Contrary to popular and inaccurate opinion. The English culinary experience is top-notch, albeit a lot of the best places to eat across the country are invariably serving items on their menu that originate from other corners of the globe.
For some time now, the London restaurant scene has been drawing in foodies from all around the world. Sure, the city needs no introduction when it comes to those flying in from all corners to see the majesty of the location, but perhaps their trips are more traditionally geared around sightseeing than the food they'll consume on their vacations.
There are around 15,000 restaurants in the city and, astoundingly, 3500 pubs, so there is plenty to do when it comes to keeping your appetite satiated, and your thirst quenched.
As the standard of restaurants has steadily improved, to the point where London is now considered among the best places in the world when it comes to the standard of restaurants, so has the increase in interest from those with discerning taste buds.
What really sets London aside from some other 'foodie-orientated' cities is two-fold. One, the sheer cornucopia of styles open to you is simply astonishing (from traditional British to Chinese, to Italian, to French, to Mexican, to Pan Asian, to Modern English, to Argentine to Thai, to Vegetarian, to Greek to Lebanese, it's all here) to the range when it comes to meeting your budget.
In other words, if you are looking to splash the cash, you'll be more than pleasantly surprised by the sheer weight of options, but similarly, if you are looking to eat well on a budget, you will equally not be disappointed at the variety of locations that can satisfy your hunger while not leading to a call from your bank manager.
It's very hard to put together a definitive list of the best places to eat, not least because great new locations are popping up every month. Still, the five we've selected below offer great value and the highest standards, whatever your economic situation.
This restaurant, situated in the trendy Barbican area, is repeatedly listed among the top restaurants in London, and we can well see why. The decor is very stark and understated and focuses all your attention on the meals to come. And on the subject of the menu, you will not be disappointed.
The restaurant furniture is classic, and the decor is best described as stripped back. It's not that appearances don't matter; it's just that they matter less than the food you are about to be seriously impressed by.
Fergus Henderson's offering is bold and hints at traditional British but is far from reserved and is a joy. The roasted bone marrow is discussed far and wide, and you'd do well to sample all sorts of delights that pepper the menu, which point at different regions of the nation and will never leave you feeling let down.
Luckily for you, this Italian restaurant is just a short walk from St John, also based on St John St., and it's a real delight. Conversely to St John, Luca is a far warmer establishment and offers an entirely different style and approach.
The Italian fayre on offer is truly delicious, and every morsel goes down a treat, from their squid ink bucatini to their taglierini with autumn truffle. Don't leave without trying the Amalfi lemon tart, and if you are unsure what to take, you can always opt for the chef's menu; they'll take good care of you.
Black Axe Mangal
This place is affectionately considered a cult barbecue restaurant and one that is a real feast for the senses. It's got a brash edge to it, with loud music blaring, and you'll smell the delicious aroma yards from the front door.
It's quite a tight squeeze, but that only adds to the ambiance and experience. The head chef, Lee Tiernan, describes his restaurant as a mix between a bistro and old-school Turkish mangal grill houses, and the combination works so well. It's very much the kind of place you'd like to end the evening. Sit down and get stuck in.
If you were looking for a London restaurant that really captured what you might expect a glitzy, refined establishment of the area to look like, then it would be The Wolseley. It helps that it sits next door to the Ritz, and don't be surprised to spot a celebrity or two.
It serves classic bistro food, and you can't fault the quality of its steaks and seared scallops, but the main draw here is the place itself. It oozes old-school sensibilities and is a must-visit location for all keen foodies looking to sample something special.
Not all the best London restaurants are those which require you to take out a second mortgage, and Singburi, a Thai restaurant in East London, is just one example (of many) of this fact. It is a delightful and incredibly tasty establishment that gives you a great return on your investment.
The menu changes daily, and that will keep you guessing, especially if you return to get a second bite of the cherry. We suggest you opt for the pineapple fried rice served with delicious mouthwatering prawn curry (there are a few types to choose from), and remember it's a cash-only joint and take into account it's a little off the beaten track when it comes to tourist attractions.