The 25 Best Restaurants In London guide image

LDNGuide

The 25 Best Restaurants In London

Meet our 25 highest-rated restaurants.

Have you ever woken up and thought, “Gosh, I’d love to eat at a second-best restaurant today?” Of course you haven’t. Whether you’ve lived in London your entire life or are visiting for the first time, it’s human nature to want to experience the best of the best. And that’s exactly why we wrote this guide.

These are the highest-rated restaurants in London—the ones we can’t help but go back to again and again. Food and experience are both taken into consideration, and any type of dining establishment is fair game. On this list you’ll find fancy restaurants, everyday hangouts, takeaway spots, and ice cream. Every city has its classics and its hot new places, but these are restaurants where greatness is guaranteed.


THE SPOTS

Noble Rot review image
9.5

Noble Rot

££££

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve eaten at Noble Rot. Yet, somehow, every meal, drink, or plate of bread at the gates of heaven masquerading as a wine bar and restaurant in Bloomsbury has felt completely perfect. The daily-changing menu dots around European and British influences—from their trademark slipsole and smoked butter to a plate of roast guinea fowl and spätzle—and it’s got the best set lunch menu in London; £22 for three courses of sheer joy and genuine value. But what makes Noble Rot so exceptional is its consistency. You can pop into its idyllic front bar for a glass of Chin Chin and be made to feel just as special as those chugging their way through the Bordeaux region at the back. We always get asked what our favourite restaurant in London is. It’s the impossible question. Until we remember there’s one restaurant we’ve spent more time in than any other over the years, and that’s Noble Rot.


photo credit: Rob Greig

St. John review image
9.4

St. John

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London’s most famous British restaurant and the place in which we have most actively fantasised about holding both our wedding and wake, St. John is a white-walled haven in Clerkenwell that’s been proudly serving up roasted bone marrow, gargantuan pies, and homemade doughnuts since the mid 90s. Much of St. John’s lore is thanks to Fergus Henderson, the chef who pioneered nose-to-tail cooking, but a large portion of its longevity is shown in the fact that both he and Trevor Gulliver (his fellow co-founder) are here almost daily, having a Fernet Branca at the bar or devilled kidneys and mash in the dining room. Follow suit and use this institution as a daytime escape or a nighttime knees-up. 


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At the end of your meal at Singburi, you will finally take a breath. The last chunk of moo krob would have long been eaten, the final bit of jungle curry sauce wiped up with your finger. It’s at this point you’ll realise that this meal—this brilliant, frenetic, sour, spicy, sweet and superb blitz of a Thai extravaganza—will soon be over. And that’s when you’ll realise how brilliant Singburi is. The BYOB Leytonstone spot is undoubtedly London’s finest Thai restaurant. Full of energy and flavour and often a complete faff to get a booking (call, call, and call again), there are few restaurants in London as reliably vibrant as Singburi. Don’t expect to break the bank but do expect to want to come back every week.


Spending £200 on a meal is not normal behaviour, but Endo at the Rotunda is not a normal restaurant. It all starts exactly where you never want to end up: Westfield White City. From there, things can only go up. Eight floors up a tower in the ex-home of the BBC to enjoy an omakase meal like no other. From the futuristic room looking over London to the exquisite pieces of sushi handed to you by Endo—the owner, head chef and headliner—performing behind his 10-seater counter-cum-stage, this entire meal is unforgettably excellent.


FYI: a spectacular meal in London doesn’t have to involve a starter and a main, cutlery, or, in fact, somewhere to sit. Because Pockets—a takeaway falafel pitta from London Fields—is one of the finest things you stuff into your face. The Israeli hut is only open from Friday until Sunday and you’ll definitely have to queue if you don’t get there early. But what they make is a falafel pocket of pure and unadulterated deliciousness and flavour. It involves freshly-made falafels. Wafer-thin cabbage salad. Sumac here. Sumac there. Velvet smooth hummus. Fruity, tart amba. A parsley green sauce. Tingly zhoug. Tahini, of course. Drizzled. Layered. Expertly placed and manoeuvred inside the most pillow-like of vessels. Along with a deep-fried potato on top. All for £7.


