The Most Iconic Restaurants In London

London is full of iconic landmarks, shops, bars and parks, but today we’re going to be focusing on some of the most iconic restaurants that the city has to offer! These are all restaurants that Londoner’s should try and visit once each, or if you’re visiting the city, choose one to make your visit all the more special. London is packed full of fantastic independent restaurants so we would definitely urge you to explore off the beaten track and look for smaller options too, but for an iconic experience, then one of the following will be for you. 


Up there with one of the most iconic restaurants in London is Sketch, located in Mayfair, with various different rooms all kitted out with the most stunning interiors designed by iconic artists. Each room offers a completely different experience, so you could go back a good few times and feel like you’re somewhere brand new. Coined as the prettiest restaurant in London where you might sit in a magical forest or be surrounded by luxurious materials, it’s an incredible experience. An environment of this kind comes with a price tag, but for a special occasion, it’s incredible. Whilst you’re there, make sure that you go to the toilets, as they are equally as unique as the rest of the venue! If going to the toilet in a futuristic space pod is on your bucket list by any chance, this is the place to go…



Next up we have Quaglino’s, a famous brasserie-style restaurant in London in the heart of St.James. Originally founded in 1929, Quaglin’s was created to bring the Piedmont region of Northern Italy to the city. The owner, Giovanni Quaglino, was an exceptional waiter who worked in some of the city’s biggest and best hotels and restaurants, including The Savoy. From here, he worked and saved to create Quaglino’s, which is filled with authentic character and a focus on genuine kindness and grace. Not to mention, the food is just fantastic. Nothing pretentious or stuffy but delicious and authentic food. Soon the reputation grew and royalty even began gracing the restaurant, through which Quaglino bought the whole hotel. Family gradually came in to support him and over time its reputation only grew, with a permanent table being reserved for Princess Margaret and the Queen and Prince Phillip visited for dinner in 1956, along with endless Hollywood legends and British brands that transformed music. The star quality of this restaurant is what makes it so iconic, but if you do visit and spot a celebrity, it’s very likely they’ll want to enjoy their dinner in peace. 

The Ritz

Another one of the most iconic restaurants in London has to be The Ritz. The hotel first opened its doors in 1906 and over the last century, it has been one of the most iconic hotels in the world. Located just on the corner of Green Park, choose parking in central London, enjoy a walk around the Royal grounds and then head to the Ritz for a phenomenal experience.The legendary status lives on, particularly through it’s dining room, which is famed for it’s once-in-a-lifetime Afternoon Tea experience. The 18th century townhouses that make up the Ritz result in the most beautiful and intricate interior, which is matched by the formal dress code. The cost is £70 a head for adults, increasing to £72 from June 2023. With a range of traditional sandwiches, scones and pastries that can be replenished at request, along with 18 varieties of loose leaf tea, this is a quintessentially British experience. Champagne is also available for an additional £22-£27 per person per glass, so this is something to bear in mind if it’s a special occasion. If you know a lover of afternoon tea and you really want to treat them, a visit to The Ritz is the way to do it. 

J Sheeky 

Another iconic London restaurant, this time in the heart of Covent Garden, is J Sheeky, the most famous seafood restaurant in London. It serves the best seafood, fish, shellfish and oysters in the city, and has been for over 125 years! It started in 1896 when a local stallholder by the name of Josef Sheeky was given permission by Lord Salisbury to sell seafood as long as he catered for their supper parties. From here, the concept was born. Recognisable by it’s bright red exterior, it is a popular haunt for pre and post theatre visitors, for locals, celebrities and tourists alike. The restaurant just screams understated glamour, nothing overly flashy but it just feels so classy. Start with oysters or caviar, then move onto a delicious range of starters and main courses, with non-fish options if you’re dining with anyone vegan or vegetarian. If you’re a fish lover, this is absolutely a must-visit when it comes to restaurants in London. 


Quo Vadis

Next up we have Quo Vadis, the iconic restaurant in Soho that doubles as a private members club. Founded nearly a century ago in 1926, it was a notorious brothel prior to being transformed by Pepino Leoni. Now still known as one of the greatest Soho restaurants of all time, they are all about exceptional food and hospitality. You can book a table without a membership, as well as private dining experiences, as there is a separate members restaurant. As with all of the restaurants on this list, we would absolutely recommend that you book a table, as you are likely to be disappointed otherwise. The menu is very varied, from classic Waldorf salads to pie of the day, and oysters. Visit Quo Vadis and experience the London private members scene first hand. 


The River Cafe

Last but not least we have the River Cafe, which is very famous for featuring a number of notable chefs who earned their stripes whilst working in the kitchen, including April Bloomfield, Theo Randall and Jamie Oliver. Some of the greatest British chefs stemmed from the River Cafe, serving Italian cuisine that doesn’t feature over the top garnishes or pretentious food, but fantastic ingredients and simple traditional recipes done to perfection. Based on seasonal ingredients, the menu is always evolving, so you can visit every couple of months and experience something new. This being said, there are some core dishes that are absolute favourites of their regulars that are consistently on the menu. The chargrilled squid with chilli has been on the menu for decades, along with their chocolate nemesis cake. Don’t expect to see a menu full of pizza and pasta (although there are usually a couple of options for each), but instead dishes that embody the core flavours of Italy in a unique way. This is a fantastic restaurant that no doubt will continue to craft some of the upcoming chefs in the British food scene.