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!