London is a gloomy city. Which also means it’s a city that knows a thing or two about comfort food. And peak comfort comes in the form of a piping hot curry atsu atsu from this udon bar in Soho. Walk-in only, this cupboard-sized space has limited seating and a menu of noodles, soups, and all manner of things that’ll make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. With restaurants in the City and London Fields as well, you can pop in with a friend, or come for a solo lunch when it’s raining outside and all you want is your face over a warm bowl, feverishly slurping and snapping up London’s best udon.


A seductive and clandestine restaurant that’s full of staff giving Phoebe Waller-Bridge-like twinkling glances to everyone they serve—as well as to Phoebe Waller-Bridge herself—Sessions Arts Club is undoubtedly the most artful it restaurant in London. The room is a spectacular setting that mixes the dilapidated magnificence of Miss Haversham’s mansion with the swish slickness of Soho House however many years ago. The food, led by Florence Knight (once of Polpo) is elegant, satisfying fare that will have you cooing over calamarata at the beginning of all the glamour and wobbly panna cotta at the beautiful, hazy end. 


There’s no food in London that you should be more thrilled to eat on the pavement, at a bus stop, or leaning against the counter than Alhaji Suya. The West African takeaway spot in Peckham is run by masters of grilled meat, making delicious and fiercely addictive portions of lamb, chicken and beef suya. The tozo—a fattier cut of beef— is our favourite. It’s a truly brilliant box of food to experience wherever you eat it. The meat is meltingly soft and smoky, begging to be covered in generous handfuls of Alhaji’s yaji (a homemade spice mix of chilli, peanut, ginger and garlic), and once you eat this suya, well, you’ll realise that some of the best restaurants around don’t need waiters, table service, or anything extra at all.


One trip to this laidback Xi’anese restaurant and you feel like a cold skin liangpi noodle has wrapped itself around your hippocampus, squeezing out pretty much everything else you care about. But it’s not just those chilli oil noodles that are unmissable at this low-key spot in Bloomsbury, it’s the £5 spicy cumin beef burger, the hypnotic chew-factor of the hand-pulled biang biang noodles, and the zingy potato sliver salad that’s like a high five on a sunny day. From one of the chefs behind Xi’an Impression, it’s a casual place that’s perfect for a catch-up with friends or more importantly, an urgent catch-up with those noodles. 


Once you’ve experienced a fine dining-style restaurant multiple times—we know we have a silly job, okay—it can be easy to disregard another Michelin-starred spot that’s all about foams and referring to cabbage like it’s the second coming of Christ. But Ikoyi is one of those restaurants, complete with a £150+ tasting menu, that will make you wonder whether a higher power has been resurrected in the form of a bowl of crab custard. The St. James’s restaurant is West African in influence and haute in style. The combination of these things—in the form of dishes like ginger and kombu caramelised plantain and irresistible smoked jollof rice—makes Ikoyi a truly unique eating and drinking experience. Which isn’t something you can say often in London.


Whenever we go to Rochelle Canteen, we can’t help but think that this is what eating is meant to be like. Shareable without being a pre-defined sharing plates restaurant. Filling without being a fry-up. Elegant and stylish without a gel or a tweezer in sight. Come to Rochelle’s garden of eating in Shoreditch whenever possible: for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Come for duck rillette and jam roly poly and a glass of champagne. For sensational suet pies or simple plates of lemon sole with capers and brown butter. Margot Henderson—head chef, powerhouse, and part of the British culinary monarchy alongside her husband Fergus Henderson of St. John—has made this restaurant hidden in the garden of a former school, serving asparagus and butter and boiled eggs, a total masterclass in modesty.


La Chingada is London’s liveliest taquería. It was the case when it first opened—a cramped day-glo cupboard-cum-chicken shop in Surrey Quays where you’d shovel juicy al pastor tacos and slurp crispy bottles of Corona outside—and it’s still the case now, having moved to a roomier spot around the corner. We could go on and on about the tacos. Or that deep brown habanero salsa. Similarly, their fried chicken, a juicy golden pile that’s waiting to be smothered in the tingly, vinegar-ish red of chile de arbol and butter sauce. But it’s not just the food at La Chingada. It’s the neon chicken shop aesthetic. It’s the fact that everything (yes, we’re also talking about their mango margaritas) is so much better with friends and in excess.


