OpenTable insider’s guide to: Notting Hill

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Famous for its colourful carnival, Notting Hill is still one of London’s most popular destinations for tourists and celebs alike. You can spend a day rummaging through the antiques on Portobello Road, catch a film at the Coronet, and explore its scenic backstreets. As you’d expect, the area is full of first class bars and restaurants. Here are some of the best.

Breakfast – Breakfast and its boozier cousin, brunch, are a pretty big deal in Notting Hill. From the virtuous ‘Goodness Breakfast’ at Wildflower Café to a hangover-busting full English at Bumpkin or Goode & Wright, early risers are spoilt for choice. For something really decadent, head to New Tom’s for English asparagus, crispy pancetta, slow-cooked hens eggs and hot mayonnaise.

Fine dining – If there’s a special occasion coming up, you can dine in style at top British restaurants like Kensington Place and Hereford Road. Got a serious foodie to impress? Splash out on the tasting menu at The Ledbury or try The New Angel, the new venture from chef John Burton-Race.

Photo Credit: www.thenottinghillcarnival.com/

Photo Credit: thenottinghillcarnival.com

Cocktails – There are some great old pubs in the area but if you’re craving cocktails, you’ll love the drinks and vibes at Portobello Star, Trailer Happiness and Beach Blanket Babylon. If rum’s your poison, try the killer Daiquiris at The Rum Kitchen, best served with some of their spicy jerk chicken wings.

Date night destinations – If fine dining feels a bit much for a first date, try a low-key dinner for two at cosy gastropub The Mall Tavern or share wine and antipasti at Italian deli-restaurant Valentina. After a movie at the Electric Cinema, head next door to the Electric Diner for cocktails and comfort food or stroll around the corner for pizza and small plates at Pizza East.

Girls’ night out – Slip on your heels for a ladies-only night of dim sum, tempura and cocktails at local favourite E&O or keep it casual with tacos and Tequila at Crazy Homies.

Have we missed anywhere? Let us know in the comments!

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OpenTable reveals the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the UK for 2014

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As the year draws to a close, we are excited to announce the OpenTable Top 100 Best Restaurants for 2014. The list is based on more than 340,000 reviews written by OpenTable diners this year and features some of the finest places to eat in the UK right now.

Chef Tom Sellers and his team at Story.

Chef Tom Sellers and his team at Story.

The OpenTable Top 10 Best Restaurants 2014, in rank order, are:

Restaurant Story, London
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London
The Chefs Table, Chester
– The Five Fields, London
– The Fat Duck, Berkshire
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London
The Ledbury, London
Pond Dalston, London
Fera at Claridge’s, London
The Grill at The Dorchester, London

Click here to view the full list in alphabetical order.

London continues to dominate the UK’s culinary landscape, with eight of the top ten restaurants found in the capital. This year’s top spot goes to Restaurant Story, where chef Tom Sellers’ ambitious British cooking has been delighting diners and critics alike. Celeb chefs Gordon Ramsay and Simon Rogan both made it into the top ten, while Heston Blumenthal claimed two of the top ten spots.

The Chefs Table, Chester

The Chefs Table, Chester

The Top 100 list features a diverse mix of UK restaurants, from established foodie favourites like Hibiscus and Duck & Waffle to neighbourhood gems like Norse in Harrogate and The Glutton Club in Shrewsbury. Jason Atherton’s latest venture, City Social, made the list, along with other new openings like BEAST, The New Angel, and Gordon Ramsay’s London House.

For a second year, British cuisine proved the most popular with OpenTable diners, with British restaurants making up a third of the list. European fare was the second most popular, followed by French cooking, represented by 17 restaurants.

Thanks to everyone who booked, dined and reviewed with OpenTable this year. The Top 100 restaurants are chosen by you and your fellow diners, so keep writing those reviews in 2015!

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Five festive things you need to eat in London this winter

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If you can’t face another year of tired turkey dinners, Pret sarnies and Winter Wonderland bratwursts, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here are five of the best things to eat (and drink) in London over the festive season.

