The hospitality industry needs our help more than ever, so why not book a fancy meal to celebrate life… followed by a snazzy hotel stay? We’ve rounded up the London restaurants (old and new) deserved of a spot on your hit list – and beautiful boltholes so close, you can walk home.
Where to eat: Bardo, St James
The last word in luxury, newly-opened Bardo brings a sprinkle of Italian glitz and vintage glamour to Pall Mall. Club owner Luca Maggiora (the brains behind Toy Room and Project) is on a mission to bring back opulent party vibes: think rich, jewel colours and high banquettes made for gossiping. You have to start with cocktails – it’s got to to be a Negroni – before settling to watch the buzzy live band.
Start with roast king scallops with Jerusalem artichokes and nduja, and vitello “tonnato” rosa with rocket salad and crispy capers. Move on to Tagliolini with short rib of beef and bone marrow ragú, or Yellow tail with datterino tomatoes, soya and preserve lemon.
What we love: The sexy lighting and instant atmosphere – something we’ve sorely missed during Covid.
Where to stay nearby: St James Hotel & Club
A quintessentially British hotel mere steps from The Ritz and Le Caprice (RIP), this is a fabulous choice if you’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to live in W1.
Prim, proper and oh so cosy, you can count on being taken care of the moment you step in the door. Make this your base from which to explore Mayfair, Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace, before wandering home to enjoy fine French cuisine at Seven Park Place.
William Drabble’s Michelin star Discovery menu counts griddled fillet of seabass and assiette of pork among its charms.
The Executive rooms feature large four-poster beds, plus huge balconies or alcoves. And you can watch TV in the bath!
Why we stay here: Newly launched 1857 The Bar is home to the widest selection of vintage port wine in London. Stumbling upstairs to bed after sampling two or three, feels decadent in the best way.
Where to eat: Casa do Frango, Shoreditch
Forget Nando’s, this is where to head for exceptional Piri-Piri chicken. True to the restaurant founder’s Algarvian roots, chefs grill the meat over wood-charcoal, before it’s brushed with an age-old Piri-Piri blend. Vegan? Get the charcoal-grilled seasonal mushrooms dressed with garlic and coriander, or charred tenderstem broccoli with garlic, coriander, lime and cornbread crumbs.
Here you’ll find the largest selection of Portuguese wines in the UK, each hand-selected. From the rich reds of the Douro Valley to the acidic Vinho Verdes of the Minho (via an impressive Port offering), the drinks menu is an embarrassment of riches.
What we love: Each dish effortlessly brings back happy memories of sun-soaked weekends in Lisbon. Worth mentioning, too, are the desserts. Bang on theme, the traditional thick chocolate mousse is exceptional. Wash it down with a Bica coffee for the full experience.
Where to stay: nhow, Shoreditch
Bright colours and off-the-wall features make this a great place to take bored teenagers, but if your party is adults-only, there’s plenty to entertain you. The lobby bar is thumping on Friday nights, while the Bell & Whistle offers a surprisingly upscale menu to line the stomach.
Our favourite room has to be the Penthouse Suite. Super quirky decor keeps things interesting, and the space itself is huge. (we’re talking 79 sqm). It’s perfect for hosting a dinner party or cocktails before heading out into the night. When it’s time to rest and recover, a giant bed awaits, plus a deep bath. Floor-to-ceiling windows will help you wake up, when you’re ready to let the light in. Feeling surprisingly fresh? Make use of the Brompton bike they give you to use during your stay.
Why we stay here: nhow’s proximity to Angel and Farringdon make it the perfect base for a wild night at The Old Queen’s Head or Fabric. If restaurant-hopping is your thing, you’re handily close to Shoreditch, too.
Where to eat: Pachamama, Marylebone & Shoreditch
Peruvian sharing plates and Pisco bars – what more could you need to start the weekend? We adore the miso-glazed seabass with yuzo koshu yoghurt, plus gamba roja.
Seafood platters are a riot of colour and flavour – think grilled prawns, octopus, squid, scallops, roasted lemon, sea bass fillet, caper butter and sourdough. From the land, there’s duck rice, beef short rib (a house fave), and crisp lamb belly.
What we love: The snacks menu is *well* above average. Brown crab and Yucca churros, Peruvian friend chicken, pork belly chicharrones and Padrón peppers. Oh, and don’t miss the coconut sponge for dessert.
Where to stay: The Zetter Townhouse Marylebone
The second addition to the independently-owned Zetter Group’s ‘Townhouse’ boutique hotel family. Look out for the duck egg blue door peeping out from kooky Seymour Street, then enter to find a mystical drinking parlour proffering elegant small plates.
Devour as many as you can handle (we love the Cumberland pigs in blankets) before heading upstairs for a peaceful night’s kip. We love the little details here: massive fluffy bathrobes, slippers, the softest sheets… look inside the wardrobe and you’ll even find a knitted hot water bottle. How cute.
