Make small talk with not-quite starving artists over locally sourced dishes at Rochelle Canteen in Arnold Circus. Housed in a former bike shed near artists' studios, the restaurant's two long tables fill at lunchtime with locals who come for chef Margot (wife of Fergus) Henderson's refined but not stuffy British cooking. Henderson takes a lighter approach than her husband, so expect options like a silky beetroot soup ($7) and oatcakes served with Wigmore ($7), a local cheese.
Discover delicious takes on molecular gastronomy at Viajante, located in the Town Hall Hotel. Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes's menu includes a dish of surprisingly delicate venison and raw mushrooms with smoked yogurt. There are two seatings, at 6:30 and 8:30—both of which should be booked a month ahead—and three options for the prix fixe: six, nine, or twelve courses ($101–$133).
Abandon yourself to chance at the Dock Kitchen, where chef Stevie Parle cooks whimsically themed dinners ($54) that change nightly. (Past offerings include a Ligurian feast and a meal based on recipes from Robert Carrier's sixties cookbooks.) By day, the sprawling restaurant offers farm-fresh lunches with regional ingredients like Cornish yellow chicken from Wales ($21) and John Dory from Cornwall ($17).