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Restaurants in St James's: 15 brilliant places to eat right now

The streets of St James's are home to London dining and drinking icons both old and new. Whether you're feeling fancy at The Ritz or breakfasting at 45 Jermyn Street, there's more than enough restaurants to satisfy the hungriest of appetites

Restaurants St James: the iconic facade of the RA

Boasting palaces and parks, the London neighbourhood of St James's is home to some of the city's most iconic drinking and dining destinations.

Its streets are practically paved with history: the boutiques of Jermyn Street are said to have the most Royal Warrants of any in the country.

Whether you're the kind of person who has their own tailor or not, you'll find plenty to keep you occupied in the form of the area's restaurants. There are Michelin stars aplenty, from the enduringly excellent Seven Park Place by William Drabble to African-influenced cooking at inventive Ikoyi and the legendary dining room at The Ritz.

But there's plenty on offer elsewhere, too, like expertly roasted coffee and thick slices of banana bread at new arrival The Gentlemen Baristas, and the Neapolitan menu at 'O ver, whose chewy, blistered pizzas contain a magical ingredient.

Much like the neighbouring area of Regent Street, St James is home to some of the city's best places to eat and drink. We hope you're hungry – it's time to tuck in.

15 of the best restaurants in St James's

45 Jermyn Street

45 Jermyn St, SW1Y 6DN

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Kitted out in glorious Art Deco finery, 45 Jermyn Street is the kind of place you could possibly wear a feather boa and get away with it. But for all its glamour, its menu doesn't shy away from simple favourites, like the crumpets with Marmite (jazzed up with a fried duck egg) for breakfast, or scrambled eggs, given an equally elegant upgrade with caviar. In fact, come for dinner and you'll find a full-on caviar trolley, priced by the gram for Siberian sturgeon, golden Oscietra and Iranian Beluga 000, served with blinis, baked potatoes and scrambled eggs made tableside. Sounds like our kind of party.

45jermynst.com

Cafe Murano

33 St James's St, SW1A 1HD

Restaurants St James: Cafe Murano

All hail Angela Hartnett, queen of fresh pasta and hearty northern Italian classics. Wild boar fettuccine; truffles and funghi; and chicken milanese serve to warm belly and soul. There's a funny story behind the space: the address was originally home to the infamous Pétrus, where Angela Harnett worked under Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay; now Harnett has taken over the space in her own right – a full circle, if you will. We'll raise a glass of Super Tuscan to that.

cafemurano.co.uk

Scully

4 St James's Market, SW1Y 4AH

Restaurants St James: the central bar at Scully

Scully is the kind of restaurant that'll take your tastebuds on a journey. It's the first solo venture from Ramael Scully, who was born in Malaysia and brought up in Sydney, with a mother of Chinese and Indian descent and an Irish-Balinese father – and he brings each culture to his cooking. He's an alumnus of the vaunted Yotam Ottolenghi, too, which means he has serious flavour credentials, seen in dishes like burrata with golden peaches, halibut and koji butter, and stone bass and assam paste.

scullyrestaurant.com

'O ver

Unit 2, 1 Norris St, SW1Y 4RJ

Restaurants St James: 'O ver's Neapolitan cured meats

London has great pizza places coming out of its metaphorical ears, so it's hard to stand out of the crowd – but 'O ver does exactly that. Promising a "real Italian menu with strong Neapolitan soul", it offers pizzas with a difference: they're made with pure seawater. This is so much more than a gimmick; the crusts are the right kind of chewy yet blistered, with the correct topping-to-base ratio, and no, they're not too salty. That's not forgetting the menu, which celebrates Neapolitan cooking all the way from the deep-fried guilty pleasures like arancini to burrata with a delicate dusting of shaved truffle.

overuk.com

Aquavit

1 St James's Market, SW1Y 4QQ

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Aquavit offers Nordic cuisine by way of New York, taking Swedish-influenced farmhouse dishes and giving them an elevated, Manhattan spin in the equally elevated surrounds of St James's Market. The smorgasbord section is a triumph: smoked fish mousse with pickled cucumber and crisp bread for slathering; a langoustine bao bun with tangy cabbage slaw; and Faroe Island gravlax, made with traditionally cured salmon all serve to tempt and tantalise, while further down the menu, Swedish meatballs hit the comfort-food-done-posh sweet spot.

aquavitrestaurants.com

DUKES Bar

35 St James's Pl, SW1A 1NY

DUKES Bar is hallowed ground for mixed-drink fans: if you like a martini, this is the place to have one. The drinks here are so legendary that they're said to have provided the inspiration for the "shaken, not stirred" strapline of none other than James Bond (although don't get us started on shaken martinis…). The martinis are served from a trolley (natch), and free-poured by a white-jacketed bartender into a glass so cold it doesn't require ice. Now that's some serious service. PSA: dressing smartly is encouraged.

