The 12 Best Lebanese Restaurants In London guide image


The 12 Best Lebanese Restaurants In London

The best places to get creamy hummus, doughy fatayer, and more excellent Lebanese classics.

This is your sign to stop stumbling around in a wasteland of dry, overcooked shawarma and grainy hummus. There are lots of great Lebanese restaurants in London—around Edgware Road and beyond. From rustic spots serving tender aubergine fatteh, to a juicy grab-and-go lamb shawarma for lunch, and an aggressively garlicky labneh that’ll require you to cancel in-person meetings for the next 24 hours. These are 12 of the best.



This family-run bakery and restaurant in East Acton has been around for years. And it’s one of the few places we’d travel across the city to eat breakfast at. The menu has enough range to keep most people happy, with Lebanese classics like shish taouk and batata harra, but we come for the baked stuff. Their clay oven-baked mana’eesh are our favourite in London and some of the best-value. These crispy, fluffy flatbreads, topped with things like za’atar, spinach, or sujuk and cheese, are all delicious. Our go-to order is a couple of lahm bi ajeen and spinach mana’eesh, all with additional cheese.

The ultimate Great Little Place, Fairuz is a rustic Lebanese restaurant in Marylebone with an aubergine fatteh that will live on in your daydreams long after your meal is done. Little nooks and intimate three-seater tables tucked away in the back mean it's perfect for the kind of overdue catch-up that’s been rescheduled three times and doesn’t end until closing. Arabic music plays in the background, conversations are started over citrussy hummus and finished over the last bite of tender aubergine and perfectly pink, lamb-filled maklooba. Come for the best versions of classic Lebanese dishes you’ll find in the city, stay for the romantic lighting and cosy setup.

Em Sherif is a destination. When you finally get through the capitalist obstacle course that is Harrods you’ll find a spacious dining room filled with people who didn't happen to just stumble across this spot after some casual shopping. The small plates are where it’s at. Your table should look like a game of tetris with plates of swiss chard stuffed with citrussy rice, tomato, and parsley; crisp falafel balls; and bowls of tender aubergine fatteh that turns into a yoghurty, crispy, bready mess on your plate. It’s a meal that can easily set you back £150-200 per head but this is the kind of excellent food that you won’t regret spending it on.

Hidden in plain sight around the back of Finsbury Park station, Palmyra’s Kitchen is a Middle Eastern restaurant serving deeply flavoured dishes from Lebanon and Syria. A lunchtime visit for a lamb shawarma wrap is very much recommended—the meat is rich with juices and fat, and combined with a zinging parsley-heavy salad, is one of N4’s finest handheld meals. Sitting down is equally good though. The back of the restaurant is a homely, dimly lit space and a mixed grill with some wonderfully aggressively garlicky labneh is always a very good idea.

Mezze is our favourite part of the meal at most other Lebanese restaurants. But at this laid-back spot in Paddington we’re torn between imaginative things like the “massguettes”—a fresh baguette filled with tender pulled beef—or roasted lamb shawarma. Or classics turned exciting like the tahini smoked cauliflower that comes in a tangy, nutty sesame sauce we’d like on all future vegetable dishes. Massis is a spacious, moody place where you could just as easily rock up with a group for a low-key birthday dinner as you could a post-work date when you’re ready to eat your bodyweight in spinach fatayer.

Sure, we love this Fulham bakery’s adorable neighbourhood feel. But what we love even more is the counter filled with freshly baked Lebanese fatayer (a bready pastry filled with anything from minced meat to tangy sumac-heavy spinach). It’s a bright and compact spot, with a small group table inside and only a couple of tables out front. So if you do manage to get a spot on a weekend, over-order some manakish and know that you’ll be eating one of the best brunches in SW6.

Beit El Zaytoun has two very different moods. Breakfast is a laid-back, meat and cheese manakeesh-filled affair. Sitting on the semi-outdoor area on a sunny day makes us feel like we’re one long Ryanair flight away from Harlseden. Tables are filled with refreshing labneh and za’atar, and trays of manakeesh—topped with spinach or halloumi—disappear within minutes. In the evening it becomes a lively spot where a band plays Arabic music on the weekends and chicken shawarmas are dipped in toum while groups decide to get up and dabke. Whatever the time of day, the food is solid and the energy is great.

If you’re unable to leave your politics at the door, then Gadz may not be for you. The Lebanese spot in Finsbury Park is a Jeremy Corbyn fan club disguised as a coffee shop and deli. Pictures of the ex-Labour leader line the wall and the owner is as committed as they come. He’s also got a fair bit of enthusiasm for Elvis too. Heroes aside, this place is excellent for a falafel-based lunch. Freshly made falafels are crisp and soft, glowing green from broad beans as is the Lebanese recipe. Salad boxes, drizzled in tahini and pomegranate molasses, are also a great shout.

There are tender, juicy pieces of chicken and herby, refreshing fattoush and feta salads at Al Waha. But it’s the crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside falafel we think about on the regular. This Bayswater spot is simple, refined, and classy. Think white tablecloths, white walls decorated with well-behaved foliage, and big, airy windows overlooking white columns outside. All of the Lebanese dishes are tasty, and it’s one of the most relaxed, peaceful settings to tuck into a great mixed grill.

Ishbilia has been around for over 20 years, serving Harrods shoppers and Knightsbridge locals traditional Lebanese dishes in a relaxed, white tablecloth setting. It’s a real mixed bag here: old friends catching up over creamy hummus kawarmah, families where the children are quietly fighting over fries while the adults put their efforts into a lamb maklouba, and people who have walked in right off the street, following the smell of grilled chicken. Although it can sometimes take a little while to flag down a waiter, or get that extra piece of bread you need to soak up the yoghurty fatteh, that’s also part of the charm. Ishbilia is for savouring and taking your sweet, sweet time.

We like Maroush for a solo, lunchtime halloumi wrap and for family gatherings that don’t require an emergency overdraft extension. You could pop into McDonald’s, grab a takeaway from KFC, or slip into the seats at Nando’s on the Earls Court Road, but Maroush is a better laid-back option. It's got excellent Lebanese food, an attractive dining room, and superior dips for your chips. Settle into the comfy, red leather booths for delicious, well-stuffed arayes; fresh, herby salad; whipped, creamy hummus; and soft grilled meats.

Sohaila feels something like respite in Shoreditch. The Lebanese-influenced wine bar and restaurant has a low-key, lazy, candlelit feel to it. With a downstairs bar area, it’s just as good for a funky after-work glass as it is for a full meal upstairs. Menu-wise it’s a bits and bobs place—flatbread, creamy halloumi with honey and za’atar, spiced beef and lamb meatballs, and the like. It’s run by Fat Macy’s, a social enterprise that trains Londoners to help them move from hostels into their own homes, that’s very much worth supporting.

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photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

The 12 Best Lebanese Restaurants In London guide image