London has always had its fashion, nightlife, and art scenes on lock, but there was a time in the not-so-distant past when the food culture lagged miserably behind. Yes, there have always been Michelin-starred restaurants helmed by expletive-loving chefs (holler, Marco Pierre White), and no, you probably couldn’t find a better tandoori lamb chop anywhere outside of Pakistan, but—aside from Fergus Henderson’s widely imitated nose-to-tail joint, St. John—there was never really much in between.
Then the hipster-food revolution happened, pop-up restaurants happened, and the Olympics happened, and suddenly London is home to a dynamic restaurant scene that is rapidly gaining pace with New York City. The continued rejuvenation of East London has provided a fertile testing ground for experimental, independent ventures, while Soho has exploded with new openings that span the spectrum from minimal Japanese breakfast bar to decadent British dining halls.
As a food-obsessed, born-and-raised Londoner currently living in L.A., I recently spent a couple of very happy weeks exploring some of the best new eating destinations that my home city now has to offer. Here are the places I tried and liked best.