Our Fave Female-Led Restaurants in London

These are some of the women leading the way in the food world

We love restaurants here at LOTI and we’re very big on supporting women (on International Women’s Day, and every other day), so given that the hospitality industry is still dominated by men, we’ve rounded up our fave female-led restaurants in town to shine a light on some of the amazing women in the biz.

Sally Abé, The Pem

After leading the kitchen at the Michelin-starred Harwood Arms, Sally Abé moved to the Conrad London St James to oversee the food and drink offerings at the hotel. As well as The Blue Boar pub, she also runs The Pem, named after the pet name for suffragette Emily Wilding Davison. She’s taken that inspo right through the team with women in the senior roles – Laetizia Keating (ex-Harwood Arms) as Head Chef and Maciej Lesiewicz as Restaurant Manager – and it’s where she showcases her style of cooking classic combos with a refined new spin to a tee.

22-28 Broadway, London SW1H 0BH

Asma Khan, Darjeeling Express

Self-taught cook Asma Khan (who was the first UK chef to star in Netflix’s Chef’s Table) took Darjeeling Express from a supper club to a tiny spot in Kingly Court to a Covent Garden restaurant back to a bigger and better spot in Kingly Court. It takes inspiration from Asma’s royal Indian ancestry and growing up in the Bengali streets of Calcutta – the biryanis are particularly special – and she runs the restaurant with an all-female team in the kitchen.

Kingly Court, Kingly St, London W1B 5PW

Alex Hely-Hutchinson, 26 Grains

Alex Hely-Hutchinson made her name with porridges at 26 Grains in Neal’s Yard but she’s not just bringing you brekkies (although they’re probs the best bowls of porridge you’re likely to find in town). The daytime menu also features dishes like chocolate-topped brown butter brioche, Turkish fried eggs, and cheese toasties.

1 Neal’s Yard, London, WC2H 9DP

Adejoké Bakare, Chisuru

Adejoké Bakare was a talented home cook who became a head chef when she won the amateur category of 2019’s Brixton Kitchen competition and landed a spot on Market Row. Since then, she turned that space into critically-acclaimed West African restaurant Chishuru. Born in the first year of the pandemic, Chishuru became such a success story that she moved to a larger site in 2023 and won a Michelin star at the start of 2024.


Margot Henderson & Melanie Arnold, Rochelle Canteen

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 meal, the cooking is really quite good too, with simplicity and seasonality being the order of the day.

16 Playground Gardens, London E2 7FA

Mandy Yin, Sambal Shiok

Starting out with a food stall in 2013 – which grew into a pop-up and now a celebrated bricks and mortar fixture on Holloway Street – laksa restaurant Sambal Shiok is headed up by self-taught chef Mandy Yin. Taking inspiration from the food she would eat as a child, the restaurant serves up a variety of Malaysian dishes, with a focus on her deservedly cult Malaysian Nyonya curry laksa.

171 Holloway Road, London, N7 8LX

Jane Alty, The Begging Bowl

Originally from New Zealand, Jane Alty discovered her love of Thai cuisine while travelling in Asia and followed that love to working at Michelin-starred Nahm under renowned chef David Thompson, both in London and Bangkok. Feeling that London sorely lacked the real flavours of Thailand, Jane co-founded Thai restaurant The Begging Bowl in Peckham, which has a menu of dishes from every province of Thailand made with authentic, specialist ingredients.

168 Bellenden Road, London SE15 4BW

Erchen Chang, BAO

Brains behind the BAO restaurants, along with co-founders Wai Ting and Shing Tat Chung, Erchen Chang is often credited with popularising the steamed buns in London. As a kid in Taiwan, Erchen would grab dinner at local night markets, forming her interest in street food that led her to start BAO as a stall. Since then, BAO has exploded across London with restaurants in Borough Market, Soho, Shoreditch, Battersea, and King’s Cross.

Various locations

Monica Galetti, Mere

Another woman you’ll have caught on your screens (she was a judge on Masterchef: The Professionals for several years) Monica Galetti is chef proprietor of Mere in Fitzrovia. Fine dining and Fitzrovia go hand-in-hand and Mere is no outlier, with dishes as delicious as they are elegantly assembled and flavours influenced by France (she spent many years working under Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche) and her native Samoa.

74 Charlotte St, London W1T 4QH

Ellen Parr, Lucky & Joy

Ellen Parr wanted to set up a Chinese-inspired restaurant with that perfect mix of good food and a casual, fun environment, just like the ones she’d visited in NYC. She and her co-founder Pete Kelly went travelling around China and came home with a whole raft of recipes and the inspiration behind Lucky & Joy. Their spot in Clapton has a retro, kitsch aesthetic, with checkbox menus, neon chopsticks and colourful artwork, perfectly capturing that fun vibe.

95 Lower Clapton Rd, Lower Clapton, London E5 0NP