Looking for the best restaurants in London? Check out this food-lover’s guide – where to eat in London, area by area.
London is brimming with restaurants – some fabulous, others… not so much.
I’ve been steadily eating my way around London as long as I can remember – there have been highs, there have definitely been lows (I for one am thankful that the miniscule portions of nouvelle cuisine have faded to a bitter memory), but these are the spots that I’m recommending right now in 2021.
This guide to the best restaurants in London features a mix of old favourites and brand spanking new, each deserving of a special place in your little black book of great eats.
Best Restaurants in London: Central London
If you want to flex your serious foodie credentials, then you’d best drop by Frenchie. This is the place to go when you’re looking to impress (or chow down on some amazing food).
The first Frenchie, fittingly, debuted in Paris and soon found itself with a six-month waiting list for a table.
This one is in the heart of Covent Garden and has received much the same acclaim, although the wait is not quite as horrendous. Bookings are still strongly advised, though.
Address: 16 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8QH
Bob Bob Ricard
First things first, there’s a button at Bob Bob Ricard that says ‘press for champagne’ – and does exactly as suggested.
It’s a great way to start, but it’s the food that really brings things home. A menu of British/Russian fusion may sound interesting, and it is.
It’s also absolutely delicious.
The interior decor is suitably lavish with just a hint of kitsch. If you ask me, Bob Bob Ricard is one of the restaurants to go to in London.
Address:1 Upper James St, Soho, London W1F 9DF
Hutong at The Shard
Halfway up the Shard and inspired by the scrumptious food of Northern China, this place is sure to impress.
Presentation is on-point and there’s a few dishes that are just ideal for those who prefer things on the spicy side. Don’t worry, though, there’s options for all palates.
Address: 33/The Shard, 31 St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY
Hawksmoor Seven Dials
There’s a time and place for a dainty salad, but let’s be honest – sometimes you just want to bite into a delicious, hearty steak.
For those times, I highly recommend Hawksmoor Seven Dials. The menu is a carnivore’s delight, with incredible steaks that are cooked to utter perfection.
Hot tip: if you’re going for dinner, have a light lunch beforehand. The portion sizes are seriously generous.
Address: 11 Langley St, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9JG
Fancy food is great and all, however, you’ve got to admit that pasta is a seriously enduring classic.
I mean, no matter how many top restaurants in London I try, I still can’t go past a perfectly prepared pasta dish.
Padella does pasta just how I like it – nothing too fancy, just absolutely delicious. And with generous doses of parmesan on top. Yum.
Address: Borough Market, 6 Southwark St, London SE1 1TQ
It took a little while, but Taiwanese street food arrived in Soho with a bang – in the form of Bao Soho.
This popular restaurant in London (of course) does a mean bao, or steamed bun, but the menu boasts even more deliciousness.
Dining here is pretty laid back, so it’s the perfect place to pop in with friends.
Address: 53 Lexington St, Soho, London W1F 9AS
For an experience that’s lavish in all the right ways, you’d best check out Blacklock Soho, one of the top-rated restaurants in London.
The location is one of the main unique points of this London restaurant – it’s set within what used to be a Soho brothel.
Today, things are a little better behaved and instead it’s one of the city’s best steak restaurants. It’s a great place to drop in before or after catching a show.
Address: 24 Great Windmill St, Soho, London W1D 7LG
Pollen Street Social
This great restaurant in London promises ‘unformalised formal dining’, and I am so there for it. Who doesn’t want to eat ah-may-zing food, without any of the snobbery?
At Pollen Street Social, you’ll find amazing dishes which rely heavily on locally sourced ingredients. It’s all amazing, but if it’s on offer – the Cornish sea bass is a revelation.
Address: 8-10 Pollen Street, Mayfair W1S 1NQ
Galvin at Windows
Delicious French cuisine and divine London views are what’s on offer at Galvin at Windows.
It’s one of the best posh restaurants in London, so you’d best book a table if you’re looking to splurge on a very memorable experience.
It’s not just me who thinks this restaurant is seriously epic – it’s managed to earn itself a Michelin star as well. Pretty amazing.
Address: 22 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1BE
Holborn Dining Room
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that British cuisine is no good – if they try, send them to Holborn Dining Room for an education.
This ever-popular brasserie serves up amazing British fare (the pies are to die for) in an elegant yet vibrant atmosphere.
It’s a favourite amongst both locals and visitors, so you’d best book a table and find out what the fuss is about.
Address: 252 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
Bocca di Lupo
This Soho haunt is a fave not just with me, but also plenty of celebs as well. If those with oodles of money choose to spend it here, it must be good – right?
