Alastair Little 49 Frith Street, London W1 (0171-734 5183). Mon- Fri lunch, Mon-Sat dinner. A pioneer of modern European cooking. Although Little no longer cooks here, or at his other west London locale, this is one of the best exponents of the genre, and Alastair Little one of the relatively unsung heroes of the revolution in cooking in British restaurants. Over time, his emphasis has shifted and consolidated to become mainly Italian, but puddings combine this with French, and exemplary British and Irish farmhouse cheeses are a feature (again it was one of the first to promote these). At one time - rather ahead of everyone else - Little flirted with Japanese, not just a tempura fit, but to the extent of having a sushi bar in the restaurant. That's gone; at getting on for 15 years old, the interior is no less austere than it ever was, but others have caught up, and prices, never low, no longer stand out as exceptionally high, especially for cooking that still stands out among imitators. Lunch is pounds 25 for three courses, dinner pounds 33.

Ken Lo's Memories of China 67-69 Ebury Street, London SW1 (0171-730 7734). Mon-Sat lunch, Mon-Sun dinner. Memories of China must have dimmed somewhat over time, not least because Lo is no longer around to draw on personal recollections (and the Kensington High Street branch post-dates him). But his legacy - introducing the British to, and educating us about, upmarket Chinese food - lives on at his original restaurant. It has been there nearly 20 years and looks dated, though the cooking can be good, for a price - around pounds 40 a head. The menu has highlights from all the regions, rather than the more usual concentration on Cantonese found in Chinatown. Specialities such as crispy Peking duck are finely rendered, if no longer ground-breaking, and though Lo exposed the secret of deep-fried seaweed - actually finely sliced cabbage - the version is still able to maintain the fiction.

Walnut Tree Inn Llandewi Skirrid, Monmouthshire (01873 852797). Tue- Sat lunch and dinner. For more than 30 years the Walnut Tree has been a beacon of fabulous cooking and informality far from the fashionable flashes in the pan of London, but often ahead of them - making it more significant than just somewhere serving idiosyncratic rustic Italian food in rural Wales. Franco Taruschio looks backwards, forwards and sideways; he unearths ancient Italian recipes, but has also put down local roots, adapting to local and changing influences with Welsh ingredients. He even introduced some Thai dishes when he and his wife Ann adopted a Thai daughter. In a pub restaurant that preceded polenta pubs by a couple of decades bresaola, pumpkin ravioli with walnut sauce, suckling pig and sticky toffee pudding are typical of the long menu.

Waterside Inn Ferry Road, Bray, Berkshire (01628-620691). Tue dinner, Wed-Sat lunch and dinner, Sun lunch. For more than 25 years Michel Roux's riverside restaurant has upheld the tradition of classic French cuisine with such excellence that it has the longest unbroken run as holder of three Michelin stars in the UK, and is still the only three-starred restaurant outside London. Inside it's like a piece of French perfection, the place to go to find out what this style of French cuisine should aspire to. For dinner a five-course menu is pounds 66.50 plus 12.5 per cent service charge; a weekday lunch is pounds 28, rising to pounds 44.50 at weekends. Eating a la carte will cost pounds 100 a head without drink.

Woz 46 Golborne Road, London W10 (0181-968 2200). Daily brunch/lunch, Mon-Sat dinner. The ubiquitous Antony Worrall Thompson was one of the first celebrity chefs and despite his TV antics, remains a reputable one when he's at work in his restaurants. His restless quest for novelty has kept him a dish or few ahead of the pack. Eclectic before the term turned into modern British, he's now heavily into the Mediterranean at this restaurant, which goes against the eat-and-run grain with a fixed-price no-choice menu and diners allowed to stay put at their tables all evening. A meal starts with an antipasti featuring Middle Eastern, Turkish and Italian bits and pieces, preceding a pasta then a meat main course - a roast or casserole, before cheese and pudding. Dinner is pounds 22.95 to pounds 25.95 for three to five courses. AWT's newer, informal restaurant Wiz (123a Clarendon Road, London W11, 0171-229 1500) serves tapas/dim sum/snacks from around the world - probably heralding a rash of imitators.

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