Best places to eat in London

    Looking for the perfect foodie spot when you visit London? We've got the capital's best cafés, pubs and restaurants for you to peruse.

    Best places to eat in London

    With so many restaurants in the capital, it's hard to know which to choose. Head straight for a winner dinner, with this tried and tested selection of the best eateries across the city:

    Galvin at Windows
    Best for: Special occasions, child-friendly

    Galvin at Windows
    Twenty-eight floors up with glimpses into Buckingham Palace’s gardens, this is the place to bring someone you want to spoil. Dishes are pegged to seasonal ingredients: mains include rump of Cornish lamb, crispy spiced shoulder, couscous, aubergine & harissa jus. Three courses cost £70, a three-course Sunday lunch is £50 and there's kids menu too.

    If you’re short of time, the bar provides stellar cocktails and snacks such as Korean fried chicken for £8 – views included.

    A. Wong
    Best for: Special occasions, casual dining


    A Wong
    London’s best dim sum can be found five minutes from Victoria Station at A. Wong, a little place with a remarkable menu. Prices start at £1.30 per piece for exquisite bites of familiar favourites such as baked pork buns, as well as new ideas like rabbit & carrot puffs. Dim sum is only available at lunch, and there’s an equally exciting evening menu.

    Switch House
    Best for: Special occasions

    Switch House
    The Tate Modern’s Switch House restaurant, on the ninth floor of the new building, is a cool, comfortable swathe of blond wood and polished concrete, a seamless extension of the galleries. The Tate team has strong relationships with small suppliers, such as Yorkshire Wolds chicken – all listed on the menu. Dishes are picture perfect, especially the puddings. We love the lemon brûlée tart. Wines start at £4.75 a glass and, with great views, it’s worth lingering in the bar. If you want something more casual, there’s a child-friendly restaurant in the main building. 

    Craft
    Best for: Special occasions, casual dining


    Craft
    Between the O2 and North Greenwich Tube station lies Craft restaurant, café, bar and shop – a welcome oasis of striking Tom Dixon design and lovingly made British food. Eat at the restaurant and you can sample charcuterie such as cured pork neck, IPA beef leg and duck ham, brine-pickled vegetables with salted yogurt or pork belly, land cress, kale & beetroot. Snacks from £3.50, mains from £16.50. The café serves pizzas, salads and very good coffee.

    Blanchette
    Best for: Special occasions, casual dining


    Blanchette
    This bustling Soho bistro has a quirky interior, eclectic music and a tapas-style tasting menu of French fare – you’ll feel at home and thoroughly spoilt all at the same time. A warm cheese beignet with onion confit and generous glass of red may have you cancelling plans for the rest of the evening and settling for a full three courses. Mains from £7.

    The Ninth
    Best for: Special occasions, casual dining


    The Ninth
    Set on London’s Charlotte St, behind Tottenham Court Road, is Jun Tanaka’s The Ninth. With more than 20 years' experience in some of the finest French restaurants in London - including Le Gavroche, The Square and Pearl - the American-born chef has honed his style to offer French Mediterranean cooking. Typical dishes include a sublime rabbit confit lasagne, barbajuans (small, deep-fried ricotta and chard parcels) and sea bass carpaccio, salsa verde & pickled kohlrabi. This is the food that Jun enjoys eating - lighter small plates designed for sharing.

    Set over two floors, both dining spaces have a warm, contemporary feel, with bare brick walls and copper panelling. Upstairs, a shelf heaving with Jun's favourite vintage cookbooks adds a cosy, homely feel, while the ground floor bar has stools reserved for walk-ins.

    Midweek, a three-plate set lunch menu is brilliant value at £21 per person. Even better, Mondays are BYO, when you can take along your own wine with no corkage charges.

    Theo’s Simple Italian
    Best for: Casual dining


    This all-day Italian restaurant and deli in Earls Court is overseen by Culinary Director Theo Randall, who with Head Chef William Leoni has created a classic menu that allows seasonal ingredients to shine. Start with meltingly creamy burrata, follow with parpadelle with a rich ragu, or light-as-air spinach gnudi. Once dinner is done, pick up some authentic Italian and artisan produce from the deli to take home. Antipasti from £10, mains from £11.50, desserts from £6.

    Picture
    Best for: Special occasions, casual dining
    Cool yet relaxed, Picture has all the appeal of a neighbourhood gem but is centrally situated in the heart of Marylebone and a short walk from the Wallace Collection. 

    Like its sister restaurant, Picture in Fitzrovia, which opened three years ago, this new venture is run by a trio who all worked for the Arbutus group. And it offers the same winning formula - accomplished modern European cooking at affordable prices. The wine list won't break the bank either.

