At this time of year the newspaper restaurants critics start putting together their annual Best Restaurants lists to run near New Year’s so they can have a soft time over the holidays. Actually, it’s some poor subeditor (who is assuredly not having a soft time over the holidays) landed with the job of taking a name brand critic’s 1400 words of delicately balanced prose, chopping off the first thousand words of irrelevant chitchat and editing the remaining 400 words down to 150 to fit the two magazine pages allotted.
We’re going to talk about London’s top restaurants differently: we’re going to take a look at what you, our experienced toptable diners, have found are London’s top restaurants. And we’re doing it now and completely scooping the big-name boys. Let the people speak, we say.
Top London Restaurant Le Gavroche
Currently, toptable diners’ top London restaurant is Le Gavroche, rated a sterling 9 out of 10. For decades, Michel Roux’s London restaurant has been a brilliant dining experience, very often a celebration meal destination for many of us and Le Gavroche comes through beautifully. As foodie AW says, ‘From the minute we arrived at the bar and met our friends…to collecting our coats at the end it was an amazing experience.’ And the set lunch at three courses plus half a bottle of wine and water with coffee and petits fours is £48, one of the bargains of the capital.
Chez Bruce on Wandsworth Common
toptable diners’ second top London restaurant with 8.9 out of 10 is Chez Bruce restaurant on Wandsworth Common, which interestingly enough has a lunch special offer right now, three courses for £19.95. Chez Bruce is the fascinating spot that was once Harvey’s, where Marco Pierre White first made his mark in London. Then in 1995 Bruce Poole, formerly chef at the brilliant Chez Max, created Chez Bruce as a place for absolutely top-end food to be enjoyed in a relaxed atmosphere. It has a Michelin star and lots of other awards, but remains attitude-free. The service, cooking and ambience perfectly fulfill Poole’s dreams. Great number two choice, toptable diners.
Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s restaurant claims the number three spot in our poll of top London restaurants. The elegance and style of Claridge’s combined with the divine service and superb cooking have got you peppering your diner reviews with words like ‘fabulous’, ‘memorable’ and ‘perfect’. Some of you appear to have been blessed with a tour of the kitchens too, lucky souls. And the set lunch menu of three courses for £30 is clearly popular.
Roux at the Landau
Now here’s an interesting thing. Roux at the Landau has been open for less than a week as we’re writing this, yet look at that, there it is, tied at number four in your list of top London restaurants. For the first time in nearly twenty years father and son Albert and Michel Roux are working together to create Roux at The Landau in the beautiful Langham Hotel in Portland Place. Here’s foodie Anthony Turner: ‘Roux at the Landau is as good as it gets: superb food, faultless service, elegant ambience and the toptable menu is excellent value.’ Yes, right now and for just a few more days as we write, three course lunch with champagne is £32 and three course early dinner with champagne is £34, an amazing offer
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
Three more restaurants have tied for the number four top London restaurant with 8.7 out of 10 points: The French Table restaurant in Surbiton, Apsleys – A Heinz Beck Restaurant at Hyde Park Corner and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester on Park Lane. Fascinating.
Apsleys – A Heinz Beck Restaurant at the Lanesborough Hotel and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester are both stunningly lovely dining rooms set in two of London’s grandest five star hotels. Apsleys has a Michelin star and Alain Ducasse has three and they each offer terrific dining experiences, nearly faultless. Of Apsleys, foodie Adam Old says, ‘Superlatives cannot explain what a lovely time we enjoyed at Apsleys last night’. Foodie Kingsley Law dined at Alain Ducasse and had this to say: ‘By far the best I’ve ever had in London.’ Both have special offers on toptable right now.
The French Table
And then, out there in Surbiton, there is The French Table with no Michelin stars – though Michelin likes it – run by a husband and wife team without all the showmanship of a big London hotel, and you toptable diners rate it every bit as highly as the big boys. Now that’s the toptable local gem factor at its best. Nibbler MG exclaims, ‘What a little treasure Surbiton has to offer!’ Evidently there’s not a weak element in this local restaurant, from the French Mediterranean food and warm service to the charming ambience and even the loos.
Then, suddenly, seven restaurants arrive together at 8.6 out of 10 on the top London restaurants list and they display the same sort of mix of high-end five star luxury and local gem delight. They are:
Artisan at the Westbury
Artisan restaurant at The Westbury Hotel in Mayfair, currently running some special offers that should rock your culinary world.
The Grill at The Dorchester restaurant, also in Mayfair and also running some irresistible special offers.
Launceston Place restaurant in Kensington is another restaurant with history: it was one of Rowley Leigh’s restaurants when he was also piloting Kensington Place and before starting Le Cafe Anglais. Now it’s reaching new heights of culinary excellence under Tristan Welch. Special offers now on.
Clos Maggiore restaurant in Covent Garden is, we reckon, one of London’s most romantic restaurants and has been a toptable favourite almost since toptable was a pup. Four terrific special offers are waiting for you here.
The Greenhouse restaurant in Mayfair is a Michelin starred delight, a haven of civility, service and superb French cuisine, and also a spot for a couple of very good special offers.
Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley restaurant in Knightsbridge puts us back in five-star luxurious hotel land, but his pair of Michelin stars reminds up that a) Marcus himself is in the kitchen and b) the cooking is of superlative quality.
Then there’s Cah-Chi restaurant on Garratt Lane in Earlsfield that has none of the muscle of big hotel style, no Michelin stars, and no hint of the rigmarole that high-end dining sometimes attracts. It’s a Korean restaurant – the first of our top London restaurants that isn’t French, British with French underpinnings or modern European. toptable diners have been flocking here by the hundreds and you’ve almost uniformly adored the place. Gourmet SR sums it up nicely, ‘Meat is cooked to perfection at your table bbq, side dishes to munch on while it’s cooking and the staff are lovely and very helpful too.’ It sits comfortably in our ‘Under £35’ category and here’s the best part of all – for just £2.50 corkage, Cah-Chi is BYO. Hidden gem? Not for long.