PARK CHINOIS

chinese
17 Berkeley St, Mayfair, London W1J 8EA, United Kingdom
Green Park

Park Chinois makes you feel like you’re dining in a James Bond film with it’s insane decor. The place is dripping in gold and their dim sum menu takes some beating with Sichuan vegetable wontons; pork Xiao Long Bao; crispy beancurd and prawn cheung fun; and a baked venison puff. All in all, it’s pretty bloody swish and perfect for a special occasion.

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BAR DOURO

portuguese
Flat Iron Square, Union Street, London SE1 1TD, United Kingdom
Borough London Bridge London Bridge

The family behind Churchill’s opened Bar Douro dedicated to Portuguese tapas, wines, and port. It’s a great place to pop in for a glass of wine and a few small bites such as crisp golden salt cod cakes; milk fed lamb rolls; soft octopus with sweet potato; and hake belly with tomato risotto. And if you swing by around lunchtime make sure you pick up the daytime-special roast pork sandwich topped with oozing Serra cheese.

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GUNPOWDER

indian
11 White’s Row, London, E1 7NF
Liverpool Street Liverpool Street Liverpool Street

Gunpowder is the place to get innovative Indian dishes cooked with authentic spices. Think Indian food for the 21st century. Highlights include the spicy venison and vermicelli doughnut; Maa’s kashmiri super tender lamb chops; and the sigree grilled mustard broccoli with a thick coating of creamy, korma-like sauce. And, if you’re in the mood for booze there’s some explosive Indian cocktails too. It’s tiny and there’s no bookings to expect so queue but boy is it worth it.

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YAUATCHA

Chinese
1 Broadgate Circle, London EC2M 2QS, United Kingdom
Liverpool Street Liverpool Street Liverpool Street

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 on this list but if you can get there between 2pm – 5:45pm Monday to Thursday you can have the Taste of Yauatcha menu for £19 per person, 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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SMOKESTAK

bbq
35 Scatler St, London, E1 6LB
Shoreditch High Street Old Street

After killing it on the street food circuit for years, David Carter’s first permanent Smokestak  is a dark, moody BBQ dream, complete with an absolutely huge custom built smoker, responsible for slow smoking all that meat (plus your clothes by the end of the night too). There’s some great snacks on the menu such as a giant slab of pork scratching dusted with chilli powder and BBQ pigs tails which won’t be to everyone’s taste but you should definitely try. A thick cut pork rib with picked cucumber is another favourite and even the veg dishes hit the spot – check out the coal roasted potato and the smoked girolles and beef dripping brioche toast. The snug basement bar is a top spot for cocktails too, perfect to help all that meat go down at the end of the night.

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ROCHELLE CANTEEN

british
Rochelle School & Club Row, Arnold Circus, London E2 7ES, United Kingdom
Shoreditch High Street Old Street

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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YUZU

sushi
7a Artillery Passage, London, E1 7LG
Liverpool Street Liverpool Street Liverpool Street

At lunchtime, Yuzu has a conveyor belt system so city workers can grab a quick lunch but at night the belt is covered up with heavy wooden boards and the menu expands to offer a full dinner experience. There’s some of the best sushi in London here, rom tuna nigiri to salmon & avo tobiko and yellowtail sashimi with ponzu jelly. Then there’s the small plates: fresh prawn gyoza; black cod with miso sauce; and pork belly with miso aubergine. Desserts are no less impressive and we love the lemongrass creme brûlée topped with raspberry coulis and the bonsai-tree shaped chocolate with pear.

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ROGANIC

tasting menu
5-7 Blandford St, London W1U 3DB, UK
Bond Street

Simon Rogan, the chef behind two Michelin-starred L’Enclume in the Lake District, is back in London with Roganic – and it’s one of the best restaurants in London at the moment. Each dish of the multi-course menu is genuinely a beautiful creation to look at, backed up by impressive technique and flavours too. The menus change reglularly of course but you might be treated to some of the highlights of our epic lunch there, including a salty bowl of seaweed custard with caviar (better than that sounds we promise!), plus a fresh asparagus spear served with a bone marrow hollandaise.  The only proper meaty dish was 21-day-aged Cumbrian pork and it was certainly worth waiting for – two slices of loin covered in translucent lardo, served with a sweet carrot puree, fresh carrot and white broccoli. A fantastic restaurant from a fantastic chef.

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LEROY

european | wine bar
18 Phipp Street, London EC2A 4NU, UK
Shoreditch High Street Old Street

The second coming of Ellory, Leroy is a fun relaxed wine bar with some beautiful food to match. There’s a range of snacks and sharing plates on the menu, as well as cheese and charcuterie so it caters for all occasions – we’d happily come back for the terrine, a plate of cheese, and a glass of wine at the bar. We’d definitely recommend coming by for a full dinner though as there’s some really fantastic dishes here, reminiscent of Ellory but a bit more relaxed and fun. Our pick of the snacks had to be the smoked eel with quail egg and crepe parmentier – we really could have eaten about six of these – although the big bowl of whipped cod’s roe and crisps is another winner. Also look out for white asparagus, smothered in egg yolk, and thin strips of near-translucent lardo, and the standout ricotta dumplings with peas.