    Order a la carte or go for the seasonal six-course tasting menu - brilliant value at £40. Starters include ravioli of caramelised onion, peas, lettuce & pecorino; the main of 28-day aged beef with an addictive bone marrow crumb & red wine sauce is standout, as is the stone bass with meltingly soft roast shallot, thyme & sprouting broccoli. Plates are small, leaving you room for dessert, like iced mascarpone parfait with English strawberries & granola or dark chocolate mousse with salt caramel crumble. Set lunch £22 (3 courses); £25 (4 courses). 

    Dalloway Terrace 
    Best for: Special occasions, casual dining

    An oasis of pretty, foliage-filled calm off busy Tottenham Court Road, this indoor-outdoor venue on the side of The Bloomsbury hotel works well during the day when it's flooded with light and at night when it glows with twinkling fairy lights. There’s nothing too complicated about the menu here, everyone will love most, if not all of the dishes, but it has enough smart twists to make it the kind of place to revisit. Trealy Farm charcuterie, remoulade and pickles come as a sharing plate, Dorset crab and Meantime beer-battered fish name check places and producers and the pudding selection includes an Earl Grey burnt cream, very British. Good cocktails, both with and without alcohol too.

    Afternoon tea from pastry chef Mariatu Kargbo is excellent with plenty of savoury options including smoked salmon rillettes and Guiness bread, fruit and plain scones and beautiful mini desserts. Tea £30. All-day dining mains from £14.  

    100 Islington
    Best for: Casual dining


    100 Islington
    This lively neighbourhood bar/restaurant near The Business Design Centre in Islington serves small plates with an Asian twist and inventive cocktails. Expect to try some new ingredients - brunch is so much more than your average full English. Try koroke - a Korean cheese croquette served with sweet chilli sauce, eggs and bacon. At dinner, duck with almond beer butter, south almonds, kimchee is a highlight, as is braised octopus, garam masala celeriac purée, roasted butternut squash. Share 4 or so dishes between two, from around £6 to £13. Grab an outdoor table to watch Islington life stroll by.

    Bernardi’s
    Best for: Casual dining


    Bernardi's
    A step away from the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street is Bernardi’s, a modern Italian restaurant with the feel of a chic local. The menu includes dishes to cover every type of all-day eating, from cicchetti (small plates) such as polpette, n’duja & taleggio arancini and courgette & pecorino frittata (all under £5); mains, such as lamb shoulder ragu; and a range of pizzette and salads.

    Pharmacy 2
    Best for: Special occasions, casual dining

    This venture between artist Damien Hirst and evergreen chef-restaurateur Mark Hix, is above the Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall and enjoyed by gallery visitors at lunchtime and a smart, art crowd at night. The menu features a mix of seasonal British classics, such as home-cured salmon, prawn cocktail and pies, with meat and fish sourced from the West Country. Nibble on crispy prawn kale hearts, then split an order of brick l’oeuf de canard, a rich duck egg encased in light, flaky pastry with a spoon of punchy rose harissa. Duck curry with apple pakora and the brunch menus fragrant noodles hint at the chef's love of Asian food. Hix's patriotism shines through in the cocktail list with drinks such as the Britz Spritz, which combines British bittersweet apertif Kamm & Son, elderflower cordial and Nyetimber English fizz. Extra points for specials that name-check the farmer. Mains from £9.95, brunch from £7.50. 

    MeatUp
    Best for: Casual dining


    This all-day venue and late-night bar in the heart of Wandsworth Town brings all the laid-back vibes of an outdoors get-together into an urban indoors space, with a living wall of ivy creeping over bare bricks and an open-plan kitchen. Head chef Stephen Hinkley (formerly of Foxlow) has created a British-focused menu specializing in huge sharing platters, from sticky, smoky barbecue glazed short ribs to whole roast chickens, served with all the traditional trimmings and lashings of ale and bone marrow gravy. Brunch offerings include smashed avo on sweet potato 'toast', house salted brisket hash with fried duck egg or a gargantuan mixed grill to share. The bubbly atmosphere is fueled by an eclectic music mix, featuring live music and ‘BYOV’ (Bring Your Own Vinyl) nights. Starters from £6, mains from £12, brunch from £6. 

    Sardine
    Best for: Special occasions, casual dining

    Close to Old Street in the backstreets of Hoxton (in close proximity to the brilliant, bonafide London boozer, The Wenlock Arms), Alex Jackson’s Sardine serves southern French cooking with a side of retro. The stuffed tomato may sound like something from Abigail’s Party, but the veal filling and puddle of salty, buttery emulsion served with it showcase a modern approach to ingredient-led, no-fuss plates. If visiting in summer, expect dishes like red mullet en papillotte with mussels, wild sea trout with flat beans and artichoke Niçoise. Make sure you take a detour past the open kitchen to watch hunks of lamb cooking on an open wood fire if hypnotic, dangling meat is your thing. Main courses from £14. 