dukeshotel.com/dukes-bar

Ikoyi

1 St James's Market, SW1Y 4AH

Restaurants St James: octopus and carrot at Ikoyi

Michelin-starred Ikoyi (also recently touted as One to Watch in 2021's World's 50 Best Restaurants) offers a tasting menu only, and boy what a menu it is: crab jollof rice, overripe plantain and rhubarb, aged beef and carrot maafe: a West African influence (and generous smack of scotch bonnets) can be found peppered throughout all of the dishes on offer. In fact, we personally think it's one of the most exciting tasting menus you'll find in London…

ikoyilondon.com

Maison François

34 Duke Street, SW1Y 6DF

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We're a sucker for a French brasserie around here, and Maison François more than delivers on Gallic charm, with an all-day offering that'll have you popping back for breakfast, late-night drinks and afternoon snacks whenever you venture into St James's. The food comes from former MasterChef finalist Matthew Ryle, who earned his stripes at The Dorchester and Isabel, front of house is Ed Wyand, previously of Scott's and then Clapton's Verden – which gives you an idea of the sort of polished cool you can expect. Sleek spins on French classics abound: plates of aged comté and glasses of white burgundy, and a triumphant dessert trolley peddling éclairs, tarte tatin, rum baba and madeleines make you yearn for a trip across the pond. Downstairs, too, is worth a visit: Frank's is a wine bar with cool cocktails, cool bar snacks and cool music.

maisonfrancois.london

Seven Park Place by William Drabble

St James Hotel and Club, 7-8 Park Pl, SW1A 1LS

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We haven't met chef William Drabble, but we bet we'd like him if we did. Having visited his restaurant downstairs at the St James Hotel and Club, we'd like to think of him as genuine, solid chef who loves what he does, and he does it so well he's been rewarded with a Michelin star. Despite his quiet acclaim, he's still in the kitchen most nights, turning out a menu of reliably excellent signatures, like scallops with celeriac emulsion, and duck breast with blackcurrants and beetroot.

stjameshotelandclub.com

The Beau Brummell

3 Norris St, SW1Y 4RJ

Restaurants St James: lunch at The Beau Brummell

Beau Brummell was the original Regency-era fashionista, a dandy with a flair for wigs, elaborate silks and ruffled shirts. You won't find any of those things at St James's Market's gastropub named after the chap, but will find an equal level of attention to detail and design in the leather banquettes, glass chandeliers and statement artwork – and in the food, which is all sustainably sourced, offering a true farm-to-table experience that links its diners with the best food found around the UK. Ruffled shirts optional.

thebeaubrummell.co.uk

The Game Bird at The Stafford

The Stafford, 16-18, St James's Pl, SW1A 1NJ

Restaurants St James: The Game Bird at The Stafford

Tucked away in The Stafford hotel on the periphery of St James's Park is The Game Bird, which promises British comfort cooking executed with style and panache. We like the sound of that, so it's no surprise we also like the sound of steak and ale suet pudding, free-range chicken kiev and Dover sole with sea herbs. With food overseen by Lisa Goodwin-Allen, it's perfect for hunkering down as we head into the cooler months.

thestaffordlondon.com

The Ritz

150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR

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The Ritz needs little introduction: its hallowed halls have been a reference point for luxury since they first opened all the way back in 1906. The Ritz's restaurant, with pale-pink, glittering interiors lives up to the hotel's acclaim, with a Michelin-starred menu from John Williams MBE that focuses on the finest British produce: Cornish beef, lamb from the Lake District, and Scottish lobster. The Rivoli bar, too, is more than decent for a drink, whether it's the beginning of your night or the main event.

theritzlondon.com

The Wolseley

160 Piccadilly, W1J 9EB

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You can't talk about The Wolseley without mentioning the scrambled eggs. You probably didn't know that scrambled eggs could be famous, but at The Wolseley they're so good they truly have a reputation all their own. Of course, the The Wolseley's gorgeous dining room makes for a perfect pit stop at any time of day, whether you're sampling kedgeree for lunch or diving into a schnitzel for dinner.

thewolseley.com

The Gentlemen Baristas

162 Piccadilly, W1J 9EF

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Head into newly opened café The Gentlemen Baristas and you're more likely to be served by hipsters than a man in breeches and a cane, but that doesn't matter when the coffee is this good. The beans are roasted and ground in the East London roastery before making their way west and into your cup; drink with a hefty slice of fully loaded banana bread with Greek yoghurt, berries, almond flakes and cinnamon and you've got the perfect way to start the day.

thegentlemenbaristas.com

Quaglino's

16 Bury St, SW1Y 6AJ

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Affectionately known as Quag's, this London institution has stood the test of time thanks to a dining and drinking experience with flair. Food is reliably good; the legendary cocktails, best drunk at the central bar, never disappoint; and the stage plays host to DJs and house bands until late into the evening. The whole experience is one that nods to bygone years, and make for a treat no matter your age or preferences.

quaglinos-restaurant.co.uk

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