There has never been any point beating around the bush with Dimsum and Duck: it’s the best all-round Cantonese we’ve eaten in London. The dumplings, from xiaolongbao to cheung fun, are superb. A trio of delicate glass wrapper prawn and chive dumplings and a foursome of bathing pork balls have taken permanent residence in a very important part of our brain: the part that looks like a merry-go-round and has different delicious foods manically turning 24/7. Other things are brilliant too, including but not limited to the beef ho fun, the warm service, the morning glory in preserved bean curd with a whack of garlic, and the fact that due to now excessive popularity, the only good time to go here is for a midweek lunch. Because who doesn’t want to brainstorm over xiaolongbao?


For every handful of two-to-three-small-plates restaurants that pour wine so agricultural that the inner-city farmers flinch, there is a restaurant like Bright. Yes, the food is made for sharing here. And yes, the wine can get funky. But Bright isn’t just the right side of either of these things. It’s the brilliant side. It’s George Clinton snacking on deep-fried skate, anchovy and lemon.  Given its home is right in the mix of London Fields and the guarantee that several people will be drinking a bottle of something orange in its car park at any given time, you’d be forgiven for hesitating. But, even with the often excessive outlay—it’s a wine bar as well, after all—Bright is, like its sibling P. Franco, a modern London classic.


Only on weekends and Wednesdays does JB’s Soul Food put its jerk pork belly on the menu. The thing with limited availability is that it creates hype. But hype is only irresistible if said thing is worth it. JB’s jerk pork is. Pork belly chunks, glistening fat, and jerk-infused crackling that’s best gobbled on the pavement make it so. There are a couple of little tables and chairs inside this Caribbean spot that’s become a Peckham institution. From the outside, it’s nothing to write home about. But once inside, with the wisecracks flying around and the smoke of fruity scotch bonnet marinade and charred bubbling fat from the drum enveloping your senses, you’ll soon realise that JB’s is the real deal.


Maggie Jones’s is named after a code name used by a royal whose real name happened to be Princess Margaret and the restaurant thought, huh, that’s a good name. We’re going to stop saying ‘name’ now and instead simply tell you that this is quite possibly the most charming restaurant in London. Set over two floors and packed out with rustic tables and wooden church booths, everything from the assortment of countryside paraphernalia hanging from the ceiling to their menu of British classics never fails to provide ultimate comfort. Their signature fish pie is one of London’s most iconic dishes but be sure to allow room for Maggie’s apple crumble, it’s fantastic.


Hide is one of those restaurants that’s a fine dining perfectionist and we do not mind one bit, because they’re very, very good at it. Arguably, the best at it. Opposite Green Park, Hide is made up of three parts. You’ve got Hide Below, their moody basement bar. You’ve got Hide Ground, their casual-if-you-think-caviar-is-casual all day restaurant. And you’ve got Hide Above, a glorious high-flying formal dining room where their tasting menu will confuse, delight, and leave you saying “who knew black truffle belonged on a scallop”. Of course, it’s all incredibly expensive but that’s the price you pay for service that’s so exceptional even your handbag gets its own stool, and a fine dining experience that is genuinely unforgettable.


When a ricotta and sour cherry gelato changes lives the way the one at this Soho spot does, it deserves a space on this list. This small gelato shop—from the same people behind Italian restaurant Bocca Di Lupo, which is across the street—is serving all kinds of different flavour combinations, most of which change regularly, and all of which (including classics like pistachio and chocolate) are a cut above anywhere else in the city. Long story short: If you want to try the best gelato in London, you’ll find it here. 


