Anywhere with Borough Market at its centre is going to have a stellar food scene. Local restaurants use the market’s fresh produce to cook up food spanning a wide range of cuisines, from Middle Eastern to Spanish and Italian. Whether you’re looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat amid a day of exploring London landmarks, a central post-work dinner, or simply fancy exploring the neighbourhood’s bountiful food scene, there’s something for all tastes and budgets. From tucked away Bermondsey Street eateries to fine dining at The Shard, here are the best places to eat in and near London Bridge.
Best Restaurants in London Bridge
Love the fiery Thai food at Spitalfields hotspot som saa? Exciting news: its founders, Mark Dobbie and Andy Oliver, are back with a new venture. Now open in Borough Market is Kolae, named after the cooking style from Southern Thailand, which sees meat, fish and veggies cooked in a curry-like coconut marinade and grilled over open flames. The menu includes kolae mussel skewers, for instance, alongside chicken bamboo, which you can pair with turmeric-spiced fried prawn heads, mango salad with dried shrimp, and pandan sticky rice. Housed in an old coach house and spread across three floors, the eatery will have a welcoming, homely feel, with a characterful private dining room and an outdoor courtyard.
6 Park Street, London, SE1 9AB, kolae.com
One of the buzziest openings of this year has been the debut restaurant from Sri Lankan chef Cynthia Shanmugalingam, Ramubtan. Located in a vibrant yellow building on Stoney Street beside Borough Market, the eatery focuses on dishes from the island’s northern region, with an open kitchen and homely, chic interiors. Begin with small plates of buttermilk fried chicken with pol sambol paan, fried aubergine moju and turmeric potatoes, ahead of hearty Tamil-inspired mains. The rotis have garnered cult status, designed to mop up curries aplenty (current offerings include Cornish mussel, and red northern prawn). Though dishes have a decent level of zing, don’t be afraid of the spices: the focus is on creating unique and interesting flavours rather than setting your tastebuds on fire.
10 Stoney St, London SE1 9AD, rambutanlondon.com
Split across two floors overlooking the riverside is charming Italian restaurant Tavolino, opened in 2020. Grab a table on the outdoor terrace to enjoy panoramic views of the Gherkin, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, paired with Sicilian-inspired dishes. The restaurant is spearheaded by Louis Korovilas, former head chef of pasta bar Bancone, and pasta takes centre stage here, alongside antipasti and pizzas. To drink, sip wines from Italy’s lesser known vineyards alongside plenty of cocktails.
2 More London Pl, London SE1 2RR, tavolino.co.uk
Vibrant Israeli cuisine sits at the heart of Bala Baya, a buzzy eatery found beneath the Union Street railway arches in Southwark. It’s the first solo project from chef Eran Tibi, with a menu focused on family-style small plates dining. Everything is packed with flavour, with ingredients like harissa, tahini, sumac and oregano featuring heavily. There’s blackened aubergine with pomegranate, lamb dumplings with shawarma spice, sea bream ceviche and a fried cauliflower steak which gives ribeye a run for its money – alongside lashings of hummus and pita to mop it up. For dessert, the hazelnut and dark chocolate babka is a must. On the drinks side, meanwhile, the ‘Gazoz’ infusions are the star of the show. These old school Israeli sodas come in a range of fruity, herbal flavours and can be mixed with prosecco, vodka, gin or arak. The restaurant’s surroundings are equally lively, with minimalist décor combined with pops of colour, plus a mezzanine well suited to groups.
Arch 25, Old union yard arches, 229 Union St, London SE1 0LR, balabaya.co.uk
Laid-back Boro Bistro is a go-to for a chic – but unpretentious – dinner. Billed as a French bistro, it leans into a strong tapas vibe, where you can keep the small plates rolling and graze on beautifully presented charcuterie boards. Visually, think of the interior as a hotch-potch medley of artsy boho furnishings, but in the best way. It’s best enjoyed when the weather picks up and you can sit outside and sip on a cool Aperol Spritz.
