Must-see restaurants in London

  • Oscar Wilde Lounge

    The West End

    An extravagant gilt-and-parquet jewellery box within the Hotel Café Royal, the Oscar Wilde Lounge – dating from 1865 and named after its most famous…

  • Taco Queen

    Brixton, Peckham & South London

    Crowd into this small shopfront for some of the best tacos in town. Started by two former music-industry execs with no restaurant experience, this once…

  • Som Saa

    Clerkenwell, Shoreditch & Spitalfields

    So beloved is Som Saa that it successfully crowdfunded £700,000 to open its first permanent restaurant in this old fabric warehouse. The menu has expanded…

  • Pollen Street Social

    The West End

    Chef Jason Atherton's cathedral to haute cuisine (Michelin-starred within six months of opening) is a worthy splurge, especially for those in search of…

  • Castle Café

    North London

    An utterly unique London experience: this sustainable social enterprise is set within a spacious climbing centre, itself set within a wildly eccentric…

  • Hawksmoor Guildhall

    London

    Parquet floors, maroon leather seating and rich wood panelling create a clubby atmosphere in this subterranean steakhouse, one of a handful in a London…

  • Pied à Terre

    The West End

    This petite and elegant Michelin-starred French restaurant, a stayer on London's dining scene, presents plenty of Francophile favourites (such as skate…

  • Prawn on the Lawn

    North London

    This B&W-tiled establishment both sells the freshest of fish and shellfish as a fishmonger's and serves it as a restaurant. Consult the ever-changing…

  • Mortimer House Kitchen

    The West End

    Tranquil isn't a word ever applied to Soho, even in this slightly less-trafficked part, but somehow this restaurant channels Great Gatsby–style zen and…

  • Tea & Tattle

    The West End

    Below Arthur Probsthain, a family-run bookshop specialising in Oriental and African art and culture since 1903, you'll find this intimate, chatty, timber…

  • Peckham Levels

    Brixton, Peckham & South London

    A few floors below famous Frank's, Peckham Levels is the place to go if you want to drink in a former car park year-round. The first five floors are…

  • Locanda Locatelli

    The West End

    This quietly glamorous restaurant in an otherwise unremarkable Marble Arch hotel remains one of London’s best Italian establishments, and you’re likely to…

  • Chiltern Firehouse

    The West End

    In-house restaurant of the hotel of the same name, itself occupying a beautiful red-brick firehouse from 1889, this splendidly dapper eatery offers…

  • Sambal Shiok

    North London

    Sambal Shiok calls itself a laksa bar – and indeed it makes the tastiest laksa this side of Kuala Lumpur. A fragrant coconut noodle dish, laksa is its…

  • Tamarind

    The West End

    A mix of refined classics from various Indian regions and innovations such as vegetable-and-kale seekh kebab stuffed with black-fig chutney, Tamarind has…

  • Gelupo

    The West End

    The queue outside Gelupo can stretch down the street on summer weekend evenings, and it’s no wonder: this is central London’s most authentic gelateria…

  • Koya Bar

    The West End

    Arrive early if you don’t want to queue at this informal but excellent Japanese eatery with counter seating. Londoners come here for their fill of…

  • Greenhouse

    The West End

    Reached through a wonderful sculpture-filled garden, twin-Michelin-starred Greenhouse is a mainstay of Mayfair luxury dining. The tasting menus are only…

  • Le Boudin Blanc

    The West End

    Surely this is one of the best French bistros in London, with meat dishes such as confit duck leg or Dover sole cooked to perfection, sauces perfectly…

  • Beijing Dumpling

    The West End

    You can see the stars of the show before you even walk in, as tiny dough pockets ready to be made into xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) are kneaded at speed…

  • Nobu

    The West End

    Book well in advance to chew and view at one of London's greatest celebrity magnets. The food is Japanese-Peruvian (with a heavy emphasis on the former)…

  • Miyama

    London

    There's a sense of a well-kept secret about this authentic Japanese restaurant, tucked away in a basement of a nondescript building (enter from…

