Home My Top 10 London Restaurant Recommendations

My Top 10 London Restaurant Recommendations

Where to Eat in London

Where to Eat in London

Hello!!  Wondering where to eat in London? Let me help you with that! These are my favorite restaurants in London as of right now, but it changes a lot. These are recommendations from a local — I’ve live in London since 2004, or at least that’s the short story — of my favorite London restaurants where I know I can pretty much always be guaranteed a nice meal with nice services. It is not a Michelin-starred list or a list of London’s hippest restaurants. There’s a slight bias towards the Central/East side of London because that’s where I live. If you are a tourist, I hope my London restaurant recommendations make your trip even more enjoyable.

(Last updated, 13-April-2017.)

1. Bob Bob Ricard, Soho.
Russian pleasure palace. Press the champagne button. Have all the caviar. Wash it down with vodka. Admire the beautiful crystal glasses. Smell the expensive candles in the loos. A terrifically good time and not as pretentious as champagne and caviar makes it sound. Takes reservations. MAKE THEM. On many of the “Where to Eat in London” lists if you need some external validation. Also, an Instagrammers dream!

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 staff recommend. Small and charming. Be ready to stand — in fact, getting a stool can be quite a process. 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 Soho branch is still my favorite. (Note that since my original post, they’ve moved one street west to the old Quo Vadis space.)

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. No tables. Just bar stools. Good for a little drink and snack with a good friend.  (To be clear, not a restaurant. More of a bar but not really a bar either.)

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, very good value for the food that you eat.  You might see Fergus wandering around too. St. John appears on many of the where to eat in London lists.

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. A stalwart on regular lists of where to eat in London.

10. Noble Rot, Bloombsbury
Sort of a pub setting but a bit more than that. Beautiful, beautiful food that’s somewhat French and somewhat British but deeply, deeply good. As the name suggests, the wine list is ace. Small front bar doesn’t take reservations but get there early. I should probably put Noble Rot up higher on my list of where to eat in London but I haven’t eaten here as much as I have the other places.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my list of where to eat in London! Thanks for visiting!

 

27 comments

Helen Yuet Ling Pang December 16, 2007 at 10:23 am

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…

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sam January 3, 2008 at 4:45 pm

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

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Krista January 6, 2008 at 3:49 pm

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.

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slonik January 31, 2008 at 11:21 am

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…

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Krista February 9, 2008 at 10:40 am

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

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Anna February 27, 2008 at 12:43 am

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

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Kurt March 26, 2008 at 4:30 pm

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

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Krista March 26, 2008 at 7:51 pm

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

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Colleen April 4, 2008 at 10:23 pm

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

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Krista April 5, 2008 at 7:58 am

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

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Jeanne April 29, 2008 at 3:38 pm

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!

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Erika September 17, 2008 at 8:45 pm

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.

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Javier October 16, 2008 at 4:47 am

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.

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Miss Spring February 5, 2009 at 12:05 pm

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!

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FatBanker August 20, 2009 at 11:40 am

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

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Krista August 20, 2009 at 11:47 am

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

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Sasha V December 7, 2009 at 4:57 pm

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…

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Tim January 27, 2010 at 1:18 pm

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!

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Krista February 2, 2010 at 8:55 pm

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…)

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Indian in Cardiff July 7, 2010 at 10:43 am

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.

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Mich December 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

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!

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Mike@ The Culinary Lens June 4, 2011 at 10:04 pm

another bookmark for me to add to my London file

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Sam February 13, 2013 at 4:45 am

Great list of recommendations, thanks

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Nora Clavis August 28, 2013 at 8:38 am

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!

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Charles August 13, 2015 at 11:08 pm

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

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Krista August 13, 2015 at 11:10 pm

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

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London Lick November 12, 2015 at 9:41 am

We love Song Que Cafe in Shoreditch!

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