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

Our thoughts on the busiest restaurants in London and advice on how to get in.
The Toughest Reservations In London Right Now (And How To Get Them) image

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:Special OccasionsUnique Dining ExperienceBirthdays
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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 always open at 11pm on the day mentioned.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

$$$$Perfect For:Special OccasionsLunchDinner with the ParentsDate NightDrinking Good Wine

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: 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: Full disclosure: Singburi is booked up until the end of 2023, and they aren’t taking bookings for 2024 yet as they don’t know when they’ll be back from their trip to Thailand. So pray to a higher power, turn up at 6:30pm or 8:45pm, and hope that there’s a no-show. Just know it's not guaranteed. There are also limited takeaway slots, so while you won’t be able to fully experience the brilliant, frenetic energy of dining in, you can still taste the excellent dishes including its blackboard specials.

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) tiramisu 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 in advance at 9:30am and, if that doesn’t come off, push notifications for cancellations are very much 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.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

$$$$Perfect For:Special Occasions

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 £167 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 160 sandwiches they do make each week are excellent, and they’ve just 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: Pub meets curry house is pretty much our dream spot, and everyone else's if the lack of available tables at Indian restaurant The Tamil Prince is anything to go by. On a leafy, residential street in a serene part of Islington, it’s all racing green walls and polished mahogany wood. Tables are filled with channa bhatura—deep-fried balloons of dough—and half racks of well-spiced, tender lamb chops that make you wonder how big the lamb was if this is a half rack. This effortlessly stylish spot is somewhere you’ll want to linger.

 How To Get In: Quit your job and come at lunchtime. Or, take a client (roommate) for a working lunch. There’s more availability if you’re happy to eat earlier in the day or post-9pm. We’ve also seen people get extremely lucky, and walk in and nab seats at the counter too. In general don’t be afraid to go for the shared table, counter booking, or even the outdoor benches (weather permitting). It’s still a great experience.

photo credit: Sessions Arts Club



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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 restaurant in Marylebone that revolves around a buzzing open kitchen that offers tasting menus, and a welcome broth with a hearty dose of mezcal. Clay-coloured plates and bowls hit tables with a brief explanation—squeeze the prawn heads, garnish with flowers, smash the oh-so-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—like the underwhelming build-your-own taco—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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