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Food + Drink

7 Killer Restaurants to Try On Your Next Trip to London

If you're anything like us, planning a vacation involves a lot of restaurant research—especially in a place as gastronomically blessed as London. Fresh back from a trip to the cultural UK magnet, JS contributor Chelsea Stuart dishes on where to dine now. From glitzy hotel dining rooms and flagship royal favorites to IG-famous culinary complexes and vintage Italian eateries, here's where you'll want to get your reservation in stat.

Tom’s Kitchen, Chelsea

Follow in the footsteps of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and go for lunch at Tom’s Kitchen, highly-acclaimed Brit chef Tom Aikens’ flagship restaurant in Chelsea. Following an extensive redesign from B3 Designs, the former townhouse-turned-British-brasserie reopened its doors this spring ready to do what it does best: serve up rustic, seasonal, small shared plates just a stone’s throw from London’s Kings Road. Warning: You’ll have a hard time deciding on your dishes as everything on the menu is straight-up mouthwatering, but luckily—per the chef’s recommendation—each person should choose three to four plates. Our picks? The stracciatella with fresh truffles and honey, the courgette and pistachio risotto, and the chateaubriand with onion tart and peppercorn sauce.

Where to Find it: 27 Cale St, Chelsea, London SW3 3QP, UK

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China Tang

Looking for an authentic Cantonese or Chinese meal? Head for the Dorchester London, in Mayfair, where you’ll find China Tang, an iconic art deco bar and restaurant from Hong Kong-born Sir David Tang, a socialite and close friend of the royals. London natives and visitors flood the buzzy spot for all-day dim sum (as well as suckling pig, classic peking duck, and wonton soup) and some of the best cocktails in the city. Hit it up on Mondays and Tuesdays for your best chance at a celeb spotting; A-listers like J Lo, Hugh Grant, Kate Moss, and more are known to drop by on the regular.

Where to Find it: 53 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA, UK

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Opened in 1954 by Daphne Rye—the agent who discovered Richard Burton—this Brompton Cross restaurant is a Chelsea institution. A favorite haunt of royals and well-heeled Londonites, the elegant eatery is known for its seasonal Italian menu and a global wine list with special attention paid to female wine producers. You can’t really go wrong with any plate, but if it were up to us, we’d go with the mixed beetroot and watermelon salad with salted ricotta and mint, pappardelle with wild boar ragu, and the Amalfi lemon polenta cake with mascarpone to cap things off. PS: If you’re traveling with your pup, you can bring them along for lunch in the dog-friendly conservatory. You can read all about Daphne’s ‘Doggy Code of Conduct’ here.

Where to Find it: 112 Draycott Ave, Chelsea, London SW3 3AE, UK

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Sketch London

Split between the Gallery (a European gastro-brasserie), Lecture Room (Michelin-starred dining room), Parlour (brunch and tea room), Glade (woodland cocktail bar), and East Bar (intimate evening bar), this IG-famous restaurant complex is the passion project of French master chef Pierre Gagnaire and restaurateur Mourad Mazouz. The two-floor converted 18th-century townhouse is an eccentric collection of Millennial pink walls, cheeky neon signs, velvet banquette seating, and David Shrigley artwork, but don’t worry—the food is just as up to snuff. Between the five venues you’ll find mouthwatering dishes like aubergine and black garlic tortellini, prawn carpaccio with pink grapefruit gel, and poached pear bourdaloue tart. Just make sure your phone is fully charged when you drop by so you can snap shots of the restroom. We know that sounds super weird, but the WC is like a Willy Wonka creation come to life (think: egg-shaped toilet pods, tons of fake flowers, colorful LED-lit ceilings, and Diptyque candles).

Where to Find it: 9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG, UK

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CUT at 45 Park Lane

Famed Austrian chef Wolfgang Puck’s first European restaurant may have opened in 2011, but the sleek American-style steakhouse is still as sought after as ever. Modeled after the OG CUT in Beverly Hills, his London kitchen—housed inside the Dorchester Collection’s luxe 45 Park Lane—doles out swanky atmosphere and contemporary twists on chop shop classics. Sweet and savory dishes run from 35-day aged filet mignon and pan-roasted Scottish lobster to warm dark chocolate Valrhona souffle and Tahitian vanilla panna cotta.

Where to Find it: 45 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1PN, UK

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il Pampero

If you’re a bit of a design snob—we’re not ashamed to admit we are—you’ll find lots to admire at The Hari’s vintage-glam il Pampero. The fine Italian restaurant—helmed by executive chef Claudio Covino, formerly of Novikov—is done up in vespa-green lacquer, buttery leather, circular booths, chrome fixtures, and monochrome tiled floors, courtesy of renowned British designer Tara Bernerd. The menu is nothing to turn your nose up at either—you’ll find all sorts of contemporary twists on Italian classics but you have (read: HAVE) to go for their signature dish: rustic tagliolini cacio pepe (homemade tagliolini with sheep cheese and black pepper sauce) which is prepared table-side as the server tosses it to creamy perfection in a large wheel of Pecorino cheese.

Where to Find it: 20 Chesham Pl, Belgravia, London SW1X 8HQ, UK

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In the heart of Mayfair, just steps from Buckingham Palace, GBR—DUKES London’s “Great British Restaurant”—doles out quintessential Brit fare in a timeless dining room. Although it just opened last year, the luxe brasserie joins the hotel’s Dukes Bar, the former watering hole of Sir Ian Fleming and spot where he coined James Bond’s infamous catchphrase:“shaken, not stirred.” At GBR, all menus are crafted and overseen by Norfolk-born executive head chef Nigel Mendham. During all-day service, you’ll find dishes like Cumbrian lamb cutlets, lamb hot pot suet pudding, and Yorkshire rhubarb sorbet.

Where to Find it: 37-38 St James’s Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1NS, UK

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