Best For: A fine flat-iron steak and a side for a tenner
Aside from the odd 'special' (a dalliance with onglet, perhaps) this Soho spot serves steak at its most stripped back. Its somewhat identikit appearance reads like a checklist of NYC-influence (refectory-tables, exposed brick walls, and US-cut steaks), but the food – flat-iron steaks, served pink on a slab of wood – is good enough for you to take notice.
Free from any fripperies (such as menus) this is a purist's encounter with beef, and it is as uncomplicated as it is excellent. Follow @flatironsteak for the occasional 'guest' cuts of meat.
17 Beak St, Soho, London W1F 9RW, flatironsteak.co.uk
Best For: Himalayan salt-aged beef by Hannan Meats
Dining beneath a suspended formaldehyde-preserved cow is always going to sort the men from the vegetarians, but then that's exactly what this outpost from restaurateur Mark Hix is about. Chicken or steak are the only mains on the menu, and – as you'd expect from the chef – both are done to perfection.
Get your teeth around an entire kilo of salt-aged porterhouse (fillet on one side of the bone, sirloin on the other) – you may need someone to split the portion (and bill) with. Its intense, juicy, mineral twang – offset by a puddle of béarnaise and the crunch of crispy chips – is an education in how good beef can be.
32 Rivington St, London EC2A 3EQ, chickenandsteak.co.uk
Best For: Social-media driven experience
This isn't a new restaurant – but it is a new experience. #Steaksecret is a Twitter driven dining club, where – if you know someone who's willing to share the access code – you can book a place at a seven-course steak extravaganza. Without wanting to give the game away, the restaurant behind this venture isn't new, but #Steaksecret gives you access to the private dining room – and a much better atmosphere than in the main restaurant.
The steak served – wet-aged USDA prime, and dry-aged Angus, is nicely done and there's plenty of opportunity to try Wagu alongside more robust cuts for an interesting compare and contrast. The emphasis on American-style hospitality – which translates as staggering quantities of food. Doggy bags at the ready.
Best For: 16oz Porterhouse with chips
Located in a former bank vault, the nose-to-tail ethos of this subterranean restaurant is bang on the money. Although, as the name belies, you can indulge your inner carnivore on more than just beef, the steak offering here is truly excellent. The rumps and sirloins are cut from 28-day-aged beef from Abergavenny – the foodie-heartland of Wales –and are cooked with gutsy aplomb.
There's an on-trend nod to New York aesthetics, and US cuts occasionally appear on the menu, but on our visit a 16oz porterhouse with Maris Piper chips and béarnaise sauce weighed in as the best choice. It's got an extensive gin list, too – always a good sign in our book.
Best For: Rump steak with smoked butter and shoestring fries
Back in October, Richard Caring – the money and mastermind behind Caprice Holdings (The Ivy, J Sheekey, Scott's, etc) – opened his latest restaurant in a bid, no doubt, to cash in on the clutch of new independent joints currently creating such a buzz in Soho. It's a move that looks likely to pay off, as its ultra-relaxed, forward-thinking ethos feels just right.
There's no standing on ceremony: order at the counter – or via an app, if you prefer your iPhone to do the talking – then tuck into the fairly priced and flavourful rump steak and a selection of sides such as radish slaw. Simple.
61–63 Beak Street, London, W1F 9SL, grillshack.com
Best For: The epic grill selection
We're cheating a little. Martin Wishart's beautiful Edinburgh restaurant – all black-and-white-and wood veneered all over - is not a steakhouse. No indeed. But it is so unashamedly good – and has such an epic grill selection – that we wanted it on our list.
The melting beef is aged at least 28 days (and up to 36 days for some cuts), and seared on a fearsomely hot charcoal grill before being finished with a Madeira glaze for added richness and sweetness. Try the Picanha – a popular Brazilian cut which is attracting a following here: it's a genius balance of deep meaty flavour and unctuous melted fat. You are in for a treat.
58a N Castle St, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH2 3LU, thehonours.co.uk
Best For: Killer cocktails
Set in the City's oldest surviving warehouse along with Fish Market, Old Bengal Bar and New Street Wine Shop, New Street Grill – as the name suggests – dishes up a hefty British grill.
Set up by London restaurant group D&D (who also own, among many others Bluebird Chelsea and Skylon), alongside their superb menu of aged steaks and joints of meat grilled in their wood-fired Josper oven, they also boast an impressive cocktail list. Opt for the classic Old Bengal Martini – the dash of orange bitters really compliments the flavour of the tender flesh.
16 New St, London EC2M 4TR, newstreetgrill.co.uk
Best For: The Porterhouse
When it comes to serving up the perfect steak, Will Beckett and Huw Gott's ever-expanding franchise are the experts (well with a tagline 'the best steak restaurant in London' you wouldn't expect any less).
