If you’re heading to London, you’re going to be spoiled for choice on a lot of fronts. There are world-class museums and galleries. Renowned sporting events and team. Breathtaking parks and green spaces to relax in. Amazing West-End theatre and plays to enjoy.
All that exploring is going to work up an appetite. Luckily, there is no shortage of restaurants in this sprawling capital. The issue is, which ones are top of the must-visit list. With so much choice on offer, how do you ensure you check out the best places for your taste, location and budget? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a whole week’s worth of delicious dinners in the capital!
Let’s check out the seven must see restaurants in London!
Now it’s no secret that Borough Market is an absolute nirvana for foodies from all walks of life, but this fresh pasta joint is one of its biggest hits. Serving classic Italian favourites from its relatively small base, including cacio e pepe, pappardelle with beef shin ragu and more, it’s a crowd pleaser.
It’s worth noting that because of its location, size and popularity, there are often queues around the block, but it’s well worth the wait. As it’s fresh pasta, made to order from the open kitchen, the Padella team is able to serve fast, fresh food to its hungry guests. This means the queues tend to go down pretty quickly.
Why not finish off your Italian dream with a classic negroni and a deliciously buttery almond-and-rhubarb tart?
In the mood for some delicious and warming Sri Lankan cuisine? Although not as widely available as Indian or Thai food, this Asian cuisine is fast becoming a favourite with anyone who tries it. Become a convert or refresh your culinary memory at Hopper’s.
Try one of the restaurant’s namesakes, a Sri Lankan classic thin and crispy pancake, shaped into a bowl with an egg or cheese in the middle – perfect for dipping in a heartwarming dahl. Not sure what to try? Hopper’s has two tasting menus, one vegetarian and one for meat-eaters, that take you on a complete flavour journey for just £40 per person. That’s super reasonable for the sheer amount of food and the price of eating out in London!
The team at Hopper’s have even collaborated with Camden Town Brewery to create specialty beers to bring that Sri Lankan island vibe to the heart of London.
3. Salon, Brixton
Another delicious spot that sits near a world famous market is Salon, this time upstairs in Brixton Market. It’s got two sections with the downstairs bay primarily serving up loads of tasty snacks and small plates hailing from all around the world. This can be paired with Salon’s extensive wine list that includes some more unusual vineyard locations including Lebanon, Oregon and Hungary.
Upstairs in the small restaurant, you’ll be able to have a full six plate set menu, plus petit fours for £52 per person, so it’s definitely not the most affordable, but a great spot for a special occasion or a treat.
The menu changes a lot depending on produce and the season, but the underlying connection is bold and punchy flavours done well. Try to get a window seat and enjoy watching people wander around the market below.
4. Chuku’s, Tottenham
One of the great things about many of London’s amazing up-and-coming new restaurants is the way they get their start. Chuku’s is a Nigerian tapas restaurant in Tottenham that started off life as a pop-up. After getting an army of loyal fans, the owners – who are siblings – decided to crowdfund to build and start their own permanent restaurant.
The result is a delightful mix of Nigerian flavours in a tapas, small plate style that gives patrons the chance to try a little bit of everything – perfect for newbies to Nigerian cuisine!
5. Rochelle Canteen
If you’re looking for a spot that’s a little non-traditional in its aesthetic, then head to Rochelle Canteen. It’s based in an old bike shed. Yes, that’s right. It’s been a Shoreditch staple since 2004 and offers a menu that changes every day based on the seasonal availability.
Rochelle Canteen is a particular great place to visit if the London sun is shining. It’s got a small courtyard with community tables, filled with vibrant greenery. Sit here with some delicious, fresh dishes and a crisp glass of wine, and you’ll forget that you’re in central London.
6. El Pastor
Another Borough Market smash hit is El Pastor. After all, who doesn’t love delicious tacos and quesadillas, right? Set up by the same guys who built the Barrafina empire (super tasty sushi, but a little bit expensive), El Pastor is a fast and affordable option for anyone looking for big, punchy Mexican flavours.
If you’re looking for a good time, there’s definitely a party vibe here with Latin American music, a huge mezcal menu and margaritas for days. Pro tip: get here as early as you can, it’s not uncommon for there to be a two hour wait for a table here. It’s that good.
7. Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, Soho
The story of Imad’s Syrian Kitchen is one of hope. The owner, Imad fled Syria as a refugee after his three restaurants all got bombed. As he fled through Europe, he cooked and taught his fellow refugees and once in London, his supper clubs became a huge hit.
The supper clubs turned into pop-ups and then after a huge crowd funding round, Imad’s Syrian Kitchen in Soho was born. There’s so many delicious dishes to try so get a few and share them with your friends. You can also enjoy the Mediterranean wine list and local beers to wash it all down.
There you have it! The seven must see restaurants in London. Obviously there are plenty of amazing places to eat all across the city, including a handful of Michelin-starred joints that aren’t on this list. The thing is, you don’t need to spend a fortune to eat well in London, you just need to know where to go.
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