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A favourite with celebs, Hampstead is a star in its own right with its countryside-esque heath; a 791-acre patchwork of meadows, woodland, and even a set of ponds for wild-swimming. Desired for its spa waters since the 18th century, Hampstead boasts an impressive array of historic buildings. This slice of countryside in the city is a favoured escape for frazzled city-dwellers, who also come for Hampstead’s upmarket yet relaxed restaurants and boutiques. It helps, too, that Hampstead is well-served by train and Tube stations. When it comes to eating out, restaurants in Hampstead present an appealing juxtaposition of world cuisine and traditional, cosy British pubs.
On the world cuisine side, one of the most exciting Hampstead restaurants is pan-Asian XO. We’re never quite sure whether you pronounce it “zo” or “x-o”, but we love the exotic selections of dim sum, sashimi, and seafood. XO is sleek and stylish, decked out in a black and lime-green combo.
Returning to the familiar, the The Wet Fish Café & Brasserie is done out in traditional London eating-house style, with original Art Deco wall tiles. Café-style by day and operating as a smarter brasserie by night, The Wet Fish does food that is seasonal, simple, and beautifully prepared.