Feeling a bit peckish but don't know what you're in the mood for? We're so spoilt for choice in London it's hard to know where to start, so here's a street full of independent restaurants to get you going.
From its elegant entrance to the open and airy interior, Bernardi's restaurant and bar on the south end of Seymour Place is a great place to start this street tour for foodies. The culinary brainchild of Italian/Australian brothers Gabriel and Marcello Bernardi, their seasonal and creative menu has recipes that will make any homesick Italian incredibly happy, while head chef Sabrina Gidda comments that she enjoys the ability to cook freely without the constraints of familial tradition.
Bernardi's dishes are made from Italian and British home grown produce, and their Sunday brunches and roasts have roots bedded in Italian culture, with a relaxed all day party atmosphere with a DJ setting the smooth tone of understated sophistication for the last day of the weekend.
It's also great to nip in for a glass of wine or a cocktail; the cocktail bar downstairs provides a moodier atmosphere for lounging and schmoozing. Their wine selection covers everything from well known vintages to small independent Italian producers.
Bernardi's is open Monday-Friday 7.30am-10.30pm/11pm, Saturday-Sunday 9.30am-late.
The Borough Barista
If you haven't got the time for a full on meal but good coffee and a light snack is up your street, make The Borough Barista your next point of call. In the setting of a cosy and trendy coffeehouse, the coffees are served by highly trained baristas with a passion for coffee, and British products are used wherever possible.
The Borough Barista is open Monday-Friday 7.30am-4.30pm, Saturday 9am-3.30pm
Lovers of bread unite at Gail's Bakery. Ran Avidan and Tom Molnar met in London in the 1990s, united by a desire to bring great loaves to the UK. They stumbled upon Gail Mejia and her team of expert bakers who proved to them that London did have a fighting chance in the the bread world after all. They named the bakery in her honour when they opened the first Gail's in 2005 in Hampstead, and the rest is history.
From burgers to sandwiches to sausage rolls, their savoury treats are ready for the picking — just grab a pair of tongs and a plate. And if you've saved room for dessert then perhaps a pistachio, lemon and rose cake or pecan cinnamon crumb cake has your name on it.
Gail's Bakery is open Monday-Friday 7am-7pm, Saturday-Sunday 8am-6pm
Donostia and Lurra
So nice they set up shop twice, Melody and Nemanja are co-owners of Seymour Place restaurants Donostia and Lurra. After a single unplanned day in San Sebastian, both left their city careers to bring Basque cuisine to the people of London — and for people with no prior hospitality experience they've been doing a top-notch job. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, they try to showcase the best of traditional Basque surrounded by modern decor and clean lines (just take a look at Lurra's interior) that keep patrons coming back.
Donostia is open Tuesday-Saturday 12.30pm-3pm/6pm-11pm and Monday and Sunday evenings
Lurra is open Tuesday-Saturday noon-2.30pm/6pm-10.30pm, Monday 6pm-10.30pm and Sunday lunch
The Carpenter's Arms
If you're looking for a place for a traditional pint or to watch a live match with your mates, The Carpenter's Arms is big for all things sport, both local and global. You can even call the pub and see if they'll play your favourite game.
It's home to the London Branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) and sells a variety of award winning ales and lagers. And would could be more British than a good old fashioned pork pie? Their signature foodie offering features the Melton Mowbray made from pork shoulder from British pigs, or try something a little different; a pork pie where the meat is layered between two slices of black pudding.
The Carpenter's Arms is open Monday-Saturday 11am-11pm, Sunday noon-10.30pm
Seven years ago Sandy's passion for food was too strong to ignore, so she left behind the property business and set up her first restaurant in Seymour Place. The idea was to provide London with good quality pizza made from fresh ingredients (with a twist), the inspiration for which she found on a trip to Corsica.
The restaurant's recipes are tied to the French island with the benefit of using authentic French and Italian suppliers, and there are a few family favourite recipes thrown in for good measure. Sandy recommends the signature salad with a dressing she learnt from her mother many years ago, or the Sampieru Corsu Pizza with a creme fraiche base, gruyere cheese, porcini mushrooms, sausage and oregano topped with truffle oil. Personally, however, her favourite dish is her nanny's bolognese.
