OUR TOP 20 LONDON EATS

London is full of incredible places to eat out, making it the undisputed dining capital of the world (ok we may be a bit biased but we’re standing by it). But what are the absolute best restaurants in London?

Best Restaurants in London Highlights

For us, they’re the ones that blow us away when it comes to the food, make us feel at home when it comes to the service, and have us itching to Instagram when it comes to the interiors. They’re the places we want to keep coming back to, the places that we instantly recommend to everyone, and yes, the places we dream about when we open our fridge and find half a lemon and a bottle of ketchup staring back at us.

Our top London restaurants list covers everything from fine-dining and Michelin-starred menus to street food and cheap eats. High-end Chinese food, Middle Eastern small plates, simple British fare, modern Mexican grub, authentic handmade pasta for under a tenner…. we love the lot.

We’ve got stalwarts like Yauatcha (we will never get bored of their prawn and beancurd cheung fun) and Jose Tapas Bar, the OG spot from Jose Pizzaro, who also happens to be one of the nicest chefs in the game. Local neighbourhood gems like Rochelle Canteen and Quality Chop House, have also made the cut. Then there’s a Thai BBQ joint housed in a former strip club, a museum cafe serving up food way beyond cakes and sandwiches, a new wave European wine bar, and a fifteen-course menu from one of the country’s best chefs.

So here you go. In no particular order (narrowing it down to 20 was a hard enough task, we can’t be playing favourites anymore than that), these are the best restaurants in London… for now.

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SEABIRD

40 Blackfriars Rd, South Bank, London SE1 8PB, UK

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. Joshua Boissy and Krystof Zizka (the team behind NYC’s Maison Premiere) have created London’s largest oyster menu alongside a menu of dishes with Spanish and Portuguese influences. As well as a super selection of shellfish, the tuna belly crudo with gordal olives, tomato consommé, basil, and sherry is a winner, and the octopus roll with sobrasada aioli, creamy crab croquettes and the whole John Dory topped with a zingy salsa verde are also must-orders.

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QUALITY CHOP HOUSE

88-94 Farringdon Rd, Farringdon, London EC1R 3EA, UK

Clerkenwell’s Quality Chop House turned 150 in 2019. Despite some brief closures, there’s been a restaurant on the same site since 1869; back then it was a ‘progressive working-class caterer’ and now it’s one of the most beloved restaurants in town. Will Lander and Daniel Morgenthau have been running it since 2012 (they’re also behind Portland, Clipstone and Emilia), with Shaun Searley heading up the kitchen. Aside from the amazing interiors, complete with rickety old church pews, the food here always hits the mark. It’s classic British cooking with dishes like duck liver parfait with truffle and beef fat brioche; peas and jellied eel with a herb salad; Highland beef with ramson sauce; those famous confit potatoes; and broccoli with dripping breadcrumbs. And for dessert, don’t forget THAT treacle tart. A true London classic.

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DA TERRA

££££
8 Patriot Square, London E2 9NF, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 6:30 – 8:30 PM
  • Thursday: 6:30 – 8:30 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 1:30 PM, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 1:30 PM, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

One of our favourite new openings of 2019, we were very happy to see Da Terra make it into the 2020 Michelin guide with a shiny new star and then gain a second in 2021. Da Terra offers blind tasting menus, so the only choice you have to make is if you want the short or long version – whatever you choose, it’s all absolutely knock-out brilliant, with each dish beautifully presented and perfectly cooked. There are too many highlights to mention but particular standouts were some of the early courses such as the Isle of Mull scallop, which had been very thinly sliced and served with apple and fennel sauce; the amazing ‘panzanella’ of sweet tomatoes and stracciatella cheese topped with a tomato consomme; and bone marrow and parsley with sourdough. The food at Da Terra is technical and accomplished but the restaurant never loses sight of delivering fantastic dishes that you actually want to eat. The playful touches and amazing service from Rafael, who serves many of the dishes himself, ensures that an evening here is fun as well as showcasing a very talented bunch of chefs in the kitchen.

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DARBY'S

3 Viaduct Gardens, Nine Elms, London SW11 7AY, UK

We absolutely LOVE Darby’s, Robin Gill’s new restaurant next door to the new US Embassy in Nine Elms. Although it’s a big space in a brand new shiny building (which will soon have a sky pool 35 metres up) the designers AvroKO have done an incredible job making it feel like a homey, lived-in restaurant with a large central bar area and nice booth seating around the sides.

Robin, who’s an amazing chef and all round nice guy to boot, has also smashed it out the park on the food front. The menu is classic by nature – think oysters, grilled fish, and steaks – but it’s all been executed with great care and attention. And when the classics are done well, they’re really very hard to beat. With a big selection of oysters, a couple of these and a pint of Guinness or glass of champagne makes for an excellent start: we went for the black wild water oysters cooked over embers and topped with a seaweed-spiked butter. Darby’s has its own bakery in house so a round of sourdough and cultured butter is another must, as is the lobster roll which comes slathered in roe mayo and sandwiched in a glistening brioche bun. For dessert, you need to order the truffled Baron Bigod cheese which is melted over thin slices of sourdough and served with fig and walnut and the Pump Street chocolate mousse with Guinness gelato.

