Home to some of the best modern Indian food in the world, this contemporary Michelin-starred restaurant offers delicately spiced and inventive takes on traditional classics.
12a Berkeley Square

Mayfair, London
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  • 020 7629 8886
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  • Benares
    12a Berkeley Square, , UK, Mayfair, London, W1J 6BS
    020 7629 8886
    Restaurant reservations

    Putting a contemporary spin on a cuisine as distinct and universally loved as Indian is no easy task – classic dishes have to be refined but recognisable and the spicing must be balanced to perfection. Since opening in 2003, Benares has been doing just this, and has continued to do so since chef Sameer Taneja took over the reins as executive chef in 2019.

    The menu showcases the finest British produce around in an innovative way, while still respecting the roots of Indian cuisine. Despite being open for nearly two decades, the food is still constantly developing and evolving in order to stay relevant and exciting. Benares’ contemporary nature is just as visible in its interiors as in the food offering; elements of the traditional Indian restaurant meet Mayfair elegance in the slick 120-seat dining room, which is accessed via a staircase up from street level. Meanwhile, a separate bar area is moodily lit and a perfect spot for drinks.

    Customers at Benares can either choose from an à la carte menu or opt for a six-course tasting menu for dinner, while a more moderately priced set menu is available additionally both at lunchtime and early evening. Appetisers on the menu might include hand-dived Scottish scallops baked on the shell, served with a coconut curry and a Malabar paratha, or a samosa ragda tartlet. Meanwhile, you can expect indulgent mains ranging from tandoori spiced poussin with a San Marzano and fenugreek gravy and a lassi dressing.

    The restaurant’s drinks offering is just as inventive as the food menu and classic cocktails are given an Indian twist — a passionfruit martini, for example, is made using a homemade chutney while an old fashioned comes finished with a spiced syrup. When it comes to wine, those dining from the tasting menu can opt for one of two pairings or choose a bottle or glass from the larger list.

    Three things you should know
    After losing its Michelin star in the 2020 guide, Benares regained it just a year later in 2021.
    The wine list at Benares is extensive, with expert sommeliers on hand to guide you to the right glass.
    Following on from the success of its London restaurant, Benares opened a second restaurant in Madrid.
    12a Berkeley Square, , UK, Mayfair, London, W1J 6BS
    020 7629 8886
    Restaurant reservations