LDNGuide

The Best Restaurants Around Paddington

Middle Eastern and Lebanese spots off the Edgware Road, two of London's outstanding Malaysian places, plus dim sum, roast duck, and more. These are the best restaurants in and around Paddington.
The Best Restaurants Around Paddington image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Paddington is one of London’s most internationally famous areas. There’s the bear, there’s the station, there’s the train that will take you to other countries via Heathrow. But Paddington’s restaurants can take your taste buds around the world too. You’ve got Edgware Road, a longstanding home for Middle Eastern and North African migrants, and an array of excellent restaurants on and off its strip. There are two of London’s most legendary Malaysian restaurants to satisfy all your roti and rendang cravings. Or, if dim sum and roast duck are what you’re after, there’s that too.

THE SPOTS

Middle Eastern

Paddington

$$$$Perfect For:LunchTakeawayQuick EatsKeeping It Kind Of HealthyHalalWalk-Ins
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Lena’s Cafe in Paddington is the kind of lunchtime spot that will have you emailing your boss office spaces nearby because the food is kind of healthy and tastes great. And because it’s the closest thing you’ll get to home cooking in W2. Our go-to order is a large chicken rice box, which is filled with minced lamb, plenty of shredded chicken, sweet potatoes, roasted carrots, and grilled aubergine, plus a couple of the cold salads. It’s the kind of food you watch an overachiever meal-prep on FitTok and wish you had the energy, and aesthetically pleasing kitchen, to do the same.


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

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A white tablecloth spot with the kind of attentive service that’s ideal for a business dinner or a meal with your in-laws, this high-end Indian restaurant on Connaught Square serves some pretty stand-up Punjabi dishes. Things like a tangy samosa chaat, creamy murgh malai kebabs, and spicy Goan curries. Bombay Palace is part of a global restaurant chain with branches all over the world, from Beverly Hills to Kuala Lumpur. It’s not the best Indian food you’ll find in London, but we’re very into the tandoori section of the menu. So order some meats from there, a curry for the table, and the chicken biryani to share.


It was at this Paddington spot (from the people behind Sudu) that we cheated on beef rendang. We have no remorse. Because the sambal tumis udang petai—a stir-fried prawn and petai dish—is equal parts spicy, creamy, and addictive. And that’s not all that’s great about this moody Malaysian restaurant. The menu is filled with comforting classics done extremely well, in a cosy and intimate two-floor space. The street level dining room is ideal for small groups, while the basement is where to bring a date or a big group, tucked away in their mini cave. They usually save a couple of tables for walk-ins but it’s a popular spot so book ahead to avoid having to wait.


Despite its glassy exterior, its proximity to Paddington station (undoubtedly a bottom three London terminus), and its misfortune to have the words Toby and Young appear in relation to a review of it, Pearl Liang is a fine choice for dim sum. The business-feeling but not business-priced restaurant keeps everything around the £5-£6 mark, which reflects the satisfactory standard of siu mai, cheung fun with XO sauce, and the comforting spicy prawn wontons. They also offer a dim sum set menu of eight items for £12.50, which is very reasonable.


The tahini-heavy fattoush salad at this Middle Eastern spot on Praed Street tastes too good to actually be healthy. But we’re not going to ask any questions, because that’s not the only dish at Mihbaj that tastes even better than it sounds. The maqluba—a traditional Levantine dish of layered aubergines and rice—is an excellent, wholesome, huge plate of food that you’ll almost definitely end up taking home in a takeaway box. It’s a small space with limited seating and a back garden for when the weather’s cooperating. There's a warm, independent coffee shop atmosphere, with the menu—and wait times—of a full-blown restaurant. But even though you could end up having to get your food to go, rest assured, it’s just as good out of a box as it is in their dining room. 


This Mexican food truck, parked up around Paddington’s Merchant Square on weekday lunch times, serves an XL burrito that is one of the best lunch options in the area. A thicc with two c's tortilla filled with beef barbacoa (ordering extra beef is worth it), rice, hearty black beans, a citrussy pico de gallo, tangy sour cream, and—of course—fresh guacamole. It’s the kind of satisfying meal that ticks every box you want a burrito to tick: under £15, will keep you full until dinner, and the kind of messy that requires at least five napkins. 


