Food Guides

The Best Restaurants Open On Mondays

We’ve been there. You’ve made grand plans for a nice dinner out on a Monday night. You give yourself a pat on the back for being smarter than all those schmucks who go out for dinner at the weekend – by picking quiet Monday you’re a shoo-in for a table. Then it dawns on you: everything’s shut on a Monday. The staff need a break, the slower days are a drain on resources, the kitchen has to restock post-weekend. It makes sense, especially for smaller joints. But for those moments when you absolutely MUST eat at a restaurant on a Monday, we’ve got some recommendations.

Longstanding London institutions are always a solid bet, both in terms of menu and opening hours. Ciao Bella on Lamb’s Conduit Street, which is nearing its 40th birthday, is open at the same times every day, serving their familiar, reliable and delicious Italian classics. Same goes for St. JOHN, now almost 30 years old, whose flagship on St John Street is open for Michelin-starred business any day of the week.

Or, if you’re looking to venture out further than European cuisine this Monday, you can’t go wrong with Master Wei (owned by chef Wei Guirong of Xi’an Impression fame), Dai Chi for some Osakan street food or Daebak for the Korean fried chicken. Essentially, in London, you’re never too far from an excellent restaurant, even if it is a Monday.

MANGAL II

One of the best things to happen in 2020 was the refurbishment of Mangal II, swiftly turning it into our new favourite Turkish restaurant in Dalston, and one of our favourite spots in the whole city. Original founder Ali Dirik’s sons, Ferhat and Sertac, are now running Mangal II and they’ve bought the place bang up to date with a more concise menu, daily specials, and more variety – and there’s even natural wines too. We especially love the doner kebab, which they make from scratch in-house, the spicy ezme salad, the whole grilled fish, the aubergine, the mushroom manti dumplings, and THOSE sumac grilled onions. Basically we love it all, and brothers Ferhat and Sertac are some of the nicest, hardest working guys in the biz. If you want the best Turkish food in London, then look no further than Mangal II.

COLONY GRILL ROOM

The Colony Grill Room is the main restaurant of Oxford Street refuge The Beaumont Hotel. It has an upmarket, vintage atmosphere and the dining room at the back has a slight feel of stepping back in time (in a good way) with dark wood panels, red leather booths and Art Deco stylings. When it comes to the food think of hearty American classics like burgers and juicy steaks straight off the grill. There are also more luxurious options too like sweet and creamy lobster bisque or steak tartare, which is made tableside. Don’t skip the drinks here either as it’s a great place to come for cocktails with its low lighting dark and moody vibe.

SMOKING GOAT

64 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JJ

After setting up shop in Soho, Shoreditch is now the place to come for smokey, BBQ Thai food inspired by the grub you’d get in late-night canteens in Bangkok. We love their freshly made rotis, goat krapow, turmeric crab curry and lardo fried rice. It’s all a world away from cheap pad thai and prawn crackers and has been part of a wave of restaurants that woke London up to proper Thai food.

THE DEVONSHIRE

17 Denman St, London W1D 7HW

The Devonshire was opened by publican Oisín Rogers, the recognisable face and name behind Mayfair’s Guinea Grill until his departure in 2022, and Flat Iron founder Charlie Carroll at the end of 2023 and became an instant hit. It’s based out of a historic inn on Denman Street that dates back to 1793, with a top-quality pub downstairs and a restaurant upstairs (headed up by Ashley Palmer-Watts of The Fat Duck and Dinner by Heston). The food’s all about the restaurant’s wood-ember grill – the menu includes beef chops and ribeyes, Iberico pork ribs, lamb hotpot, creel-caught langoustines, hand-dived scallops and prime day boat fish on offer – but there’s also a selection of bar food, like scotch eggs, bacon sarnies, sausage rolls and cheese & ham hock toasties. It’s also arguably got the best pints of Guinness in town, so it’s worth fighting for that spot at the bar.

BAO SOHO

53 Great Marlborough St, Soho, London W1F 7JT

BAO has been one of the biggest success stories of recent years, going from street food to permanent sites with ease and commanding regular huge queues around the block. The original Soho site is still one of the area’s highlights and a great place to pop in for a quick snack of steamed buns, or make up a full lunch or dinner by adding some larger plates too. The pillow-soft bao buns stuffed with the likes of pork belly and fried chicken are just as good as ever, and the signature pig blood cake with the bright yellow egg yolk is another must-order. BAO already feels like a Soho classic.

SEABIRD

40 Blackfriars Rd, South Bank, London SE1 8PB

Seabird, the 14th floor rooftop restaurant and bar at The Hoxton Southwark has an incredible outdoor terrace with epic London views plus a beautiful indoor dining room and bar – it’s a pretty special spot. The restaurant boasts London’s largest oyster menu alongside a menu of dishes with Spanish and Portuguese influences. As well as a super selection of shellfish, the octopus roll with aioli, croquetas and the whole lobster rice also must-orders.

