Source: Sauce Communications

London’s Appetite for Restaurants Growing at ‘Dazzling’ Pace

Harden's Guide 25th edition charts a record year for restaurant openings in the British capital.

London restaurants are opening at a record rate, with 179 newcomers in the past year alone, according to Harden's London Restaurants, which has been tracking the numbers since 1991.

The 2016 Harden's London Restaurants Guide
The 2016 Harden's London Restaurants Guide
Source: Harden's

The tally exceeds the pre-2008 financial crash tally of 158 and last year's 148. A total of 56 establishments closed, compared with 47 a year earlier. Restaurants that have gone in recent months include Le Chabanais and Racine.

"Anyone who follows the restaurant scene is in a constant state of bewilderment at the number of new names one's brain has to absorb on a weekly basis," the guide's co-founder, Peter Harden, said in an interview. "The variety, and often the ambition, are beyond anything we've seen in the 25 years that we have published the guide. It's dazzling."

Harden's 2016 London Guide, published on Thursday, names Michel Roux's Le Gavroche as the city's top gastronomic experience, toppling Notting Hill's The Ledbury. (The Ledbury holds onto its top ranking for food alone.) Fera at Claridge's and Restaurant Story both enter the Top 10 for gastronomic experiences.

Chef Jason Atherton's City Social enters the Top 10 for business dining, which (as usual) is led by The Wolseley. Clos Maggiore holds onto its spot as top for romance, while Chiltern Firehouse makes its debut as No. 1 in the rankings for most disappointing cooking. London's favorite restaurant is Chez Bruce, for the 11th year in a row.

The average price of dinner for one at establishments listed in the 2016 guide is £50.51, compared with £49.46 last year.

Rankings are based on the opinions of 6,750 diners who have signed up to the guide, Harden said.

Here are some of the charts:

Top Gastronomic Experience

  1. Le Gavroche (2)
  2. The Ledbury (1)
  3. Chez Bruce (4)
  4. Fera at Claridge's (-)
  5. Dinner (3)
  6. Gordon Ramsay (7)
  7. Pied a Terre (6)
  8. Pollen Street Social (5)
  9. Story (-)
  10. Hedone

Best for Business

  1. The Wolseley (1)
  2. The Delaunay (2)
  3. The Square (3)
  4. City Social (-)
  5. Galvin La Chapelle (4)
  6. L'Anima (9)
  7. Coq d'Argent (7)
  8. The Don (6)
  9. Scott's (8)
  10. Bleeding Heart Restaurants (5)

Most Overpriced

  1. The River Café (1)
  2. Oxo Tower restaurant (2)
  3. Chiltern Firehouse (-)
  4. Dinner (3)
  5. Gordon Ramsay (4)
  6. Marcus (5)
  7. Alain Ducasse (6)
  8. Pollen Street Social (10)
  9. Aqua Shard (-)
  10. Savoy Grill (-)

Favorite

  1. Chez Bruce (1)
  2. Clos Maggiore (3)
  3. The Wolseley (10)
  4. Le Gavroche (5)
  5. J Sheekey (2)
  6. Gauthier Soho (-)
  7. Le Caprice (8)
  8. La Trompette (-)
  9. The Ledbury (4)
  10. Moro (-)

(Hardenʼs London Restaurants 2015, £12.99, is available at bookshops and via the Hardens website)

Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines

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