LDNGuide

The 10 Best Restaurants In The City

Superb seafood, hand-pulled udon, and javelin-sized subs and more in the City of London.
The 10 Best Restaurants In The City image

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

Clichés about the City usually go one of two ways. On one hand there’s the view it’s a capitalist cesspit inhabited with identical human shells. On the other hand people say it’s the ‘Square Mile’ cog that makes London tick. Neither side, really, considers the City as a dining destination. Eating here is seen as functional, not fun. We get that. The restaurant scene used to be a bit barren in terms of quality and atmosphere—unless you enjoy eating in a board meeting of course. These days it’s a bit different. There are a load of restaurants that span casual and classy, accessible and astronomical, and if you stick to the best of them, the City can be a good place to eat.


THE SPOTS

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Uyghur

City

$$$$Perfect For:LunchBig GroupsCatching Up With MatesCasual Weeknight Dinner
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Among the gothic architecture and shiny new builds of the City, you’ll find Karamay. The Uyghur restaurant mixes the fiery flavours of the north western Chinese cuisine with a slick, big-windowed space that looks out on the busy worker bees wandering the streets below. If you’re coming for a quick lunch, then a plate of hand-pulled stir-fried noodles that sing with spice will do nicely. Otherwise, if there are a few of you sharing, a steaming big plate chicken, some sweet and savoury Uyghur pilaf rice, and a few green chilli-filled Chinese murgers are essential.


You can’t have a more City-ish meal than at Sweetings. It’s been about for donkey’s years, serving all kinds of seafood to the folks who supposedly make things tick. It’s an old restaurant that serves old classics—think fish and chips, prawn cocktail, fish pie, and a warm pudding to finish it all off. This certainly isn’t the finest food in London but its charm is undeniable. Especially after you’ve got a black velvet—Guinness and champagne—tankard down you.


Lunchtime in the City can be dangerous. Take cover in Koya. This Japanese spot in the Bloomberg Arcade specialises in noodles and most of their hot udon dishes come in around the £15 mark. If you’re not one for udon, they also do sticky donburi and small plates like crispy fried prawn heads. Grab a solo seat at the bar or bring a pal and split the kakuni (braised pork belly with cider). Whatever you do, finish up with one of their many sakes, you know, for your safety.


The original Kêu in Shoreditch is one of our favourite bánh mì places in London, and their City shop on London Wall is just as good as the original. The classic sandwich with mortadella and terrine is our go-to, but you can’t really go wrong with whatever you choose. Their rice bowls are good too, if a bit pricey. There’s always a queue at lunch but it moves quickly.


photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

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Brigadiers is the stress-free playground where City folk can let their hair down and have some serious fun. We’re talking a big fat glossy pool table, leather booths that you’ll flatly refuse to leave, a drinks list that you could practically read for fun, and wise monkey lamps that you half-expect to be oracles that whisper, ‘forget the capital assets friend, eat some bone marrow biryani’. This huge Indian barbecue spot has several rooms that you can flit between. Snack on masala chicken skins and sip nitro espresso martinis at the entirely glorious bar, or get stuck into a full-blown feast of BBQ butter chicken wings and tandoori surf ‘n’ turf in one their many private dining rooms.


The first thing you should know about Bob Bob Ricard City is that it’s expensive. The second thing you should know is that it’s entirely worth it. This flashy, over-the-top restaurant inside the Leadenhall Building has red leather booths, a huge shiny dining room, ‘presse pour champagne’ buttons on every table, and a menu packed full of things like caviar-covered steak tartare, oysters, and lobster. Thanks to the slick service, big wine vault, table-side USB ports, and excellent, rich French food, it’s perfect for impressive business meals. But it’ll also work for pretty much any other special occasion you throw at it.


When you need somewhere in the area that’s undeniably feelgood and arguably a little bit silly, there’s 14 Hills. This sky garden situation at the top of 120 Fenchurch Street looks like The Jungle Book got a makeover by the producers of Made In Chelsea. Although prices can be hefty, they have great desserts, affordable set menu options, and some seriously great views across London. Whether you’re hosting a G&T-fuelled birthday in one of their huge circular booths or swinging by for a post-work drink at the 360-degree bar, get involved in the long list of cocktails.


Imagine a world different to this one, where you can order proper food from restaurants at 5am. Enter, Duck & Waffle. This spot is on the top floor of the Heron Building, has exceptional views of the City, and serves really good food all day and all night. 24/7. And yes, that includes Sundays. Their menu is posh British with a twist. In need of early afternoon work drinks and nibbles? Get a round of cocktails and a few of the pulled goat doughnuts at the bar. Famished from the excitement of spotting two has-been X Factor contestants on a Thames boat party? Finish the night right with some BBQ crispy pig ears. 


The Sichuan is a big Chinese restaurant on the City Road that’s made for banqueting. This isn’t a let’s-go-and-grab-something-together place for just you and your mate. This is an en-masse kind of restaurant. ‘Wontons and dumplings everyone, yeah? Dan dan noodles? Yeah that mapo tofu looks good. And the Sichuan beef?’. You get the idea. The Sichuan gets pretty busy, day and night, so it’s worth calling ahead.


Ekte Nordic Kitchen is an all-day spot in Bloomberg Arcade that’s perfect for a quiet lunch involving smørrebrød and lingonberries, or when you’re not trying to prove your alpha-dog credentials by consuming your own weight in red meat. The room has a whole Scandi minimalism thing going on with just the right amount of foliage. Reasonably priced mains like schnitzel and frikadeller (meatballs) make it a useful place for midweek meetings.

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