EL PASTOR

7A Stoney St, London SE1 9AA

El Pastor is the mini-Mexican group from the Hart Brothers (the pair behind Barrafina and Quo Vadis), who are not only top restaurateurs but Sam Hart actually lived in Mexico City for many years, operating a cult nightclub El Colmillo, so he certainly knows a thing or two about tacos. The original El Pastor is under the railway tracks in Borough Market, a long thin room with high tables and a bar at the front, and a small dining room and kitchen at the back. Whilst you should start with some guac with chicharron and the tuna tostadas, tacos are the main focus on the menu and you don’t want to miss the namesake al pastor, the baja and the epic sharing short rib served on the bone and with a bowl of fresh tacos to roll up your own. Can’t get into the Borough restaurant? Fear not, there are El Pastor locations in Soho and Battersea, and a Casa Pastor in King’s Cross.

KOYA CITY

Koya City, Bloomberg Arcade, London

At its heart Koya is all about the udon noodles. You can choose from hot noodles in hot soup; cold noodles to dip into hot soup; and cold noodles with cold sauce to dip or to pour. Hot noodles and hot broth is the most popular and has the greatest number of options, and keep an eye out for the day’s specials when ordering – we’ve have spectacular bowls from there, like kedgeree-inspired number that had a thick curry soup, flakes of smoked haddock, and an egg. Koya’s menu of small plates are no after thought either. The tonkatsu (available at dinner only) here is exceptional, easily the best we’ve found in London and even rivalled many we’ve had in Japan. Other highlights were the crispy prawn heads (a regular special from Soho that have found a permanent home here) and the marinated mushrooms.

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BRAT

4 Redchurch St, Hackney, London E1 6JL

It’s all about wood fire cooking at Tomos Parry’s Michelin-starred Brat. Named after the slang word for turbot, the restaurant serves whole pieces of fish and meat with other dishes, like young leeks with cheese, oysters roasted with seaweed and chilled tomato soup, representing a mix of Welsh (where he’s from) and Basque (where he’s travelled) influences. The dishes are simple, often just one or two ingredients per plate, but that just highlights how good the chefs are over that grill – the signature turbot really is something special. With the kitchen and grill, bar and tables all in one wood-panelled room (Brat is on the floor above Smoking Goat) the atmosphere is always great too.

MANTECA

49-51 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3PT

Manteca in Shoreditch is the third iteration of a restaurant that started at 10 Heddon Street before moving to Soho, and now finally settling here in on Curtain Road. Of all these, the new place is the one that really feels like their home. If you’ve been to Manteca before and loved it then you will definitely be a fan of the Shoreditch restaurant. All the elements are there – the in-house charcuterie, the nose-to-tail menu, and the fresh pasta – and now it’s all wrapped up in a beautiful new space and a bold menu that combines some of their classic dishes with several new ones. Don’t miss the incredible mortadella, made fresh in house; the crisp, rich pig head fritti; the clam flatbread; the n’duja mussels; and the tonnarelli with a brown crab cacio e pepe sauce.

NOBLE ROT

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, WC1N 3NB

Mark Andrew and Dan Keeling are the boys behind Noble Rot magazine (think Lucky Peach but all about the wonderful world of wine) and a wine bar and restaurant of the same name, with Stephen Harris of Michelin-starred The Sportsman in Kent in charge of the food. The site on Lamb’s Conduit Street was actually already a wine bar and the building itself dates back to 1700, so there is plenty of cosy charm to the place and it feels as if they’ve been doing their thing here for years already. In the front are tables for drinking and snacks and at the back there is a slightly more formal sit down restaurant. Wine is of course as big a focus as the food and these guys know their stuff so you’re in safe hands. The food menu is the perfect match; big flavoursome dishes but nothing overly complicated or fussy, like pork & walnut terrine, smoked eel with rhubarb & soda bread, braised monkfish with crab bisque, and chocolate mousse cake.

ST. JOHN

Founded by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver in 1994, St. JOHN is a London restaurant institution. Pioneers of the nose-to-tail eating movement and simple but gutsy British food, the restaurant has influenced countless chefs and restaurants for over two decades and itself has expanded into a mini empire with a second restaurant, bakery and winery. The Smithfield restaurant, housed in a former smokehouse, has held a Michelin star since 2009, serves up a daily changing menu of dishes like roast bone marrow & parsley salad, devilled kidneys on toast, brill with sea purslane & capers, Eccles cake & Lancashire cheese, and fresh madeleines hot from the oven and a French wine list, including bottles from their own winery.

