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London's 'most disappointing' restaurants named and shamed


With 148 new restaurants opening up this year alone, the abundance of dining options in London is one of the best things about life in the capital, but the choice can occasionally feel overwhelming.

Step forward Harden's London Restaurants, the 24th edition of which has just been published. The guide is one of the UK's most detailed restaurant polls, collating scores from 65,000 reviews from over 6,000 people, naming, and in some cases shaming, the best and worst eateries in the city.

Some coming under fire included the OXO Tower, topping the "most disappointing cooking" list and branded by Harden's reporters as "lazy", "overcrowded" and "awful as ever". Ouch.

Not faring much better were offerings from celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal's Dinner in Knightsbridge and Gordon Ramsay's eponymous Chelsea restaurant, both of which made appearances in "most disappointing cooking" and "most overpriced restaurant".

Peter Harden, the guide's co-founder, said some celebrity restaurants had expanded their brands too quickly, saying: "We are generally sceptical of celebrity chefs cashing in on their brands and most are showing signs of difficulty in keeping the quality high as they try to grow their restaurant empire."


1. Oxo Tower (Restaurant), South Bank

2. Dinner, Knightsbridge

3. Colbert, Chelsea

4. The Ivy, Central

5. Gordon Ramsay, Chelsea

6. Le Gavroche, Mayfair

7. Balthazar, Covent Garden

8. Marcus, Knightsbridge

9. Alain Ducasse, Dorchester, Park Lane

10. Dabbous, Fitzrovia


Famous landmark the OXO Tower has the "most disappointing cooking" in London

Meanwhile, celebrity hangout Chiltern Firehouse, pictured top, was described as merely "meh". In contrast, Fera at Claridge’s from Simon Rogan, previously known for Roganic, was Newcomer of the Year thanks to its “phenomenal” food "so different" to the usual dining.

The Ledbury in Notting Hill came out on top, rated number one for Gastronomic Experience, Highest Rated Restaurant (Food) and Highest Rated Restaurant (Overall), while Chez Bruce in Wandsworth Common is Londonʼs Favourite Restaurant for the 10th year running - marking a double win for restaurateur Nigel Platts-Marin who is also the backer of The Ledbury.


1 Chez Bruce, Wandsworth

2 J Sheekey, West End

3 Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden

4 The Ledbury, Notting Hill

5 Le Gavroche, Mayfair

6 The River Café, Hammersmith

7 The Delaunay, Covent Garden

8 Le Caprice, Piccadilly

9 Pollen Street Social, Soho

10 The Wolseley, Picadilly

With the highest-rated restaurants also broken down into average spend, there's now no excuse for dithering over where to eat. Bon appetit!

Michel Roux Jr

Michel Roux Jr's Le Gavroche appeared in both the best and worst lists



1. The Ledbury, Notting Hill

2. Bubbledogs, Fitzrovia

3. Le Gavroche, Mayfair

4. Fera at Claridgeʼs,

5. Pied à Terre, Fitzrovia

£65 - £84

1. The Five Fields, Chelsea

2. The Goring Hotel, Victoria

3. Chez Bruce, Wandsworth Common

4. Scott's, Mayfair

5. Galvin La Chapelle, Spitalfields

£50 - £64

1. Sushi Tetsu, Clerkenwell

2. Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden

3. L'Aventure, St John's Wood

4. Randall & Aubin, Soho

5. J Sheekey Oyster Bar, West End

£40 - £49

1. Lamberts, Balham

2. Donostia, Marble Arch

3. Brawn, Bethnall Green

4. Sushi-Say, Willesden Green

5. José, Bermondsey

£39 or less

1. Carom at Meza, Soho

2. The Begging Bowl, Peckham

3. Pitt Cue Co, Carnaby Street

4. Paradise Hampstead, South End Green

5. Meat Mission, Hoxton Market

Pollen Street Social

Pollen Street Social made the best London restaurants list


1. The Ledbury, Notting Hill

2. Le Gavroche, Mayfair

3. Dinner, Knightsbridge

4. Chez Bruce, Wandsworth

5. Pollen Street Social, Mayfair

6. Pied à Terre, Fitzrovia

7. Royal Hospital Road restaurant, Chelsea

8. The Square, Mayfair

9. Marcus, Knightsbridge

10. Medlar, Chelsea


1. The River Café, Hammersmith

2. Oxo Tower (Restaurant), South Bank

3. Dinner, Knightsbridge

4. Gordon Ramsay, Chelsea

5. Marcus, Knightsbridge

6. Alain Ducasse, Dorchester, Park Lane

7. Le Gavroche, Mayfair

8. Cut, Dorchester, Park Lane

9. Balthazar, Covent Garden

10. Pollen Street Social, Soho

What do you think? Have they hit the nail on the head with London's worst dining spots? Or have they missed your favourite from the best gastronomic experience list? Have your say!

Images: Rex Features



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