Returning to London after 6 years
Yes it's been that long and I lived in London for many years, and will be there long enough to try any "shouldn't miss" restaurant that opened since the last trip or...any other suggestion for restaurants that were open when I live there as have to admit I didn't get to all of them!
It's a holiday so price is no object.
Thanks for your input and look forward to reading suggestions.
BTW, the one place I'd never been to but will visit is St. John.
You're so right to decide on St John, either the one in Clerkenwell or the one in Spitalfields (St John Bread and Wine), but it's quite a good idea to book an earlyish table - say, 7pm or so - because most of the things on the menu will still be available. They tend to cross things off the blackboard at an alarming rate over the course of the evening due, I suppose, to their policy of only buying the best available fish/meat etc. on the day.
One of the best restaurants that has opened recently (only maybe 9 months or so ago) and is probably one of the best I've ever visited, is Arbutus, also in Soho (Frith Street - +44 20 7734 4545). I can't recommend it enough. Fabulous French-ish food done with wit, flair and lots of imagination. They also do nearly all their wines by the carafe, if you wish, which means you can match it to each course without getting completely plastered or being stuck with the few sold by the glass. I really can't recommend it enough.
Finally, everyone loves Andrew Edmunds - also in Soho - it's always just gorgeous but it's also rather tiny so you must book in advance. (+44 7437 5708)
Not a fan of Arbutus
but, I think I am in a minority.
I am a late convert to The Anchor & Hope which despite its silly no booking policy recently provided a meal that reminded me of what St John was like in its heyday.
I am afraid it ( st J )is now just a bit over the hill and recent experiences at both ST J B&W and the main ST J were dispiriting.
A new favourite is Hawksmoor on Commercial St near Shoreditch high st which is currently serving what I think are the best steaks in town ( sourced from the ginger pig. A 600gm rib eye is about £21 ) The gang there are also making some of the best cocktails in town.
At the very high end, Galvin @ The Windows is a worthy if very expensive option
Maybe Locanda Locatelli? I was deeply suspicious of it when it first opened, but had a truly memorable meal there the other week (tip: ask for a corner table if you want some space). Galvins in Baker St is a favourite place for seriously well executed traditional French bistro fare (but at London prices, I'm afraid). Still, it's cheaper (I believe) than their Hilton location. Two other less often reviewed places are Latium for inventive and very fresh Italian food - especially their raviolo dishes. It's also ludicrously good value. La Rousillon has a real delicacy and lightness of touch in their cooking - expensive, but excellent value for the quality of produce and cooking...