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With thousands of restaurants in London, before you even count burger bars and pubs, you shouldn’t have to eat a bad meal. But it is surprising how spending good money doesn’t always guarantee a good meal. Except at the favourites below.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Dining - ££

Racine

Racine is French for root and this place is all about getting the basics of that fine cuisine right. It has the style, too, from the heavy velvet curtain over the door, to the wine list full of familiar favourites. Go for the set menu and you might feel you’re getting a bargain as well.

239 Brompton Road SW3
Tel: +44 (0)20 7584 4477
Tube: South Kensington

Chez Bruce

An Aussie chef with a love of French cuisine – the name says it all in this award-winning restaurant. Great wine list with France dominating but the New World gets a look-in. Good value set menu is a modern spin on Gallic roots.

2 Bellevue Road SW17
Tel: +44 (0)20 8672 0114
Rail: Wandsworth Common
www.chezbruce.co.uk

Maggie Jones’s

Strangely, it’s hard to find traditional English food in London. Maggie Jones’s offers such staples as steak & kidney pie and traditional puddings such as spotted dick in a cosy setting. It’s named after the late Princess Margaret, a former regular.

6 Old Court Place W8
Tel: +44 (0)20 7937 6462
Tube: High Street Kensington

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Tosa

A charcoal grill dominates the front part of this Japanese restaurant and booking a seat at it is a good idea. The food in the cosy interior is great , too, but speaking directly to the chef guarantees you get the best yakitori in town. A good choice of sake and sushi adds to the appeal.

332 King Street W6
Tel: : +44 (0)20 8748 0002
Tube: Stamford Brook

The Carpenter’s Arms

Taking over the mantle of best gastro pub in the area from the Anglesea Arms (35 Wingate Road – still worth a visit), this unpretentious local serves great seasonal British food in simple style, with a dozen wines by the glass. The fact it’s in such a quiet spot also adds to the appeal.

91 Black Lion Lane W6
Tel: : +44 (0)20 8741 8386
Tube: Stamford Brook

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St James

One of the very best local restaurants in London, this chic place has a buzzing downstairs bistro, wine and cocktail bar, an elegant dining room and a lovely outside terrace for fine weather. With a robust modern menu, it is famed for its family-friendly Sunday roasts.

4 Topsfield Parade N8
Tel: +44 (0)20 8348 8348
http://stjamesn8.co.uk

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