My Top 10 London Restaurant Recommendations

Hello!!  This list is my list of favorite restaurants in London as of right now, but I expect it to change frequently. This is a local list, not a Michelin-starred list. It’s a fun list, a list of memories-waiting-to-be-created. That’s what’s important when you’re traveling, I think. Certain London restaurants and my blog stats tell me that people really like this page and get a lot from it. (Restaurants tell me that people walk in with this page from my London restaurant blog printed out.) Hey, if you’re one of those people, please tell me. And thanks for visiting. xoxo

(Last updated, 6-August-2015.)

1. Bob Bob Ricard, Soho.
Russian pleasure palace. Press the champagne button. Have all the caviar. Wash it down with vodka. A terrifically good time and not as pretentious as champagne and caviar makes it sound. Takes reservations. MAKE THEM.

2. Jose, Bermondsey
Eat all the jamon. It tastes like acorns. They have croquetas that change daily! Wash all that down with lots of Albarino or whatever the charming guys behind the bar recommend. Small and charming. Be ready to stand. Does not take reservations. If you walk there from London Bridge, you might be like “Where the ???? am I going?? Don’t worry. You will be fine.

3. Hix Oyster & Chophouse, Smithfield Market/Farringdon
My “local.” Everything I eat here is beautiful. I bring friends and they say “WOW.” But yet, on a Sunday afternoon, it’s fairly empty. Just you and the jazz band and the lovely service. The menu changes quite frequently, but if you see the Isle of Wight tomatoes on bread, get them. Beware the Sunday roast lunch special…it is LARGE. Hix takes reservations, but if you’re solo, you can probably show up on the day/night and have dinner at the bar. A good place to go if you want to have food that is more traditionally British.

4. 40 Maltby Street, Bermondsey
I can’t seem to stay away from this little wine bar down on Rope Walk in Bermondsey. Friendly staff, great vibe, delicious small bits of deliciousness.

5. Barrafina, Soho
RAZOR CLAMS. That is all. A tapas bar in Soho that does some seriously great stuff and was finally awarded a well-deserved Michelin star. No reservations and best when there is just one or two of you. Good for solo dining.  (My 2009 blog post is from the earlier days. Everything I’ve had since has been pretty darn good.) They’ve since expanded to multiple locations but the original Soho branch is still my favorite.

6. Fernandez & Wells. Soho.
If only there were a branch by my office. I would seriously eat their chorizo sandwiches every day. I would probably drink a lot of rioja too. That’s a bad idea. But I’d still do it. A “pop in for a glass of wine and some jamon” kinda of place. Very very very small. (Seriously…maybe room for 15 people.) Does not take reservations. Good for a little drink and snack with a good friend.

7. St. John. Clerkenwell.
Welsh rarebit for me, please. Go here if you want to eat pig’s ears and bone marrow salad. I think it’s fair to say that most London restaurant bloggers love this place. I like the bar and hang out there quite often, enjoying the plentiful bar snacks. Maybe I’ll see you. Takes reservations in the restaurant but you can show up at the bar most evenings and make a meal of the snacks too. For various reasons, I’ve had a lot of lunches in the bar at St. John lately, and I can heartily recommend the soup of the day. Sometimes they give you bread and butter for free. Get the house white and enjoy. Lunch in the bar can be a very good value for the food that you eat.

8. Sichaun Folk, Spitalfields
I love this friendly little Szechuan off Brick Lane. Great lunch specials and the kids that run the place are ace. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reservations accepted.

9. Song Que, Shoreditch
So I am a little addicted to Vietnamese food since visiting Vietnam in March of 2014. So I like to dip in here for some hearty beef Pho on the weekends. Crowded and the service can be cranky sometimes but the crowds know what they are onto. Get one of the university kids to tell you what to order.

10. Tayyabs. Whitechapel.
Part of me doesn’t want to tell you about the deliciousness of the lamb chops here. Stay away. I also like the lentils and aubergine and I don’t want you to have any of that either. One of my good friends took me here almost immediately after I moved to London in 2004 and now blames me for the long queues at Tayyabs. He also drastically overestimates the power of my London restaurant blog. Takes reservations but is totally crazy times crowded — like really crowded. Go early.

 

27 Responses to “My Top 10 London Restaurant Recommendations”

  1. I’ve just added Tayyabs to my wishlist after my Pakistani friend recommended it. Can’t wait. Have you tried Koba? It’s my favourite Korean restaurant…


  2. sam
    Jan 03, 2008
    Reply

    Hi Krista,

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time and I enjoy it thoroughly. I have thought about starting my own blog about dining experiences in London, because with the exception of a few other blogs (yours included), I don’t have much faith in reviews (professional or otherwise). It seems like the professional reviewers don’t really get away with anonymous dining and postings on london-eating or other sites aren’t confidence inspiring either. If you had any advice whatsoever I would much appreciate it.

    All the best and bon apetit!
    best regards,
    sam


  3. Krista
    Jan 06, 2008
    Reply

    Sam–thanks for your nice comments. Advice? Hmmm…well…blogging isn’t always easy. I have a personal rule where I never apologize for not posting in a long time–something you’ll see lots of bloggers do–because I want to post frequently. But keeping the momentum up is hard. So my advice would be to make sure you’re committed to some sort of posting schedule.

    My other advice would be to take pictures. Write for online. (i.e., managable chunks.) Link to others. And be nice. 🙂 Good luck! And keep me posted.

    Helen–have not tried Koba yet but will add it to the list! Thanks for the tip.


