Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road has three Michelin stars and Ramsay also runs the Savoy Grill on the Strand and the Bread Street Kitchen in One New Change. He opens Gordon Ramsay Steak in Las Vegas and The Fat Cow at The Grove, Los Angeles this summer. www.gordonramsay.com
Chef-patron of Michelin-starred Locanda Locatelli on Seymour Street in central London, which he runs with his wife Plaxy. He also has an outpost in Dubai, Ronda Locatelli at the Atlantis Palm. His latest book is Made in Sicily (HarperCollins). www.locandalocatelli.com
Her Mayfair restaurant Hélène Darroze at the Connaught holds two Michelin stars and her eponymous restaurant in Paris holds another. www.the-connaught.co.uk/london_restaurant
Founded the Michelin-starred River Café in Hammersmith with chef Rose Gray in 1987, and since then has trained a stream of great chefs, including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver. www.rivercafe.co.uk
The Irish chef runs two London restaurants – Corrigan's Mayfair and Bentleys in Piccadilly. He is a passionate promoter of seasonal and forgotten ingredients and works with the Slow Food movement. www.richardcorrigan.co.uk
From 1977 until 2004, Koffman ran La Tante Claire in Chelsea, where he trained chefs who today hold more than 20 Michelin stars. He now runs Koffman’s at the Berkeley. www.the-berkeley.co.uk/pierre-koffmanns-french-restaurant
Michel Roux Jr
Chef-patron at Le Gavroche, which celebrates its 45th anniversary this month, Roux holds two Michelin stars and also runs Roux at Parliament Square. www.rouxatparliamentsquare.co.uk
His restaurant Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley holds two Michelin stars and he also runs The Gilbert Scott at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in King’s Cross, serving food influenced by great British dishes of the past. www.thegilbertscott.co.uk
Anchor & Hope, Southwark
“I really like the Anchor & Hope,” says Gordon Ramsay. “It’s great for an early lunch, avoiding the evening rush. They do their own take on pub food, with some adventurous items on the menu, but it is fantastic and never disappoints.” This brilliant gastropub has been a fixture on the London scene for several years, and it’s still deservedly popular for its British seasonal food. They don’t take bookings, so be prepared to queue – although with a good range of ales and a well-chosen wine list, waiting is not such a great hardship.
Anchor & Hope, 36 The Cut, SE1 8LP, 020 7928 9898, no website
“I go to the Bull and Last on Highgate Road [www.thebullandlast.co.uk] after we’ve been kite-flying on Parliament Hill,” says Giorgio Locatelli. “They have a good menu, with everything from roasts and fish and chips to excellent salads.” Richard Corrigan is a regular at the Market Tavern in Shepherd’s Market (www.themarkettavernmayfair.co.uk): “Great beer, a nice crowd and if the evening is good, you can drink outside on the street.”
Maltby Street and Borough Markets, Southwark
“I never get bored with visiting Borough,” says Gordon Ramsay. “In fact, I always try to check out farmers’ markets whenever I travel because it allows me a glimpse of what the locals like to eat and cook.” Borough Market and Maltby Street are just a few minutes’ walk apart, with Borough the bigger, older and perhaps more touristy of the two. Head over to Maltby Street (Saturdays only) for excellent cheeses and to pick up a few of the fine beers brewed locally by the Kernel Brewery. “Both these markets have a real continental ambience,” says Pierre Koffman. “As a chef you like to see food and to go and walk through a market. The only problem is that I spend too much money!” “You can get everything here,” says Hélène Darroze. “Bread and incredible cheese, fruit, vegetables and flowers. The prepared food is also good – it’s fun to get fish and chips and eat them in the street.”
“Everyone raves about Borough and it’s undoubtedly good – except you can’t move for people. I like Broadway Market in Hackney [www.broadwaymarket.co.uk] for a touch of East End reality,” says Richard Corrigan. “The Saturday farmers’ market on Parliament Hill is a good way for me to keep up with what is really in season here,” says Giorgio Locatelli. “And you can get delicious cakes – although I sometimes find I’ve eaten half a box of them on my way home … If you’re visiting London and have time early in the morning, Billingsgate fish market [www.billingsgate-market.org.uk] is an exceptional thing to see.” Ruth Rogers loves her local Saturday market at Pimlico Road.
“I get very good fish, oysters and vegetables there.” For Michel Roux, it’s all about Venn Street in Clapham (www.vennstreetmarket.co.uk): “This Saturday market is predominantly French and good fun,” he says. “The stalls sell everything from pâtés and saucisson to snails and you can smell the cheese from the Common. It’s great to hear the locals practising their French and enjoying life the way it’s done across the Channel.”