    Brasserie Zedel
    Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats


    Brasserie Zedel
    Paris comes to Piccadilly Circus – go through the café upstairs and you’ll find yourself sweeping down a staircase to another world. Prices are keen for a dining experience that includes linen, silver and waist-coated waiters. The steak haché with frites costs £9.75; daily specials, such as cassoulet, are £14.25 and desserts start at £4.25. There’s a two-course prix-fixe lunch at £9.75 too. 

    Baltic
    Best for: Casual dining

    Baltic
    Within a 10-minute walk of the National and Old and Young Vic theatres on the South Bank, Baltic offers Eastern and Central European dishes, and more than 60 varieties of vodka, in slick modern surroundings. Start with dumplings, then move on to pork schnitzel à la Holstein. Pre-theatre menus start at £18.50 for two courses. 

    The Hour Glass
    Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child-friendly 

    The Hour Glass
    Close to the V&A, Natural History and Science museums, this is the best food pub in the area by miles. The menu comes from Luke Mackay, who co-owns nearby deli Brompton Food Market, so the provenance of ingredients is clear. Food is served in the small, bright dining room upstairs as well as the bar downstairs. Mains include pie of the day (£14) at lunch and there’s a kids’ menu. Or snack on a rare-breed Cumberland Scotch egg at the bar.  

    Som Saa
    Best for: Casual dining

    Three words – believe the hype. There’s a reason why Andy Oliver’s regional Thai pop-up smashed its crowd-funding campaign to upsize in three days, or rather there are several reasons: the whole-fried fish scattered with Isan herbs, crispy pork pad prik, fresh salads drenched in lime juice and fish sauce in gloriously tongue-tingling quantities, dragon’s milk cocktails and traffic-stopping palm sugar ice cream. The Commercial Road restaurant’s dedication to the ‘uncompromising flavours’ of Thailand mean there’s not a standard issue green curry in sight, but as tables are mainly reserved for walk-ins, you’ll need to pre-plan your visit.  Dishes from £7. 

    Padella
    Best for: Casual dining

    If you want to eat at Borough Market but perching on a kerb balancing a Scotch egg on your knee isn’t your style, Padella offers a foodie haven – just don’t expect any calm from the hubbub outside. This casual, no-reservations pasta specialist from the team behind Highbury’s Trullo has near-permanent queues thanks to much-Instagrammed dishes like pici cacio e pepe (thick hand-rolled long pasta, butter and pepper – no adjective can capture its unassuming wonder) and pappardelle with 8-hour ragu. The small menu offers around six pasta dishes, plus excellent starters and desserts. Their ‘spadelarre’ cooking method is the lynchpin of the whole magical operation: peer over the open counter to study the kitchen team ‘saucepanning’ the pasta to unctuous oblivion and those queues start to make a whole lot of sense.  Pasta from £5.50. 

    Dishoom
    Best for: Casual dining, child-friendly

    Dishoom
    Fantastic Indian food, excellent cocktails and one of the best breakfasts in London (try the egg & bacon naan). There are branches in Soho, Covent Garden, Kings Cross and Shoreditch and each has speciality dishes. We always order the chilli cheese toast (£3.50), black house daal (£5.90) and matter paneer – made with the best paneer we’ve ever eaten (£7.90) and then add to that base accordingly.  

    Poppie's
    Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child-friendly

    Poppies
    Stop for old-school (and sustainable) fish & hand-cut chips wrapped in newspaper at East Ender Pat ‘Pop’ Newland’s Poppies in Spitalfields, Camden and Soho. Fish and chips from £11.70, jellied eels (of course) £5.95 and a pickled egg yours for £1. 

    Franco Manca
    Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child-friendly

    Sourdough pizzas with only six choices of topping. Franco Manca set the artisan pizza trend a while back and is still just as good now. Try the courgette, basil, mozzarella, buffalo ricotta and cantarelli grana (no tomato), £6.95 or the tomato, garlic & oregano, £4.50. London now has 20 branches. 

    Wahaca
    Best for: Casual dining, cheap eats, child-friendly


    Wahaca
    With 15 branches across the capital, you’re never very far from quality Mexican food. We love the guacamole and the feisty tacos, tostadas and taquitos. 

    Byron
    Best for: Casual dining

    Byron
    Proper burgers, moreish courgette fries and good beer - everything you want from a burger joint. There are 40 branches London-wide. 

    Is there anywhere we've missed? Leave a comment below...

    All recommendations have been reviewed and approved as of the 23 February 2018 and will be checked and updated annually. If you think there is any incorrect or out of date information in this guide please e-mail us at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com.

    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    freyajane9
    17th Feb, 2018
    Fish in a Tie in Clapham Amazing food at fantastic prices. Their Choux de crab is my favourite dish-if only I could get the recipe.
    Retrosatan
    23rd Aug, 2016
    Byron Burgers: Best known for rounding its workorfce under false pretences and grass them to the Home Office when the fines for employing illegal immigrants were increased. Wahaca: Best known for taking tips away from its staff
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