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The best restaurants for celebrity-spotting in London

Our guide to the London eateries whose flavours bring all the celebrities to their yard

By Nicola Arencibia
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Looking for a side-order of stardust with your meal? Then allow us to point you to London’s best restaurants for celebrity-spotting. They’re not all big, they’re not all clever – but enough about the celebrities (ho ho); let’s hear it for the starriest restaurants in town.

Restaurants for celebrity-spotting in London

The Ivy

Restaurants Contemporary European Covent Garden

Celebrity spots: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kit Harrington, Tracey Emin, Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster, Barbara Windsor, David Walliams, Paul O’Grady, Dannii Minogue, Margaret Thatcher… and Princess Margaret, on occasion.

The Ivy is as famous as the pap-ready celebrities who parade through its revolving doors. In the ’90s, it was impossible to get a table unless you were Somebody Really Special; that hierarchy continued to table allocation, with some spots at the back known as ‘Siberia’. Following its top-dollar facelift, Siberia is no more – the best seats (particularly for celeb-spotting) are arguably at the central bar. The menu is a who’s-who of comfort food – the shepherd’s pie is unmissable.

J Sheekey Oyster Bar

Restaurants British Covent Garden

Celebrity spots: David Walliams, Ant and Dec, Sienna Miller, Suki Waterhouse, Gordon and Tana Ramsay.

This cosy, convivial fish restaurant and adjoining oyster bar is part of the theatreland furniture and a home from home for the in-crowd (especially luvvies). They come for the clubby ambience, cosseting service, and the chance to network with People Like Them – plus, of course, a reliable menu filled with dishes that are as much of a London institution as the restaurant itself: excellent Dover sole; creamy, tender lobster thermidor; and that famous fish pie.

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Langan's Brasserie

Restaurants British Mayfair

Celebrity spots: Liza Minnelli, Joan Collins, Charles Bronson, Dustin Hoffman, Sean Connery, Eric Clapton, Tom Selleck (all in the ’80s, mind).

In ’80s London, this was the place to be seen. Art buff Peter Langan and actor Michael Caine founded it, each bringing their connections to bear on the dining room – Langan basically wallpapered it with framed works of art (struggling artist friends traded paintings for free meals), while Caine ensured every night came with a side of stardust, from Marlon Brando to Muhammad Ali to Mick Jagger. These days, it’s more of a celebrity retirement home.

La Petite Maison

Restaurants Spanish Mayfair

Celebrity spots: Victoria Beckham, Paul McCartney and Stella McCartney.

Restaurateur Arjun Waney (he of bling-bling Zuma) has a knack for attracting the jet set – this suave but low-key haunt brings the allure of the south of France to Mayfair, so it’s perfect for celebrities pining for their summers in St Trop’ (altogether now: aaah). The best bit for these stars is that the Mayfair regulars wouldn’t dream of approaching them for a selfie – bear this in mind if you go celeb-stalking here.

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Le Caprice

Restaurants Contemporary European St James’s

Celebrity spots: Dominic West.

In the ’80s, Le Caprice was a byword for celeb-dusted glamour, and its monochrome, art-deco dining room was filled almost exclusively with famous faces. Everyone from Mick Jagger to Madonna wanted a post-prandial pic outside these doors – and whoever ended up on table nine (the preserve of true greats such as Elizabeth Taylor and, regularly, Princess Diana) would know they were top dog that evening. These days, big-name stars are less common but still fairly high wattage.

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© Luca Zampedri

Nobu Berkeley

Restaurants Japanese Mayfair

Celebrity spots: Pharrell Williams, Selena Gomez, Will.i.am, Dannii Minogue, Tamara Ecclestone, Liz Hurley, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Rita Ora, Paloma Faith, Corrine Bailey-Rae, Jeremy Irvine, Tommy Lee, Alice Eve, Donna Air, David Walliams.

Not only is this top-end sushi restaurant a favourite with London’s celebrity no-carbs brigade, but it also has a famous owner, one Robert de Niro (you may have heard of him). Famous people (often to their chagrin) need to eat, and at this worldwide chain they know exactly what they can order to be brought on the side, at prices that stop the riff-raff from rubber-necking. A great restaurant for fans of singers and Spice: Victoria Beckham was a fixture in the late ’90s.

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Food_Nobu London_presspics_CREDIT_Luca  Zampedri.bmp
© Luca Zampedri

Nobu

Restaurants Japanese Mayfair

Celebrity spots: ’90s favourites including Natalie Imbruglia, Sophie Dahl, Tara Palmer-Tompkinson, Jade Jagger, and Westlife.

The original London Nobu may have been passed over by the flashest celebrities in favour of the Berkeley St branch, but it is still a go-to for more established stars from both sides of the pond. Nowadays, it has to work harder to lure in A-listers, by hosting charity bashes, book launches and the like. However, don’t be surprised if you do spot a gold-standard celebrity here: some relish the chance to eat Nobu’s food away from the media circus.

Venue says 50% off (up to £10 per person) every Monday and Tuesday lunch in October

Novikov

Restaurants Mayfair

Celebrity spots: Katie Price, Meg Mathews, Calum Best.

Flashy Novikov is the restaurant that taste forgot, serving Italian dishes in its basement amid faux chandeliers, and extortionate pan-Asian dishes on its ground floor, all overseen by earpiece-wearing hulks. It exists in the Mayfair bubble and serves the needs of those who inhabit (or have the money to infiltrate) that bubble. The food isn’t great (especially for the price), but the (B-list) celebrity-spotting potential is huge – though you’ll need eagle eyes to separate the bronzed, botoxed, Balenciaga-clad wheat from the chaff.

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Petersham Nurseries Café

Restaurants Contemporary European Richmond

Celebrity spots: Madonna, Mick Jagger, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Richard E Grant, Stella McCartney.

This dreamy ‘greenhouse café’ is full of stars slumming it (which, in restaurant terms, means no tablecloths or carpets, a rustic theme, and just one Michelin star). Or they’re here to commune with nature: plants and climbers decorate the boho-chic space, and dishes incorporate edible shoots and flowers. Or they just love Greg Malouf’s food. It’s delicious – but prices intimidate everyone except moneyed locals and celebrities who don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day.

Scott's

Restaurants Seafood Mayfair

Celebrity spots: Kiefer Sutherland, Johnny Depp, Nigella Lawson (more infamously), Kevin Spacey, former president Bill Clinton, Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch (post *bleugh* nuptials), Pippa Middleton.

One glance at the roll-call of famous names who have dined here tells you all you need to know about this restaurant: Scott’s has a LOT of A-list fans – not just actors, but also former US presidents, media moguls and other People of Note. Classic fish dishes and spanking fresh crustacea (on show in the dining room) are the specialities here – all beautifully presented and served by slick but discreet staff in the funky, Martin Brudnizki-designed dining room.

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