Visit www.lfm.org.uk for details of farmers’ markets around London
Best place for a midnight feast
“As the name suggests, Vingt-Quatre on Fulham Road is open 24 hours a day,” says Gordon Ramsay. “They serve a great selection of food and describe themselves as a modern brasserie. It’s just around the corner from Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and we used to pop in all the time after we had finished a late shift.” You’ll find something to suit almost every taste here – from posh champagne to diner-style hot dogs or excellent early morning breakfasts.
Vingt-Quatre, 325 Fulham Road, London SW10 9QL, 020 7376 7224, www.vingtquatre.co.uk
“Because there is a lot of competition between the many Lebanese and kebab places on Edgware Road, they are very good. I go to Maroush or their other Edgware Road restaurant Beirut Express [www.maroush.com] for lamb shawarma and felafel with the boys after we finish in the kitchen,” says Giorgio Locatelli. “Sometimes you don’t want to eat in your own restaurant after service, and Maroush is open very, very late, so we go there instead,” agrees Ruth Rogers. “I like Mark’s Bar in Soho [www.marksbar.co.uk] where they do really wonderful fish fingers and excellent cocktails,” says Hélène Darroze.
Best neighbourhood restaurant
Bistro Union, Clapham
“Bistro Union on Abbeville Road is my local,” says Michel Roux Jr. “It’s just opened and it’s buzzy and open all day, serving great bar snacks and seasonal food. It is owned by chef Adam Byatt and he often pops in to see how the team he has put in place are doing.” Byatt also owns a much-loved but somewhat posher restaurant on the other side of Clapham Common, Trinity, but Bistro Union, all bare wood and white tiles, has a more casual style. The kitchen caters brilliantly but not patronisingly for kids as well – instead of the usual basics, children are offered things such as mussels. The grown-ups’ menu changes often but expect things like toad in the hole, or radishes with smoked cod roe.
Bistro Union, 40 Abbeville Rd, SW4 9NG, 020 7042 6400, www.bistrounion.co.uk
“I like Bumpkin in west London [www.bumpkinuk.com],” says Hélène Darroze. “They serve very traditional British food and are welcoming to children.”
Best pie and mash
Castle’s Pie and Mash, Kentish Town
“You can get the best pie, mash and eel at Castle’s in Kentish Town. It’s where all the local cab drivers stop to eat. It’s very close to my house and my son Jack and I go there when we need to have a bit of man-to-man time,” says Giorgio Locatelli.
Castle’s, 229 Royal College Street, NW1 9LT, 020 7485 2196
“If I’m shopping in Notting Hill at the weekend, Cockney’s Pie and Mash on Portobello Road [020 8960 9409] is a great place to stop and refuel,” says Hélène Darroze. Michel Roux Jr loves jellied eels. “If I am around Commercial Road in the East End, then I have to stop by the Tubby Isaacs stall at the Sunday market on Goulston Street [www.tubbyisaacs.co.uk] to get a big tub of jellied eels. A true London speciality; they are delicious and a Roux favourite.”
Best coffee shop
Workshop Coffee Co.
“Workshop Coffee in Wigmore Street just oozes quality,” says Richard Corrigan. This small coffee company started life as Sensory Lab in Wigmore Street and St. Ali across town in Clerkenwell, both now renamed as Workshop Coffee. The coffee they serve is roasted in-house at the bigger Clerkenwell branch, and the staff are obsessive about its quality.
Workshop Coffee Co., 75 Wigmore Street, W1U 1QD, 020 7253 5754, www.workshopcoffee.com
“I love La Bottega on Eccleston Street in Victoria [020 7730 2730] – they make cappuccinos like the Italians drink them, small, rather than a big, boiling hot mug,” says Pierre Koffman. “I like to drink them fast.” Marcus Wareing recommends Gail’s Artisan Bakery (www.gailsbread.co.uk): “I have recently been introduced to Gail’s, which has branches across London. Amazing breads and cakes to have with coffee.”
Best greasy spoon
“The people who come to Blandford’s make it hilarious, so we go there for that,” says Pierre Koffman of this Marylebone favourite, which has been serving fry-ups forever and is a great place for a classic English breakfast. “The regulars all seem to have particular spots to sit in, and will stare at you if you sit in ‘their’ seat.”
Blandford’s, 65 Chiltern Street, W1U 6NH, 020 7486 4117
“Jones Dairy Cafe [020 7739 5372] on Ezra Street by Columbia Road flower market is wonderful. You can have poached eggs with smoked salmon and a lovely cup of tea, served in a vintage teacup,” says Hélène Darroze.
