The Best Restaurants In Chelsea guide image


The Best Restaurants In Chelsea

Where you should be eating in SW3.

When you think of Chelsea what do you think of? Red trousers? Very good dogs waddling along everywhere? People eating oysters at 2pm on a Tuesday?

If you thought of any of the above, then you would be correct. But you should also think of a vast array of excellent restaurants… and a pub that belongs to James Blunt. Because although Chelsea might not have the finest restaurants in London, it does have a very decent range of eating options, from all-day cafes, to fancy Indian, to hearty pub grub.

The Spots

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La Mia Mamma


257 King’s Road, London
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Let’s just kick this off by saying that La Mia Mamma is a bloody great laugh. The concept of this place is that they serve proper Italian food handmade by real, Italian ‘mammas’, who will force feed you additional pasta like you haven’t eaten since birth. Honestly, if you’re not already sold then we’re not sure that we can be friends anymore. Even on weekdays you’ll find it packed with families, waltzing in shouting ‘buonasera’ with three generations in tow. This place is fun, loud, and just the right amount of cheesy. But whatever you do, don’t underestimate the food here. It’s some of the best handmade pasta in London and the gorgonzola gnocchi is next-level tasty.

The beauty of a restaurant in geographical limbo is that, really, it can be claimed by either side. And Hunan wants to be claimed by Chelsea, Belgravia, and Pimlico. This no-menu Chinese restaurant makes things very simple for you. There are 12 courses (at just under £60) for lunch, or 18 courses (at around £90) for dinner. It’s fun, it’s delicious, and it’s best saved for two people on a special occasion. Although once you try the twice-cooked crispy pork, you’ll want to eat it every day.

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The Cadogan Arms



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This jaw-dropping Chelsea pub serves quintessential British cosiness with the gliding confidence and sophistication of a Julian Fellowes dame. Oh, I’ll have the sirloin in the parlour, be a good man and bring me a glass of port whilst you’re at it, darling. There’s an open fire, fish and chips on the menu, and deep armchairs that will swallow you whole after a third pint. But there are also stained glass windows behind the bar, rare bottles of £650 Bordeaux on the wine list, and those deep snuggle-fest armchairs are upholstered in ivy velvet. However, you can get away with wearing your dad jeans to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon befriending the locals’ dogs and merrily gobbling up your roast. 

We remember the days when this King’s Road spot used to serve their pizzas on a wooden sharing platter that stretched all the way from one side of the table to the other. Although we kind of miss them, we’re also kind of grateful that we don’t have to worry about sharing the now regular-sized pizzas with anyone else. Topped with everything from burrata to spicy salami, the pizzas here are thin with chewy sourdough crusts, making this the perfect spot in Chelsea when you want romantic rustic interiors and a solid margherita for under a tenner. Plus they’ve got that whole dinner-in-southern-Italy energy inside, with dimly lit hanging lanterns, cobblestone floors, and a walk-in only terrace that gets filled up on a summer's day.

Never underestimate the romantic prowess of a cute courtyard. Trees are sexy, people—get with the programme. At Stanley’s, you’ll find perfect trimmed trees, endless flowers, and a winning potted shrimp crumpet—we’ll save our thoughts on why crumpets are sexy for another time. A secluded courtyard in Chelsea with sophisticated food that falls somewhere between British and Mediterranean, this place is absolutely perfect for date night or a grown-up birthday dinner with your deeply fabulous friends. Prices can stack up quick, because, hello, you’re in Chelsea, but it’s all entirely worth it. There’s some perfectly lovely seating inside but really you’re here for the satisfaction of eating beef tartare and a whole grilled fish out in that charming courtyard. Don’t skip their quality cheese either.

This little pan-Asian noodle bar’s combination of cute courtyard setting and tasty affordable dishes that range from laksa, to noodle salads, to pho, make it an excellent quick lunch or early dinner choice. Everything—bar one stir-fried beef noodle dish—is just under a tenner, and it’s a very useful (and tasty) option if you’re in the area.

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

Il Trillo review image

Il Trillo

There are many, many Italian restaurants in Chelsea. There are the old-school ones, the very expensive ones, and then the ones you shouldn’t miss. Il Trillo is kind of a combination of all three. It’s been open for over 30 years and has a slightly dated but endearing feel. Although it can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Most of the handmade pastas come in half portions, so the best game plan is to swing by with a group, order several, and make your way through the pretty epic wine list. Thanks to the garden out back, which is open all year-round, this place is also prime date night material.

