Where To Have A Unique Dining Experience In London

The best restaurants when you want to pretend you're in a period drama, eat on the canal, or watch a plane take off.
Where To Have A Unique Dining Experience In London image

photo credit: London Shell Co.

Much like boy band members’ haircuts, 20-somethings’ tattoos, and all of your exes, sometimes it feels like London restaurants are all exactly the same. That’s why sometimes you want something different. Something original. Something unique. From a lively east end caff that’s been serving full English breakfasts for over a century, to a spot filled with £50 million of art, these are all restaurants that for one reason or another you’ll not only enjoy, but remember. 


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCasual Weeknight DinnerUnique Dining Experience
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

One of the many joys of eating is the sharing of everything. Be it food, drink, or intimate stories from your teenage years. At Namak Mandi, this sense of sharing is only intensified when you plan ahead and pre-order a quarter, half, or entire lamb. The Pashtun restaurant in Tooting operates at a million miles per hour, but once you’re sitting cross-legged on cushions upstairs—surrounded by friends, loved ones, and what can only be described as a jurassic amount of sumptuous, slow-cooked lamb on a bed of rice laced with sweet carrots and raisins—you’ll find your own pace. The room isn’t fancy and you’ll need a wad of cash but, trust us, this isn’t a meal you’ll eat or forget in a hurry.

Mount St. is by no means a perfect restaurant but, when the multicoloured mosaic floor you’re walking on is quite literally a work of art and there’s a Matisse on one wall, a Picasso on the other, plus a Warhol and a Lucian Freud oil painting of some prawns over there, maybe it doesn’t matter. This British restaurant-cum-gallery is about as Mayfair as things come and the modern menu isn’t too shabby either. A lobster pie with its head poking out of the pastry is as OTT as it sounds, while the omelette Arnold Bennett (part coronary, part starter) is a true delight. It’s all a bit ostentatious but, sometimes, that’s OK.

photo credit: Park Chinois



SevenRooms logo

One-of-a-kind experiences come in many forms, and having a burlesque dancer twerk beside your basket of dumplings in a Sauvage-scented bunker is just one of them. Park Chinois isn’t where we’d choose to spend our money or time, but it’s undeniably a place that’s unto itself. The Chinese clubstaurant on Berkeley Square has two sides to it: the downstairs club that mixes tacky taste with teenage ideals of a restaurant, and the Lynchian red velvet upstairs dining room, where you can enjoy crooning jazz and a cracking signature peking duck, all at once.

Oslo Court has been open since 1982 and honestly, apart from the appearance of a card machine, this place hasn’t changed one bit. It’s at the bottom of a big block of flats in St John’s Wood, so as soon as you realise you are in the right place, you can start the task of picking from their long menu of British classics. The food can be… eccentric, let’s say, and if you’re offended by steamed vegetables or waiters who describe every dessert as if it’s The Da Vinci Code, then this might not be the place for you. But it’s a unique, dessert trolley, time machine type of restaurant.

There are plenty of omakase experiences in London and they’re almost always a special experience, but there’s something about Kurisu Omakase that feels a little different. The unique 17-course sushi experience mixes Japanese cooking with Thai-Colombian heritage, genuine brilliance, and inimitable made-in-Brixton charm. There are only eight seats in the intimate restaurant, and you’ll find yourself gawping at flame-torched pieces of fish, losing words over truffle and caviar-topped otoro, and genuinely belly laughing at the stories you’re told.

While things oscillate between decent and delicious at Yi-Ban, the USP of this big Cantonese restaurant in Docklands is never in question. It’s smack bang opposite London City Airport, so not only will you enjoy lurid, crunching crispy chilli beef, but you’ll also get to see a few Airbus A318s take off and land while you’re at it. Safe steamed bets like crystal dumplings and pork buns are the way to go, and the dim sum is generally very nice.

Unless you own a yacht, or eat your meal deal on the Thames Clipper, it’s unlikely you’ve ever eaten your dinner while at sea or, rather, on water. That should change now you know about The Prince Regent from the London Shell Co. It’s a converted canal boat that sets off from Paddington at a leisurely, stroll-like pace, while you sit, or stroll out on deck, drink in hand, and breathe in all the smells of London’s blue bag-filled waterways. Jokes aside, it’s a lovely experience. And the food, a set seafood menu, is simple and delicious.

Brasserie Zédel is never not busy. It’s full of Londoners, tourists, Gatsby-enthusiasts, and everything in between. The reason why? It’s brilliant. This enormous and grand French brasserie is rich in 1920s Parisian atmosphere, but lacking in any kind of pretension or uppity-ness. The restaurant is perfect for almost any occasion or night out, thanks to Bar Américain (their cocktail bar) and Crazy Coqs (their cabaret club). 