FleshBunsXmas

In a nod to the Japanese tradition of eating KFC on Christmas eve, Flesh & Buns have created a JFC Festive Feasting Basket for Londoners who are tired of turkey. The set meal includes steamer baskets of buttermilk fried chicken, steamed buns, salad, BBQ mayo and shichimi sauce for diners to assemble themselves. It costs £37 for two people, including a chocolate Yamazaki cake dessert and a spiced rum and raspberry shake each to wash it all down.

 HawksmoorXmas

If you must have turkey, swap the standard roast for something much more exciting – the Hawksmoor Christmas burger. We reckon Santa would approve of their juicy fried turkey topped with a Ginger Pig sausage stuffing patty, crispy bacon, cheese, sprout tops, and cranberry ketchup. It’s basically all of your favourite festive foods crammed into a brioche bun, complete with turkey dipping gravy. It’s available at their Spitalfields bar until the end of December – don’t miss out.

CroquedArgent

At rooftop restaurant Coq d’Argent, you can sip mulled wine under fur blankets on their heated terraces or tuck into wintry comfort food in their après-ski themed chalet bar. After a few Alpine Sours, get stuck into fondue, charcuterie or a deliciously cheesy Croque-Madame.

FoxlowXmas

Skip the supermarket sarnies and head straight to Foxlow for the ultimate Christmas sandwich. Come hungry because this beast is packed with a thick slice of smoked turkey, a sausage patty, crispy bacon, sprout tops and cranberry ketchup. It’s served with bubble and squeak hash browns and gravy for dipping and if you’ve got room, there’s a mulled wine soft serve sundae for dessert!

DuckWaffleCocktail

This year, why not upgrade from sugary Happy Hour cocktails to a proper festive tipple at Duck & Waffle? You can watch the lights of London twinkle from the 40th floor of the Heron Tower while you enjoy a winter spiced Champagne cocktail or a Mulled Swine (spiked with piggy brandy). Don’t miss their twist on the classic Snowball – a silky blend of vodka, lemon, Milkybar Advocaat, frankincense, egg white and Prosecco.

If you need more inspiration for a Christmas party or an NYE bash, head over to our Christmas page.

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OpenTable insider’s guide to: King’s Cross

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No longer just a transport hub, King’s Cross has been transformed over recent years and is now home to modern flats, offices, bars and restaurants. As well as two impressive stations (with links to both Paris and Hogwarts), it’s home to Kings Place, the British Library and the stunning St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. If you’re local or just passing through, here are some of the best places to eat.

Pre-dinner drinks – Splash out on a glass of fizz at Searcy’s Champagne Bar or pair sherry or cava with tapas at Camino, a Spanish restaurant tucked away on Varnisher’s Yard. For cocktails, try the GNH Bar or sip drinks from the Victorian era at the stunning Booking Office Bar.

Date night destinations – At the iconic St Pancras Hotel, Marcus Wareing oversees the elegant British bar and brasserie, The Gilbert Scott. Expect slick service, an impressive wine list, and dishes like Cornish monkfish with ‘nduja and guinea fowl with chanterelles. If you’re looking for something a little different, treat your date to meze at The Greek Larder or an Indian feast at Dishoom.

Breakfast spots – There are plenty of places to grab a bacon bap and a coffee, but it’s worth making time for a proper breakfast at St Pancras Grand, Karpo or Fortnum & Mason. For a lazy weekend brunch, join the locals at Caravan for great coffee, baked eggs, and avocado on toast.

Granary Square. Photo Credit: King's Cross Facebook page.

Granary Square. Photo Credit: King’s Cross Facebook page.

Business bites – If you’re out with a client or just catching up with colleagues, try the excellent set lunch menus at Rotunda or Plum + Spilt Milk, Mark Sargeant’s restaurant at the Great Northern Hotel.

