Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London St James\'s
Hardens guides have spent 30 years compiling reviews of the best St James\'s restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 33 restaurants in St James\'s and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing St James\'s restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured St James\'s Restaurants
1. Wiltons British, Traditional restaurant in St James's 55 Jermyn St - SW1
“The Best of British” – London’s oldest restaurant (founded 1742, but not on this site) feels – with its “muffled conversations and refined decor mixing deep reds, browns and greens” – “akin to a compact version of an old-fashioned club”; and its St James’s quarters provide a “top drawer”, “old-school” experience for those of an “old-fashioned” disposition (“jackets are required for men”). “Acoustics are civilised” and “tables are very discreet, so it’s perfect for business lunches or dinners”; while service operates “with class and efficiency”, yet “without being unctuous”. “If you want first-class, traditional cuisine”, in particular fish and seafood (also game in season), this is the place for you – “sublime ingredients” are “presented impeccably, but without frills”. Do try to ensure you are there at the invitation of your tax advisor or art dealer, however: “the bill is always brutal”.
2. Seven Park Place French restaurant in St James's 7-8 Park Pl - SW1
“Consistently lovely food” over the past 10 years has earned an ecstatic, if limited, foodie following for low-key chef William Drabble, who “remains a hit in the kitchen rather than on the TV screen”. The “cosy” and “romantic” dining room of this hideaway luxury hotel in St James’s also benefits from “cute, quirky decor and friendly, helpful staff”.
3. Franco’s Italian restaurant in St James's 61 Jermyn St - SW1
Classic St James’s Italian, whose convivial and civilised quarters amd “totally reliable food” make it “one of the best all-rounders in the area” and, in particular, “a good choice for a business lunch” (or breakfast, which is very good here). It was opened in 1946 by the Wiltons group, and emerged from a major refurb in autumn 2019 with a new bar, refreshed decor and a menu shake-up. “Despite its popularity (and vintage), it retains a freshness both in the food and the service”, and while by no means cheap, regulars say “it always delivers”.
4. The Game Bird British, Traditional restaurant in St James's 16-18 St James’s Place - SW1A
The “old-world comfort and glamour” of a quiet St James’s hotel dining room provides the setting for “studiedly English food” – “a seasonal mix of classic and modern dishes” including “excellent roast beef from the trolley on Sundays”. “Exceptionally good service” at “discrete tables which feel very private” and “a superb wine list” add to its attractions, particularly for entertaining clients. No surprises, though, that “it’s pricey for what you get”. Top Tip – “a preprandial cocktail in the famous American Bar is highly recommended”.
5. The American Bar Mediterranean restaurant in St James's The Stafford, 16-18 Saint James's Place - SW1A
“The beautiful cocktails are the best” at this plush and cosy hideaway, at the end of a St James’s mews. Foodwise, there’s a Mediterranean-inspired brasserie menu, or hold out for the summer BBQs in the courtyard.
6. Scully International restaurant in St James's 4 St James's Market - SW1Y
“Mind-blowing food” that’s “hard to classify” – “a true pot pourri of tastes from around the world using a cascade of daringly combined ingredients to create a theatrical experience for the eyes, and a surprising explosion for the taste buds” – is carving ever-wider culinary renown for Ramael Scully’s “exceptionally interesting” three-year-old in St James’s Market, whose kitchen is “really pushing the boundaries”. The room is “classy” too, and staff are “so extremely knowledgeable and helpful”. “The only downside is a crowd that’s a bit St James-y”. Top Tip – “sit at the counter, where talking to the chefs is a bonus”.
7. Sake No Hana Japanese restaurant in St James's 23 St James’s St - SW1
“Beautiful food in a stunning location” – a Modernist building next to The Economist in St James’s – again wins high ratings for this long-running Japanese outfit in the Hakkasan Group. It’s never really made its mark, however, and continues to inspire little feedback, but such as there is brims with enthusiasm nowadays for the “always-great meals”. And if you support sustainability, you’ll want to know that Sake No Hana is, as of September 2019, the first restaurant in the UK to sell fully farmed Bluefin tuna rather than the endangered variety.
8. Quaglino’s British, Modern restaurant in St James's 16 Bury St - SW1
D&D London’s “fabulous, shimmering dining room from the Jazz Age” – which, in fact, owes much of its glam looks to Sir Terence Conran’s 1993 revamp of this massive, subterranean, 1920s ballroom in St James’s – is unusual amongst high-end venues nowadays in making “fantastic entertainment” and live music a regular feature of its ritzy offering. After many years on the skids, its standards of service and posh-brasserie fare have been somewhat on the mend in recent times, and – though ratings are still in middling territory – all feedback in the last survey was upbeat. Top Tip “Sunday brunch is worth the trip”.
9. The Avenue American restaurant in St James's 7-9 St James’s Street - SW1
This “slick and professional” modern brasserie in the heart of St James’s from D&D London is “very popular at lunchtime with business people” – in particular for the “glass-fronted private room which allows for confidential conversation without being stuffy”. “The location is easy to get to”, and the food “caters for all tastes”.
10. Il Vicolo Italian restaurant in St James's 3-4 Crown Passage - SW1
Among the plutocrats’ dining rooms of St James’s, this “consistently good and friendly family-restaurant”, tucked away down an alley, stands out as a “reliable Italian local” with earth-bound prices.
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