One restaurant, one chef, one roti beef rendang that will inevitably become two when you just need to double check that a roti can be this gloriously soft and flaky. Yes, this low-key Malaysian spot inside Queensway Market is the kind of place where sharing seems like a good idea—the fried chicken, laksa with king prawns, assam pedas seabass, and that roti beef rendang are all essential orders—but you’ll quickly become as protective over the food in front of you as a poodle with a chicken bone. That’s just the consequence of eating a bright crimson fever dream sauce and fried chicken with a skin so crispy that it becomes an official contender for your death-bed meal. Chef Normah, we love you. Just be sure to book ahead as it’s a small space.


​​London has an excellent Indian restaurant scene. And when you think you can’t possibly top that with anything different or special, Bibi enters. Every dish at this Mayfair spot is exciting and innovative. With things like a grilled lahori chicken in a cashew and yoghurt whey sauce that is so tender and creamy, you’d think it was the star of the show, only to have the raw orkney scallop in a lemonade dressing arrive at your table and make you feel things you didn’t think you could feel for a mollusk. You’ll realise that there’s no way you’ll be able to pick a star of the show until you’ve tried everything here. Which you absolutely should. 


The food at this all-day wine bar and restaurant tastes how stepping off a plane into the sunshine feels. A couple bites of the comté fries with saffron aioli and you’re awake. You’re excited. You’re suddenly in the mood for a bottle of wine. Which is great because Levan’s wine list is more of a book that’s helpfully divided into sections with handy little bios for each bottle. The mood is very much Dinner Party At Your Best Mate’s place with records and bottles of natural wine lining the walls, an indie soundtrack, and servers who will rightfully encourage you to get involved in the artisanal cheese selection even though you’re full. That’s what holidays are all about right? 


The concept of this dinner-only Chelsea spot is simple. A troupe of female chefs, known as the mammas, cook a menu of regional Italian food. Every few months a different mamma takes charge, and the focus shifts to a new region. But what you really need to know is, if you’re able to walk back onto the King’s Road at the end of the night without clutching your stomach like a pregnant celebrity on their first cover, then you’re doing this place wrong. At La Mia Mamma, more is more. More parmesan. Another ladle of lasagne from a passing mamma, yes please. And definitely another round of London’s best cacio e pepe. If it’s your birthday, the mammas will sing to you and if it’s not, you’ll still have an Italian experience that feels entirely celebratory. 


Chishuru is a teeny tiny restaurant in Brixton Village that offers up unforgettable West African food. The big impressions start with their small set-menu that reads like a poem entitled An Ode To Things You Must Try Right Now. The tender slow-cooked goat shoulder, ekuru with a warming pumpkin seed pesto, and vegetable dishes so fresh that it’s like being chatted up by a dashing piece of lime. You’ll be begging chef Adajoké Bakare to adopt you in no time. A homely space with a little open kitchen, it’ll work just as well for mates, dates, or simply for anyone who’s in the market for a revelation via the medium of brown rice pancakes, eko beans, and baobab ice cream. But seriously, Adejoké, fancy adopting us?


If we say the words ‘butter’ and ‘chicken’ and ‘wings’ to you, followed by ‘whisky’ and ‘vending’ and, finally ‘machine’… would it be fair to say your interest has been piqued? That your heart rate is running just a little faster? And that, though you might not like to admit it, the idea of a brilliant and slightly barmy Indian restaurant in the heart of the City that has a pool table as well as a peerless bone marrow biryani might just sound like the perfect combination? If so, then you’ll likely feel as strongly about Brigadiers as we do. Stupid on paper but sensationally delicious and fun in reality.


An upmarket Mexican restaurant in Marylebone that revolves around a buzzing open kitchen that offers six, eight, and nine-course tasting menus, your meal here will begin with a welcome broth. But this is no petty little jus to be downed in the hopes it’ll stop the sniffles you’ve been nurturing for the past decade, but a fiery Ribena-coloured brew packed with arbol chilli, fermented beetroot, and a hearty dose of Mezcal that will hit you wham bam full force. That’s Kol, baby. This place specialises in delivering a delirious sort of fever dream of ‘what did I just eat’ with creative takes on Mexican classics that ranges from a gooseberry and pear salsa to merrily cutting up a whole glazed octopus tentacle with a pair of branded scissors. Just know that getting a reservation here is very hard, so be prepared for a lot of quality time with their booking website. 

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