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London's best Chinese restaurants

Despite its many other gastronomic delights, Chinese fine dining reigns still supreme over London’s restaurant scene


London Editor

When bangers and mash just won't cut it, try some Asian-infused cuisine at one of London's finest Chinese restaurants. These elaborate dining experiences will send your taste buds for a ride with an abundance of spices and exotic flavours. 

This elaborate banquet-style dining experience is more an occasion than a meal: with a circumscribed set menu of 12 courses (for lunch, rapid versions offer three or five), there are just 20 or so tables lining the minimal dining room around a serving station where decadent dishes from Wagyu beef with truffle mantou to Australian green abalone are introduced with the pomp and ceremony befitting an emperor.

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The super-successful global fine Chinese dining franchise began life in London but it’s this second Mayfair outpost that’s proven even more seductive than the first. The signature sexy, sultry opium den chic, the dim sum, the buzz – it’s almost physically impossible not to love Hakkasan. Head south to the black cages of the basement where confidences are shared over smokey Negronis and salt and pepper squid.

Related: Decadent dim sum in Hong Kong

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The restaurant that put dim sum on the style dining map offers manifest little parcels of caviar-decorated joy alongside upscale, accessible favourites. Fitting as much to occasions as breezy tête-à-têtes, grab a table in the downstairs dining room within view of the fish tank and assess the menu and crowd over one of London’s most extensive tea and patisserie selections.

The presidential views from Western Europe’s tallest building aren’t the only wow-factor ingredient at this ever-popular Chinese power restaurant where dishes come modelled on the ‘Lu School’ of Shandong Province. Inspired by the palace cuisine of the former Peking, the menu does justice to the setting – emblazoned with red lanterns, tea brick-lined walls and hand-carved, wood-panelled moon gates.

Related: London's best restaurants with a view

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Textbook Chinese fine dining – don’t miss the Legendary Beijing Duck, cooked in a wood-fired oven following traditional Chinese principles – set against some of the most spellbinding views in London, from dim sum to the darlings of China’s most famous gastronomic provinces. Come here for the vistas and varied dishes, which form a seductive combination and reliable choice.

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The fiery flavours of Sichuan make this Soho stalwart a perennial favourite filled with kitsch touches and some of the best people-watching opportunities in London. Imaginative dishes come liberally sprinkled with chillies and lip-tingling Sichuan pepper in tongue-teasing combinations emblematic of the province, from fish fragrant to ‘numbing and hot’ and ginger-juice sauces.

Related: Experiential restaurants in London

1 Hakkasan Mayfair
2 Yauatcha
3 Hutong
4 Min Jiang
5 Bar Shu