The Toughest Reservations In London Right Now (& How To Get Them)

Our thoughts on the busiest restaurants in London and advice on how to get in.
A two-person table at The Devonshire.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

At any given time, there are a handful of London restaurants where trying to get a table feels like getting a seat on the Victoria line at 8am. Right now, these are those restaurants. The spots on this list aren’t necessarily the best restaurants in the city or the classics, but they are the hardest ones to get into. And we want you to know if they’re actually worthwhile. We also want to help you get a reservation, so you don’t have to sit at home and write sad songs about how you’ve never been to Sessions Arts Club. Below, you’ll find our verdicts on the busiest places in London, along with some info that’ll help you get that table. Check back for regular updates.


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



$$$$Perfect For:BYOBBig GroupsCatching Up With MatesClassic EstablishmentImpressing Out of Towners
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Verdict: Singburi is the highest-rated restaurant on our website for good reason. The BYOB, cash-only, Thai spot in Leytonstone is a guaranteed knock-out meal every time you visit. Its daily changing blackboard of specials is treated like holy scripture by all London restaurant lovers.

How To Get In: The system for getting a booking at Singburi has always involved a rough mixture of calling, messaging, begging, and repeating until a table comes up. Now there’s a slightly more formal process. You’ll still need to call or message, but the restaurant will now reply to all booking enquiries weekly, on a Wednesday. Takeaway slots are also available from Thursday to Sunday at 6:15pm and 8pm, and you could chance a walk-in around 7pm or 8:45pm. If that still doesn’t work, ask a friend who’s already going to make another booking in person. 

photo credit: Jamie Lau



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Verdict: Core is a fine dining British restaurant inside a Notting Hill townhouse. It’s where we’ve eaten the best carrot of our lives and tested our phone’s storage capacity by going full stage mom over a perfect scallop tartare plated in a shell. Course after course is excellent, and the experience itself is formal but doesn’t feel too stuffy. Dishes like mini lobster rolls and homemade wine gums will make even the most hardened of adults feel giddy.

How To Get In: Make full use of the ‘show next available’ button on OpenTable because you should know that you are never going to be able to book for the specific date you want. Even then it’s a torturous game of playing around with random dates until something close enough to what you’ve chosen triggers a hit. And then, take it. Take it even if it’s for 9:45pm in three months' time. It sounds painfully late but it's worth it for a pretty perfect fine dining experience.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Verdict: This restaurant above a pub is one orphan and a frilly bonnet away from being a Dickens film set. Roaring fire, wooden floors, and pressed white tablecloths aside, The Devonshire serves some of the best British food in London. It’ll convert you to suet pudding, remind you why lamb hotpot is a superior dish, and press a perfect pint of Guinness into your hand just when you need it. 

How To Get In: Bookings are released at 10:30am on Thursdays for the following three weeks. Set an alarm, skive off work, do whatever you have to do to be there. Your best chance of getting a table is to embrace a very early dinner or late lunch. The sweet spot is around 4:45pm for dinner and 3pm for lunch. These are always the last tables to go, and messing with your body clock is worth it for a meal here.

Verdict: We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Crisp Pizza W6 makes the best New York-style pizza in London. The clue is in the name: the slices defy gravity, and the tomato sauce is rich and basil-heavy. It’s a one-of-its-kind type of pop-up, and the chaotic Hammersmith pub environment just adds to the charm.

How To Get In: From Wednesday to Friday, it’s walk-in only but if you’re planning a weekend evening visit, you can (and should) pre-order. Go to their storekit page which goes live at 11am on Mondays, or text/call the number in their Instagram bio, pick the time and day you want, and turn up to collect it. Yes you’ll have to hope there are free seats but as long as you pre-order the regular pizzas in the earlier half of the week, you can avoid disappointment.

Verdict: One of London's most unique and delicious dining experiences, Kurisu Omakase is a 18-course sushi extravaganza in Brixton. Eight lucky guests sit at a counter—wooden, knee-high, and lovingly worn in. The experience mixes Japanese cooking with chef Chris Restrepo’s Thai-Colombian heritage, genuine brilliance, and inimitable made-in-Brixton charm.

How To Get In: Resy alerts will be your best friend. Set up notifications and you could get lucky with a 6pm first sitting (the second is 8:30pm) on a random date. Otherwise, keep an eye on their Instagram where the restaurant announces the date the next batch of bookings will be going live. It’s worth knowing that bookings usually open at 11pm on the day mentioned.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Verdict: Bouchon Racine feels like it’s been hiding above the Three Compasses pub in Farringdon, waiting to be discovered, forever. The French bistro is a lesson in old-school seduction and how to run a restaurant. Everything feels like it comes naturally here. White tablecloths sit on each table like crisp bed sheets and mains of beige and brown—rabbit, bavette et al—are irresistible. The mustard sauce is luscious, the service warm, and the wine list extensive.

