The 20 Best Restaurants in London
  • HOME

The 20 Best Restaurants in London

Must-try food spots across the capital: the C&TH pick

London has one of the best food scenes in the world. You’ll never be short of somewhere exciting to dine in the capital – from long-standing stalwarts to buzzy newbies; central to suburban. Every cuisine is catered for, whether you’re craving a pizza, sushi, tacos or a good old roast. London is making waves on the environmental scene too, with a number of restaurants leading the charge towards greener dining. We’ve pulled together our top 20 London restaurants – which is by no means an exhaustive list, but a handful of favourites from the C&TH team. Some are Michelin-starred, others are cheap and cheerful, but all score high on food quality, atmosphere and style.

Best Cocktail Bars in London / Best New Restaurants in London

The 20 Best Restaurants in London

Below you’ll find our pick of the top London restaurants. However, if you’re craving a specific type of cuisine, we have guides to those too:

Photo 1 of
Trinity

Trinity

Holding the award for Clapham’s only Michelin star is Trinity in the Old Town, headed up by Adam Byatt. When the restaurant opened back in 2006, the mission was to serve great food that was ‘seasonal, inspirational and, above all delicious’ – and that hasn’t changed, despite its ever-growing acclaim. At its core, Trinity is a neighbourhood restaurant; clearly high-end, but never stuffy or pretentious. Set menus are the name of the game, with dishes changing seasonally – though the Classics menu is a six-course extravaganza of some of their signatures, such as crispy pig’s trotters, shellfish ravioli and turbot cooked on the bone. Upstairs you’ll find a more casual dining room (aptly called Upstairs) which is well-suited to private dinners or events, offering sharing-style plates like bouillabaisse with rouille, devilled Mylor prawns and roasted cauliflower with date ketchup. Wherever you’re sitting, excellent food is a given.

4 The Polygon, London SW4 0JG

trinityrestaurant.co.uk

NOPI

NOPI

With its whitewashed walls, marble floors and brass fittings, Nopi is worth a visit for the interiors alone. But it’s Ottolenghi, so you know the food will be top quality too – and equally artistic. The menu is based on a mixture of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines, so expect healthy, tasty food made with lots of interesting spices. It’s all about sharing-style small plates, with a mix of vegetarian, meat and fish dishes – think roasted aubergine with sesame yoghurt, blackened chicken with ginger and soy caramel, spiced cauliflower fritters and much more – all packing plenty of flavour into small portions. There’s an equally exciting cocktail list, with highlights including a sumac-infused martini and an Ottolenghi twist on the negroni, featuring pink peppercorn, cinnamon and citrus peel. Be sure to check out the Instagram-famous bathrooms too – a dazzling hall of mirrors set at different angles to create the effect of reflecting to infinity.

21-22 Warwick St, London W1B 5NE

ottolenghi.co.uk

Padella London Bridge

Padella

Known for its standout homemade pasta dishes, tiny prices and gigantic queues, Padella is a firm favourite on the London restaurant scene. 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

padella.co

Food at Silo restaurant

Silo

Douglas McMaster’s Silo – which launched in London following the success of the original Brighton branch – is a pioneer in eco-friendly dining. From trading directly with farmers to composting leftover scraps in the kitchen’s own compost machine, its continuing aim is to ‘close the loop’ in the food production process. The eatery serves up a daily dinner menu of 10 to 15 dishes, such as smoked violet carrots with egg yolks; and Jerusalem artichokes cooked on fire with stilton sauce and pickles. On weekends it’s open for brunch too, serving everything from porridge to kimchi to on-site brewed kombucha. Housed on the upper floor of The White Building, the quirky space features interiors designed by Nina Woodcraft – known for her commitment to sustainable design – alongside material conservationist Seetal Solanki.

Unit 7, The white building, 1st Floor,c/o CRATE Bar, Queen’s Yard, London E9 5EN

silolondon.com

BiBi Mayfair restaurant interior

BiBi Mayfair

For excellent Indian food that pushes the boundaries, BiBi Mayfair is your best bet – opened just last year under the helm of chef Chet Sharma. The restaurant offers an evolving menu of contemporary Indian cuisine with recognisable flavours that would have been enjoyed by paternal and maternal grandmothers (bibis), who played a key role in the formation of his culinary identity. Fine Indian ingredients are paired with hero UK produce including Orkney scallops and paneer made with buffalo milk from the New Forest. The result: something entirely new for the Indian dining scene, a menu stacked with must-try bites and can’t-stop-thinking-about-them flavour combinations. The slim, chic restaurant has an intimate, exclusive vibe, seating just 33 guests at a time, with a design led by Sam Hosker, Design Director at JKS Restaurants, featuring tribal art depicting India in abstract shapes and engravings on the ceiling plus rich mango wood-toned furnishings. Seating is comprised of cosy booth-style tables and 13 stools at the kitchen counter; opt for a kitchen bar seat if you want to see the chefs at work and feel part of the action (although you run the risk of observing the one or two dishes you passed up being prepared and panic ordering them).

