Leroy - Michelin lunch place in London

The Best Places for Lunch in London

Food & Drink /

Out for a spot of lunch?

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Whether you’re looking for a light bite, or the perfect spot for a business meeting, these restaurants have your back – these are the best places for lunch in London.

Lunch – it’s the most underrated meal of the day. Breakfast is ‘the most important meal of the day’, and dinner gets all the fanfare – any important date night or occasion is marked with a dinner, after all (you wouldn’t propose over lunch, would you?). In the wake of these attention-grabbing mealtimes, lunch gets overlooked. Poor lunch. 

However, we think there’s a defence to be made for that in-between meal time (which acts as the perfect bridge between the first and last part of our days). Wondrously light, and often all you can think about from roughly 11am, we think there’s an art to the perfect lunch. And these restaurants absolutely nail it… Here’s a guide to the best places for lunch in London.

The Best Places For Lunch in London

  • Best for… A Regenerative Lunch: The Culpeper, Whitechapel
  • Best for… Farm To Table Lunch: Rabbit, Chelsea
  • Best for… An Arty Lunch: Townsend, Whitechapel
  • Best for… A Client Lunch: Piazza Italiana, the City
  • Best for… Great Value Michelin Lunch: Leroy, Shoreditch
  • Best for… A Detox Lunch: Sexy Fish, Mayfair
  • Best for… A Boozy Lunch: Macellaio RC Battersea
  • Best for… Loosening Your Belt At Lunch: Isla, King’s Cross
  • Best for… A View at Lunch: Mei Ume, Tower Bridge
  • Best for… A No Waste Lunch: Apricity, Mayfair
  • Best for… A Pub Lunch: The Tamil Prince, Islington


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The Culpeper

Best For… A Regenerative Lunch

The Culpeper

Where: Whitechapel

Our review: During the summertime, The Culpeper’s roof garden and bar, typically named one of the best of its kind in the city and Europe, is all-doors-open and welcoming visitors to spectacular views of East London. The garden team champion rooftop growing and regenerative agriculture, and indeed the food that sprouts above diner’s heads is incorporated into its menu.

But even though it might not be the weather for a leisurely rooftop meal right now, it’s still pretty perfect inside, in the downstairs Victorian bar-restaurant. The garden feeling doesn’t go away; plants still hang above your head, sprouting in every corner, like your cool mate’s menage of house plants/urban jungle.

A stone’s throw from Spitalfields Market, you’ll notice that even on a weekday for lunch, the space is full. A central bar is well-stocked, light streams in through huge industrial windows, and the pub is chocka with suits in lunchtime meetings (but also their more fashionable East London carhartt-clad peers). They drape brollies, bags and blazers over green leather banquettes, and chat excitably about the menu, and probably also work.

It’s no wonder it’s so popular, though. The lunch menu is neat and small, demonstrably focused, and shouts about its local suppliers and regenerative growers; and it is empowering to know that every bite you take will be contributing to a better food economy. The options are mouthwatering: you could eat a bavette steak sandwich (with lyonnaise onions, chips and, of course, bearnaise sauce plus a smattering of rocket) – or pan fried gnocchi with wild garlic watercress and pistachio… And either choice is brilliant, so you’d be hard-pressed not to want to visit twice.

Hero dish: Comté cheese croquettes, which are molten but brilliantly gooey.


Rabbit on the Kings Road - Mille Feuille

Best For… Farm To Table Lunch


Where: Chelsea

Our review: Rabbit is a little haunt on King’s Road run by the Gladwin Brothers (also of the Fat Badget, Nutbourne, and the Shed) – and it’s more than worth heading here for brilliant food that doesn’t need to shout to be heard. Enter the space and feel as though you’ve been transported to a local gastropub in the countryside, thanks to its all-wood, all-leather look. Banquettes rink the space, sitting comfortably under stag skulls and stuffed birds. The staff here will be quick to expertly inform you that the menu is built around what is currently ripe to harvest, and prepared and plated within 24 hours – so you can guarantee everything here is uber-fresh. For farm-to-table food, this is the place, and its interiors certainly reinforce that fact. 

We particularly recommend the plant-led set menu, if you’ve the time on any weekday barring Monday; this offering is plant-led rather than plant-based, taking its cues from the dinner menu (avoiding waste, it uses a similar set of ingredients). Whilst it might be three-courses, this is surprisingly light and feels very healthy. You’d be remiss if you didn’t choose the marmite mushroom eclairs snacks – which, for those who love or hate alike, will be a hit. Follow with the lunch and dessert offering of the day, and plenty of wine sourced from vineyards also owned by the Gladwin brothers.

Hero dish: Marmite mushroom eclairs, which don’t actually contain any marmite. Their secret? Mushroom mayonnaise with a strong hit of umami.



Best For… An Arty Lunch


Where: Whitechapel (specifically, its gallery)

What’s the vibe: An understated and focused menu of seasonal, produce-led plates, prepped by head chef Chris Shaw, previously of the Petersham Nurseries. Plus, it’s perfectly located in the Whitechapel Gallery, so it truly hits the happy intersection between foodies and art lovers. We think it’s perfect for an inspiring and well-earned weekend lunch, following a long peruse of the exhibitions upstairs. Read our full review here

Hero dish: The fried wensleydale with pickled walnut ketchup – tangy and oh-so-moreish.


