditions of regional Indian dishes, with a strong emphasis on game and ingredients cooked in the tandoor. And you thought your local takeaway was a treat.
The only time most of us are likely to set foot inside a Mayfair mews property with its own Zen-like garden is by booking a table at this two-Michelin-starred jewel. The Greenhouse is a bubble of calm far removed from the showiness of new-money Mayfair, and chef Alex Dilling (ex-Hélène Darroze at The Connaught) is maintaining the kitchen’s sky-high reputation for precision-tuned Euro-accented food.
Like its Fitzrovia sibling, Hakkasan Mayfair is slick, sleek and sexy – a high-end Cantonese restaurant that turns heads and sets pulses racing in a moody high-groove basement. The food may be Michelin-starred but it’s less showstopping than you might expect for the price – although signature stunners such as the jasmine tea-smoked ribs (now served off the bone) are still perfection on a plate.
If the stodgy pomposity of some Mayfair restaurants leaves you cold, head to the Air Street branch of steak specialists Hawksmoor. This is damn fine dining without head-up-arse pretentiousness: the low-lit interior is stylish yet comfortable, the service smooth as polished soapstone without being sycophantic, and the food (a mixture of turf and surf here) well worth the moolah.
Even a wee in The Connaught’s loo is the ultimate treat, so dinner at its flagship restaurant is worthy of only fantastically special occasions. This being two-Michelin-star dining, your Primarni handbag will be rested reverently on an upholstered footstool by solicitous staff (awks), and the size of the delicacy-laden dishes will be inversely proportional to the enormity of the bill.
With testimonies from the likes of George Clooney and Led Zep guitarist Jimmy Page, long-serving Ikeda is a cut above in the celebrity stakes – although conservative businessmen have no qualms about bringing clients here. This place is old school (affable super-polite staff, inoffensive trad decor, lofty prices), but consistency is the order of the day whether you’re after sushi, sashimi, tempura or soba noodles.
Venue says Located in the heart of Mayfair, Ikeda is a traditional Japanese restaurant, serving up cuisine in an exclusive, fine-dining setting.
Whizz-kid Welsh chef Tomos Parry has moved on to open Brat in Shoreditch, but this cosy velvet-clad homage to eighteenth-century courtesan Kitty Fisher is still on the money and still delivering zesty, up-to-the-minute cooking. Much like its namesake, a visit to Kitty’s boudoir will put a big smile on your face – if you don’t mind paying for the privilege, that is.
Jamavar’s vibe suggests a smart, colonial-era gentlemen’s club, but don’t let that put you off. What makes it worth a serious punt is the Michelin-starred food, a succession of luscious, delicately spiced small plates bursting with purity and depth of flavour – we’re still salivating over the succulent lobster tail served with sambar and idli dumplings on the side. Yes, Jamavar is pricey, but it’s worth the outlay.
Jason Atherton’s charming, polished bistro reminds us why French cuisine ruled the restaurant roost in Mayfair for decades. The menu should ideally be read to the tune of Serge and Jane’s ‘Je t’aime… moi non plus’, because dishes such as beef tartare with gaufrette potato or flame-grilled mackerel with chargrilled fennel and bouillabaisse sound swoonsome – and are even better in the flesh than on the page.
The heavily hyped ‘trolley service’ had its moment, but Magpie’s push-along vehicles are now used for serving nibbles, then parked to one side. Happily, this hip off-Regent Street sibling to Hackney's Pidgin is still serving up inventive small plates – and damn fine they are too. The menu changes constantly, so ask the supremely friendly staff for suggestions – squid with Calabrian sausage, grilled turnip and mussel sauce, perhaps.
Before Middle Eastern and Maghrebi flavours were de rigueur in London, this glamorous, opulent venue was bringing exotic cuisine and unfettered fun to Mayfair. More than 20 years on, Momo still thrives – although its charms are mostly appreciated by tourists these days. Still, this is pleasure by the plateful – mezze, couscous, tagines and grills served in a warm and friendly locale.
Venue says Exclusive hire and private dining room: enjoy delicious food in stunning surroundings for an experience to remember!
We happen to think that Angela Hartnett’s flagship is Mayfair’s least stuffy fine-dining restaurant. Yes, there are beautifully dressed tables and carpets so thick you’d slip out of your shoes if only they were Manolo Blahniks, but the focus is resolutely on the good times: cue generous portions of big-flavoured Italian dishes, ferried by smiling, down-to-earth staff. (Psst: the set lunch is a steal.)
