Hot on the heels of cheap-chic eatery Wagamama is another affordable (and decidedly better) Asian diner from the same owner: Alan “Hakkasan” Yau. Three central London branches serve deliciously authentic, spicy, and sweet Thai cuisine amid minimalist dark-wood communal tables, low lighting, and faint exotic incense. Try chicken with chili and pumpkin; tangy yet tart tom yum soup; salt-and-pepper squid; or a classic pad thai with smoked chicken, prawns, and sweet basil. The swiftly moving lines to get in on weekends are justly deserved.
Insider Tip: While the restaurant does not accept reservations, there are two other locations, at Bird Street and at Store Street (Store Street has a private dining area that can be reserved for 12–20 people).