No matter what street you’re strolling down in London, you’re bound to encounter a plethora of cafes, pubs and restaurants desperate for your patronage. With so much choice on offer though, it can be difficult to kick the habit of eating out at the same old restaurant week in and week out and instead trying something new. Who knows whether the restaurant you visit will match up to your exacting standards?
To celebrate the recent release of our London Food & Drink Guide 2019, a comprehensive guide to eating out in London, we’ve selected seven of our favourite restaurants in the city we think more than deserve a shot. From restaurants frequented by celebrities to world-class fish and chips and burger joints, there’s guaranteed to be a restaurant on this list you’ll just adore.
Read our picks below and for a more comprehensive guide to eating out in the capital, be sure to pick up your FREE copy of our London Food & Drink Guide here or read a digital copy of the guide here.
Located near London’s West End in the heart of fashionable Fitzrovia, The Elysee occupies a Georgian townhouse that spans three floors and has been a buzzing hotspot for artists, writers and screen stars since it opened in 1936.
On the ground floor of The Elysee, you’ll find London’s original Greek restaurant, where the five-piece in-house band, belly dancers and the infamous tradition of smashing plates will transport you to faraway shores. Soak up the atmosphere as you sit in the restaurant’s energetic and classy 1930s-themed interior, sporting earthy hues of maroon, cream and ochre and dig into delicious Greek fare, including the likes of grilled octopus with split lentil fava, Uncle Malis’ famous taramasalata, and four-hour spit-roasted lamb souvla, along with various delectable vegetarian and fish dishes.
In the evening, the cocktail bar and lounge is a chic hub where guests can delight in aperitifs, post-dinner drinks and dancing, while the inviting 1200-foot roof garden and shisha lounge makes the perfect al fresco hideaway ideal for laid-back lunches, business meetings and summer parties and can be hired privately for up for 150 guests.
As soon as you step into Burger & Lobster in the beautiful Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, you’ll be blow away, although with nine locations all across London, including in Soho, Oxford Circus, Mayfair, Bond Street, and Leicester Square, no matter where in the city you are, you won’t be far from a delicious meal.
When we visited this surf and turf restaurant in Knightsbridge, we were impressed by the open-plan restaurant and fun and relaxed dining experience found throughout. Sitting in a cosy and quiet corner of the restaurant, we had the perfect view of the busy bar and kitchen, where we were able to watch the bar staff mix together our fantastic cocktails. We decided upon a lobster Martini, which was fresh and punchy, and a barrel-aged Old Fashioned, which was equally as impressive.
To start our unforgettable and indulgent dinner, we tucked into Burger & Lobsters’ crispy calamari, served with lemon mayonnaise and spicy tomato dip, along with perfectly executed prawn and lobster croquettes. We then moved onto the 1.5lb lobster and the 10oz Nebraskan beefburger, both served with fries and a tasty side salad topped with Parmesan, balsamic, and rich and heavenly truffle mayo. To finish, our dessert was truly to die for – classic New York cheesecake drizzled with berry compote.
With a themed afternoon tea that was rated by The Telegraph as the best afternoon tea in London, when we visited Kona in Westminster earlier in the year, we couldn’t wait to tuck into delicate sandwiches, scrumptious scones, and delectable cakes, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. Taking inspiration from the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the team at Kona have created an immersive and unique dining experience that will make you wonder whether you’re in the real world or you are dreaming.
Seated to our table which was adorned with playing cards, flowers, a colourful top hat and more, our friendly waiter listed the impressive range of loose-leaf teas available. We chose classic English breakfast and Earl Grey with blue cornflowers which were served in pretty teapots and expertly poured into delicate cups and saucers. This was followed by the main event, an assortment of finger sandwiches, including classic cucumber on beetroot bread, coronation chicken, and tuna mayonnaise, three types of delicious scones, including plain, sultana, and chocolate chip, and an inventive selection of cakes like the Queen of Hearts mango tarts, Eat Me white chocolate mousse teacups, and Pocket Watch macaroons.
Opened over 24 years ago, Amerigo Vespucci in Canary Wharf is an exceptional restaurant characterised by its incredible and indulgent Italian cuisine, classic list of cocktails, and jovial service.
