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6 of the best places to eat in London

Gloria, Shoreditch

Every taste and cuisine is catered for in this melting pot of a city, but where’s hot now? Here are six great London foodie spots to try

Lifestyle
Pizza the action
Be prepared to wait for a table, but Gloria’s delicious Italian fare makes it all worthwhile

GLORIA Shoreditch

Queue time is a direct indicator of quality at this east London trattoria. That is, the wait will be long, but the pay-off is high. Gloria, from the French-helmed but Italian-loving Big Mamma Group, is a noisy, fun, colorful carousel of a restaurant; where exquisite carbonara is served straight from a huge wheel of pecorino, the buoyant staff sing Italian birthday salutations to anyone who wants to hear it, and the giant lemon meringue slice is so picture-perfect that it might now be legitimately classed as an Instagram influencer. The menu, like the restaurant, revels in facetiousness (highlights include the Robert De Nitro spicy salami pizza and Filippo’s Big Balls, aka slow-cooked meatballs) but the execution is pure, simple and utterly delicious. While the recent opening of sister site Circolo Popolare in a huge 280-seat venue in Fitzrovia may reduce that queue, the glory of Gloria can’t be diminished. Cat Tsang

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The joy of food
Rüya’s sharing platters are ideal for big party groups or an intimate dinner for two

RÜYA Mayfair

The opening of this vast ocean-liner of a restaurant last year injected glamour into a dreary section of Mayfair. Headlining specialities from the seven regions of Anatolia from the Aegean to the Black Sea, Rüya’s menu, according to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern custom, is designed around a vivid selection of grazing dishes that are made to be shared. This enduring restaurant trend lends a distinctive intimacy and informality to what could be an overbearing space, made cozy with plush scarlet seating pods and banquette spaces. The live DJ, low lighting, glittering chandeliers and the theater of an open kitchen make for a dining experience that feels like a special night out, with plenty of tables big enough for party groups. The wagyu beef kebabs and lamb lahmacun are worth making the journey for – although there are also extensive vegan and gluten-free menus – while the cocktails put a creative twist on the seductive flavors of the Ottoman East. Catherine Fairweather

DINNER WITH DRAMA
With its showstopping mirrored bar and highly Instagrammable bathrooms – complete with rainforest-inspired mosaic walls – Matteo’s provides plenty of theater for an unforgettable dining experience

MATTEO’S Mayfair

Matteo’s is the latest addition to Richard Caring’s rebooted Annabel’s – the storied members’ club originally founded in 1963 at 44 Berkeley Square, before reopening as a townhouse last year, two doors down – and joins a swell of standout Italian restaurants popping up in the capital. Here, interior designer Martin Brudnizki has deftly paid homage to Annabel’s legacy, creating a gloriously decadent dining space, from the showstopping mirrored bar and ceiling to the re-deployed lighting and artwork from the original club. The menu more than lives up to the opulent surroundings, offering a veritable hit list of classic Italian dishes, from the unmissable eggplant parmigiana and deep-fried zucchini flowers to an utterly divine crab linguine – although the Burrata with confit Datterini tomatoes, followed by Dover sole meunière with caviar cream takes some beating. Plus, there’s an impressive wine list that not only plays host to a formidable selection of Italian wines, but also the world’s largest privately owned collection of Dom Pérignon champagne. And with Annabel’s being home to (surely) the most Instagrammable bathrooms around, the newest additions don’t disappoint; from the four-million-piece, rainforest-inspired mosaic adorning the walls to the signature pink-onyx basins, happily, they aren’t short on theater either. Although you’ll need to be a member to book Matteo’s, the private dining rooms are available for hire by non-members and members alike. Hannah Lyons Powell

GEZELLIG Holborn

In the Netherlands, the word ‘gezellig’ translates to cozy, sociable and homely. In this welcoming bar and restaurant, set off of one of London’s most crowded streets, that translation is much the same – anywhere that offers ‘Builder’s Tea and a Biscuit’ as a dessert option is clearly setting out a statement of intent. The owners have done their utmost to make this space an extension of their own homes (a labor of love that saw them painting the walls and furnishing it with their own framed pictures), while the staff are so warm and chatty that the vibe is more local pub than central London eatery. As for the food, it starts from a seriously standout bread basket – moreish, dense sourdough with a crunchy sesame-topped crust, served warm with creamy butter – and only gets better; we recommend the perfectly pink roast duck with rainbow chard. Sommelier Wieteke is on hand to suggest delicious wine pairings for every course. Cat Tsang

THE COURT Soho

This new members’ club was once a legendary music venue called the Bag O’ Nails, which played host to The Who, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. Fittingly, The Court’s founders list reads like a Who’s Who of the hospitality hall of fame, with a menu designed by Michelin-starred chef Tom Sellers and drinks courtesy of one of the world’s best mixologists, Mr Lyan. Aiming to fill the gap in the market left by Soho’s traditional ’20s piano bars, The Court is a dark, sexy spot, featuring a beautiful focal bar, a sleek open-plan dining area and a stage where musical acts perform nightly. Food-wise, the menu is short but sharp: the crab toastie and 45-day-aged steak tartare starters are real highlights, as was the impeccably seasoned sirloin main. Cocktails are exceptional, as expected; the grapefruit-sherbet-infused margarita is worth the joining fee alone. Cat Tsang

Feast for the senses
Watch live music every night while indulging in a Tom Sellers-designed menu at The Court
Flavors of the month
Simple yet beautifully presented food – plus killer cocktails – is the MO at Darby’s

DARBY’S Nine Elms

This is the latest opening from Robin and Sarah Gill, the taste buds behind London’s lauded Counter Culture, The Dairy and the Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded Sorella. Situated on the grounds of the shiny new American Embassy in Nine Elms, a regenerated south London neighborhood by the River Thames, Darby’s treads the fine line between old-world and modern slick. It celebrates all that its namesake, Robin Gill’s trumpet-playing father, loved – good music, great company and outstanding food – through its all-day, Irish-American dining concept. Try the delicious pastries and fresh bread from the in-house bakery in the morning; guzzle half a dozen Dooncastles from the stunning, New York-inspired oyster bar for lunch; then save some room for the Highland short rib from the grill after dark. Sundays are for an Old Fashioned at the elegant bar while the weekly band plays the blues. Cat Tsang