  4. slonik
    Jan 31, 2008
    Reply

    Weird – even though judging from your blog our London stomping ground’s pretty similar, I’ve only been to 3 of your top 10. Of them, I wholeheartedly agree about Vinoteca and like Tayyab’s, but have utterly failed to be charmed by the Eagle. Will have to think of my own top 10 soon…


  5. Krista
    Feb 09, 2008
    Reply

    Slonik–yes, please let’s compare top 10s! I’m in need of some new places to visit.


  6. Anna
    Feb 27, 2008
    Reply

    how can you pick just 10?!!! oh how i miss my old london haunts.


  7. Kurt
    Mar 26, 2008
    Reply

    Thank you very much for this article.
    I will be in London in two weeks and am looking for a place one can get real good English food. I have not really had any yet, but there seems to be a resurgence of some sort.
    Any suggestions?
    Thank you
    kbender2008@gmail.com
    http://www.ptownpatio.com


  8. Krista
    Mar 26, 2008
    Reply

    Kurt–
    You should try St. John in Clerkenwell for very “British” food. Nose to tail eating!

    The Fox & Anchor, also in Clerkenwell, is also quite nice for British food. (Review going up on Friday.)

    I would take a look at my Gastro and Very British categories…they might point you in the right direction. But remember…everyone’s taste is different!

    Krista


  9. Colleen
    Apr 04, 2008
    Reply

    I couldn’t find the “Very British” category that you recommended to Kurt. Can you tell me how to find it? It sounds very interesting. Thanks


  10. Krista
    Apr 05, 2008
    Reply

    Colleen, I’ve fixed the drop-down so you’ll see “British, Very” in there…sorry about that!


  11. Jeanne
    Apr 29, 2008
    Reply

    We were at Lalibela for the first time on Saturday and I would go back for the coffee alone – the whole ceremony as well as that little cup of brew, redolent with cardamom and cinnamon…. Mmmmmmmm!


  12. Erika
    Sep 17, 2008
    Reply

    Tried Canteen on the East End? I thought they were just great, and I loved the veggie hand pies they made at the Taste of London festival last year. (I’m an American who has also lived in the UK. It’s nice to see your list.)
    I heard good things about The Providores. Jamie Oliver did a show with one of the owners, on “Oliver’s Twist” a few year’s back. It’s hard not to find good food in Marylebone. I love the La Fromagerie store Patricia Michelson set up.


  13. Javier
    Oct 16, 2008
    Reply

    Hey thnks for the information, I have to tell that I’ll be in London pretty soon but I don’t know nothing about the city…so u know, I’m looking for all information that help me with this.

    I’ll really keep this restaurants in mind… ;). Bye.


  14. Miss Spring
    Feb 05, 2009
    Reply

    we have some similar tastes (http://kitchensunk.blogspot.com/2009/01/and-winner-is.html sorry, my blog is in Portuguese so you won’t get most of it…), and i’m curious try to some of your suggestions!


  15. FatBanker
    Aug 20, 2009
    Reply

    Hi, nice blog!

    I think you are totally right. In terms of ‘for the people’ dining Vinoteca is absolutely superb and I recommend to everyone. Is only a shame you can’t book…but then I guess propping the bar for 30 mins with some nice wine in hand is not exactly a hardship!

    Keep up the good work.

    FatBanker


  16. Krista
    Aug 20, 2009
    Reply

    Thanks! Yes, definitely love Vinoteca and most times, I don’t mind the wait!


  17. Sasha V
    Dec 07, 2009
    Reply

    Love your suggestions – will definitely have to try some of these! If you have time, take a look at http://thehappinessprojectlondon.wordpress.com/ – Yalla Yalla and Upstairs are particular favourites…


  18. Tim
    Jan 27, 2010
    Reply

    Hey Krista, loving the blog. I live with a Californian so we’ve got a bit of the transatlantic thing going on too. Just wanted to shamelessy post a link to my own new blog http://thirtyoneseventyfive.com. If you have time maybe take a look at let me know what you think. I’m looking for the best and worst Italian restaurants for starters. Anyway, keep up the good work with Londonelicious!


  19. Krista
    Feb 02, 2010
    Reply

    Have added you to my feed reader! Remind me when you're about 3 months old and I will add a link to you. (Sorry, I gotta do it. Too many new blogs these days and not all of them stick around…)


  20. Brilliant recommendations. Thanks. Must try some of these.

    By the way I can vouch for Tayyabs in East London (tube: Whitechapel). I have never got there and didn’t have to queue. Informal dinning but great food.


  21. Mich
    Dec 22, 2010
    Reply

    I’m living in DC now and desperately miss London. Will be back for Christmas and have to visit La Trompette. They won a Michelin star a couple of yrs ago but have kept their prices very reasonable considering! Every time I go the meal is better, their timinng is impeccable and it feels like a proper grown-up restaurant. Spectacular winelist too.
    Oh and also Alounak in Bayswater – how do they make chicken that tender? Fantastic fresh baked flatbreads and dips to die for! Not sure how it compares to your Hashem experience but it’s my fav middle eastern in London.
    Great blog! Thank you!


  22. another bookmark for me to add to my London file


  23. Sam
    Feb 13, 2013
    Reply

    Great list of recommendations, thanks


  24. Nora Clavis
    Aug 28, 2013
    Reply

    Thanks! Great list of recommendations.
    Check this article as well

    http://www.prfire.co.uk/travel/london-from-a-managers-perspective-145137

    The manager Lars Windhorst gives a great insight into “his London” with amazing restaurant recommendations!


    • Charles
      Aug 13, 2015
      Reply

      Too much focus on soho, clerkenwell and spitafields. Venture into Marylebone and Mayfair.


      • Krista
        Aug 13, 2015
        Reply

        But where, Charles? Where??
        P.S. I like that you don’t go west of Marble Arch either.


  25. London Lick
    Nov 12, 2015
    Reply

    We love Song Que Cafe in Shoreditch!



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