New London Restaurants Jump 25%, Cost of Eating Out Rises

The number of new restaurants in London jumped by 25 percent from a year earlier to 134 in the past 12 months. Closings were little changed at 74, indicating demand is proving resilient during the economic slowdown.

The research for “Harden’s London Restaurants 2013” shows the average cost of dinner for one in establishments listed in the guide advanced to 46.55 pounds ($73.75) from 45.01 pounds.

“The increase in new restaurants is very surprising in the current economic climate,” Peter Harden, co-editor of the guide, said today in a telephone interview. “It’s as if London is operating in a bubble of some description, with different economic rules from the rest of the country.”

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal led the survey of regular restaurant-goers for their best meal of the year. The survey is based on about 75,000 reports from 7,500 diners, Harden said. The Ledbury came second and Le Gavroche third. Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley dropped to fourth from first.

Chez Bruce held onto its top spot for London’s favorite restaurant, followed by La Trompette and J Sheekey. Pollen Street Social came fourth, the only new entry. The restaurant, opened last year by chef Jason Atherton, was also highest for best meal, coming in sixth place.

The Wolseley was named best for business for a sixth year, followed by the Square and the Don. Clos Maggiore won best for romance, while the Anchor & Hope won for bar or pub food. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay dropped out of the Top 10 for best meal. Among the chef’s venues, Petrus won the highest ratings.

“Harden’s London Restaurants 2013” is published today at 12.99 pounds. It is available from bookshops and at http://www.hardens.com/.

Top Gastronomic Experience/Best Meal
(With last year in parentheses; *denotes new entry)
1 Dinner (5)
2 The Ledbury (3)
3 Le Gavroche (2)
4 Marcus Wareing (1)
5 Chez Bruce (4)
6 Pollen Street Social *
7 The Square (7)
8 Pied a Terre (8)
9 La Trompette (6)
10 L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (-)

Favorite
1 Chez Bruce (1)
2 La Trompette (6)
3 J Sheekey (9)
4 Pollen Street Social *
5 Le Gavroche (7)
6 The Wolseley (2)
7 Le Caprice (3)
8 Galvin Bistrot de Luxe (4)
9 Trinity (10)
10 River Cafe (-)

Best for Business
1 The Wolseley (1)
2 The Square (3)
3 The Don (2)
4 Bleeding Heart (4)
5 Galvin La Chapelle (5)
6 Coq d’Argent (6)
7 The Delaunay*
8 L’Anima (7)
9 Scott’s (9)
10 Galvin Bistrot de Luxe (8)

Best for Romance
1 Clos Maggiore (1)
2 La Poule au Pot (2)
3 Andrew Edmunds (3)
4 Bleeding Heart (4)
5 Galvin at Windows (6)
6 Chez Bruce (5)
7 Le Gavroche (8)
8 Le Caprice (7)
9 The Ledbury (9)
10 Galvin La Chapelle (-)

Best for Breakfast/Brunch
1 The Wolseley (1)
2 The Delaunay *
3 Roast (2)
4 Cecconi’s (4)
5 Riding House Cafe *
6 Smiths (Ground Floor) (3)
7 Caravan (7)
8 Automat (5)
9 Modern Pantry (-)
10 Granger & Co*

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Scott Reyburn on art, Jason Harper on autos and Rich Jaroslovsky on technology.

To contact the writer on the story: Richard Vines in London at rvines@bloomberg.net or http://twitter.com/Richardvines.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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