Why we stay here: It’s just behind Selfridges – handy.
Where to eat: Trishna, Marylebone Village
In the heart of cutesy Marylebone Village, you’ll find Michelin starred Trishna, dedicated to coastal Indian cuisine. We love the juxtaposition of the informal surrounds, and the terrific food.
There’s a semi-alfresco ambience throughout the place, pared-back decor making everyone feel instantly at home.
Star dishes include Dorset brown crab, and from the vegan menu, the mushroom pepper fry. Seafood pilau biryani is tossed with prawn, scallops, salmon and pink peppercorn raita. The sides are as exciting as the mains: we get lemon rice and house pickle, every time.
What we love: Don’t you dare skip dessert. From Bramley apple and pistachio kulfi to Mysore coffee & chikki, we love the mix of British produce and Indian flavours. Bravo.
Where to stay: One Fine Stay, Soho
If you prefer private apartments to hotels, check out the luxury vacation rentals listed on One Fine Stay. Who doesn’t want to rest up in a Soho flat formerly owned by a member of Blur, on Berner’s Street? Or, go further afield – you can borrow a few days in anything from a Notting Hill townhouse, to a historic home with its own moat and wine cellar. Each property is carefully selected for its style credentials and/or standout location. You really can’t go wrong.
Add on a wealth of experiences to make stays special, from personal chefs to wellness classes, childcare to private drivers. A super attentive team of staff is on hand to help you choose the perfect place, recommending areas that suit your needs (and things to do when you get there).
Why we stay here: It’s literally a home from home, albeit much nicer than ours.
Where to eat: Sachi at Pantechnicon, Belgravia
Now this is a cool concept, and not one you see too often. Montcomb Street is home to Pantechnicon, a haven of Nordic and Japanese culture exploring creativity and craftsmanship through food, drink, design and experiences.
On any given day you can book onto a workshop to truly broaden your horizons, from sake tastings to fermentation lessons, via whisky masterclasses. Next door, there’s a achingly cool, minimalist restaurant – Sachi. Drop in for top notch sushi and sashimi, best enjoyed in one of the clandestine hidden booths. Go for Wagyu sirloin and halibut with Gohan rice.
What we love: There’s never a dull moment, with menus and drinks ever-changing. For January, head Sachi mixologist Gento Torigata created a zodiac-inspired seasonal cocktail, whilst head pastry chef Liza Kermanidou crafted a tiger melonpan – which pairs perfectly with the golden latte at Café Kitsuné. Yum.
Where to stay: The Hari, Belgravia
Bordering the areas of Chelsea, Kensington and Knightsbridge, The Hari is the perfect pitstop for a weekend in West London. The space boasts 85 designer bedrooms, including 14 luxury suites, stuffed with plush velvet upholstery, marble bathrooms, contemporary art and stylish furnishings.
Start an evening with cocktails on the Garden Terrace, then grab a table at il Pampero. Hotel restaurants can be hit and miss, but this one goes all out to ensure it’s one of the best Italians in the area. We rate the brunch offering, too: guests can enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless Prosecco, Aperol Spritz, or Milanese G&T to the tune of live Italian music. Bellissimo.
Why we stay here: The little extras. Noble Isle products, beautiful bespoke furniture… even Art Vinyl display an unbelievable collection of record cover artwork in hotel window. There’s always something new to look at.
Where to eat: Novikov, Mayfair
Novikov is a restaurant to seriously dress up for, and after the last couple of years, pulling on our glad rags still feels like a special treat. Go for the experience – it’s quite unlike any other – super high end luxury and a discerning clientele.
Divided into two restaurants (Asian and Italian) there’s plenty to suit most tastes. Yakitori skewers, scampi tails and popcorn fish will keep you busy in the Asian section, before you move on to expertly-made dim sum and sushi (the sashimi is impossibly fresh – very impressive).
Over in the Italia, you can gorge on Carpaccio, salumi and antipasti, followed by fritti (get the calamari) or pasta. We love linguine with native lobster & Datterino Tomato.
What we love: The wood-fired oven, and opulent chandeliers.
Where to stay: The Guardsman, Westminster
A cross between a sophisticated member’s club and a trendy boutique hotel, we dig the personal service and all-out luxury of a night here. It’s fun to seek out the tucked away location, and once you do, the hotel feels like your own little secret.
We ate an excellent Scottish rib eye steak in The Dining Room, but veggies will be pleased with the gnocchi, shot through with broad beans, mint & peas.
Why we stay here: The work that has gone into making the experience memorable. Rooms have everything you want, plus a little bit more: great products, a personal bar stocked with more than just the run of the mill options, and hand-sourced coffee. All of which we made use of from the giant bath, which has an excellent view of the (massive) TV. Lovely.