London's world-famous department store, Harrods has been a city fixture since it opened in 1849. Impeccable service and a wonderful, diverse selection have earned the store a place in the hearts of Londoners. Although prices are somewhat steep, they're attached to quality merchandise, including apparel, toys, home furnishings and groceries. Plus, twice-yearly sales make things more accessible to budget-minded shoppers. Cultivating a bit of spectacle in Harrods are the Egyptian Room and a memorial to Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed, owner Mohammed's son. It gets busy at Christmas but is definitely worth a visit if you happen to be in London at that time of year, as it's Christmas tree and window displays are a delight. TUBE: Knightsbridge
Favored especially by fashion-conscious folks, this well-regarded department store is known for its propensity towards designer labels. Begun in 1813, the enterprise offers a wealth of men's and women's apparel, not to mention a strong home furnishings section and fantastic beauty department. Personal shopping services and a salon allow customers to be pampered even further, and a restaurant, cafe and bar on the top floor provide welcome respite in the midst of busy shopping sprees. The restaurant serves amazing food now, as it has all been recently revamped, and just outside is a food hall where you can pick up not only luxury food, but lovely kitchen ware to try and recreate the feel of the place at home too. TUBE: Knightsbridge
When your appetite calls for something exotic, this upscale eatery is more than equal to the task. Specializing in South India's tropical fare, Quilon sports a bright, cheerful decor highlighted by lush greenery, soft lighting, and a light-stained wainscot. Discerning diners are tantalized by the fiery masala; seared seabass cooked in tomato with chopped button onions, lime juice and chilli; and guinea fowl stew with onion, green chilli and coconut milk. You really are transported when you enter this restaurant with tropical tastes and flavours that can't fail to disappoint. The light cuisine is also perfect for lunch.TUBE: St. James's Park
As currently trendy Notting Hill rushes by outside, the interior of this fun and funky establishment aims to create the feel of a country cafe. Whether that aim is achieved or not is subjective, but most agree that the (very)Anglo-(somewhat)French fare is a winner. Much of the produce used here comes fresh from markets every day and there's a nice line in organic booze. Scoring particularly high on its traditional British roasts, this is a great place to chill out and eat well. Bumpkin is a chain, but that means that you can get slightly cheaper eating, and guaranteed tastes in an expensive part of town, for a standard price.
Assaggi means, trying in the plural, and that's just want you can do at this delicious restaurant. You'll need to book early to get a table at this well-known spot, whose authentic Italian fare is served simply but with style, and is considered by many to be the best in London. Starters include buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes atop thinly sliced fresh bread (called "carta di musica," or music paper) -unadorned but superb, which is the way Italian cooking should be, all about the ingredients. Fresh crab with olive oil and lettuce is also basic but delicious, as are pastas, including homemade noodles with a selection of fresh herbs and crushed walnut. TUBE: Notting Hill Gate
This is home style cooking for London. The restaurant says it models itself on 19th Century crabshacks which popped up all along the American Gulf Coast at the time. This is all about a simple easy going lifestyle. Where people hang out on beaches and eat crab and barbecued food, with salt and sand in their hair, having a good time with their friends. There is live music too to try and transport you from London's posh Kings road, to this American homestyle myth. Big Easy's signature dishes include Fresh Maine 1kg/2lb Lobster, Fresh Crab & Shrimp, Charolais Beef, The Classic Chophouse Burger, Surf & Turf and Real Home-Smoked Bar-B-Q.
London restaurant legend Terence Conran started out with this quirky, elegant restaurant, which doesn't scrimp on a single detail. Sit within a Grade I listed building, where a bold blue color scheme and large, colorful stained-glass window dominate the white-clothed tables and intimate and somewhat formal dining room. Beautifully prepared dishes include squid ink risotto with grilled squid and gremolata, deep-fried haddock and chips, and grilled calf's kidneys. The wine list is so large it's arranged in a three-ring binder. Diners looking for more laid-back environs can check out the downstairs oyster bar, which offers fresh seafood and a friendly atmosphere. 3-course prix fixe lunch �29.50. TUBE: South Kensington
In trendy Notting Hill, this tile-floored trattoria offers authentic Italian dishes with a light touch, such as gnocchi a la gorgonzola, made with light potato dumplings in a rich creamy sauce, and crespoline a la parmesana crisp pancakes with ricotta and spinach. That makes it perfect for a lunch, or dinner spot, and its intimate atmosphere will delight just as much as its food. Other specialties include veal knuckle with risotto and calves liver in butter. Curvy wrought-iron, Italian post cards, and a restaurant cat add a personal touch to this friendly restaurant, which as its name suggests favours Tuscan cooking in the great Italian firmament. TUBE: Notting Hill Gate
Alounak does delicious Iranian food in comfortable Notting Hill. Locals heap high praise on this eatery, where Iranian-inspired dishes and a comfortable dining room attract expats from all over the city. Tandoor-baked breads beckon to hungry passersby, and traditional dishes like hummus, gyros and char-grilled aubergines ensure that no appetite goes unsated. Additional specialties, like marinated-then-grilled sea bass seasoned with saffron, offer a more exotic brush with authentic Persian fare. Delicate rice is cooked to perfection as is the glistening lamb meat the restaurant offers. Yoghurt and spinach provides a comforting accompaniment to the spicier dishers but everything is perfectly judged. TUBE: Bayswater or Queensway
The Lanesbourough hotel might, strictly speaking still be in the City of Westminster, but it's on the road down towards Knightsbridge and Kensington and is Kensington in its ethos. The conservatory-like dining room at the Lanesborough takes traditional British tea for a turn by providing international flair. The room is decked out in mint green and pink, and flowing water adds to the ambience. Tiny sandwiches, crumpets, and scones with all the fixings are served with your choice from nearly two dozen varieties of tea and a selection of delectable petit-fours. The Lanesborough is the first in England to have a tea sommelier. Afternoon tea from 35 pounds. TUBE: Hyde Park Corner