42 N Audley St, London W1K 6ZP

bibirestaurants.com

Gold restaurant in Notting Hill

Gold

If there was an award for London’s coolest restaurant, Notting Hill hotspot Gold would be a strong contender. It was an immediate hit when it opened in 2019, with Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Jourdan Dunn and Lady Amelia Windsor all visiting within weeks of its launch. No surprise: there’s a distinct buzz to Gold, a three-storeyed restaurant with its own rooftop bar, designed to reflect the bohemian spirit of the area. Arrive through a huge gold mural of a pair of eyes before heading through to The Garden Room, a lush oasis decked out with palm trees and greenery which looks onto an open kitchen. But it’s certainly not style over substance: under the leadership of ex-River Cafe chef Theo Hill, the team serve up an eclectic mix of modern European small plates alongside an equally vibrant cocktail list from Scout’s Matt Whiley and Rich Woods.

95-97 Portobello Rd, London W11 2QB

goldnottinghill.com

Scott's Mayfair

Scott’s

Back in 1851, a young fishmonger named John Scott opened an oyster warehouse in Haymarket. Over the years it evolved into a restaurant, relocating to its current site on Mayfair’s Mount Street in the ‘60s. Nowadays, Scott’s stands as one of London’s most famous seafood institutions – and one of the capital’s five oldest restaurants. It has always been a glamorous spot, though an extensive refurbishment spearheaded by Martin Brudnizki brought the venue back to life after a lull. Seasonal menus offer the finest seafood you could imagine, with perennial classics including the seared sea bass, the blackened miso salmon and the lobster thermidor. There’s a dedicated caviar menu – ranging from platinum to £875 oscietra – as well as a wide selection of oysters, calling to be washed down with a glass of fizz.

20 Mount St, London W1K 2HE

scotts-restaurant.com

Lecture Room & Library at Sketch

The Lecture Room & Library at sketch

A Narnia-style hub of restaurants, bars and art on Mayfair’s Conduit Street, sketch is a dining emporium like no other. Dreamed up by restauranteur Mourad Mazouz, it’s made up of four uniquely designed restaurants and a bar which sits beneath the famed pod-style toilets. Though the least well-known of Sketch’s offerings, The Lecture Room & Library is the most high-end, being one of the few London restaurants to hold three Michelin stars. The restaurant has a notably exclusive feel: upon entering, guests are greeted in a dark corridor and taken up a red-carpeted staircase, before being welcomed into the palatial ballroom-like dining room through a set of grand double-height doors. Inside you’ll find everything you’d expect from a Michelin-starred venue: spaciously laid out white-linen tables and innovative dishes served with artistic flourish. Yet there’s something extra special about this fine dining spot. Perhaps it’s the impeccably slick service? The theatrical element? The glittering Swarovski-encrusted black marble bathroom? The attention to detail – felt in every aspect of the restaurant – certainly plays a part. Two dining options are on offer: the tasting menus (one being vegetarian), and the à la carte menu. Go hungry, and prepare to be wowed.

9 Conduit St, London W1S 2XG

sketch.london

Bubala

Bubala

This Spitalfields gem’s generous array of plant-centric dishes will persuade any meat lover to leave their carnivorous inclinations at the door. Located just a three-minute walk from Old Spitalfields Market, the neighbourhood restaurant has an intimate and exotic feel; think peach washed walls, a sprinkling of plants, and an emerald green-tiled bar where you can also sit, eat and soak up the buzzy atmosphere. Founded by Marc Summers (formerly manager at Berber & Q) and head chef Helen Graham – both with a background in Middle Eastern food – the restaurant’s warm and inviting ambience is only surpassed by its outstanding food and drink offering. From delightfully thick and chewy Laffa bread to tender halloumi in a sweet black seed honey, the ‘Bubala Knows Best’ set dinner menu is a culinary work of art. Expect the likes of creamy labneh (a thick yoghurt-like dish) with confit garlic and za’atar, indulgent fried aubergine with zhoug and date syrup, and a refreshing plate of vesuvio tomatoes and watermelon showered with curry leaf, basil, coconut and tamarind.