It sure is. The Italian dishes at Bocca di Lupo are quite traditional, relying on fresh produce and exceptional cooking skills to really make them tick. Don’t miss it.
Address: 12 Archer St, Soho, London W1D 7BB
What started as a humble deli by Jerusalem-born chef Yotam Ottolenghi has eventually turned into a seriously incredible London restaurant.
Nopi opened almost ten years after the deli, but it offers the same amazing serving platters, perfectly balanced spices and fresh ingredients that made Ottolenghi a legend.
The decor is beautiful, the service is great and the food is spectacular – what’s not to love?
Address: 21-22 Warwick St, Soho, London W1B 5NE
Never had a hopper? You are in for a treat. They are delicious Sri Lankan pancakes, topped off with a fried egg – and no one does them better than here.
You’d hope so, given the name and this restaurant’s penchant for cooking up amazing Sri Lankan dishes.
With fresh produce paired with just the right amount of amazing spices – get ready for your tastebuds to be totally delighted at Hoppers.
Address: 49 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4SG
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and breakfasts don’t come much better than those on offer at the Wolseley.
Luckily they serve them up late, so even if you had a few cocktails the night before, you can still enjoy the famous brunch. That is, if you can get a table – it’s best to book.
Address: 160 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9EB
Proving that luxury dining does not need to mean a frosty atmosphere, Kerridge’s Bar and Grill has a warm and inviting vibe.
Be greeted with a smile and then take a seat at the elegant restaurant inside the Corinthia Hotel.
The menu is proudly British and totally divine, using in-season ingredients and innovative approaches on classics. It’s seriously good stuff.
Address: 10 Northumberland Ave, Westminster, London WC2N 5AE
London loves a good Indian curry, but if you want to try the gobsmackingly good high end version, you’d best head for Gymkhana.
You’re sure to be totally smitten by the amazing dishes. It’s traditional Indian cuisine with a high-end, inventive twist – and it’s scrumptious. In fact, it’s even got its own shiny Michelin star.
Address: 2 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4JH
Best Restaurants in East London
Farringdon and Smithfield
For over twenty years, St John’s has been on a mission to revolutionise British food.
Offering up amazing takes on old classics, St John’s has all the dishes you recognise – with exceptional twists that you don’t.
There’s a reason this has been a must-go restaurant in London for more than two decades – this food is seriously ace. Plus, there’s a fab wine list to match.
Address: 26 John Street, London EC1M 4AY
Any restaurant that’s described as ‘vivacious’ is one I have to check out – and Gloria certainly did not disappoint.
Amongst a sea of good restaurants in London, Gloria stands out for its fun approach to creating delicious food.
Everything about this place is a little ‘extra’ – from the decor to the portion sizes. And I am so here for it.
Address: 54-56 Great Eastern St, Hackney, London EC2A 3QR
Duck & Waffle
City of London
If you ever want to have some delicious European cuisine, 40 storeys into the air at any time of day or night, there’s the Duck & Waffle.
With a fun approach to British cuisine, with elements borrowed from our European neighbours, the food at the Duck & Waffle is seriously good.
Best of all, it’s open 24/7 so literally any time you get a craving for it, she’s open.
Address: Level 40 of the Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
City of London (also Covent Garden)
At first glance, Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian may seem like an interesting choice for fusion cuisine. But trust me, you’ll be totally convinced from the first mouthful at SushiSamba.
Located in the heart of London, the menu is innovative and exciting, bringing together amazing flavours and super fresh ingredients.
Equally impressive is the amazing views – it’s located on the 38th floor of the Heron Tower and they’re staggeringly good.
Address: 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
Proving that you don’t need to rely on a flashy interior to succeed in London town, there’s Tayyabs.
The decor of this longstanding favourite may be humble, but the Punjabi-inspired dishes are astronomically good.
I mean, it must be, since this Whitechapel stalwart has had its doors open since way back in 1972.
Address: 83-89 Fieldgate St, Whitechapel, London E1 1JU, UK
For some of the best Indian in London (yes that’s a big call, and yes it’s well deserved), you’ve got to try Gunpowder.
Located not far from Brick Lane, head chef Nirmal Save has used wonderfully authentic recipes and a dash of creativity to create a stunning menu.
The result is one of my favourite London must-try restaurants, with a welcoming vibe.
Address: 11 White’s Row, Spitalfields, London E1 7NF, UK
The Smoking Goat
Some restaurants are all about subtlety of flavour. Then there’s the Smoking Goat, an unashamedly in-your-face Thai barbecue/bar that I seriously love.