KOREAN DINNER PARTY

Russell Square Gardens, 69 Russell Square, London WC1B 4JA

LA’s Koreatown has come to London in the shape of Korean Dinner Party in Kingly Court. The Senor Ceviche crew are behind the spot, and it’s mashing up East-meets-West with aplomb. There’s Korean and SE Asian hip-hop and electronica on the stereo, stripped back interiors featuring Korean wall art and a food menu designed Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng of TATA Eatery (who’ve also smashed the food at Mr Ji) by that references Korea, the US, Mexico and Japan. It’s full of bangers, from bacon mochi and Korean corn dogs to al pastor and beef short rib tacos, with Yakult Royales and Burnt Rice Old Fashioneds on the cocktail list.

TANDOOR CHOP HOUSE

8 Adelaide Street, London WC2N 4HZ

Tandoor Chop House is upping the game for Indian food in the capital, combining a traditional North Indian communal eatery with a classic British chop house. The tandoor oven is the star of the show and you can expect dishes to include tandoori chicken masala, beef bolti, Amritsari lamb chops and tandoor masala pollock. Sides come in the shape of a Dexter dripping keema naan and crispy okra, and its hard to resist the sweet coal-roasted pineapple or chai brulée for dessert.

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MORITO

195 Hackney Rd, London E2 8JL

Morito is the little sister to Moro, the Exmouth Market restaurant run by Sam and Sam Clark. The original is a tiny place that’s right next door to Moro, with a second and bigger site opening on Hackney Road in 2016. Although not solely Spanish (the menu draws influence from the Eastern Med and North Africa as well as Spain), the menus feature tapas classics like tortilla & aioli, jamon iberico, padron peppers and grilled chorizo alongside dishes like arroz negro with cuttlefish, roast pork belly with quince, and Malaga raisin ice cream, plus a strong Spainish wine list with sherries and vermouths.

MOUNTAIN

Tomos Parry has been successfully marrying up the food of Spain and Wales for five years with Brat, at both the main restaurant in Shoreditch and the site at Climpson’s Arch in London Fields. And he continued that idea with his latest venture, Mountain, which opened on the former Byron site on Beak Street in 2023. Though the ethos here is very similar, Mountain is no carbon copy of Brat, so don’t go expecting those famous whole turbots. Instead the menu reflects a mix of his Welsh heritage and fave Spanish influences using produce from trusted suppliers in Wales and Cornwall, with dishes like raw sobrassada with honey, spider crab omelette, fresh cheese & anchovies, lobster caldereta, mutton chops, Jersey beef rib, wood-fired rice and ensaimada with hazelnut ice cream.

KILN

58 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 9TL

It was named the UK’s best restaurant at the 2018 National Restaurant Awards and we can confirm that Kiln defo lives up to the hype. The food is inspired by the Thai borderlands, including Burmese and Yunanese spices and flavours, and there’s lots of cooking over an open fire. The jungle curry of brill is a winner (and spicy too) and the clay pot-baked glass noodles are an absolute must-order too.

BURGER & BEYOND

147 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JE

These burger truck vendors-turned-restaurateurs sure know a thing or two about a filthy burger. The signature Bacon Butter Burger features a dry-aged beef patty slathered in burnt butter mayo and topped with crispy pancetta, and the Bougie Burger with steak sauce, marrownaise and beef fat onions is a juicy, messy delight. Don’t miss the boozy shakes and badass sides too, including cheeseburger wontons and dirty tater tots smothered in hot sauce and crispy bacon pieces.

LISBOETA

30 Charlotte St., London W1T 2NG

Nuno Mendes is back in London and he’s brought a bit of Lisbon with him for his new restaurant Lisboeta in Fitzrovia. Taking over three floors of a townhouse on Charlotte Street, the restaurant is a love letter to Nuno’s home city and gives Londoners the chance to eat, drink and live life like a Lisboeta. The ground floor features a long bar made from repurposed tram wood and limestone from Lisbon, and is a place where you can dip into petiscos (aka little plates) and a glass of Portuguese wine. Upstairs in the main dining room, lunch and dinner is served ‘tasca’ style, with a menu including Goan spiced pork pies, Carabineiro prawns with garlic & piri-piri, chourico & beef tartare, slow-cooked lamb shoulder in a red wine stew, and egg yolk & pork fat custard with port wine caramel.

THEO'S

2 Grove Ln, Camberwell, London SE5 8SY

This south London sourdough star began life in Camberwell and became so popular, the team soon added a second site just down the road in Elephant and Castle. Neapolitan is the house style here, beginning with the classic marinara and margherita, and moving on to some more adventurous creations such as mushroom, leek, and gorgonzola as well as our favourite, the Camberwell scotch bonnet nduja which is HOT. Add Italian wines and cocktails and a relaxed, friendly south London vibe and you’ve got yourself a winning pizza joint.

