Marylebone, just north of Mayfair and west of Fitzrovia, is another of those central London areas where your overriding association is big houses, big buggies, and a big old bill wherever you go to eat or drink. That last part may be true of a lot places around here - you certainly have a wide choice of restaurants who use tweezers to assemble your food - but there are also lots of reasonably priced ones as well. Use this guide to find both.
No restaurant in Marylebone sums up the area better than Trishna. It’s an absolutely delicious, eye-wateringly expensive Indian restaurant that appears to be sort of casual, but isn’t really. It’s Gymkhana’s sibling, but more seafood-y. The whole Dorset crab is a must, as are the lamb chops, but just be weary that things add up here. Come here for a special occasion, or when it’s not on you.
Sometimes you just have to sit back and ask yourself ‘when was the last time I saw someone play an electric violin in a gold sequin gown whilst also eating hummus?’. If the answer is never, then it’s probably time to head to Chameleon. A somewhat ridiculous restaurant in a Grade I listed building near Regent’s Park, they serve a menu of great Tel Aviv-inspired sharing plates alongside a whole lot of high-energy OTT glamour. Whether you go for brunch and tuck into their signature ‘cowshuka’ whilst a knock-off Ricki Martin serenades you, or head here for a big-deal birthday dinner in their self-anointed ‘God’s Garden’, you’re bound to leave very tipsy and questioning whether you now have tinnitus. That being said, their secluded garden is truly lovely and we can’t fault the fattoush salad, strong cocktails, or their undeniable commitment to a grandiose sesh.
If knowing the family tree of London restaurants is your one true passion, then we’re happy to inform you that Sidechick is the roast chicken child of great burger mini-chain, Patty and Bun. A lockdown delivery success story turned moody bricks and mortar spot, we are quite frankly obsessed with their chicken. Juicy, crisp, and smothered in delicious sauces that make us feel #ALIVE like piri piri, chimichurri, and our personal favourite, zatar. Although their perfectly roasted chicken is very much the star of the show here, you should definitely be getting involved in all of the support acts. Think smokey aubergine loaded with pecorino and breadcrumbs, high-end flatbreads that will permanently end your relationship with frozen pizzas, and a herb yoghurt dip that we could merrily glug for eternity. If all of this stellar chicken action isn’t enough to make you leg it to James Street, then know that they also have some cute pavement seating, corduroy booths (!) downstairs, and a truly winning selection of natural wines.
Royal China is one of those old-school Chinese restaurants where the room is vast, the menu has pictures, and the food is fantastic. The dim sum is delicious (and lunch time only), and the steamed scallop dumplings are a must. It’s a great place for group meals, or even on your own.
Given our propensity for laziness, our least favourite acronym is ‘ASAP’. But given our heartfelt love of cheap wine and trips to the Waitrose alcohol aisle, our absolute favourite acronym is ‘BYOB’. Bringing your own booze is exactly what you can do at this old school Persian restaurant hidden on Crawford Place, which - hello - makes this place perfect for an affordable Marylebone dinner where you can still get joyously tipsy. As well as giving you the opportunity to finally crack out that nice bottle of red you’ve had tucked in your cupboard since the ’92 Olympics, they also serve truly enormous flatbreads, juicy Persian kebabs, and tender lamb that yes, you absolutely should dip in their shallot yoghurt.
Blandford Comptoir is about as casual an all-purpose restaurant gets in Marylebone. It has a really good wine list, and a pretty decent Mediterranean inspired small plates menu to go with it. This is the spot when you need to get a little bit intimate with other people, whether that’s over a business lunch, a date, or a birthday dinner if you either don’t have many friends or don’t like a big fuss.
This small coffee shop from the people who make the magazine of the same name serves great coffee. Unlike a lot of coffee places round here, it has no wifi, so you actually have to sit there with your beverage of choice and maybe chat to a human, read something, or even partake in the old-world pastime of watching the world go by. Innovative, we know. They also have a small food menu which contains a prawn katsu sandwich which happens to be one of the best dishes in the whole of Marylebone, and something that should be eaten without any distractions anyways.
Donostia focuses on tapas from the Basque region, and it’s excellent. This is another great all-purpose restaurant for the neighbourhood and one you should visit for a good value set lunch, especially during the summer months.
Please note, Donostia is currently only open on Fridays and Saturdays due to the ongoing pandemic.
Do you find yourself inexplicably scrolling through the Daily Mail celebrity sidebar like a rabid dog, hungry for contentiously sourced photos of David Beckham’s children? If yes, then you’ve probably already been to the Chiltern Firehouse. This. Was. The. Place. To. Be. A few years ago. But the breakfast is still good, and it’s still kind of fun to go in the evening for a drink or two.
There are plenty of spots for steak in Marylebone, but none of them make it quite so easy as Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte. They don’t accept reservations, so you don’t need to worry about that. And the menu only has one option: a walnut salad followed by steak in their ‘secret’ herb-y sauce, and chips. The only decision you have to make is how you want it cooked. It’s that simple. It’s also tasty and relatively inexpensive.
Bao And Bing is the kind of restaurant you pop into for a pork belly bao and leave four hours later having eaten an additional two portions of fried chicken and downed countless datong negronis. This slick Taiwanese spot has low red lighting, a buzzing open bao bar, exposed brick aplenty, and a cool cocktail lounge downstairs, all of which makes it feel very New York night-out. Just don’t go so heavy on their bubble tea cocktails that you actually forget to eat your pork belly bao - they’re excellent.
Please note, Bao and Bing is currently closed due to the ongoing pandemic.
Marylebone isn’t exactly a boozer-on-every-corner kind of area. It’s just not that kind of place. The Grazing Goat is a very good pub/bistro when you’re looking for somewhere that serves drinks and decent food to have with it. Think pie of the day, scotch eggs and mac ’n cheese. The atmosphere is relaxed but busy, making it perfect for post-work or pre-dinner, and there’s an alright sized terrace for when the sun is shining as well.
When people say ‘fish and chips is fish and chips’ they’re wrong. Lots of places serve our beloved national dish but that doesn’t mean they get it right. The Golden Hind is one of London’s legendary chippies that does. Its cod or haddock is so long it overhangs the plate, the chips chunky crispy, and the mushy peas are mushy - as they should be - rather than crushed. A classic.
Although it doesn’t occupy quite as special a place in our hearts as the Soho original, Hoppers in Marylebone is equal to the original in serving up the best Sri Lankan in London. The space is a little different for the area: less family, more slick, and you can book for two guests or more, both for lunch and dinner.
Some restaurants are made for those of us who eat everything. The omnivores, the all-consumers, or - as we like to call ourselves - the human dustbins. Lurra is one of those. You’ll want to eat everything at this Basque grill spot. The Galician Blond beef for sure, the turbot if you’ve got enough people, and of course some jamon and padron peppers to get you started. It’s a really tasteful restaurant - both in its Scandi-aesthetic, and in its food - so only bring your favourite people to enjoy it with.
Although it sounds like the techno DJ you got roped into enduring last weekend, Zoilo is actually a rather nice Argentinian restaurant that does lots beyond steak. It’s got everything from empanadas to dover sole, as well as, obviously, a choice of meats. The atmosphere is understated, and suits the evening more than the day thanks to the bar seating. It’s an easy date and/or mate spot.
La Fromagerie first opened in Highbury and this was its second shop. It’s an extremely tasteful deli/cafe/restaurant/wine bar hybrid. The sort of place you expect Nigella Lawson does her daily shop in. The food is simple and delicious. Hams, cheeses, and bread for nibbles. Some simple hotter meat and fish plates. An unfussy essential every neighbourhood needs.