The combination of delicious flavours, laidback vibes and friendly service makes one of my top recommended restaurants in London.
It’s all good here, but I especially love the deep-fried prawns – eaten shell and all.
Address: 64 Shoreditch High St, Hackney, London E1 6JJ
Best Restaurants in West London
Dinner by Heston
Heston Blumenthal is undoubtedly one of the country’s most famous chefs, so it makes sense his fabulous restaurant would make its way onto our list.
While Heston is known for his innovative and forward-thinking approach, he’s been proudly inspired by the past with Dinner.
Weaving together elements from Victorian-era cooking as well as creative new approaches, it’s an amazing take on British cuisine.
Address: Within the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
Fabulous food in an absolutely gorgeous location? Sounds like a winner to me.
I’m talking about River Cafe, an Italian cafe which has been open since 1987. Surely one of the reasons for its ongoing success is its beautiful riverside location.
Another is its penchant for hiring celebrity chefs in-the-making, such as Jamie Oliver and Ben O’Donoghue. Not too bad for a laidback haunt.
Address: Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, Hammersmith, London W6 9HA
Best Restaurants in North London
The Quality Chop House
Although the Quality Chop House has only been satiating our cravings since 2012, the building it occupies has been a restaurant since 1869.
Things are far fancier nowadays, though – it started off as a seriously gritty place for the local workmen.
While the current iteration has kept some of the cool factor, the food (steaks and more) has been turned way up – much to the delight of visitors, Londoners and critics alike.
Address: 88-94 Farringdon Rd, Farringdon, London EC1R 3EA
Various locations – Kensington, Shoreditch, King’s Cross, Carnaby and Covent Garden (Shoreditch pictured)
A chain restaurant wouldn’t normally seem like the place to go for an amazing meal, but Dishoom is no ordinary chain.
Inspired by the many Iranian cafes once located in Bombay, Dishoom offers up amazing food in a warm setting.
The result is seriously exceptional, with Dishoom consistently ranked among the best restaurants in London.
Best Restaurants in South London
Flour & Grape
They say never to trust a restaurant that has too many things on its menu – so the Flour & Grape is keeping things pretty simple.
As the name suggests, the emphasis here is on delicious Italian pasta, paired perfectly with delicious Italian wine.
A seriously winning combination if you ask me.
Address: 214 Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, London SE1 3TQ
The best food doesn’t just have great flavours and ingredients, but real heart. That’s certainly the case with Nandine.
This warm and inviting Kurdish cafe was opened by a family displaced by war back in the 1990s.
Offering amazing food including scrumptious baklava and to-die-for mezze platters, it’s grown to be a favourite of many a Londoner.
Address: 82 Vestry Rd, Camberwell, London SE5 8PQ
A newer addition to the London restaurant scene, Levan has wasted no time in garnering itself quite the reputation.
Of course, it’s willingness to encourage day drinking probably helps as well.
There’s a focus here on organic wine paired with cuisine that’s inspired by the great cities of the world – Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and, of course, London itself.
Address: 28 Basil St, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1AS
Head chef Jose Pizarro has created an amazing Spanish-style tapas bar that’s worthy of carrying his name.
Jump into this little Bermondsey hole-of-the-wall and you might just think you’ve ended up down the alleyways of Madrid.
The best thing about the tapas at Jose is sharing a bunch of small plates – so you can discover plenty of amazing flavours.
Address: 9-11 Cross St, Wakefield WF1 3BW
London’s multicultural restaurants get a lot of acclaim, but I love what The Dairy has done for British cuisine.
It’s taken your fairly standard fare and turned it into something seriously exceptional.
The decor is a little on the humble side, as the food here speaks for itself. Prepared to perfection, it’s British like you’ve (probably) never tasted before.
Address: 15 The Pavement, Clapham, London SW4 0HY
Coming from humble beginnings in Brixton, this Indian place has established itself as one of the most amazing restaurants in London (there are several branches).
It does things a little bit differently, offering up small plates so that you can sample even more of the deliciousness. After all, who wants to have to choose between so many good things?
I recommend making sure the butter crab makes it onto your shortlist at Kricket.
Address: 41-43 Atlantic Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8JL
Where to Find Great Restaurants in London: Map
London Food Guide: Read Next
- Where to Eat in London: 12 of my Favourite Places to Eat
- The Best Street Food Markets in London
- Maltby Street Market – London’s Culinary Powerhouse
- Dining At: Bob Bob Ricard
- Dining At: Frenchie, Covent Garden
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