Veggie options – Fancy a meat-free meal? Head to Bruno Loubet’s Grain Store where seasonal vegetables are given a starring role in dishes like wild mushroom croquettes and veggie paella. We also like TED on Caledonian Road, where everything on the menu is sustainable and ethically sourced.

On the run – If you’re running for a train or grabbing a quick lunch, stock up on goodies from Sourced Market or try some of London’s finest street food at KERB, open 12-2pm Tuesday to Friday. On Doric Way, try Roti King for cheap and delicious Malaysian curries mopped up with flaky roti breads.

Still hungry? Check out more King’s Cross restaurants or ask us for tips on twitter.

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Introducing the redesigned OpenTable website

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In 1998, OpenTable introduced diners to a brand new concept – making restaurant reservations online. A lot has changed since then, though the web site design has remained largely the same. Earlier this year, in the UK, the toptable website and apps were rebranded to OpenTable,  and today we are excited to launch our brand new web experience, bringing all our global sites in line.

For several months, our team has been hard at work building new technology and designs that enhance the way diners discover and book restaurants on www.opentable.co.uk.

The new site delivers a cohesive experience for diners who use OpenTable on the web, tablet, and mobile phones. It looks forward, with a scalable and flexible architecture to make it easier to introduce new features to enhance the overall dining experience.

Our new search interface supports area, address, or specific restaurant names all in the same place, which means less clicking around. The design places new focus on the restaurant, bringing forward the content that inspires booking the perfect table. And after you make a reservation, we’ve made it easier to invite others and share.

We hope regular OpenTable users and those who have just discovered us enjoy the new site. We will continue to work hard to make it the best place to visit to plan that perfect night out.

We are always eager to hear from you, and please let us know how we can make it even better.

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OpenTable insider’s guide to: Kensington

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In one of the most elegant corners of London, you can shop with the locals at chic boutiques, see a show at the Royal Albert Hall, or take a stroll through leafy Kensington Gardens. You’ll need a celebrity salary to afford one of the beautiful homes in the area but it’s free to visit the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the V&A. Here’s where to eat if you’re heading west for a day.

Bar bites – Out for drinks or just fancy a snack? Pair fine wine with small plates at the Kensington Wine Rooms or perch at the bar for cocktails and charcuterie at Pavilion. For something a little different, head to Alpine-themed Bodo’s Schloss for Snow Ball Martinis and Wiener schnitzels before hitting the dance floor. It’s like a night out in St Anton, complete with fondue and schnapps!

Date night destinations – If you’re out to impress, book a table at the award-winning Launceston Place for an evening of seasonal British cooking, wonderful wine and slick service. We also like Babylon at the Roof Gardens for dinner with a view and The Terrace on Holland Street, which has won several OpenTable Diners’ Choice awards this year.

Eastern flavours – Asian food fans will love the fragrant Thai seafood dishes at Patara and the delicate dim sum at Chinese tea house Bo Lang. For a really special meal, book a table at Min Jiang and enjoy their signature wood-fired Beijing duck as the sun sets over Kensington Gardens.

The Natural History Museum, South Kensington. (Photo Credit: Abhijeet Vardhan @ Flickr)

The Natural History Museum, South Kensington. (Photo Credit: Abhijeet Vardhan @ Flickr)

French favourites – There’s a huge French community in Kensington so if you’re looking for a meal with Gallic flair, you’ll love the food at old favourites like Racine, L’Etranger and La Bouchee. We like neighbourhood newcomer Brasserie Gustave for lazy Saturday brunches and classic dishes like garlic buttered snails and beef tartare.

Lunch spots – On Kensington High Street, you can feast on two courses for £13.50 at Aubaine or grab a quick bite at Bill’s or Whole Foods. If you’re closer to South Ken, try the stone-baked pizzas and antipasti at Obika, rustic British dishes at Bumpkin, or tapas at Casa Brindisa.

Where’s your favourite place to eat in Kensington? Let us know!

Tags: City Guides, Dining Inspiration, Featured, London. Total of no comments in the discussion.