London’s top 10 gastronomic experiences (scroll through our gallery)

  • 1 Le Gavroche W1
    Michel Roux’s “iconic” Mayfair bastion (est 1967, by his father Albert) provides a “flawless and indulgent” treat, wherein “psychic” staff deliver “elegant” French cuisine and a “wine-lover’s” list “full of gems”. That the basement setting looks “a little dated” is all part of the traditional charm, and the main man’s regular presence helps underpin “a truly magnificent experience”. Top Tip – “the best value set lunch ever”.
  • 2 The Ledbury
    “Brett Graham simply doesn’t falter” at this “utterly brilliant” Notting Hill champion – yet again London’s No. 1 foodie address thanks to his “adventurous” culinary creations “perfectly executed with panache”. The “muted luxury” of the room is all part of an experience combining “subtle understated elegance, and care given to every detail”.
  • 3 Chez Bruce
    “Still at the top of its game after all these years” – Bruce Poole’s “unpretentious” yet “consistently excellent” neighbourhood restaurant is yet again the survey’s No. 1 favourite, and “well worth the schlep to Wandsworth Common”. “There are no fads – just classic, interesting, perfectly executed cooking”, matched with service that “while impeccable, is completely devoid of airs and graces”. All this plus “stellar” wine and a “cheeseboard probably visible from space”. And price-wise, it’s “so reasonable for something so good!”
  • 4 Fera at Claridge's
    After a dazzling debut, Simon Rogan’s second year in this “stunning” Art Deco chamber still inspires adulation for his “wizard” tasting menus and “astonishingly good wine matches”. Prices, however, are “breathtaking”, and ratings slipped perceptibly across the board this year, with growing gripes about “an absence of fireworks”.
  • 5 Dinner
    “I love a bit of history with my meal!” – Heston’s “self-consciously creative” menu of rediscovered Olde Worlde English dishes is “pure foodie heaven” for fans of this park-side chamber (“lovely views if you get a window table”). Esteem for the place continues to wane year-on-year, however, and to a growing band of refuseniks “what first seemed novel and exciting now seems boring” and “oh-so overpriced”. Top Menu Tips for first-timers – the Meat Fruit (“to die for”) and Tipsy Cake (“divine”).
  • 6 Gordon Ramsay
    Slowly but surely, GR’s Chelsea flagship is clawing its way back into London’s very top tier. As yet, it still inspires too many gripes about a “boring” experience at “stratospheric” prices, but year-on-year the ‘swingometer’ is steadily heading in the direction of its admirers who – lauding Clare Smyth’s “absolutely impeccable” cuisine – say “the bill is eye-watering, but after such a superb meal, you won’t care!” Stop Press – in early October 2015, Clare Smyth announced that she was stepping back, to open her own place in autumn 2016. Her No 2. Matt Abe will succeed her here.
  • 7 Pied à Terre
    David Moore’s “perennially excellent!” foodie temple in Fitzrovia remains one of London’s prime gastronomic ‘heavy hitters’ – service is “outstanding”, the “very clever” cuisine is “a joy”, and a friendly sommelier oversees a “treasure trove” of wine. Stop Press – chef Marcus Eaves left in early September 2015, but David Moore has a good track record of attracting the best talent here.
  • 8 Pollen Street Social
    Eeeessh! – turns out Jason Atherton isn’t superhuman after all, as falling ratings at his original solo venture give the first hints of growing pains amidst his burgeoning (but hitherto seemingly bulletproof) empire. This, the original Social, still has legions of fans who laud its “utterly inventive” cuisine and “buzzy” (if “downright noisy”) vibe, but its performance has seemed more “generic” and “passionless” of late, with gripes over “unmemorable” meals at high prices, and “conveyor-belt” service.
  • 9 Restaurant Story SE1
    “Genius!” – “an incredible journey of flavour and excitement” is to be found at Tom Sellers’s “Scandi-style” dining room, near Tower Bridge, whose “spectacular and truly exciting” multi-course menus are “akin to a trip to the Fat Duck, but at under half the price”.
  • 10 Hedone W4
    “The best ingredients in London” and “unique, technical mastery” underpin “staggering”, “cutting-edge cuisine at its finest” for most who trek to Mikael Jonsson’s open-kitchen HQ, in outer Chiswick. It’s an “idiosyncratic” experience however, and sceptics feel there’s just “too much fuss and self regard”, especially given the “eyewatering expense”. Stop Press – In October 2015 the restaurant will close and re-open with half the number of covers, more complicated cooking, and a focus on rare ingredients and wines. Pricing may change too.

Here are London’s top 10 dining destinations for a great gastronomic experience, according to the results of Harden’s 2016 survey of over 6,750 restaurant-goers.

Michel Roux Jr’s “flawless and indulgent” Mayfair bastion Le Gavroche was for the first time in the guideʼs 25-year history voted Londonʼs Top Gastronomic experience, toppling Brett Grahamʼs cuisine at The Ledbury off the top spot. However Notting Hill’s foodie mecca, backed by Nigel Platts-Marin, still clung on to the capitalʼs highest average food-rating, due to Graham’s “adventurous” culinary creations “executed with panache”.

Simon Rogan’s year-old Claridge’s dining room – Fera at Claridge’s – was a newcomer in the Top 10 Gastronomic Experience, voted the capital’s fourth best gastronomic experience, with “wizard” tasting menus and “astonishingly good wine pairings”.

Also new to the top Gastronomic Experience list this year, two Scandi-inspired venues: Tom Sellers’s Restaurant Story (9) near Tower Bridge, where the multicourse menu is “akin to a trip to the Fat Duck, but at under half the price”; and Mikael Jonsson’s open kitchen venture Hedone (10) in Chiswick, thanks to its “unique technical mastery” of “the best ingredients in London”.

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