The Best Restaurants In Clapham guide image

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The Best Restaurants In Clapham

The best spots around SW4.

From fancy-feeling restaurants and cool brunch spots, to top Thai and tear-inducing spicy chicken joints, these are the best places to eat in Clapham.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Minnow review image
7.7

Minnow

££££

21 The Pavement, London
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It’s pretty much impossible not to be charmed by Minnow, a laid-back spot overlooking Clapham Common. If you sit on the pavement terrace, there are chic blankets for chilly days or evenings, and inside it’s all wicker chairs, foliage winding up the walls, and vintage glass bottles with tasteful sprigs on each table. The perfect backdrop for a mid-morning catch-up over eggs or a cosy date night over dependable European dishes like bavette or crispy pan-fried fish. For a more intimate situation, book the exposed brick alcove at the back or the small, moody booth downstairs.


Bird & Tie has one focus and one focus only: Nashville-style hot chicken. Deep-fried pieces covered in a cayenne-heavy dry rub or hot oil, it’s the kind of tear-inducing spicy chicken that only a handful of places in London serve. And the dishes you’ll find at this small spot directly opposite Clapham Common are worth breaking a sweat over. Come here for a casual, comfortable pit stop where you can eat messily and worry about wiping your hot oil-covered hands later.


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Trinity review image

Trinity

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Trinity is a Clapham restaurant that’s split into two not entirely dissimilar spaces, serving British fine dining, MasterChef: The Professionals-style food. The downstairs, all Farrow & Ball vibes with duck green walls, is a pleasant enough sitting room that suits special occasions, if you’re into delicate plates that look like they should come with a Do Not Disturb sign. While the upstairs (which is more casual by virtue of high tables and stools) is the kind of place you’d take someone who was into horse riding and burrata. Slightly stiff chairs and atmosphere aside, Trinity has a tendency to deliver on flavour. The food ranges from pretty to pretty-bloody-delicious, and we once had a palm-sized, hand-raised short rib pie here that made us shed a single tear of joy. You’re probably better off heading upstairs first for a few sharing plates, before deciding if you want to go all in downstairs where four courses will likely put you back around £100.


Going to Chez Bruce is a little like going back in time via Clapham. There are twinkly, charming, suited staff who serve you warm bread. There are couples holding hands across the crisp white tablecloths. There are baked Alaskas being served all over the humming dining room. You get the feeling that everyone could easily be discussing whether Ross and Rachel will actually happen, or what to make of that hot young thing Julia Roberts, and that’s part of Chez Bruce’s great comfort. The menu is based on the foundation of classic French technique—there’s a lobster raviolo the size of a tennis ball on the menu—but also has some sometimes good, sometimes odd alternative flourishes, miso glaze, caponata and the like. But in a room full of doe-eyed dates and anniversaries, it’s clear that Chez Bruce has known what it’s been doing since 1995.


Sorella is cool and it knows it. The romantic, rustic Italian-inspired spot off the high street is ideal for a first, second, or 304th date if you’re still counting. It’s lively, with a buzzy, intimate feel, moody lighting that welcomes DMCs, and a menu with creamy arancini, earthy mushroom pastas, and hearty ragus—this is a restaurant that covers all the bases and more. From intense catch-ups over malt and salted caramel tiramisu, to a low-key meal with someone you’re trying to impress. Book a table as it’s popular and gets filled up pretty quickly.


Tempura rolls, tiger rolls, and truffle tuna rolls. This Japanese spot on Voltaire Road serves some seriously good, and kind of OTT sushi. It’s a relaxing and romantic spot, with the kind of dimly lit dining room that automatically makes anyone look 10 times more attractive. You’ll mostly see couples dotted around the spacious dining room, but it works just as well for friends celebrating birthdays with colourful cocktails in hand. Come with a hungry group, or bring that person you fancy, order the kataifi prawns to start—just let them cool down before taking a bite (the lighting can’t fix any burnt tongues)—and don’t hold back on the rolls.


Soif is an absolute delight. It’s one of those great little places where you clock the blackboards and old-school stools, eye up the other guests’ white wine mussels, and instantly know that this is somewhere you’ll be heading back to. Back with a date, back with enough friends to enable an order of the whole, gloriously juicy rotisserie chicken, and back to sample the roquefort because you’ve already filled up on pork and pistachio terrine, and enough garlic to keep Smint in business for the next decade. It’s packed full of locals on their weekly date night, and three generations making their way through three bottles of beaujolais. It feels like home, with the added bonus of exceptional French cheese and a wine list that will make all fans of natural vino very happy.


A homely spot with warm, terracotta-coloured walls and friendly servers, Tumnan Thai is a neighbourhood staple that has been serving hearty kaeng massaman and crispy tempura for over 20 years. The tables are the kind of close that’ll have you apologising awkwardly while shuffling too close to someone’s face to get out, but the cosy setup creates a nice buzz come dinnertime. Come with a small group for a long phad Thai and chicken satay-fuelled catch-up, or a casual date night when it doesn’t matter if you spill spicy red curry on your jacket.


Recreating that bustling energy of a holiday meal is no easy feat, particularly when you’re enjoying honey-drenched halloumi and kofte skewers while it’s biblical outside. But Sappho Meze Bar does its best to give you that homely and hectic feel. The Greek restaurant on Clapham High Street packs people into its small, basic space, complete with blue accents, and focuses on feeding them heartily. Salty homemade tirosalata is always a winner and a plate of lamb chops on a bed of oregano-covered chips is, quite frankly, a hard thing to say no to. It’s by no means the best Greek food in London, but it’s good-value and the close-knit, jovial atmosphere make it a fun, Thursday-night-with-a-few-drinks kind of restaurant.


We’ve been obsessed with the original Tooting location of this cafe since it opened a few years back, and their Clapham spot inside Studio Volitaire is just as exciting. The bright, tranquil, canteen-like room has metal sharing tables where you could camp out with your laptop for a few hours during the week, or pop in for a laid-back brunch on the weekend. With wooden chairs and quirky pots filled with sunflowers dotted around, this place isn’t all looks though. The brunch menu is particularly excellent, with rich tomato and labneh baked eggs, that famous pistachio yuzu cake, and specialty coffee—including bottled iced lattes that we’re very into.


Tweezered micro coriander, orange gels, and cauliflower velouté poured from a teapot gives the impression of boring fine dining food served in an equally dull setting. However, Sinabro, near Clapham Common, is anything but. The spot has an inviting, neighbourhood restaurant energy, and is the kind of great little place perfect for celebrating a special birthday or just the weekend. You’ll be treated with equal warmth either way. There’s a small, exposed brick dining area towards the back, but you really want to be at the sleek, white-tiled front on the stools, facing the open kitchen. That way you can watch the polished, French-leaning dishes from the monthly changing set menu being prepared. There might be a gel here and a mousse there, but dishes like tender guinea fowl and creamy rice pudding are still hearty.

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