Good chicken satay is hard to come by. It’s one of those dishes where mass mediocrity has been quietly accepted in London. But Med Salleh Kopitiam, a Malaysian spot in Queensway, takes its food and its satay seriously. It’s clear that care and attention is given to the chicken on a stick here. The tender meat is yellow from a thorough marinating and caramelised to the point of char on the edges. Flavoursome enough to eat on its own if similar thought didn't go into the peanut sauce as well. Given the restaurant’s size—it’s a many-roomed, wood-panelled, cavernous space that could easily fit every generation of your family—you’ll be comfortable here no matter what.


Although Abu Afif is canteen in style, the Iraqi restaurant’s plastic trays and paper plates belie the flavour and tenderness of its shawarma. Pretty much everything about this big corner spot on the Edgware Road is straightforwardly solid. A plate with salad, hummus, taboon straight from the tandoor, and a pile of steaming meat is a tenner and it’s great. While the space—full of solo diners stuffing their faces with shawarma, friends scrolling on their phones mid-bite, and families taking a break—is exactly what everyone needs night and day.


Sure, you could eat next to water. Or, you could eat on it. Not off a plate on a lilo, but on Union Canal in Paddington. The Prince Regent is a floating restaurant from the London Shell Co and it’s like meals on wheels, but with no wheels and a lot more oysters. This canal boat serves a set seafood cruising menu and though it reads slightly novelty, this is a genuinely lovely experience. Particularly in the evening, where it feels like a romantic and very British mixture of Titanic and The Talented Mr Ripley. Only with far fewer fatalities. Touch wood. The Grand Duchess is another Paddington canal boat restaurant from the same people—but it’s permanently moored.


Gold Mine is a Cantonese banquet-style spot of the most old-school variety, and the comforting combination of low ceilings, gold-detailed chairs, red carpet, and tender char siu pork of the same colour is sure to put you in a proverbial good place. The roasted meats that hang in the window flaunting themselves are a must-order. Tender duck with crisp skin, beautifully layered crispy pork belly, and sweet, thickly sliced char siu—all of them are excellent. At lunchtime, towers of steaming dim sum baskets levitate around the room and, combined with the low-level hum of families digging into their lunch, it makes for a guaranteed good meal en masse or on your own.


While mezze is our favourite part of the meal at most other Lebanese restaurants, 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, dark wood and hanging lights-filled spot, where you could easily rock up with a group for a low-key birthday dinner, or a post-work date when you’re ready to eat your bodyweight in spinach fatayer. 


Fries inside pita taste 3x better. Especially if that pita is from this small Greek spot on Praed Street. The souvlaki comes inside a fluffy pita wrap, a platter, or a club sandwich—we’re very into the chicken gyros pita, which is under a tenner and one of the best lunch options in the area. They’ve also got some pies—the spinach one is always a safe bet—but we have a feeling the souvlaki will fill you up. It’s All Greek To Me has some seating inside, and while it's got space for small groups, we’d only come here with one other person. Or, even better, alone with our headphones on and a podcast playing while we try to eat this hefty wrap in the least messy way possible.


Mandarin Kitchen is a big, lazy susan, chopsticks-leaning-across-the-table, type of restaurant that also has a claim to fame—it’s the birthplace of ginger and scallion lobster noodles. An institution in Queensway, the Chinese restaurant’s most famous dish comes with a slice of theatre as enormous chunks of juicy lobster are mixed with bouncy egg noodles and a thick ginger sauce table-side. It’s a sensational, shell-suckingly good dish. One that will, along with everything else on your table, likely leave victorious stains on Mandarin Kitchen’s pristine white tablecloths.


One restaurant, one chef, one roti beef rendang that will inevitably become two when you need to double check that a roti can be this gloriously soft and flaky. Normah’s, a 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. Be sure to book ahead as it’s a small, homely space.


There isn’t a tonne of real estate in Colbeh. The small Persian restaurant off Edgware Road is a narrow hallway of tables huddled together in a brightly lit, white-walled room where everyone’s concentration tends to be on the juicy foot-long joojeh kabab and duvet-sized naan in front of them. Space on your table turns out to be just as premium, given the menu is as lengthy as the portions are generous. Bubbling bread, slapped in the tandoor and brought to your table still hot, is a highlight. Ripped, dipped, spooned, or scooped—however you want to do it, this bread deserves the company of Colbeh’s smoky kashk-e-bademja. Kabab-wise, there’s a confidence to Colbeh’s cooking that tastes best in its minced skewers that are glistening, charred, and herb-packed.

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