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OYSTERMEN

The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen, Henrietta Street, London, UK

Having started small in Covent Garden, Oystermen is now thankfully a bit bigger thanks to them getting the next door premises and knocking the wall down. Here you can get oysters and pretty impeccable seafood in smart but relaxed unpretentious surroundings without emptying your wallet either. They’ve got more than oysters of course and the other must-order snacks and starters for us include the anchovy toast with confit garlic and lemon; the smoked mackerel; and the Portland crab thermidor. Mains were spot on too and we can definitely recommend the Newlyn hake with Cornish mussels, devilled mussel veloute and lovage oil, and the braised cuttlefish orzo with braised onions, aioli and red butterfly sorrel.

Oystermen is an absolutely fantastic little place and easily one of the best places to eat out around Covent Garden.

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KOYA CITY

Koya City, Bloomberg Arcade, London, UK

At it’s 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. We went for one of the day’s specials a spectacular kedgeree-inspired number that had a thick curry coup, flakes of smoked haddock, and an egg. Koya’s menu of small plates are no after thought either. The tonkatsu (available at dinner only) we had here was 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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CORA PEARL

Cora Pearl, Henrietta Street, London, UK

We were already big fans of Cora Pearl, the second restaurant from the team behind Kitty Fishers in Mayfair. And then we went by for the Sunday Roast and we fell even more in love with the place. Any visit to Cora Pearl has to begin with the ham and cheese toastie aka the best toastie in London. This little beauty has ham hock and pig cheek wrapped up in a cheesy bechamel sauce and sandwiched in toasted white bread. The walnut pickle that comes across as a drunk, posh Branston is the clincher. Then there’s the roasts, thinly sliced medium rare beef or tender pork belly served with crispy potatoes, broccoli, Yorkshire puds, cauliflower cheese, carrots and lashings of an excellent gravy. They’re not the cheapest roasts in London but they are worth every penny. Simply one of the best out there.

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ROCHELLE CANTEEN

Rochelle School & Club Row, Arnold Circus, London E2 7ES, United Kingdom

Rochelle Canteen, run by Margot Henderson and Melanie Arnold, has long been one of London’s favourite spots. Housed in a former school bike shed on Arnold Circus in Shoreditch, accessible only through an unmarked door that, when buzzed in, leads you through a pretty garden and to a small dining room, it’s always been a hidden spot for Londoners to enjoy. Aside from being an excellent setting to enjoy a leisurely weekend lunch, the cooking is really quite good too. Simplicity is the order of the day and although menus change daily we can highly recommend the Queenie scallops, grilled in garlic and butter; the skate wing with burnt butter and samphire; and our favourite, the incredible braised lamb with peas and mint.

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JOSE TAPAS BAR

££
104 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3UB, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 12:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 10:30 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM

This is the original spot from one of London’s best, and nicest, chefs – José Pizarro. José Tapas Bar is all about simple dishes made with great produce and you can’t go wrong with a plate of Iberico ham and a glass of sherry to kick things off. From there, we can highly recommend the pan con tomate; croquettes filled with rich squid ink and prawn; tortilla; and beautiful boquerones, practically swimming in olive oil, garlic and parsley. There’s also larger plates such as thin slivers of Iberico pork neck, cooked medium rare and served simply with a sprinkle of salt and a few red peppers, and baked vegetables in tomato sauce, topped with a fried egg and goat’s cheese. And a cheeky side of patatas bravas never goes amiss too.

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10 GREEK STREET

10 Greek Street, London W1D 4DH, UK

Given the rate at which restaurants open and close in this city, anywhere that survives more than a couple of years can easily become a classic. It opened in 2012 (so not brand new but certainly not old) yet that’s exactly what it feels like at 10 Greek Street. It also massively helps that there’s some fantastic cooking and an effortlessly convivial atmosphere happening inside. The staff have nailed the art of relaxed service and diners are more than happy to talk across tables – it’s a small restaurant but you don’t actually mind being sat close together. The concept here is simple in that there is no concept; just a daily changing menu, broadly European in style, built around what produce is best and chalked up on the blackboard. The wine list at 10 Greek Street is as well curated as the food menu. It’s short but varied and lacking crazy mark-ups – you can get glasses under a fiver, which feels like a steal. Great food, great wine, zero pretension, all delivered without blowing a hole in your wallet.

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MANGAL II

££
4 Stoke Newington Rd, London N16 8BH, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 1:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 1:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 1:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 2:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

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.