Imagine a fine-dining restaurant trapped in the body of a bistro, serving flashy, ingenious modern food within earshot of Oxford Street’s mayhem. That s Neo Bistro in a nutshell. Although the setting says ‘no frills’, prices scream ‘full-on destination’ – so we suggest dropping by for a quick main course-only pitstop (cod with peach and celeriac, say) or lingering over the better-value tasting menu.
You’ll probably spot more celebs at the Berkeley St offshoot, but Nobu’s Park Lane original is the connoisseurs’ choice thanks to its classier vibe and sensational sushi. However, you don’t have to spend like a WAG or a reality TV star when you’re here – the lunchtime bento box is a cheaper route to your black cod fix. Sit at the bar for people-watching fun.
Super-sumptuous and hyper-exclusive, Ormer resides within a luxuriously appointed basement room beneath Flemings Mayfair. It’s now home to starry chef Shaun Rankin, whose food has earned him red M gongs in the past – thanks in part to his liking for British flavours and ingredients (especially seafood). Blue ribands for the service too.
Another best-in-show contender from Alan Yau, this hugely atmospheric Mayfair rendezvous channels 1930s Shanghai via a slinky velvet-toned restaurant and jazz lounge. Don’t miss the ‘duck de Chine’ or the ‘Park carbonara’ – a Chinese take on the Italian classic that replaces pasta with udon noodles, sea urchin and guanciale. Viciously pricey, but perfect date territory – especially if you’re hammering the all-too-sinkable cocktails.
Venue says Park Chinois is an entertainment restaurant that pays homage to the opulence and decadence of 1930’s Shanghai, with exquisite Chinese food.
Midas-touch Jason Atherton’s Michelin-starred Mayfair flagship promises near-perfect fine dining without overegging the formality. British ingredients form the backbone of a seasonal menu that picks up influences from Spain, Japan and elsewhere, while the setting speaks of smart, sleek and unfussy sophistication. Well-drilled staff are some of the most professional in the business, and the globetrotting wine list is a real corker.
Tapas fans prepare to cheer loudly. After years as executive chef at Barrafina, Spanish queen bee Nieves Barragán Mohacho is now presiding over her first solo gaff – a highly distinctive setup spread over two floors (small-plate counter fun downstairs, regional wood-fired feasting upstairs). The food’s all-round flawless with a noticeable rustic edge: don’t swerve the plumped-up, just-runny salt-cod tortilla – it’s sheer eggy bliss.
It may take a traditional approach to Japanese cuisine, but Sakagura’s look is so modern it’s almost too cool for Mayfair. High-end choices from the menu include wagyu aplenty, black cod and robata-grilled lobster, but for a taste of Sakagura without the financial pain, order the chef’s sushi or sashimi selection plus a sake cocktail. Either way, finish with the utterly sublime raindrop cake.
Everyone knows lunch at this paparazzi-magnet is replete with celeb rubber-necking. But what of the food? Well, it’s insanely good, as long as you like fish: from spanking fresh crustacea and cognac-laced shellfish bisque to peerless Dover sole. Trying to eat here cheaply is futile, but the fact that prices represent value for money goes some way to excusing excesses.
Like the rest of this luxe Mayfair extravaganza, sketch’s velvet-clad dandy-esque Gallery is a lesson in more-is-more eclecticism, complete with semi-permanent exhibitions from high-profile artists like David Shrigley (the current incumbent). You can come here for a thrillingly creative dinner, but afternoon tea in this decadent pink boudoir is one of the quirkiest in town – especially if you fancy cosying up in wintertime.
Venue says Enter 9 Conduit Street and embark on a Christmas journey. Each step brings yuletide traditions to life while you waltz through snowflakes!
This nonagenarian is proof that good things come to those who wait (it received a Michelin gong 90 years after opening). If you’re expecting staid, however, think again: old Veera styles it out like Iris Apfel, with quirk and colour and a rather arresting turban selection. The food is perfectly spiced: don’t miss the celebrated signatures or the veggie sides.
Once a trailblazer (along with its now-defunct siblings Arbutus and Les Deux Salons), Wild Honey still honours the legacy by offering cracking-value ‘working lunches’ as well as plenty of good wines by the glass or carafe to help keep a lid on your spending. Oak panelling, richly coloured upholstery and cutting-edge artwork contribute to the restaurant’s pleasurably clubby surrounds.
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.
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