  • Roka

    The West End

    This stunner of a Japanese restaurant mixes casual dining on wooden benches with robatayaki (charcoal-grilled) titbits from the central range, augmented…

  • Simpsons Tavern

    London

    'Old school' doesn't even come close to describing Simpsons, a City institution since 1757. Huge portions of traditional British grub are served to diners…

  • The exterior of Honest Burgers in Brixton

    Honest Burgers

    Brixton, Peckham & South London

    You can carry on east to Brixton for the original branch, or stop off on this side-street outpost for terrific burgers, the best of a few burger bars in…

  • Outside Polpo, a rustic Italian restaurant on Cowcross Street

    Polpo

    Clerkenwell, Shoreditch & Spitalfields

    London's take on a Venetian bacàri (small bar), Polpo dishes out sharing plates of pasta, meat and pizzette (petite pizzas), with excellent options for…

  • Entrance to Scarlett Green.

    Scarlett Green

    The West End

    A fabulous spot for breakfast, brunch or lunch, Scarlett Green, inspired by the café culture of Australia, is a surprisingly spacious venue yet the small…

  • The exterior of Damien Hirst's Newport Street Gallery, in which the restaurant Pharmacy 2 is located

    Pharmacy 2

    Brixton, Peckham & South London

    Located within Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery, this restaurant is most notable for its amazing pill-inspired decor. The original Pharmacy in…

  • Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey

    Maltby Street Market

    Brixton, Peckham & South London

    Alongside and under railway arches leading from London Bridge, Maltby Street Market is a perfect pit stop to fuel up for a big day on the Bermondsey Beer…

  • The facade of Santa Maria del Sur, Argentine restaurant.

    Santa Maria del Sur

    Brixton, Peckham & South London

    Catering to carnivores with succulent grilled meats and sausages (and some token veggie dishes), this Argentine restaurant is ever popular. Go for one of…

  • The Table Cafe outside seating

    The Table Café

    South Bank

    This smart, independent café/restaurant/bar (depending what time you visit) has become something of an institution on the Southwark dining scene. The…

  • Diners in Sarastro Turkish restaurant.

    Sarastro

    The West End

    Sarastro is a flamboyant restaurant, with a foliage-covered exterior and Arabian Nights-inspired interior. The Turkish-Mediterranean fare is one draw,…

  • Exterior of Sophie's Steakhouse & Bar

    Sophie’s Steakhouse & Bar

    Kensington & Hyde Park

    A paradise for carnivores, Sophie's restaurant (there’s also a branch in Soho) serves up some seriously gourmet meat dishes. You can’t go wrong with the…

  • The exterior of Opera Tavern

    Opera Tavern

    The West End

    Classy but accessible, the Opera Tavern is one of London’s best tapas restaurants (no easy feat), and enjoys an unrivalled location just around the corner…

  • The outside of Trinity in Clapham

    Trinity

    Brixton, Peckham & South London

    Named after the nearby church, this sleek Clapham restaurant boasts a Michelin star. You can't go wrong with any selection from its outstanding menu, and…

  • The outside of Look Mum No Hands!

    Look Mum No Hands!

    Clerkenwell, Shoreditch & Spitalfields

    Cyclists and noncyclists alike adore this cafe-workshop, set in a light-filled space looking out onto Old St. Toasties and burgers are the savoury staples…

  • Fat Bear

    London

    Hidden above the Rising Sun pub, the Fat Bear is a temple to soul food from the southern US. The huge burgers are some of the best in town, but regional…

  • The exterior of Oi Vita

    Oi Vita

    North London

    This lovely little pizzeria is run by two Italian guys – Nicola chefs and Matteo serves – who import most ingredients from their homeland. The pizzas are…

  • The Fable

    London

    This restaurant and bar is about as quirky as they come, with everything themed on fairy-tales, including the on-site wine shop, florist and library. Food…

  • The exterior of Mamalan in Brixton Village

    Mamalan

    Brixton, Peckham & South London

    Started as a home-based supper club and named after the founder's mother, Mamalan is the place to go for authentic, handmade Beijing street food dished up…

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