The best steak comes exactly how you want it (medium-rare, obviously), in a setting you like with a round of brilliant sides.
To find just that (and more), check out our pain-steak-ingly (sorry) assembled guide to the best steak restaurants in London.
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, hixresturants.co.uk
New Street Grill
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 the tagline 'the best steak restaurant in London' you wouldn't expect any less).
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.
MPW Steak & Ale House
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.
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
Hubbard and Bell
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
The Steakhouse At Harrods
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 recently, 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 unbelievably 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.
87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL, harrods.com
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
Best for: getting the party started
Not that steak houses are stuffy, buttoned up sorts of places at the best of times, but those in search of a laid back vibe with their slab of beef should look no further than American joint STK. Perched on the southern edge of Covent Garden and theatre land, it's decadent curved seats, punchy cocktails and lively music is firmly aimed at the work party crowd and caters to it marvelously.
And the signature dish in question? Top notch. Using 28-day custom aged USDA prime beef, the choice - a you'd expect from our cousins across the Atlantic - is nothing if not extensive, ranging from New York Strip, Tomahawk, Japanese Wagyu to the classic fillet and beyond in a range of sizes. And while we're talking sides: don't miss the lobster mac & cheese or the duck liver and black truffle, will you?