All their meat comes from Ginger Pig (they are regarded as one of the most respected meat producers in Britain) dry aged for at least 35 days and cooked on a charcoal grill.
Often named as the prime cut for steak, the porterhouse – a t-bone with half tenderloin and half top loin – is what they do best. Although a hard one to cook properly, the guys at Hawksmoor do a fine job grilling up this hefty slab of meat. Ideal for sharing, order with a side of triple cooked chips for a truly gastronomical experience.
Best For: Endless toppings
The brainchild of Steve Novak and Shaun Gray – with a giant cattle displayed by the entrance – Cattle Grid aren't afraid to express their predatory intentions of chowing down on a good old steak.
Alongside their choice of 'cow' or 'pig, which includes 10oz rump steaks and hog roast sandwiches, perhaps the most impressive category on the menu is their range of toppings. Boasting a whooping selection of 18 homemade butters, sauces and toppings (bone marrow gravy, caramelised onions, haggis and green peppercorn sauce to name just a few) this is one section you're going to have to invest a lot of time into.
For those feeling the pinch on their wallets, pop in during the day for a special offer of slow cooked beef sandwich or hog roast sandwich, served with chips and a drink for under a tenner.
The Rotunda, Clarence St, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1QJ, cattlegridrestaurant.com
Best For: If you have vegetarian friends
You fancy a hunk of meat for dinner but forget that the friend you're meeting up with is veggie. It happens (rare, but it happens).
A classic steakhouse in the heart of the city, head over to Marco Pierre White's sleek Steak & Alehouse where you can demolish a 14oz ribeye (Royal Appointed Aberdeen Angus beef from Inverurie, aged for at least 21 days on the bone) drenched in béarnaise sauce while your friend picks from the generous vegetarian options on request.
It means your friend won't miss out on a good feasting and you can both end the evening feeling pretty damn satisfied.
East India House, 109-117 Middlesex St, E1 7JF, londonsteakhousecompany.com
Best for: taking your tastebuds on safari.
Opened in 2010, Shaka Zulu's cavernous interior - featuring 12-foot high statues of tribal warriors – is a world away from the dyed-hair, safety-pinned bluster of Camden Market outside.
It's the food we're interest in, though, and London's largest South African restaurant doesn't disappoint, with a range of fine quality beef on offer (including the 55 day aged Wagu steak), plus a selection of more unusual meats from Wild Boar to Crocodile and Springbok. The indecisive among you can sample everything with the King Shaka Game Board, but we recommend diving straight in with the 220g zebra fillet. Medium rare, of course.
Shaka Zulu, Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1 8AB, shaka-zulu.com
Best for: all-day dining.
Located on the ground floor of the Hoxton Hotel in Holborn, this all day grill has the open and airy feel of a trendy American diner, serving up everything from prawns and fish, through chicken and ribs. If it can be grilled, it's on the menu, cooked up in the open kitchen. Whenever faced with such compelling choices, it's hard not to fall back on to the steak menu however, and here the 45 day hung sirloins and ribeyes will never disappoint, while the filet mignon and even Porterhouse provide extra temptations. Be sure you don't try to be healthy with your sides and miss out on the fries which come with a roasted garlic aioli. Ah, memories.
199-206 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7BD, hubbardandbell.com
Best for: the ultimate cut of beef.
If you fancy really pushing the boat out and trying arguably the finest cut of beef in the entire capital, it is strongly recommended that you take an empty stomach to Harrods (where else?) for a slice of kobe prefecture. The cut comes from Japanese Wagyu beef, an animal banned in the UK up until last year, lending to its already-mythical status. What is so special about it? Well, the cows are massaged, lucky buggers, meaning the meat itself is almost unbeliavably melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Couple that with some dreamy creamed spinach and grilled oysters mushrooms, and you're looking at a meal you'll be tasting - and talking about - for years to come. Oh - and for a seasonal tip, pop along to The Steakhouse between the 2-8 November when it is being turned into a pop up ran by Two Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge. The menu he has planned - including venison chilli with puffed rice and chocolate - might even be enough to tempt you away from the steak.
87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL, harrods.com
14 | Zelman Meats
Best for: an alternative steak night.
The people behind Burger & Lobster and Mayfair steakhouse Goodman have eyed what they consider a gap in the market for a great Soho steak restaurant and Zelman Meats is their offering. From the industrial interior to the food, simplicity is the mantra here. Beef is the only thing on the mains menu and there's only three ways you can have that - picanha, chateaubriand and ridiculously tender ribs.
There's no menu either, only a blackboard, and the idea is that this will change regularly as the chefs experiment with different cuts and styles. Charged by weight, and with some truly classy sides (including courgette with feta, aubergine and harissa and very well-executed truffle and parmesan chips), this new kid on the block makes for a buzzy, original and surprisingly good value option for meat heads in the centre of town.
2 St Anne's Ct, London W1F 0AZ, 020 7437 0566, zelmanmeats.com