MASTER WEI

Master Wei was born out of the success of owner Wei Guirong’s first restaurant, Xi’an Impression in Highbury, one of London’s favourite Chinese restaurants. Luckily for Master Wei, and despite the pressure and overbearing weight of its older sibling’s hype, it’s another hit. The vibe is laid-back, the interior is pared-down and the menu is a trove of some of those faves you’ll remember from Xi’an Impression (hand-pulled beef biang biang and Xi’an liang pi noodles) alongside new plates (the potato sliver salad and the spicy cumin beef burger). If Xi’an Impression made you fall in love with the region’s food, don’t miss out on Master Wei.

DAEBAK

Daebak is Vauxhall’s local Korean restaurant, with a neighbourhood vibe and expansive menu. Choose between Korean classics such as bibimbap, several types of Korean fried chicken, kimchi fried rice and glass noodles, or opt for one of Daebak’s meal sets or blackboard specials. This is a solid choice if you’re after well-made and traditional Korean food at reasonable prices.

DAI CHI

Dai Chi specialises in kushikatsu, a form of Japanese street food that involves skewering various meats and vegetables, covering them in panko breadcrumbs and sticking them in the deep-fryer. It’s more of a fine-dining restaurant than it sounds, with some of the skewered combos include venison & shiitake ponzu; courgette flower, miso mascarpone & nori; seabass, shiso & sesame; and scamorza & moromi miso. And you can pair your kushikatsu with one of the creative cocktails or some sake or wine from the international list crafted by their sommelier. This is one to hit up for a real taste of Osaka in Soho.

OMBRA

An Italian restaurant in Hackney, Ombra has been around for a while but has gone up significantly in the estimations of London foodies in recent years. Although its roots were originally set in Venetian cuisine (it takes its name ‘ombra’ from the Venetian slang for a small glass of wine), Head Chef Mitshel Ibrahim has expanded Ombra’s reach and branched out into a variety of Italian regions. Expect the likes of gnocco fritto & wild boar mortadella; smoked ricotta & anchovy ravioli, tonnarelli pasta with ceps; and tiramisu but bear in mind that the seasonal menu changes regularly. The drinks list features low-intervention wines from Italy and across Europe alongside classic Italian cocktails – grab a spot on the terrace for the ultimate Italian holiday feeling.

CIAO BELLA

Ciao Bella, Lamb's Conduit Street, London

Ciao Bella is a traditional Italian restaurant in the heart of Bloomsbury, the kind of place where the walls are covered with photos of Sophia Loren, there’s someone playing the piano, the portions are big, and everyone there seems to be celebrating something. The menu of eternal classics is a safe bet – pizza, pasta, gelato; what’s not to like? And so you have the best possible experience, you’ve gotta sit on the terrace for some of the finest people-watching in London.

LEROY

Despite earning a Michelin star, the Ellory boys decided to shut up shop in London Fields and open Leroy in Shoreditch. Luckily, the gamble payed off as Leroy one its own Michelin Star in the 2019 Guide. It’s got the same front of house and kitchen team but is more of a relaxed affair, influenced by the new wave of Parisian wine bars. The space is lovely, a sort-of triangular site with lots of natural light, a bar/counter area with high stools and an open kitchen. They offer a range of snacks and sharing plates on the menu as well as a set lunch option – we’d happily pop in for a plate of charcuterie, and a glass of wine at the bar anytime.

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PARADISE

61 Rupert Street, London W1D 7PW

Opened in 2019, with a distinctive design identity, Paradise quickly established itself as a place to get standout Sri Lankan food (and somewhere that never held back on the spice), earning a Michelin Bib Gourmand to boot. Founder Dom Fernando has recently overhauled both the interiors and the menu, evolving Paradise into a more progressive Sri Lankan restaurant. The space has been refined into something more sophisticated whilst still retaining that signature brutalist aesthetic, with the bar has making way for a central counter and workstation where guests can sit and drinks can be prepared. There’s an a la carte offering running at lunchtimes with two six-course set menus on offer in the evenings –  Land + Sea and Veg + Plant. It’s a fantastic menu, with the snacks – Kimbula Banis, crispy doughy cheesy spicy sweet cubes of green chilli custard, date & lime chutney and Corra Linn and Mas Roll, a thin pastry case filled with dry-aged steak tartare, heady with curry leaf and finished with smoked charcoal oil – being highlights, along with pollock in a rich coconut and langoustine broth, and desserts of white chocolate & mango mini Magnums and ghee and cinnamon breudeur.

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