Londoners are spoiled with many choices when it comes to dining out. The cuisine of almost any country in the world can be sampled in the capital. Options include Korean, Burmese, Argentine, Vegan, Malaysian, Mauritian, Modern British, Hungarian and many more. Food is a popular hedonistic pleasure, with restaurants emerging as trendy hang-outs, chefs becoming TV stars and cooking books turning into hot bestsellers. Naturally every area and every other road in London has a place to eat, but certain areas stand out among the rest.
Camden: This perennially popular neighbourhood teems with great mid-range venues like Wagamama, everyone's favourite modern noodle bar, and Cottons – a favourite for Caribbean cuisine.
Chelsea & Fulham: This area has a first-rate selection of restaurants catering to the area's wealthy clientèle – but the variety is just as vast as it is in the rest of the city. Enjoy classy Thai at Blue Elephant and join locals for authentic Italian at Chelsea stalwart La Famiglia. For some brilliant Modern British, head to Conran's Bibendum and Bluebird. For the gastro-pub experience, join the Chelsea crowd at The Admiral Codrington and sample great, updated British grub like salmon fishcakes and warm liver salad.
Covent Garden: Here the simple mixes with the traditional, the substantial with the stylish. Food for Thought on Neal Street is a popular vegetarian hole-in-the-wall that serves hearty portions to students and travellers alike. Traditional English fare is the order of the day at Rules; it always offers a refined and restrained dining experience. Another appealing venue is The Ivy, in the heart of Theatreland, where you can do plenty of celebrity watching. Charlotte Street, up the road in Fitzrovia, is also packed with superb restaurants, perfect for business and romance.
Islington: Upper Street is swarming with restaurants, bars and cafés; Modern British cuisine is very well represented. You can also find a range of other cuisines, from tasty Turkish at Pasha to spicy Indian at Masala Zone.
Kensington & Knightsbridge: Kensington Place is a good spot for lunch. Visit Julie's for a romantic evening, or try Clarkes for a contemporary and elegant experience. San Lorenzo on Beauchamp Place was Princess Diana's favourite spot for Italian and continues to attract many food connoisseurs.
Marylebone: Some great eateries, including the elegant Orrery (another Conran venture). For Irish cuisine, try the Ard Ri Dining Room above the O'Conor Don Pub. In St. Christopher's Place, a charming courtyard off Oxford Street, you'll find cafes, Italian trattorias and juice bars.
Mayfair & West End: The 28th floor Galvin at Windows inside the Hilton Hotel offers fantastic views of London's nightscape. Have a drink before indulging at the eternally trendy Nobu or Mirabelle. Deeper in Mayfair, enjoy the Michelin-starred modern French cuisine of The Square, probably one of London's finest restaurants. Check out Indian favourites including the pricey Veeraswarmy and Chor Bizarre. If you seek relaxation, visit Momo, where you can sit cross-legged and enjoy succulent dishes from the Middle East.
Notting Hill: Home to hip restaurants of all kinds. There is a vast selection of Italian places, like the snug and friendly Osteria Basilico. Tom's delicatessen is popular for weekend brunches, but be prepared for long lines. For something more exotic, try some Caribbean food, abundant at Carnival time at street stalls.
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