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Where to Dine South of the River: The Best Restaurants in South London

Where to Dine South of the River: The Best Restaurants in South London

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Delve into South London’s best restaurants with this insider’s guide.

You’re down in south London and your belly starts rumbling, but where should you be going for dinner? Fear not, there’s a whole mountain of good restaurants south of the river, and ones to cater to every taste. 

Whether you want something fancy, or fancy something down to earth, we’ve put together a guide of our favourite south London restaurants. Expect goodies in the form of sumptuous Thai feasts, luxurious French dinners and everything in between. 

Best Restaurants in South London 



Burrata at Levan

Any long-time readers of London x London will know that we don’t miss an opportunity to rave about Levan. The folks who run this place are big proponents of the ‘bistronomy’ movement, a culinary drift towards a more casual dining experience with the cooking quality and creativity of high-end cuisine. 

The blend here sits perfectly. An ever-changing menu of seasonal dishes never (and we mean never) fails to impress while the surroundings are a very stylish take on casual. As for wine, Levan knows their stuff, curating a menu that leans well into the natural and biodynamic worlds. 

We’re sorry to tell you that because the dishes rotate you might not be able to try the beef tartare with anchovy crumb that stole our hearts. Don’t worry. They’re sure to have something equally delicious to fill that space. 


South Norwood 

One of the best restaurants south London has to offer involves a journey into the heart of South Norwood. It might take you a while to get there but we can assure you it’s worth it.

Once there you’ll be looking for Mantanah, a neighbourhood Thai restaurant that serves up some regional Thai cooking that’s among some of the best in the city – you’ll be able to navigate the menu by region too, curating yourself a culinary tour of Thailand as you eat. 

But what should you order? Our shout would be that you ensure there’s a plate of Ped Ma Kharm (sweet & sour roasted duck with spring onion, shallots and dry chillies) at your table. 


Nine Elms 


Nine Elms, as you might be able to tell by the ever-growing skyline in that part of south London, is a very up-and-coming place, and up-and-coming places always have a few good restaurants to boast about. 

Enter Evernight, a Japanese izakaya that seems to be on the lips of every foodie in the capital. Omakase menus of sushi and skewers are the go here, though you can order a la carte if you’re not feeling as adventurous. 

We’d recommend pushing the boat out – They’ve recently been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand award for high-quality, affordable cooking so you can tell you’re in good hands. 



Nandine was pretty much guaranteed a spot in our South London restaurants guide for two reasons. 

The first is going to be the obvious: the cooking. Kurdish food is prepared here at Nandine with a kind of homely care that you can almost taste. Expect to be dining on kebabs and charred veg, both fired over hot coals as you wonder if you’ve got room for anything off the menu of mezze.

As for reason number two, it relates to the utterly moving story behind the restaurant. Nandine came to the UK as a refugee, fleeing Saddam Hussein. On route here she passed through many regions of Kurdistan, picking up recipes as she went. The restaurant you’ll be eating at is the result of that displacement. 


London Bridge


Yep, you guessed it. London’s favourite pasta chain is an obvious choice for an article about the best south London restaurants. Queues out the door are only proof of that. 

The pasta at Padella is all made fresh and comes lathered in the kind of sauces you wish you could make at home but have no idea how. It’s not too pricey either. Wine comes at £7 a glass and pasta rarely pushes the £15 mark. 

A quick pointer: Don’t fall for the trick of thinking you can order loads because it’s cheap, you’ll just end up breaking the bank. Trust us, we’ve been there. Oh, and save room for a tiramisu.  

Supa Ya Ramen


If you’re looking for laid-back restaurants in south London make sure you check out Supa Ya Ramen – it takes a laid back approach to both its atmosphere and it’s cooking. By that we mean that these Japanese ramen bowls don’t take themselves too seriously at all. 

You’re likely to find your noodle soups topped with stuff like salt and pepper confit pork, or blended with off-the-wall infusions like miso, XO and bacon oil. 

Who could have come up with such a heavenly concoction? Luke Findlay, ex-chef of Nopi and Berber and Q. This is his first venture, and it’s proving to be quite a hit. 

The Begging Bowl


The Begging Bowl is a Thai spot in Peckham that has something of a cult following among locals in the know. That near-religious devotion is largely down to a hearty menu of Thai food that lurches well away from the established classics. 

You won’t be eating green curries and pad thai here, but more’s the joy: You’ll be forced to get experimental. Don’t worry, the guys in the kitchen are staunch pros, basically every dish stands up. 

They also cater well to vegans and vegetarians if that’s something you need to account for. 



Pique Nique Restaurant Bermondsey

No restaurant guide is complete without an offering from the kings of gastronomy – the French. In that honour, allow us to introduce you to Pique-Nique, a spot that, by our metrics, is a strong contender for being one of the best restaurants in south London

The cooking is about as rustic and classic as it comes. You’ll be dining out on things like escargot and pate en croute to start before digging into a series of meat-heavy mains that pack serious punch on the flavour front. 

All this is served, bizarrely, in a spacious mock-Tudor building, a touch that ultimately adds to  Pique-Nique’s character. 

The Little Taperia


The Little Taperia

As you may have guessed from the name, a meal at The Little Taperia is a feast of Spanish nibbles. What the name doesn’t imply is how good that food is. 

That food is the product of a union between former Food and Drink Editor at The Independent Magazine, Madeleine Lim, and her chef friend Hikmat Antippa of another top Tooting restaurant, Meza. 

The atmosphere they’ve created is one of a chilled neighbourhood restaurant, free of any pretension. The food, though, takes cues from the modern-Spanish restaurant scene in London: rooted in tradition, but not without a bit of culinary flare. 

Rick Stein, Barnes 


Right on the banks of the River Thames with gorgeous views over the water, you’ll find Rick Stein, Barnes, the London outpost of famed TV chef and lover of all things seafood who gives the eatery its name. 

As you can expect the food here takes a lot of inspiration from the ports of Cornwall. You’re going to be eating very high-quality seafood often landed that morning, basically still flapping on the plate. 

Stein is a master of bringing out the best in each ingredient, be it in an Indonesian seafood curry of a classic dish of lemon sole veronique. That skill in the kitchen makes this one of the best restaurants south west London has to offer. 

Practical Tips for Exploring the Best Best Restaurants in South London 

  • While this guide is more broadly about the great restaurants south London has in its repertoire, you might want to take a look at our area guides for a more specific breakdown of each neighbourhood’s dining scene.  
  • We’ve done our best to include a good range of prices and cuisines. If you want something fun that won’t break the bank, go for Supa Ya Ramen. If you feel like making the most of dinner, make it Rick Stein. 
  • It goes without saying folks, make sure you book ahead if you can. 

Best Restaurants in South London : Map 

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