London use to have a much deserved reputation for bad food but that era has long since passed. After living in South Kensington the last four years, and dinning out 2-3 times per week, I have been able to try some of the best restaurants in London and there are a lot of fantastic ones to choose from. Almost weekly people ask me for restaurant recommendations, so, in my opinion, here are 33 of the best restaurants in London based on the type of food.
Koji, in Parsons Green, is the best sushi restaurant in London. Sushi is one of my favorite types of food so I have tried a lot of different places and nowhere else compares. Koji offers a sexy atmosphere, perfect for date night or a girls night out, and they make the yummiest passion fruit martini I have ever had! Another great spot for sushi is Zuma, which has been a staple in Knightsbridge for years. This place is a major scene and always packed so make sure to book in advance, and order the black cod – so good! The bar at Zuma is a notorious pick up spot so if you are looking to mingle, this is a great place to go for dinner/drinks/people watching.
Tendido Cero Tapas & Bar and Cambio de Tercio, located across the street from each other in South Kensington, are hands down the best Spanish restaurants in London and maybe the world. OK so I haven’t tried all the Spanish restaurants across the globe but my husband and I did eat our way through Spain and not one meal even came close. Both restaurants are run by the Cambio de Tercio Group, which prides itself on offering traditional Spanish recipes with a creative flair. I love tapas so Tendido Cero is usually my #1 choice, but you can’t go wrong with either spot. Make sure to book in advance as both restaurants are packed most nights.
Bombay Brasserie located in South Kensington, across the street from Gloucester RD tube station serves the best Indian food I have ever had! London has become famous for amazing Indian food, and Bombay Brasserie offers the best Indian food in London combined with a beautiful, upscale ambiance. Just down the street, Noor Johan serves delicious Indian food as well, but in a low-key, intimate setting.
I’m half Italian and grew up on my Italian Grandmothers famous penne pasta so I know a thing or two about good Italian food. There are a ton of fantastic Italian restaurants in London but a few of my favorites are Daphne’s (go for the truffle menu!) Zefferano, Sale e Pepe and Signor Sassi, which is across the street from Harrods and has amazing lobster spaghetti! All of these restaurants are located in Knightsbridge and are upscale and pricey so if you want a good, budget friendly, casual, Italian meal, try Pierino, around the corner from the South Kensington tube station.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Cheney Walk Brasserie and The Phene are three of my favorite British restaurants in London and my favorite brunch spots. All three are upscale and located in Chelsea, with fantastic food, a good wine selection, and a lovely ambiance. The Ivy Chelsea Garden has a beautiful garden patio where you can sit outside and is popular with celebrities, making it hard to get in, so be sure to book way in advance. Cheney Walk, has an amazing meat grill selection and my favorite appetizer there is the huge basket of crudités. It is also right across from the Thames River so after you overstuff yourself with an amazing brunch (served until 3pm on the weekends), you can take a walk along the water’s edge. The Phene, also has a pretty garden setting, the food is excellent, and they make a fantastic Pimm’s Cup!
There are a million great pubs in London, but since I live in South Kensington, my favorites are located in my neighborhood. My favorite pub of all time is Hereford Arms. I love everything about this place. The food is excellent and it was recently remodeled, offering a laid back but slightly upscale atmosphere. I also like Drayton Arms on Old Brompton Rd. It has a playhouse upstairs and serves great food in a fun setting and there are flat screen TVs so you can catch a Rugby or soccer match while you have a cold cider.
You can’t come to London without having a proper Sunday Roast, and Bumpkin in South Kensington serves my favorite Sunday Roast because in addition to the meat option, they also have good salads and healthy sides along with the best Bloody Mary I have had in London. I have not tried either but my British friend suggests The Prince Bonaparte and The Commander, both located in Notting Hill, serving proper Sunday Roasts in an upscale atmosphere.
London, in my opinion, does not have the best pizza, however Ciro’s Pizza Pomodoro in Nitghsbridge and Franco Manca on Old Bromtpton Rd in South Kensington are two exceptions. Ciro’s has amazing pizza, live music and is a favorite of celebrities from across the globe. Franco Manca is a low key spot to have a yummy sourdough crust pizza and has several other locations in London so check their website to find the location nearest you.
VEGETARIAN & VEGAN
My husband lost a bet this year and had to go vegan for two weeks. As an avid meat lover this was obviously worse than giving up his first unborn child! So I tried to make it a little easier on him by finding some good vegan restaurants for us to try. We loved the vegan menu at Redemption in Notting Hill, and Black Vanilla in East London has an awesome vegetarian menu and an equally good vegan menu.
French food is high on my list of favorites (I love escargot!) and Colbert on Sloan Square in Chelsea and La Brasserie in South Kensington are two of my favorites. The food is a little better at Colbert but it is little more of a scene than The Brasserie so it depends on if you want a quieter, more intimate dinner or a livelier atmosphere.
London in general, does not have very good Mexican food. Their idea of salsa is a chunkier version of marinara sauce, but Crazy Homies in Notting Hill and La Bodega Negra in Soho are two places you can get excellent Mex and great margaritas! Crazy Homies is small and funky and has the best tacos and margaritas in London, while La Bodega Negra (similar to the La Bodega in NYC) has a deceiving entrance that leads to a dark, sexy dining area with a fun bar scene and great food.
For great Thai, try Patara in Knightsbridge or Churchill Arms in Kensington. I have never eaten at Churchill Arms but my friends say it is their favorite Thai food in London, and you can’t visit London without seeing this famous pub so you can satisfy your Thai craving and snap some great travel photos at the same time!
OK this is not a type of food but a lot of people want to know where they can go for a fun, lively, upscale night with good people watching and great cocktails. You can do the usual and go to Hakasan or Nobu or try something a bit different and go to Novikov or Mews of Mayfair. Novikov Restaurant & Bar, in the heart of Mayfair, is made up of two distinct restaurants connected by a stylish bar/lounge area, offering Asian on one side and Italian on the other (the Asian side is more lively!). Mews of Mayfair, is a modern British brasserie with a vintage flair, offering a great restaurant upstairs, a nightclub downstairs, and at ground level there is a cocktail bar and an outdoor patio area perfect for people watching.
If you are looking to dine in a unique, upscale setting, try Beach Blanket Babylon or Chiltern Firehouse. Winner of the Open Tables Diner’s Choice 2015 Award, Beach Blanket Babylon is a modern European cellar restaurant located in a Georgian townhouse in Notting Hill. The front bar area looks like a proper British restaurant, but the back dinning area looks and feels likes a cave! Chiltern Firehouse serves up delicious European cuisine with an American flare in an ex-firehouse-turned-designer hotel. A favorite among celebrities, Chiltern Firehouse is one of the hardest places to get a reservation in London so try to book way in advance.
Do you have a favorite London restaurant to add to this list? Please share in the comments section below!