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TANDOOR CHOP HOUSE

8 Adelaide Street, London WC2N 4HZ, UK

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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THE GARDEN CAFE

Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB, United Kingdom

Lambeth isn’t somewhere we’d usually think of when recommending restaurants but The Garden Cafe has changed all of that. The restaurant serves a small menu of beautifully presented, simple dishes that taste every bit as good as they look. We were wowed by cured sea trout, venison wellington and a buttermilk pudding topped with fresh rhubarb and honey. The menu changes daily and the bad news is at time of writing the restaurant is only open for lunch and on Friday evenings – although we’re hoping that might change!

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YAUATCHA

Broadwick Street, London W1F 0DL, United Kingdom

When it comes to the finest dim sum in town, Yauatcha is pretty hard to beat in our book. It now has two locations, the original in Soho and the newer one in Broadgate Circle, and we never tire of going in for some prawn and bean curd cheung fun, xiao long bao, or char sui buns. Admittedly it’s not the cheapest but you can have the Taste of Yauatcha menu, surely one of the most insanely good value eating experiences you can have in London. Aside from dim sum, Yauatcha makes some pretty mean cakes and macaroons too.

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THE BARBARY

16 Neal's Yard, London, UK

The Barbary is situated in the iconic Neal’s Yard and offers food inspired by countries that span the Barbary coast, from Israel to Morocco. Its dishes are made for sharing and kicking off with the freshly baked super light naan and dips is always a good start. Don’t miss the Moroccan cigars which are deep fried pastry rolls filled with a spicy cod mix, and then there’s the cauliflower Jaffa style which is incredible. It’s a bloody great dining option in Covent Garden, but with only 24 seats and food this good, expect queues.

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MANTECA

49-51 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3PT, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM

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.

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MR JI

72 Old Compton St, London W1D 4UN, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:30 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:30 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:30 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:30 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 8:00 PM

Although Mr Ji has been around in one form or another since 2017 – first as a pop up at Hook in Camden before moving in to a permanent place in Soho in 2019 – it’s now got Meng and Ana from TATA Eatery behind the chicken-centric menu, inspired by Taiwanese night markets. The gizzards with a sour cream dip and a packet of Doritos for dipping and the amazing prawn “in” toast, a brioche bun filled with bechamel, sweetcorn & prawns are must-orders, and you have to go for “The O’Ji”, a deep fried chicken breast with mustard pickle mayo, and the phenomenal Sichuan Burger, a deep-fried chicken thigh and cucumber salad in a pineapple bap too. And don’t forget the crinkle fries and the citrus salad on the side.

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LISBOETA

30 Charlotte St., London W1T 2NG, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 5:30 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 11:30 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 11:30 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 11:30 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 11:30 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 5:00 PM

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.

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FALLOW

2 St James's Market, St. James's, London SW1Y 4RP, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 11:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 – 10:00 PM

Fallow was the third pop-up to go in to the revolving space of 10 Heddon Street (the others being what became Manteca, and Pacific) and due to COVID, it had a slightly longer tenure than was expected. Now it’s moved to its very own permanent home just across the way at St James’s Market and things have been taken up another notch with a very sexy looking 65-cover dining room with a bar, wraparound terrace, and seven-seater chef’s counter overlooking the open kitchen. Style-wise, chefs Will Murray and Jack Croft are continuing the same sustainable approach that won them so many plaudits at the residency. At first glance the menu appears a bit overwhelming – there are snacks, breads, raw bar, small plates, large plates, grill, steaks and sides sections – but it’s full of gems, like caramelised cauliflower croquetas, fallow deer tartare with homemade crisps, mushroom parfait (made using mushrooms grown in the restaurant’s basement) confit cabbage, dairy cow fillet steak, and crispy boulangere potatoes. Chef Anna Williams who was previously Head Pastry Chef at Dinner by Heston, has joined the team and she’s certainly made her mark with the desserts so make sure to save room.

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BIBI

42 N Audley St, London W1K 6ZP, UK
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:00 – 3:00 PM, 5:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 – 3:30 PM, 5:00 – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Indian restaurant BiBi is part of the JKS group and ran by chef Chet Sharma, who’s earned his stripes working at some of the country’s best Michelin-starred restaurants including Moor Hall and L’Enclume. Oh, and Chet also has a PHD in physics from Oxford University – which is really not something you can often say about a chef. Chet has a very strong debut in the can with BiBi, full of crowd pleasing hits, familiar notes and more adventurous moments. The Indian menu is split in to five sections – snacks, chaat, sigree, sides and desserts – and you’ll want to ensure a spread of six to eight dishes across these. The must orders in our book include the Wookey Hole (that’s the cheese fyi) cheese papad, giant cheesy crisps with a creamy dip and mango and green chutneys; the raw belted Galloway beef pepper fry, an Indian riff on a beef tartare, spiked with spices and fermented Tellicherry peppercorns; the chukh masala tikka; and the Swaledale lamb belly gallouti, glistening with rich fat and crispy skin. All in all, BiBi is a great restaurant, with truly exciting and inventive dishes on offer, and a fresh, contemporary take on Indian cuisine.

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