If you're wondering when's a good time to get a table at London's hard-to-book restaurants, the midweek lunch spot is your best bet. Not only are you likely to be in with more of a chance of snapping up a table, but you'll also get the opportunity to eat in some of London's top restaurants often for less than the price you'd spend on a meal out in your local gastropub. Here are our picks for some of the best lunchtime deals in town. It's not an exhaustive list, but it's a good start - how about trying one a month and working your way through?
A few things to note:
The only three Michelin-starred restaurant on our list is hidden inside the Dorchester and normally costs an arm and a leg. The set price lunch is an excellent way to test the place out without hurting your bank balance too much.
For 2014, this Michelin-starred restaurant is offering its set lunch on a Saturday too.
Dinner in any of the Shard's restaurants can be hard on the wallet, but head up there for lunch and you can take advantage of Aqua Shard's set price lunch.
This is Joel Robuchon's London outpost of his counter dining experience - where you can sit up and watch your dishes being assembled like works of art. There's also a good value pre-theatre menu here too.
Daniel Boulud's launch of Bar Boulud London was a huge success and this is the second restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental to offer a great lunch deal. It may not include the burgers - but they're a great deal on their own.
One of the hottest restaurants in London right now. If you can't get a table for dinner, then you should be able to squeeze in lunch - it's definitely worth it.
Richard Corrigan is appearing more and more on TV here in the UK (he's already a huge name in Ireland) and his Mayfair restaurant (around the back of the Grosvenor) is the higher end of his two London restaurants (he also owns Bentley's).
Heston and Ashley Palmer Watts' Mandarin Oriental restaurant is currentlyone of the most popular restaurants in London thanks to Heston's name on the door. You won't get the Tipsy Cake or Meat Fruit for this price but it's a good way to experience one of the hottest tickets in town.
Managed by Fred Sirieix from the TV programme Michel Roux's Service, here's where you can experience fantastic food with that 'magic touch', enjoying one of the best views in London on top of the Park Lane Hilton Hotel overlooking Hyde Park.
One of the hottest restaurants in town, Gymkhana has a great entry-level set lunch menu making this Mayfair spot even more of an attractive proposition.
Her two Michelin-star cooking is exquisite and who woudn't want to try the food of chef Helene Darroze, who inspired the Disney character of Colette in Ratatouille.
The chef here, Tom Pemerton, was previously Head Chef at St John Bread & Wine so that should give you an idea of the gutsy kind of cooking you'll see here. The set lunch changes daily and there's also an express lunch as well..
Situated just off Regent Street, Claude Bosi's Hibiscus is another two Michelin-starred restaurant offering some sublime French cooking. Lunch here is a total steal.
Mark Hix's Soho restaurant is a popular media hangout and great for lunch with a lovely airy dining room. If your lunch here inspires you to take the afternoon off, we recommend heading downstairs to the cocktail bar afterwards.
Pierre Koffmann's eponymous restaurant shares the Berkeley hotel with Marcus Wareing. Here's where you're likely to spot royalty enjoying the chef's Gascon fare. It may be lunch, but it's not necessarily light with calf's tongue remoulade and sole with lobster sauce on offer.
Brett Graham is currently number 13 in the World's 50 Best restaurants and is highly rated by fellow chefs. So if you want to try out this Australian chef's cuisine, lunch is your best bet.
Peruvian food as a cuisine is so on trend right now and Lima's a great place to try it out, particularly if you nip in for the well priced set lunch.
One of London's classiest restaurants this can also end up being one of London's most expensive. Go to Le Gavroche if you want to experience some of the most exquisite service and classic food in London and their legendary lunchtime deal will help you avoid a phone call with your bank manager. (currently closed until 17 February 2014)
Angela Hartnett's flagship restaurant serves up exquisite Italian food but at a price. Happily, the set menu brings it down to most people's budgets. Expect such delights as baked oysters with braised radicchio, clams and blood orange or chicken breast and glazed win with parsley root and hazelnuts.
Now that Jose has brought in booking, it's easy to plan in a visit to Bermondsey and the short Menu del dia makes it a good deal too.
Jason Atherton restaurant is booked up weeks in advance, but lunchtimes could be the best way to get a reservation.
Gordon's flagship restaurant on Royal Hospital Road is still damned hard to get into. Head Chef Clare Smyth runs a tight ship and the recent redesign has breathed new life into one of the UK's few three Michelin-starred restaurants.
Having won a Michelin star a scant five months after opening, Tom Sellers' Bermondsey restaurant is a must-visit. They've just introduced a midweek set lunch menu for 2014.
Texture is an Icelandic, Michelin starred restaurant from Xavier Rousset and Aggi Sverrisson (who are also behind Holborn spot 28-50) offering innovative Northern European cooking.
Philip Howard's Mayfair restaurant has two Michelin stars, but AA Gill said of his meal 'the lunch we had there deserved three.'
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