London Restaurants: Practical Information

Make sure your meal goes smoothly with our practical guide to eating out in London.

London is the ideal destination for food lovers, with restaurants serving cuisine from more than 70 countries. Once you've found the restaurant of your choice, check the practical details and book in advance to make sure your meal is a success.

London Restaurant Opening Hours

Lunch is normally served between 12 noon and 2pm and restaurants and cafés will be at their busiest between these hours. Many restaurants serve an all-day menu, particularly in central London and near major attractions.

Eating times in the evening vary. Restaurants usually open at 6pm, with busiest times between 8pm and 10pm. Booking is recommended, particularly on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. To make things easier, you can book many of our recommended restaurants online.

After-hours dining is increasingly well catered for in the capital, particularly around Soho. Some establishments open 24 hours a day and attract a lively crowd of late-night revellers.

Payment and Tips in London Restaurants

The majority of cafés and restaurants will take major credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard and Amex. It's worth checking the credit card symbols on the door before you go in.

In general, you should leave a tip of at least 10%, unless the service was unsatisfactory. Often the bill will include a service charge of 10-15%, in which case you needn't add any further tip.

Pre-Theatre Menus in London

Pre- and post-theatre menus offer a cheaper alternative to choosing à la carte from the main menu. They are widely available throughout central London, particularly around the Strand and Shaftesbury Avenue.