6-10 Borough High St, London SE1 9QQ, borobistro.co.uk
Perhaps the most famous London Bridge restaurant is the legendary Padella, known for its standout homemade pasta dishes, tiny prices and gigantic queues. The menu features a handful of simple antipasti and ten pasta dishes, with everything from the simple-but-perfect tagliarini with slow-cooked tomato sauce to a more experimental chicken liver, sage and marsala pappardelle dish. The ingredients, flavours and flair are undoubtedly Italian, but with a smattering of the best of British (it is around the corner from Borough Market, after all) – Cobble Lane Cured ‘nduja and salami are made in London, and ravioli are stuffed with Neal’s Yard ricotta. But the big question is this: is it really worth the three-hour wait? The answer is a resounding yes. Since opening, Padella has never been queue-less, and the wait only adds to the excitement and anticipation of it all. It’s become a ritual, even. Arrive early, leave your phone number and go exploring for a couple of hours – it’s the perfect excuse for a leisurely stroll around the area (local pub crawl, anyone?) before sitting down to a well-deserved plate or three of steaming hot, delicious pasta. Perfetto!
6 Southwark St, London SE1 1TQ, padella.co
Tom Sellers tells his life story through a unique selection of tasting menus at this renowned Tooley Street spot. He opened Restaurant Story aged just 26 back in 2013 following stints at Noma and Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York. In 2018 the restaurant started a new chapter after a refurbishment, taking on a more grown-up feel while upholding the playful element Sellers is known for. There’s no menu as such: diners are asked for likes and dislikes before a tailored selection of dishes arrive theatrically at the table. Some classics feature time and time again though: the ‘Storeos’, for instance, a savoury spin on an Oreo cookie filled with cheese instead of cream; and the beef dripping candle, a candle made from beef fat melting into a dipping sauce for sourdough – Instagram gold.
199 Tooley St, London SE1 2JX, restaurantstory.co.uk
Hutong at The Shard
Undoubtedly one of the most special spots to dine in the city is Hutong on the 33rd floor of The Shard. With dark red, moody interiors, sparkling lanterns and a traditional Chinese wishing tree where guests hang their wishes on branches, Hutong oozes the romance of fairy tales and is an absolute delight. This is our top pick for a splash-out supper, with its vast selection of fine Northern Chinese cuisine and creative cocktails set against the backdrop of the sprawling London skyline which twinkles at night. Allow longstanding waiters to guide you through the menu, but don’t miss the pink champagne prawn dumplings and Peking duck which is carefully sliced instead of shredded. Book far in advance to secure the best tables in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows and soak it all in – you’ll struggle to go back down to earth.
33 St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY, hutong.co.uk
This restaurant overlooking Borough Market is named after what it does best: a good old-fashioned roast with top-notch ingredients. This is the place to go if you don’t want to wait until Sunday – they have different roast meat and fish specials every day to keep things interesting. The Market Menu menu is a steal, offering three courses for £39 per person including salt beef croquettes, breaded chicken with anchovy brown butter, and pan fried sea bream fillet.
The Floral Hall, Stoney St, London SE1 1TL, roast-restaurant.com
One of London’s most authentically Neapolitan restaurants, ‘O Ver has converted many a discerning diner to its unique pizza making method – using pure sea water from the Med to make the base lighter and more easily digestible. Go for the classic Regina (Neapolitan buffalo mozzarella and cherry toms) to appreciate the method in all its glory, or load it up with fragrant Tuscan sausage, Roman artichokes and wild broccoli from Vesuvius. All ingredients are impeccably sourced from small Italian producers, and you can really taste the difference. Plus, no more post-pizza puffiness means extra room for all the glorious trimmings: a burrata stuffed with truffle that verges on life-changing, handmade pappardelle with a family recipe of porcini, sausage and shallots, and an exceptional cassata dessert that’s not to be missed.
44-46 Southwark St, London SE1 1UN, overuk.com
Café Murano is the fun younger sibling of Angela Harnett’s Michelin-starred Italian restaurant Murano: more relaxed, less pricey, and equally delicious. Adam Jay (who previously headed up the St James’ site) oversees the kitchen, which serves some of Angela’s signature dishes (Chicken Milanese, Osso Bucco Risotto) alongside a selection of newbies. The menu follows the classic Italian format of sampling starters, pasta, mains and dessert, so you can – and should – go all out.
184 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3TQ, cafemurano.co.uk