Named after the Amerigo Vespucci ship which the owner of the restaurant loved sailing on so much, inside you’ll find soft lighting and neat black tables and grey chairs, creating a tranquil atmosphere which is perfect for sharing an unforgettable dinner out with family and friends. The stylish al fresco bar terrazzo, complete with its own bar and heating, meanwhile, has a more upbeat vibe, and is available to hire privately for special occasions and events.
Taking inspiration from all the vibrant and varied regions of Italy, the menu is a true celebration of the diversity of Italian cuisine, cooked masterfully with skill, passion, and creativity. Start with the likes of lobster Monte Carlo or seared scallops served with mint puree and topped with bacon and parsnip crisps before moving onto mains of creamy saffron risotto served with Parmesan and poached pear, and linguine served with a selection of seafood merit sampling.
Surrounded by some of London’s most vibrant live music venues and just a short stroll from the famous Camden Locks and market, Ma Petite Jamaica, sitting in the heart of Camden Town, is the perfect place to enjoy hearty and authentic Jamaican cuisine before a lively night out in the city.
When we visited Ma Petite Jamaica earlier this year, we were greeted by a charismatic and electric atmosphere. Sat beneath bamboo and straw umbrellas and sipping on colourful cocktails, we felt as though we had been whisked away from the hustle and bustle of London and to the beautiful white sandy Caribbean shores. We ordered the Port Royal Rum Punch and Killer Doppi, which definitely had us feeling relaxed and ready to soak up the laid-back atmosphere.
To start our feast, we chose their light and crisp chili-battered squid which came with delicious jerk mayonnaise, and their ackee and saltfish dish served with fluffy dumplings, which was flavoursome and hearty and well paired with our cocktail selections. For mains we couldn’t resist the curry goat, which was perfectly tender and rich without being overbearing, while the delightfully spiced chicken wings, ribs, and pork chops were packed full of flavour, glazed with sticky jerk sauce and perfectly accompanied by coleslaw, fried plantain, peas and rice.
An endlessly welcoming space occupying five venues across the city (the fifth opened in Canary Wharf this summer), Humble Grape is an independent London wine merchant, wine bar and restaurant known for its rustic interiors, knowledgeable and charming staff, and impressive selection of over 400 wines to choose from.
At each restaurant you’ll find a tempting mix of small plates and sharing platters which perfectly complement the wine list, although every individual site’s food offering differs to make the most of the head chefs’ individual flair. Expect to find the likes of baked Camembert garnished with your choice of either honey and hazelnut, garlic and rosemary, or cranberry, Port and thyme, and sweet treats including buttermilk pancakes and warm banana bread with maple-caramelised banana and mascarpone. Other enticing treats on the menu include grilled octopus, ceviche sea bream tacos and côte de boeuf, along with a cheese and charcuterie selection which is almost as impressive as their wine list, served with pickles and homemade sourdough toasts.
Whether you’re visiting for an indulgent and unforgettable weekend brunch or an exquisite and boozy evening meal, you’ll be impressed by Humble Grape unrivalled wine selection, outstanding food, and the warmth of the team.
Just seven minutes’ walk from Baker Street Station, The Seashell of Lisson Grove is a popular choice with locals, professionals, tourists, and even the occasional visiting celebrity. With a loyal customer base and outstanding reputation for serving the finest fish and chips in the region, whether you’re visiting for a takeaway or sitting inside the stylish dining area, you can’t help but be charmed by The Seashell of Lisson Grove.
A real north London landmark, The Seashell of Lisson Grove was founded one hundred years ago after the First World War as a set of dining rooms but is still just as fantastic as ever, with an exciting and bustling atmosphere unlike any other venue in the area. The takeaway’s décor, with its open, customer-facing kitchen and ample seating, is authentically retro and the restaurant is stylish and elegant, with friendly, uniformed waiters who will ensure your experience here is one you’ll treasure.
Start with the likes of crispy fried calamari with tangy homemade sweet chilli sauce before moving onto fresh, flaky cod and chips with tartare sauce and mushy peas or the delicately flavoured salmon. This truly is the finest traditional British fish and chips in the city.