Although the dining room looks more like a modern Asian art gallery than a restaurant, this gem never fails to earn kudos for its Malay-influenced fare. The decor straddles the exotic and the chic, featuring colorful tribal masks, imported Buddha statues, and beautiful flower arrangements. The food, too, displays a creative approach in dishes such as roasted honey-glazed frog's legs, and Chinese lotus leaf stuffed with rice and salted duck egg. For the grand finale, try the burnt sugar and banana cake with dark chocolate cardamom ice cream. Two-course prix fixe £27.50, three-course £31.50. TUBE: London Bridge
Widely regarded as one of Soho's more intriguing dining options - reflected in the always-lengthy queues to get in - Busaba offers a stark change of pace from the other Soho establishments. The dining room features a pronounced minimalist scheme, with dark wood paneling and benches, slatted blinds, and paper-shaded pendants. The menu features delicious fare for patrons-on-the-move, including noodle dishes, curries, rice entrees, pad thai, and delicacies like char-grilled swordfish. Seated together at big, sharing tables, you might find yourself striking up conversation with the stranger next to you. TUBE: Tottenham Court Road
According to regulars, this terrific Thai eatery in Belgravia serves simply unforgettable fare, from deep-fried filet of whitefish with sweet and spicy sauce to fresh prawns steamed in tom yum sauce with chilli and garlic. The attractive dining room bears the influence of feng shui principles and Eastern minimalism, both of which impart a sleek, futuristic feel that seems to suit the place's fashion-conscious clientele. Reservations are a must. TUBE: Victoria
Tokyo Diner is a great place to go for a quick bite to eat before a show, or a longer meal with friends. It's reasonably priced food and diner style means it's a favourite with Japanese people in London, and those in the know, looking for relatively authentic Japanese style restaurants. Bento boxes allow you to sample many different things from the menu, and the meals that come with rice / fish or meat or noddles will fill you up against the London winter before you hit Soho, the bright lights and the big city.
Local Expert tip: In this restaurant, the menu tells you that you don't have to leave a tip, which is apparently not expected in Japan. The restaurant also states that it only uses sustainably sourced fish and avoids Tuna.
Critics find no shortage of favorable adjectives when referring to this sexy Knightsbridge restaurant, where tapas with a cutting-edge Pacific Rim influence are served in an elegantly modern dining room. The flavors of ginger, chilli, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and kombu herb provide unique takes on these savory appetizers. Terrific service and a creative wine list round out the experience. Tapas ranges from £6-9 per dish. TUBE: Knightsbridge
One of the neighborhood's most popular international restaurants, this family-friendly place has been serving classic Chinese, Singaporean and Malaysian dishes since the mid-'80s. Contemporary Asian decor fits the diverse crowd well, and the menu beckons with dishes like lamb in Peking sauce, Thai green curry with baby aubergines and lemon grass, and wasabi prawns with cucumber strips. If it's nice out, consider dining at a sidewalk table. TUBE: Swiss Cottage
Authentic Vietnamese fare served in a sleek, stream-lined setting makes this Shoreditch restaurant as popular as it is. Whenever the door opens, the aroma of fresh coriander makes its way street-side, beckoning to hungry patrons. Indeed, folks show up from all over town to enjoy traditional fare like spring rolls, tamarind chicken, and rice-steamed rolls. Friendly service and terrific prices only ensure that repeat visits will be in order. TUBE: Old Street
This Chinese, Thai and French Vietnamese fusion restaurant is ideally situated in the middle of London. Whether you're shopping on Oxford St or coming from SoHo, delicious dishes like wok fried red sea prawns or green curried chicken are never far away. The warm, red interior invites you to stay and chat once you've finished your meal as well.
While the name sounds more like a 19th-century American railroad company than a Notting Hill eatery, make no mistake: there's little that isn't cutting-edge about this Pan-Asian fave. Indeed, culinary innovation and well-planned gambles pay big dividends at e&o, thanks to portions of dim sum, tempura, sashimi, curry, and the now-legendary black cod - all artfully presented and sinfully delicious. The restaurant's atmosphere is defined by its dark-stained furniture, Asian aesthetics, and celebrity sightings. TUBE: Ladbroke Grove
The audacity of the interior design - part temple, part Tudor (yes) manor, part set from a Bond film - announces that you're somewhere special, and you are. The main culinary influence is Thai, so you're spoiled for choice when it comes to fiery curries and the like, but flourishes come from all over Asia. The spring rolls, Vietnamese in derivation, are a particular delight, combining lightness and impeccable flavour combinations. Portions are generous, especially when it comes to noodles, and service is unfailingly polite. TUBE: Tottenham Court Road