How To Get In: Reservations are available online up to 30 days ahead. Otherwise the phones are open between 9am and 11am from Tuesday to Saturday for more imminent cancellations and tables not shown online. If they don’t pick up, call, call, and call again. Otherwise, one of Bouchon’s excellent co-owners is rather active on X (a.k.a. Twitter) and has been known to take bookings that way.

Verdict: The Tuscan-inspired trattoria around the corner from Farringdon station is so relaxed in its own skin it imparts a natural feeling of scialla into all its diners. Sitting back, dispatching a couple of £5 negronis, and eyeing up the blackboard bistecca alla Florentina is one of the great dining pleasures you can have. Finish off with a wedge of one of London’s best (and most generous) tiramisus and you’re in heaven.

How To Get In: Look, this isn’t New York. Nobody wants to eat dinner at 10pm, so you’re better off getting organised. Reservations are released 14 days (not two weeks, there’s a difference) in advance at 9:30am and, if that doesn’t come off, push notifications for cancellations are very recommended. That said, Brutto’s bar is one of the best around. Cushy seats, big backs, and more than enough room to dine happily. Walk in and linger with a negroni.

Verdict: This secretive seven-person spot in Clerkenwell delivers one of the most high-end omakase experiences you can have in London and it’s entirely worth it. The 20-course experience will cost you £187 but every piece of fish you eat in the hushed atmosphere of this alleyway restaurant will be memorable.

How To Get In: Once only available to book on Twitter, these days Sushi Tetsu operates a little more conventionally. Although seats are obviously always limited. The online booking system opens at 12pm sharp every Monday for the following week and, if nothing’s available, add yourself to the waiting list.

Verdict: Chatsworth Bakehouse is a small-batch bakery in Crystal Palace known for its big queues and sandwiches that sell out in under 60 seconds. Inside, there’s just enough room to bake, let alone anywhere to sit down. The menu changes but includes the weekly focaccia sandwich drop (only available to pre-order), cereal cookies, loaves, and grandma-style pizza slices on Saturdays. The limited sandwiches they do make each week are excellent, and they’ve secured a bigger, additional space so this number could grow.

How To Get In: Set an alarm for 12:20pm on Monday and keep refreshing the pre-order page until you see the sandwich drop, then load up your basket ahead of time. At 12:30pm you can order. At this point it’s truly a matter of how dextrous your fingers are at inputting your card details. Although we found that using Google or Apple Pay is another way of saving precious seconds. Lastly, aim for Wednesday or Thursday pick-up days. Scrapping for Friday is a fool’s game.

Verdict: Sessions Arts Club is one of London's most glamorous restaurants. Lit by flickering candlelight, with towering plants and walls that are as distressed as you were trying to get a booking, this Clerkenwell spot feels special. The regal setting feels rife for illicit affairs but the food—gooey croquettes stuffed full of crab, clams bobbing in a slurpable bowl of crème fraîche, and bitter chocolate tart—is also plate-mopping good. 

How To Get In: Wake up early and be more organised than you ever thought possible to get a prime time table. Bookings open at 7am, 30 days ahead. There’s also a pretty good spread of lunchtime bookings available during the week, and if you’re happy to eat later, there are sometimes post-9pm bookings up for grabs too. Do make use of the ‘add to the waitlist’ button because last-minute cancellations do happen.

Verdict: Kol is an upmarket Mexican tasting menu restaurant in Marylebone that revolves around a buzzing open kitchen. Clay-coloured plates and bowls hit tables with a brief explanation—squeeze the prawn heads, garnish with flowers, smash the crispy pigs skin—but things still feel laid-back rather than stuffy. Sink into a rust red booth in this warm, terracotta dining room and get ready to photograph every dish that comes your way. They might not all be hits but they are all pretty.

How To Get In: Like every YouTuber to ever exist, Kol wants you to hit the like button and subscribe—well, hit the waitlist button and sign up to the newsletter. Subscribers get first dibs when reservations open up, specifically, access to tables 24 hours earlier than mere mortals. There’s also the walk-in Mezcaleria bar downstairs, and we’ve had luck with last-minute lunchtime bookings too. Otherwise, bookings get released a couple of months in advance.

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