65 Commercial St, London E1 6BD

bubala.co.uk

Bocca di Lupo

Bocca di Lupo

What do you get when you combine the honest and delicious food of an Italian trattoria with the fizzy, sophisticated atmosphere of the London restaurant scene? Something rather close to perfection – AKA, Soho’s Bocca di Lupo. Whether nibbling on small plates at the bar (highly recommended) or seated at the chef’s table, an evening at Bocca is always fun, just as eating out in town should be. Having won numerous accolades since opening in 2008, it remains one of the best restaurants for Italian dining in London with its ever-changing menu that brings you the best of Italy’s highly distinctive regional specialities. Take a culinary trip around the country in one sitting with Roman fried olives, mozzarella and sage leaves, before heading north for your pasta (the Ligurian spaghetti with clams, chilli, garlic and parsley are a classic) and then right down to Puglia for a mixed meat grill. With everything available as a small or a large plate, you can sample it all – perfect for the proper foodies among you. Finish it off with an espresso before heading out into the night.

12 Archer St, London W1D 7BB

boccadilupo.com

Petersham Nurseries

Petersham Nurseries Café

Nature is intrinsic to Richmond’s Petersham Nurseries, a glasshouse restaurant brimming with flowers and greenery. Founded back in 2004 by Francesco and Gael Boglione around the slow food philosophy of ‘Good, Clean and Fair’, the eatery was something of a pioneer in sustainable dining. Nearly all waste from the restaurant is recycled, while an aerobic food digester turns food waste into water. Chefs’ jackets, meanwhile, are made from recycled bottles. Much of the produce for the restaurant comes from the family farm in Devon, where organic farming is practiced. All this has led to the restaurant being awarded with a Michelin Green Star, a new award introduced to celebrate the food spots leading the way in eco-friendly food.

Church Lane, Off Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 7AB

petershamnurseries.com

No. Fifty Cheyne brunch

No. Fifty Cheyne

Old Chelsea favourite Cheyne Walk Brasserie re-opened as the stylish No Fifty Cheyne last year following a nine-month makeover – and we’re sold. Stepping inside feels like arriving at a private country house, a feeling which is reinforced by the charming staff. Despite the luxurious interiors – glass chandeliers, high ceilings, statement flowers and the like – the restaurant has an intimate, cosy feel. The big open grill in the middle of the room is a nice touch, and the aroma of the sizzling meat and fish dishes is hard to resist. Order something from there, and you won’t be disappointed. Saying that, pretty much everything on the menu is delicious. Jason Atherton protégé Iain Smith (previously Social Eating House) heads up the kitchen, which offers a menu of seasonal British dishes. The lamb rump, served with pistachio pesto and celeriac, is cooked to perfection, and don’t leave without trying the hot chocolate fondant. Afterwards, head upstairs for a nightcap at the chic cocktail bar, which looks out over the River Thames and pretty Cheyne gardens.

50 Cheyne Walk, London SW3 5LR

fiftycheyne.com

Pali Hill

Pali Hill

Named after an old neighbourhood in Bombay, Pali Hill is based on the concept of communal living, offering regional small plates, designed to be shared in an informal setting as a celebration of community. Head Chef Avinash Shashidhara cooks using home recipes and traditional techniques but sources only the freshest ingredients. If you’re worried for a moment that the restaurant might be a bit laid back and low key, the sensational food provides the theatre. Wickedly buttery, flaky flat bread and fiery kakhara crispbreads arrive with mustard and chilli pickles, followed by patties made from spring peas and spinach with tamarind chutney, the heat cooled by refreshing mint. Pondicherry fried squid, meanwhile, comes with crispy zucchini flowers, plus exquisitely firm and juicy Scottish langoustines, exploding with flavours of wild garlic, ajwain, ginger, chilli and lemon. A definite highlight is sukkah in a Mangalore bun, fluffy and light as air, hollowed out and stuffed with luscious, oozing crab and tomatoes. London is known for its variety of Indian restaurants but it’s the creative and imaginative combination of spice with freshness that really makes the food here stand out.

79-81 Mortimer St, London W1W 7SJ

palihill.co.uk

Lyle's

Lyle’s

Proving less is more is Lyle’s, an understated restaurant with much to offer. Despite its Michelin star and spot in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, there’s nothing pretentious about James Lowe’s fine dining venture: instead of tablecloths and candles you’ll find white-tiled walls, concrete flooring and simple seating. But amid these stripped-back settings you’ll be treated to some rather extraordinary food. Classic British dishes are given interesting twists, showcasing Lowe’s impressive art and technique. Dinner is a tasting menu (four courses with an optional selection of Neal’s Yard cheese to finish), with short descriptions of dishes adding an element of surprise. At lunchtime, meanwhile, you can pick your own selections from the short and sweet à la carte menu. Everything is seasonal-led, with Scandinavian influence and some obscure ingredients thrown in for good measure.

Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JJ

lyleslondon.com

dinings sw3 sushi

Dinings SW3

Helmed by the quiet genius Masaki Sugisaki, Dinings SW3 is a shining light in the constellation of London sushi restaurants. Everything in this Knightsbridge restaurant is thoughtfully and warmly done, from the elegant, low-key interior to the charming, unassuming staff to the sleek table settings – and that’s before you even get to the food. Styled as a modern interpretation of a traditional izayaka (an informal Japanese bar that serves drinks and snacks) Dinings SW3 serves up seasonal sushi and sashimi using the freshest seafood from Cornish day boats, as well as a menu of select dishes like delicious hand-dived scallops, moreish wagyu beef and potted lobster served in an unctuous buttery sauce. To wash it all down are unusual wines from around the world, as well as the usual crowd-pleasers, plus the restaurant’s signature cocktails, which are bespoke takes on classic drinks. Try the Dinings SW3 Negroni, with Roku gin, ginger, Campari, nori seaweed and blended Mancino vermouth. An evening at Dinings SW3 is always an evening well spent – but be warned, you might just be tempted to order everything on the menu.

Lennox Gardens Mews, London SW3 2JH

diningssw3.co.uk

Wild By Tart

Wild By Tart

Wild by Tart is the latest venture from Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones, the foodie duo behind boutique catering company Tart London. After a few years spent feeding the world’s fashion elite, they set their sights on transforming a former power station in Belgravia into a manifestation of their blossoming brand. This is comprised of a deli, event space, photography studio, retail store, and the most recent addition: an all-day restaurant. There’s a touch of New York to this endlessly cool spot, which is in fact where the pair first met – think industrial-inspired interiors, high ceilings and plants galore. When asked what kind of food they cook, Lucy and Jemima simply say they make what they love. Wild by Tart is a farm-to-table style restaurant, with a menu focused around seasonal and local dishes designed to be shared. Expect vibrant colours and big flavours: we particularly loved the grilled halloumi with honey, lime, chilli and coriander; the flamed lamb chops with red curry paste and peanut; and the pumpkin, gorgonzola and pickled chilli flatbread, cooked in the wood oven.

3-4 Eccleston Yards, London SW1W 9AZ

wildbytart.com

Exterior of Jikoni restaurant

Jikoni

Jikoni – which translates as ‘kitchen’ in Kiswahili – is the debut restaurant from Ravinder Bhogal, who worked as a food writer, TV presenter and chef before being talent spotted by none other than Gordon Ramsay. The Blandford Street restaurant reflects Bhogal’s mixed heritage, drawing on flavours from Britain, East Africa, the Middle East and Asia. This results in an eclectic, unique menu packed with spice, with standout dishes including prawn toast scotch eggs, venison samosas, lobster moilee and a banana cake with miso butterscotch. Comforting dishes are paired with cosy interiors: think tables covered in floral print cotton cloths, mismatched china and low lighting, creating a welcoming home from home feel.

19-21 Blandford St, London W1U 3DH

jikonilondon.com

Sessions Arts Club

Sessions Arts Club

A restaurant, wine bar and art gallery space opened last year in the restored Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell, found on the floor of an 18th century Grade II listed building. It’s a collaboration between artist Jonny Gent, St. John co-founder Jon Spiteri and architect Russell Potter, designed to bring together the worlds of art, design and food – which means beautiful interiors alongside a stellar menu courtesy of top chef Florence Knight. The kitchen serves up seasonally led dishes inspired by British, French and Italian cooking, available to enjoy from a stylish dining room or on the roof terrace, which overlooks the city.

Old Sessions House, 24 Clerkenwell Grn, London EC1R 0NA

sessionsartsclub.com

Restaurant Story

Restaurant Story

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

Perilla

Perilla

Newington Green’s top neighbourhood restaurant, Perilla offers fine dining amid a relaxed setting – and with a reasonable price tag. White tablecloths are swapped for exposed beams and recovered terrazzo flooring, with large windows looking onto the green. The space has a Scandinavian feel, though the food spans a range of cuisines. A regularly changing, carefully curated menu features just six main dishes – that could be cauliflower mushroom carbonara, grilled bavette steak or sliced celeriac with pumpkin. Dishes can be shared or kept to yourself – and whatever you order, you can guarantee it will be cooked to perfection and presented artistically. The salted caramel, chocolate and peanut tart is a must.

1-3 Green Lanes, Newington Green, London N16 9BS

perilladining.co.uk

Image from Instagram @perilladining

 

Main image: Wild by Tart