At a cool 200-plus years-old, Rules is London’s oldest restaurant. So it’s no surprise that you get your fair share of tourists and folks who wear Union Jack-embroidered slippers at home here. Especially as it’s in Covent Garden. It is, nonetheless, still worth visiting if you’re after a Downton meets Dickensian experience. There’s plenty of game and pies on the menu, gold detail and velvet in the restaurant. Plus, you can always swing by the upstairs bar for a drink if you don’t fancy a heavy (and heavily priced) meal that will inevitably finish with custard. Lots of custard.

photo credit: Endo at the Rotunda

This spot is Temporarily Closed.



SevenRooms logo

Yes, it's 20 courses and yes it costs £250, but Endo At The Rotunda is entirely worth it. This 10-seater omakase restaurant in White City sits high up in the sky (eight floors up, to be precise) and every hand-fed bite will taste like it’s out of this world. Not just because head chef Endo stands in front of you shredding fish and peering into your soul after placing fatty tuna in the palm of your hand, but because this is one of the greatest shows in London—food or otherwise. It’s an all-engrossing but never attention seeking show of sophistication, rather than, say, Salt Bae.

There are plenty of Japanese restaurants in London, but Abeno is special in that it was the first okonomiyaki specialist in town. Every table at this spot in Bloomsbury has its own teppan—a hot plate built into the table—meaning that you get to watch your pancakes be fried and flipped right in front of you, before they make the short journey to your plate. Thankfully, this isn’t your responsibility. The servers here wield spatulas like swords, and they’ll take care of cooking your pork, squid, and prawn-filled okonomiyaki perfectly. Meaning that you and your group can sit back and enjoy the show, and also some soba.

We probably won’t live to be 130 years-old. But, if we did, we could imagine solely wanting to eat soft things like fish pie or sticky toffee pudding, and to enjoy it with a glass of sancerre, followed by a pint of Guinness. It makes sense then that this is the thing to do at Sweetings—an old-school, lunch-only spot in the City that’s been serving seafood and the sauce for over a century. It’s basically a white tablecloth, marie rose-heavy, public school experience. And everyone should try it just once.

Remember that feeling when you were little and you didn’t know what your parents were going to make for dinner, but then it turned out to be your favourite thing, and you would be absolutely buzzing. Yeah, that’s kind of what going for dinner at this no-menu Chinese restaurant near Chelsea is like. It’s a somewhat plain and entirely inoffensive space, but Hunan isn’t a unique dining experience because of showiness. The special thing is that you don’t order here. Just tell them what you don’t and/or can’t eat, and then trust that they’ll bring you an excellent meal. Which is exactly what they’ll do. 

You might think there’s nothing unique about a little London caff that serves a full English. You could think that, but friends, you would be wrong when it comes to E Pellicci. It’s a proper east London cafe that’s been open since 1900, and is owned by an Italian family who are basically Bethnal Green’s answer to The Osbournes. As well as serving their full English breakfasts on a bed of fried bread, they also serve things like a nap-inducing lasagna, sandwiches, and bread pudding with, old faithful, Bird’s custard. After Buckingham Palace and Chariots Sauna, this place has been home to some of London’s most fly-on-the-wall moments, as everyone famous with a Cockney accent has eaten here, including the Kray twins. 

A long, long time ago, way back in the ‘90s, respected philosopher Kate Moss said ‘why the fuck can’t I have fun all the time?’. Profound, we know. And we like to think that when the people behind this excellent Indian party restaurant were in the process of building Brigadiers, they had this quote on the top of every single design brief. At this big, good times playground, there’s a pool room with oil portraits of football greats, a whisky vending machine, red leather booths, and some lamb chops you’ll shed sentimental tears for. Basically, one of the best ways to spend an evening in London is sharing the bone marrow biryani and drinking their on-tap Old Fashioneds until you end up telling your life story to one of their monkey lamps.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

16 Restaurants For When You Need To Act Like You’re Living Your Best Life (For Social Media) image

16 Restaurants For When You Need To Act Like You’re Living Your Best Life (For Social Media)

16 restaurants perfect for showing the world that life is really, totally, great.

Rémy Martin

These are the restaurants you should be considering when you want your lunch to go on and on.

9 Restaurants Where You Feel Like You’re In The Kitchen  image

It’s almost like you’re actually cooking.

Infatuation Logo


2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store