Which is London's best restaurant?

It's getting more and more difficult to say, because the old rules - which boiled down to French is best - seem ever more inappropriate today. But let's stick with the traditional 'haute cuisine' definition. If you want the whole high-falutin' Gallic dining experience, the top all-rounder - no question is Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley. In a rather more traditional style, London's original post-war grand restaurant, Le Gavroche, still has a lot going for it.

In a very superior second tier are a number of restaurants which have maintained very high quality for a good number of years, including Pied a Terre, the Square and the Capital Hotel. (and, heading up the reserves, the Greenhouse). A recent opening which is beginning to knock on the door of the front rank - and which offers a bit of grand hotel bling thrown in - is The Landau. (With that exception, and Marcus Wareing, London's hotels offer little truly top-end dining.) Peter Harden

As for holding business meetings, the following establishments are recognised as the finest restaurants in which to conduct your business. NB: With the exception of ‘set meals,’ the price shown for each restaurant is the cost for one (1) person of an average three-course dinner with half a bottle of house wine and coffee, any cover charge, service and VAT. Lunch is often cheaper.

The Wolseley

160 Piccadilly, W1 0117 499 6996 £54.00

"A Buzzing hub of London life"; Corbin & King's "electric" grand cafe, by the Ritz, suits most occasions, not least a "peerless breakfast", "impressing client" or "discreet celeb-spotting" (all three at once); the "steadfast" food is rather beside the point.  Midnight. Sun 11pm

The Don

20 St Swithins Lane, EC4 0207 626 2606 £47.00

"The best business restaurant in the City" - combining an "airy and civilised" upstairs, with an informal and "atmospheric" cellar - is quietly tucked-away near Bank; the cooking is "good verging on very good", backed up by a "crackling" wine list and "slick" service. 10pm closed Sat & Sun; no trainers.


Bleeding Heart Yd, Greville Street, EC1 0117 242 8238 £49.00

"Hidden-away down a cobbled alley", near Holborn, this "historic" warren - comprising a tavern, bistro and restaurant - remains one of the best-liked places in town; with its "traditional Gallic" approach, its "very intimate" nooks and its "epic" wine list, it manages to "cover all the bases, from business to romance". 10pm closed Sat & Sun.

Coq dArgent

1 Poultry, EC2 0207 395 5000 £58.00

With its "fantastic" terraces and roof gardens, this "unique" 6th-floor D&D-group operation in the City is never going to be a budget destination, but improved food and service have made it better value of late; though it's mainly a business venue, of course, it can be "surprisingly busy" at weekends too. 9.45pm; closed Sat lunch and Sun dinner.

1 Lombard Street

1 Lombard Street, EC3 0207 929 6611 £75.00

"They've tried hard during the downturn", and the ratings at this "echoey" and "always crowded" former City banking hall staged a recovery this year - "solid" cooking and the incredibly "convenient" location make it a "reliable" destination for a business lunch. 10.00pm; closed Sat & Sun.

The Square

6-10 Bruton Street, W1 0207 495 7100 £96.00

Philip Howard's "consistently superb" cuisine and an utterly "fabulous" wine list have long put this "understated and confident" Mayfair dining room in London's first rank; the "polished" service has somtimes contributed to a rather "serious" ambience, but there are signs of late that it has 'lightend-up'. 10.00pm; Sat 10.30pm; closed Sat lunch and Sun lunch; booking: max 8; set weekday lunch £79.00 (FP).


1 Snowden Street, EC2 0207 422 7000 £57.00

Francesco Mazzei's "exceptional" cooking has helped make this Italian yearling "a breath of fresh air in the City"; with its "sophisticated" and "airy" decor, and its "exemplary" service, it continues to prove itself as "on of the best new openings of the last few years". 11pm; closed sat L & Sun.


20 Mount Street, W1 0207 495 7309 £68.00

The "great aura" of this "happening" Mayfair magnet for the "A-list" is in part due to the "super-glamorous", style of its "classic" and "elegant" interior; it's a real "all-rounder", though, also offering "exemplary" fish and seafood dishes, and "very polished" service. 10.30pm, Sun 10pm; booking: max 6.

Galvin Bistrot de Luxe

66 Baker Street, W1 0207 935 4007 £45.00

"It would do Paris proud!", the Galvin brothers' "smart" and "very professional" Marylebone bistro has achieved an astonishing following, and "never disappoints" with its "perfect" bourgeois cuisine; "superb" wines too, many 'en carafe'. 10.30pm, Sun 9.30pm; set dinner £29 (FP).

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