How into French brasseries are you? If the answer is very, then you’ll really like Colbert. This all-day spot on Sloane Square is a bit like being slapped around the face by a macaron-wielding maman who’s also singing Aux Champs-Elysées into an old-fashioned microphone. But in a good way. Expect all the usual classics like steak tartare, oysters, and îles flottantes. For summer days, there’s also a Parisian-style terrace.

This is the fourth London outpost selling products from the Daylseford farm in Gloucestershire. Downstairs there’s a shop where you can buy expensive organic artichokes, but the all-day cafe/restaurant on the first floor is where you should go for a coffee, some cold press juice, and a pretty satisfying meal, especially when you’re looking for something kind of healthy. Lunch options include pizzas or their signature chopped salad, but if you’re after something more substantial, their seasonal salads are very good—and adding a venison rump in sage and truffle butter is always a good move. Despite the slightly sterile decor, this is a great spot to get a laptop out and spend the afternoon ‘working’.

Chicama is kind of like a mash-up between a great little Peruvian place and a pink velvet, marble bar spot. That means you can either come here for a casual weeknight catch-up and sit out on the patio or in the rustic front dining area, or get a little bit suave at the bar with a couple of pisco cocktails. The seafood here is alright, but what you really want to get involved in are the vegetable dishes. Special shoutout to the courgette and cornmeal beignets with chilli jam.

If, between the years 2011-2015, you weren’t watching Made In Chelsea, then kudos. You are better people than we are. But if you were, you’ll know all about Bluebird. This King’s Road spot is a geotag come to life. It’s an all-day cafe where you can relax (but be extremely conscious of how you look in your front camera), and there’s also a bar and lounge attached. Jokes aside, it’s a big space that does decent-ish food and is a good spot for big groups.

Opposite Bluebird is a casual restaurant that could not be less like its shiny phoenix of a neighbour if it tried. This place is casual, reasonably priced, and a pretty spot for dining solo without anyone presuming that your kind of famous friend got caught in traffic after their Missguided ambassador meeting. They’ve got a big menu of Chinese classics, from pan-fried dumplings, to braised beef clay pots, to kung pao chicken.

For all the stick Chelsea gets for being in its own little bubble, it is quite a pretty looking bubble sometimes. The Cross Keys is a pub on a small row off the Thames and it’s a lovely spot on a sunny day. Or even a bleak one that requires hunkering down. The food is sort of fancy: like venison tartare. But it’s also hearty: like sausage and mash. And the same goes for the pub itself. It feels aspirational but familiar, like an X Factor contestant’s backstory.

Elystan Street is a French-Italian fine dining restaurant which tries to be a bit chill, but has very un-chill prices. The food, however, is very good. So if you’re looking for a special occasion restaurant that won’t frown at you for chewing loudly, or turning up in that t-shirt with the stubborn ketchup stain, then this is your place.

Chelsea has a pretty bougie and expensive reputation, and places like Villa Mama don’t necessarily help. Starter portions of ‘eggplant explosion’ (aubergine in sauce), hummus, and mathrooba (a chicken stew) will leave you around £30 out of pocket. That said, the food at this Bahranian spot is tasty and if you’ve got money to spend, then you could do a lot worse than sharing a couple of starters and a main between two of you.

Vegetarian, quick, and easy—that’s Wulf And Lamb. We’re withholding judgement on the idea of naming a vegetarian restaurant after an infamous carnivore, but really that’s irrelevant. All you need to know about this place is that it’s a good spot to grab a kind of healthy sandwich on the go, or to swing by for a sit-down seitan burger.

Walking through Chelsea’s residential streets, it’s hard not to look at the gleaming houses and think: nope, it’s not gonna happen. For us at least, Kutir is the closest we’ll ever get. This fancy Indian restaurant is in a townhouse off the King’s Road, but that’s not the only reason to come here. Dishes like chicken tikka masala are extremely tasty. If you’re not sure about shelling out £20 for this straight away, check out the lunch set menu which is £30 for three courses plus a drink.

Bandol is a chic (yes, we said chic) and shiny southern French spot with a live tree in the middle of the dining room. Because mother nature never goes out of fashion. Or something like that. The menu is a mix of sharing plates like tuna tartare and aubergine millefeuille, with larger mains like lobster linguine. This place is the perfect start to a boozy night where you want to get a bit dressed up (sit at the golden bar), or your final destination for a date with someone who enjoys a bit of glitz.

Thanks to its four billion outposts, The Ivy has now become the suede loafer and gilet-wearer’s Wetherspoons. The brasserie-style food is nothing-y, but we include it for a reason: the huge garden can be very enjoyable on a sunny day. So bear it in mind if the weather is nice and you’re OK with an inoffensive eggs benedict, cheeseburger, or something along those lines.

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