The Best Restaurants in London for Art Lovers

Interiors at Piazza Italiana

Best For… A Client Lunch

Piazza Italiana

Where: The City

What’s the vibe: A well-dressed restaurant with palatial interiors in the heart of the City and occupying the former home of the British Linen Bank. And despite the location, it’s not filled to the brim with finance types. With a solid seasonal Italian menu, Piazza Italiana is a brilliant place to talk shop – without the food sinking into the background. Read our full review here.

Hero dish: Stay for dessert and pick the firm tiramisu, which pairs perfectly with an espresso for the road.

12-3pm. piazzaitaliana.co.uk

Leroy - Michelin lunch place in London

Best For… Great Value Michelin Lunch


Where: Shoreditch

What’s the vibe: One of the best-valued Michelin starred lunches you can get your hands, knives and forks on in London. A cosy and unassuming bistrot tucked away in Shoreditch and a menu created by head chef Simon Shand, you can expect thoughtful food that excels in its simplicity. Plus, it’s oh-so-cool: enjoy a seasonal meal to the sound of classics on vinyl, while peeping in on the kitchen thanks to the restaurant’s laidback open-plan.  

Hero dish: Raviolo of chicken, sweetcorn and girolles, a classic done well. 


Sexy Fish lunch menu

Best For… A Detox Lunch

Sexy Fish

Where: Mayfair

What’s the vibe: Sexy Fish has launched its new ‘Kuikku’ lunch menu which sits at £38 a head. Think an almost endless menu of Sexy Fish’s best, but with a health kick twist. And it’s not, as the restaurant’s notoriety and name might imply, just the fish stuff. There’s a myriad of vegan options welcoming all, dietaries aside. Each lunch is accompanied by a detox shot, plus a sweet treat to finish (because it’s all about balance).

Hero dish: Green Dragon Maki, for an early Spring immunity booster.

Every Mon-Fri, 12-4.30pm. sexyfish.com

Macellaio Steak

Best For… A Boozy Lunch

Macellaio RC Battersea

Where: Battersea, obviously

What’s the vibe: It’s currently got a free corkage offer on, so is a bring-your-own vino kind of jaunt. Whether that means a quick bottle on the way to the 1pm reservation, or bringing one of your special occasion bottles from home, this restaurant is ideal for a boozy lunch with a bit of agency over what you’re drinking. Not to mention, there’s a great food offering, too – think all the Italian classics, headed up by famed chef Lello Favuzzi (previously of the Wolseley). 

Hero dish: Burrata and Ricotta Tortelli with brown butter, hazelnuts, aged balsamic and sage… Best paired with white wine, but we won’t tell anyone if you fancy a red instead.


Isla chicken

Best For… Loosening Your Belt at Lunch


Where: On the ground floor of uber-cool hotel The Standard, just over the road from King’s Cross

What’s the vibe: Guy Betteridge was recently appointed Isla’s new executive chef, and with him – as well as his wealth of experience – comes a stunning new menu. You could head to Isla for dinner – it’s moody, and cool, and the delicious cocktails pack a punch – but if you find yourself knocking around King’s Cross at lunch time, why not treat yourself to one of (or many of) Betteridge’s delicious dishes?

Uniting seasonal British produce with European and Asian techniques and flavours, the dishes are flavourful, moreish and excitingly big. Your eyes are definitely bigger than your stomach, here – but don’t let that stop you trying a little bit of everything that piques your interest.

Hero dish: The Cornish Red Chicken with Ricotta, Nduja, Sprouting Broccoli is divine and bursting with flavour – but don’t underestimate the Heritage Carrot salad. By Olivia Emily.


Image: Cornish Chicken with ‘Nduja (c) Anton Rodriguez

Mei Ume - restaurant in London for lunch

Best For… A View at Lunch

Mei Ume 

Where: Tower Bridge – at the Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square

What’s the vibe: Ultra-luxe fine-dining Chinese and Japanese fusion, with direct views of Tower Bridge. They’ve got a fabulous set lunch menu which offers up food as delicious as the views (no, seriously – you’ll not know whether the plating or the view deserves to feature on today’s BeReal). 

Hero dish: Wagyu dumplings, which positively melt in your mouth.


Best For… A No Waste Lunch


Where: Mayfair

What’s the vibe: All the vibes of a shabby chic East London pop-up, but in the heart of Duke Street, Mayfair. The menu is deliberately designed to minimise waste wherever possible, and all the more creative for it. Head chef Chantelle Nicholson frequently uses one recipe’s byproduct as a core component in another, meaning the food offering is part of a little circular economy. 

For Chantelle and her team, talks of a ‘circular economy’ are not just talk, as one recipe’s byproduct will form a core component in another. Read our full review here

Hero dish: Surprisingly early on in a meal here, the amuse bouche – a savoury chickpea donut with a heavy-umami caramelised red onion filling.


The Tamil Prince, in Islington

Best For… A Pub Lunch

The Tamil Prince

Where: Islington 

What’s the vibe: A pub lunch with a twist – think typical British pub fare crossed with the flavours of Tamil Nadu. This is a recent opening in North London that’s been met with rave reviews from food critics across the capital, and rightfully so: the small plates are perfect for sharing and a particular standout are very exciting cocktails which utilise South Asian spices. 

Hero dish: The Mango Lassi. All the dishes are inspired by Head Chef Prince Durairaj’s childhood in Southern India, and the desserts are amongst his favourites.


Featured Image: Leroy.