photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

12 Of London's Best Chefs Share Their Top Women-Led Restaurants image

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12 Of London's Best Chefs Share Their Top Women-Led Restaurants

We asked London's best female chefs where they love to eat.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke with some of the most influential women in the London hospitality industry about their favourite women-led restaurants in the city. From an exciting Soho newcomer, to a West African street food business putting a twist on burritos, these are the women-led restaurants that should absolutely be on your radar.


Erchen Chang

Co-founder and creative director of Taiwanese mini-chain Bao.

12 Of London's Best Chefs Share Their Top Women-Led Restaurants image

Erchen Chang

Recommendation: The River Café

“I love the institution Italian restaurant The River Café by Ruth Rogers. It's always a place I go for special occasions. From the always delicious and simple food cooked to perfection, to the blue floor, the outdoor seating for summer days, the pink wood oven, their books, and more. Everything is immaculate yet relaxed. It's a place I've always admired and appreciated and don't feel guilty splashing out on!”


Lungi Mhlanga

Owner, founder, and head chef of The Treats Club, which will open a permanent dessert spot on 8th March in Hackney.

Recommendation: Jollof Mama

“Jollof Mama is an amazing West African street food business based in Camden and Hackney. They do some of the best seasoned food in town and their team is pretty incredible too! You must try their African burrito.”


Missy Flynn

Co-founder of Rita’s, an American-influenced restaurant in Soho.

Recommendation: Tayēr + Elementary

12 Of London's Best Chefs Share Their Top Women-Led Restaurants image

photo credit: Bernard Zeija

“One of the places I admire the most in London, though I don't get to visit half enough, is Tayēr + Elementary in Clerkenwell. This bar wins all the awards for its drinks, and rightly so, but at the core, it represents something so refreshing and powerful in the bar scene. Led by Monica Berg and her partner Alex Kratena, the ethos of Tayēr comes across in their sustainability efforts, their dedication to seasonality, and Monica's inspiring work around advocacy and education in the bar scene. I'm deep fan-girling over Monica!”


Ifeyinwa Frederick

Co-founder of Nigerian tapas spot Chuku’s in Tottenham.

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photo credit: Milly Fletcher

Recommendation: Where The Pancakes Are

“I discovered Where the Pancakes Are in between the lockdowns and it brightened up my day then and it's now one of my favourite places in London. I love pancakes and I genuinely don't think I've eaten at a better pancake house. They're not just great gluten-free pancakes, they're great full stop. I like to eat a lot and I can fully indulge there. The batter is so fluffy and light it never feels like too much. But going out to eat isn't just about the food. The service is always friendly and welcoming, and especially as a solo diner, it's such a great place to go.”


Mandy Yin

Chef patron at Sambal Shiok Laksa Bar in Highbury & Islington.

Recommendation: Rita’s

“My favourite woman-owned restaurant at the moment is Rita's, run by the formidable duo Missy Flynn, drinks mistress extraordinaire, and her chef partner Gabe Pryce. Gabe's food is rocking nu-American, but it is Missy's style and front-of-house charm which make their place truly special. Go with at least three people, order the whole menu paired with all the cocktails for a night to remember. You won't regret it.”


Florence Knight

Head chef at modern British restaurant Sessions Arts Club in Clerkenwell.

12 Of London's Best Chefs Share Their Top Women-Led Restaurants image

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

Recommendation: Koya

“Shuko is the reason why Koya is one of the restaurant industry's perennial favourites. Her cooking is religiously seasonal, and steeped in the finest traditions of Japanese cuisine yet always innovative and exciting.”


Chantelle Nicholson

Chef owner of fine dining spot Apricity in Mayfair.

12 Of London's Best Chefs Share Their Top Women-Led Restaurants image

photo credit: Lisa Tse

Recommendation: Darjeeling Express, Sambal Shiok, Hicce Hart

“I have a few favourites, including Sambal Shiok and Hicce Hart. Asma Khan's Darjeeling Express is one that I have a bit of a soft spot for! I first met Asma just before she was about to open the first permanent spot, and was struck by her determination and energy. I spent a couple of days with her amazing team (including Asha, her head chef), supporting them with the opening, so I was lucky to try all the amazing food, and enjoy the wonderful energy amongst the team. The flavours are just so incredible, and all cooked with an amazing energy, so it is definitely a must-visit.”


Samantha Lim

Owner of Elliot’s, a modern European spot with locations in Borough and London Fields.

12 Of London's Best Chefs Share Their Top Women-Led Restaurants image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Recommendation: Rita’s

“I'm a big fan of Rita's in Soho, owned by Missy Flynn and her partner Gabriel Pryce. Missy is a real force and leads her team in an incredible way. The food is delicious and fun, working in harmony with the inventive cocktails and wine list. Most of all, the service is always delightful! Rita's is the ultimate place to pop in for their signature martini with gilda or a massive feast in one of the booths with friends.”


Aika Levins

Senior sous chef at The Barbary and The Barbary Next Door.

12 Of London's Best Chefs Share Their Top Women-Led Restaurants image

photo credit: Georgia Rudd

Recommendation: Koya

Koya is obviously best known for their udon. Rightly so, it’s the best you can get in town, but where they really shine for me is their inventive small plates that change regularly. Shuko Oda has such a genius way of using up bits that might otherwise get left behind (the prawn head tempura at the City branch is a must-have). They also serve an excellent Japanese breakfast which I have whenever I’m feeling a little homesick.”


Freddie Janssen

Owner of Snackbar, a cafe in Dalston.

Recommendation: Rita’s

“That would be Missy Flynn and her partner Gabe’s restaurant Rita’s. To me it’s the ultimate and most fun comfort food with awesome drinks in a stunning restaurant in the middle of Soho.”


Shuko Oda

Head chef and co-founder of Koya.

12 Of London's Best Chefs Share Their Top Women-Led Restaurants image

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

Recommendation: Towpath Cafe

Towpath Cafe ticks a lot of boxes for me with its charming setting, easy flow service, and delicious food. The food is never over the top and you really eat the season there, through Laura’s carefully chosen ingredients and heartful cooking. It’s somewhere I’d be happy to go for breakfast, grab a coffee, or for lunch!”


Adriana Cavita

Owner of Mexican restaurant Cavita in Marylebone.

12 Of London's Best Chefs Share Their Top Women-Led Restaurants image

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

Recommendation: Darjeeling Express

“I’ve followed Asma [Khan] for a while and I love the work she is doing for women in the kitchen more generally. She is opening doors for women who might not have thought to follow a career in cooking. It’s been great to see Darjeeling Express re-open in Covent Garden, her food is always delicious.”


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