The restaurant is hoping to open a new site in the near future, but in the meantime, a quiet lunch in the simple and quaintly decorated Seymour Place location should certainly be in order. Or perhaps something a little more special; a couple from the US once got engaged in their restaurant and keep coming back for their anniversary. If it's worth an intercontinental trip every year, it's surely worth a trip on the tube.
Sandy's is open Monday-Sunday, 12pm-3pm and 6pm-10.30pm
As you can probably tell from the name, wines are the order of the day from Vinoteca. However, their specially created dishes made from seasonal and fresh produce are worth a trip too, with the head chef responsible for the daily changing menu. Freshly baked bread should start you off on the right foot, and they recommend the bavette steak for hearty meat-eaters. This site is one of a few Vinoteca sites in London, run by Brett Woonton and Charlie Young, with others in Farringdon, Marylebone, Soho, Chiswick and King's Cross.
Just ask the knowledgeable staff which wines are ideal for your meal, and if you like it that much, you can grab a bottle or two on the way out the door.
Vinoteca is open Monday-Friday noon-11pm, Saturday 11am-11pm, Sunday noon-4pm
Food blogging sensation Deliciously Ella also has her own healthy eating restaurant. Ella's blog was the inspiration behind opening her first restaurant on Seymour Place, opened with her husband Matthew. It was their first big project together, and an opportunity to create a physical home in London for their online community.
Each recipes is devised by Ella and her head chef, Alan, along the lines of the healthy lifestyle she has led since being diagnosed with an illness in 2011 and using diet, food and exercise to manage it. Her favourite dish is currently the five bean chilli with homemade corn bread and slaw, and the fudgy vegan brownies are an excellent treat. Each of the dishes are plant based and vegetarian/vegan friendly.
Since opening in 2015, Ella has gone on to open two more sites on Weighhouse Street and in Herne Hill — pop by for a matcha latte and a peanut cookie.
Deliciously Ella is open Monday-Sunday, 8am-9pm
The Gate Marylebone is the third site of Michael Daniel's group of restaurants and wine bars, the first of which opened in Hammersmith in 1989, followed by The Gate Islington. The menu is full of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, aimed at health-conscious foodies. Can we tempt you with wild mushroom risotto cake?
Daniel's personal favourite dish is a sneak peek into a new item coming soon to the lunch menu, a vegan Shashuka — colour us intrigued. Their diverse staff, from the US, France, Spain, Italy and the UK to name a few countries, are very knowledgeable about the vegan lifestyle — some of them live it every day. And head chef Yossi Edri takes inspiration from all over Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, France, Italy, the Middle East and India in order to curate the menu.
If you're up for something a little unusual, nip in after work to try the Jalapeño Margarita, which is a struggle to explain, so you'll just have to try it. As the owner's favourite drink, it's been renamed 'Le Boss Margarita'. And you might find yourself dining amongst the stars as Woody Harrelson, Jimmy Carr and Russell Brand have been spotted there.
And in a street community gesture, local offices and businesses can get 20% off their Monday-Friday lunch menu by quoting 'Local 20' when they book.
The Gate Marylebone is open Monday-Friday noon-10.15pm, Saturday-Sunday 9am-10.15pm
When thinking of places to eat in central London, most people's first thought probably isn't usually a pub. But The Portman will hopefully change that for you with their professional kitchen and chilled pub atmosphere serving the best of British cuisine.
For owner Barnaby Meredith, the pub was the culmination of a long-time desire to serve traditional pub dishes such as beer battered Newlyn haddock with stealth fries, and proper mushy peas, and his favourite — Portman Shepherd's Pie.
The menu changes seasonally using local products and free range organic ingredients (the autumn 2017 menu features a seared loin of Holcot Estate venison and braised red cabbage with celeriac puree and port jus), and the wine list also sees an overhaul now and again for variety.
The Portman is open Monday-Friday 7.30am-11pm, Saturday-Sunday 9am-late