Harrods ice-cream parlour
“The concierge at the Connaught told me about this place,” says Hélène Darroze. “I wanted to take my daughters for ice-cream and asked him where to go. He said: ‘You’ll laugh, but the ice-cream is very good at Harrods.’ He’s Italian so you know he knows good ice-cream! It’s right opposite the Harrods pizzeria which is also very good, so you can go for dessert.”
Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7XL, 020 7893 8959, www.harrods.com
“Oddono’s Gelati [www.oddonos.com] offers real, authentic Italian gelato in the heart of London,” says Gordon Ramsay of the chain with shops in Selfridges, South Kensington, Whiteley’s shopping centre and Battersea.
“At Chin Chin Labs [www.chinchinlabs.com] in Camden you can get amazing ice-cream made with liquid nitrogen,” says Giorgio Locatelli. Marcus Wareing likes chocolatier William Curley’s inventions (www.williamcurley.co.uk). “He does a fantastic range and I go to his store in Pimlico for them. But I have not found anything to beat an ice-cream from the van on Wandsworth Common or from the nearby Common Ground café on a sunny day, overlooking the pond.”
Best cocktail bar
The Bar at the Connaught, Mayfair
“It’s beautiful and exciting, but unpretentious,” says Pierre Koffman, who visits often with his partner Claire. Head bartender Agostino Perone has won many awards for his incredible and innovative cocktails – including the title “best bartender in the world” in 2010.
The martini trolley is too decadent to miss – choose from 15 aromatic bitters and watch a white-gloved bartender make the drink at your table (£15).
The Connaught, Carlos Place, W1K 2AL, 020 7314 3419, www.the-connaught.co.uk
“I’m not really a pub person,” says Ruth Rogers. “I’m happier in a busy bar and I love to sit at the bar at Claridges in Mayfair [www.claridges.co.uk].” “I don’t drink very much, but my wife Plaxy loves what Tony Conigliaro does at 69 Colebrooke Row in Islington [www.69colebrookerow.com],” says Giorgio Locatelli. “And they serve a little bit of food, which means I get some of the joy without drinking.” Richard Corrigan prefers Soho’s speakeasy Milk and Honey (www.mlkhny.com/london). “It just has the right pitch of style and seediness.”
Best new restaurant
La Bodega Negra, Soho
“I love the fact that you get in to La Bodega Negra as though you’re going into a sex shop,” says Giorgio Locatelli of this hot new Mexican-style restaurant. “We had a brilliant experience there – it was full and buzzy and we had a lovely waiter.” Try the seared steak or sweetbread tacos and the brilliant mezcal and tequila-based cocktails.
La Bodega Negra, 9 Old Compton St, W1D 5JF, 020 7758 4100, www.labodeganegra.com
“Eating at Dabbous [www.dabbous.co.uk], chef Ollie Dabbous’s new restaurant, was very interesting – everything was very good: simple food, low prices, nice wine, great staff,” says Pierre Koffman. “I’m loath to choose one best new restaurant because there are so many opening up, and many of them by my ex-chefs,” says Ruth Rogers. “However, I’m waiting with great anticipation for Chris Corbin and Jeremy King’s new place, Brasserie Zedel, to open in June on the former site of the Atlantic off Piccadilly Circus.” Corbin and King’s other London restaurants include the Wolseley on Piccadilly and the Delauney on Aldwych. Marcus Wareing likes Medlar (www.medlarrestaurant.co.uk) on the King’s Road in Chelsea, recently opened by two chefs who have between them worked in most of the best kitchens in London. “I think that local restaurants that serve a community are very popular at the moment.”
Bar Boulud, Knightsbridge
“Without a doubt, Bar Boulud,” says Marcus Wareing. Michel Roux Jr agrees: “There are burgers and then there is a haute-cuisine burger. Bar Boulud, the casual dining restaurant of Daniel Boulud in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, is so delicious it’s making me hungry just thinking about it! There are a couple of options, sides and sauces, served with crisp French fries. If you haven’t booked, which happens to me quite often, then there’s always the beautiful bar to pass the time in with a drink.” “From the welcome to the goodbye, the service here is fantastic,” says Pierre Koffman. “The burger is made with top-quality ingredients. And if you say you want it medium rare, you’ll get it perfectly medium rare.”
Bar Boulud, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA, 020 7201 3899, www.barboulud.com
“My kids love to eat at Byron [www.byronhamburgers.com], which has branches across London. They are always happy to head there for a no-nonsense, proper burger. And seeing as I am a big kid at heart, I’m more than happy to get stuck in too,” says Gordon Ramsay. Richard Corrigan likes theatreland diner Joe Allen on Exeter Street (www.joeallen.co.uk). “For all the burger joints in town now, it is still a favourite.”