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EVELYN’S TABLE

european
28 Rupert St, London W1D 6DJ, UK
Piccadilly Circus Station

We’re not alone in thinking that The Palomar and The Barbary are two of London’s best, most consistently fun and satisfying restaurants, but their latest, Evelyn’s Table, is the best yet. 11 of the 15 seats are at a counter around the kitchen and this is where you ideally want to be, so you can see the chefs in action and chat with them throughout the meal. Check out the smoked eel, served with super soft potato blinis, beetroot, and an amazing slightly sweet beetroot sauce; the brill with celeriac puree and mushrooms; and the incredible tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

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JOSE TAPAS BAR

tapas
104 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UB, UK
Borough London Bridge London Bridge

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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SMOKING GOAT

thai
38 Braithwaite St, London E1 6JU, UK
Shoreditch High Street

Now that the original Denmark Street Smoking Goat has closed, this new Shoreditch branch is the place to come for smokey, BBQ Thai food. We love their freshly made rotis, goat krapow, turmeric crab curry, and the Thai-style fried chicken. 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. They also do a mean breakfast menu on weekends too.

OLDROYD

italian
344 Upper St, London N1 0PD, UK
Angel

Tom Oldroyd’s tiny Islington restaurant has been quietly knocking out simple Italian dishes for a couple of years now and it’s still one of our favourite places to come for a quick dinner or lunch. Menus change daily but this is always a pasta dish and its always incredible – on a recent trip we had creamy crab tagliarini, thin freshly-made pasta, coated in a rich crab bisque sauce with chunks of crab meat. Other highlights included the roast monkfish, braised fennel & tapenade and the ripe peach and cow curd panzanella salad with broad beans & mint.

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THE GARDEN CAFE

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

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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LUPINS

british | seasonal
66 Union St, London SE1 1SG, United Kingdom
Borough

One of our favourite openings of 2017 – so good we went back twice in one week and ate most of the same dishes again. Lupins offers seasonal British dishes – think white bean crostini with anchovy and lemon salsa, Cornish crab Thermador, hake with Ndjua risotto and chocolate mouse with seasame and salted caramel. The bad news is it’s seasonal so your favourite ones probably won’t be there on your next visit (thus our visit two nights later), the good news is they’ve never hit a dull note on any we’ve eaten so far.

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BREDDOS

tacos
82 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7DB, United Kingdom
Barbican Old Street Old Street

Breddos is the PLACE to get tacos in London. On the menu there’s some signature classics such as the fried chicken taco and some new additions including beef rib eye taco with shrimp chiltomate, masa onion rings, and pickled jalapeño and Baja fish tacos with punchy lime mayo. There’s some bigger grill dishes and specials in the evenings too – don’t miss the Iberico pork al pastor with pineapple nam jim and pickled onion.

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PADELLA

pasta
6 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TQ
London Bridge London Bridge

Padella serves up hand rolled pasta dishes in Borough Market and has had queues down the street since the day it opened. Our fave dish is the pappardelle with 8-hour Dexter beef shin ragu – rich tomato sauce, super soft beef shin and fresh pasta…mamma mia. It’s great value grub made with love, and defo worth a visit.

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NEST

tasting menu
177 Morning Lane, London E9 6LH, United Kingdom
Hackney Central Homerton

Nest is the perfect neighbourhood restaurant, offering brilliant food at affordable prices. At £28 for the tasting menu (yep £28) it offers amazing value given the quality of food on offer. It’s super cute inside too, the kinda place you can take a new date, impress them with your local food knowledge and generosity (“yes, of course you can have the tasting menu”) and leave with change from a ton.

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BLACKLOCK

meat
24 Great Windmill St, London W1D 7LG
Piccadilly Circus

Blacklock is all about the meat and we’re especially partial to their epic Sunday roast. If you go ALL IN you can expect a with a huge platter of beef, lamb and pork, giant Yorkshire puddings, perfectly crispy roast potatoes, heritage carrots and sprouting broccoli, and at the bottom you’ll find three thick fingers of bread, soaked full of gravy and juices. Genius.

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THE BARBARY

middle eastern | north african
16 Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials WC2H 9DP
Covent Garden

The Barbary comes from the guys behind The Palomar. The food is inspired by countries that span the Barbary coast, from Israel to Morocco. Dishes are made for sharing, and you can expect deep fried pastry rolls filled with a spicy cod mix (a.k.a Moroccan cigars), Pata Negra neck with a sticky sweet marinade and the flaming lamb cutlets. The cauliflower Jaffa style is MUST order too. But with only 24 seats, expect queues…

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