London is renowned for its restaurant scene, with literally every type of cuisine you could think of (and then some!).
From high-end eateries where you can rub shoulders with the rich and famous to hipster cafés and cheap eats and street food to grab on any budget.
We’ve picked out some of the capital’s best places to eat, split up into those which are best for families, fine dining, more casual fare and cheap eats, although this is by no means an exhaustive list, and the best thing to do is get out and see where you taste buds take you!
Best Family Restaurants in London
Taking the kids to eat can be tricky, especially if you’ve got a family of fussy eaters. However, that doesn’t mean that it has to be McDonald’s on the menu every day for your trip to London, especially when there’s so much great food out there to discover.
Here are some favourites, starting out more casual before looking at some more formal places to try (if you dare!).
Giraffe – Various Locations
With multiple locations around the city (and the rest of the UK), Giraffe World Kitchen is a great healthy alternative for the kids, with menu items that they’ll love, including fish fingers, chicken wraps, pancakes and fruit lollipops, all within a relaxed atmosphere.
You’ll also find it hard to turn down the £6.50 meal deal which gets you a main, drink and dessert (very reasonable for London!).
Inspired by the movie Forrest Gump, this restaurant serves up shrimp and other seafood in a fun way for kids to enjoy, such as popcorn shrimp and chicken strips. Best of all, they can build their own sundaes too!
With seven locations across the capital, Masala Zone is the place to head for relaxed and fun Indian cuisine in London.
They’re rated as one of the best places to eat for kids in the city and have a great kids menu, featuring smaller thali platters without the kick of spicy Indian food, and plenty of colouring and painting books to keep everybody occupied.
In fairness, a restaurant run by celebrity chef Marcus Wareing might be a bit too formal for the kids, but if you’re lucky enough to have kids with slightly more adventurous tastes, then you have to try Tredwell’s ‘culinary kids’ seven-course tasting deal for a sophisticated but relaxed meal.
With a menu boasting snacks such as chocolate custard and fish finger sandwiches before you even get to the kids’ section, you know you can’t go far wrong with this classic British bistro.
Situated in Clapham Park, kids eat free with an adult buying a main course between 5:30pm and 6:30pm and can choose from items such as mac and cheese and pigs in blankets as well as homemade lemonade.
If you think you can’t enjoy a Michelin-starred meal with the kids, think again, because Barrafina has a very approachable vibe and a tapas menu with plenty of bite-sized treats for them to try.
The real fun for kids though is in sitting at the counter and watching these master chefs perform their magic for yourselves.
Best Fine Dining Restaurants in London
If you’re a real food nerd and want to experience the very crème de la crème of London’s dining scene, then you’re in luck, because the city is home to more than 70 Michelin-starred restaurants.
These places may cost a pretty penny, but they’re some of the finest dining experiences in the world, so if you feel like treating yourself, here are some of our favourites.
One of the best things about Notting Hill’s Ledbury is the relaxed and friendly atmosphere which can be sometimes lacking in other fine dining establishments.
With a grounding in quality British ingredients, the Ledbury benefits from an Aussie twist from chef Brett Graham, to create an excellent menu of contemporary delicacies.
Try the set lunch for £80 per person for four courses, or try out the tasting menu for a great selection of what the Ledbury has to offer.
Showcasing the very best of British, the Five Fields carefully source their ingredients, whether its vegetables straight from their very own gardens in East Sussex or fish caught off the coast of Cornwall, to create fun and simple dishes in their small but sophisticated restaurant in Chelsea.
If you want to experience the best of modern British cuisine, you can’t go too far wrong with the Five Fields.
La Trompette offers an haute dining experience without the same high prices or formal atmosphere that you might expect from the city’s other fine dining establishments.
Situated out in the classy suburbs of South West London, it’s also home to one of the best wine lists in the capital and impeccable service throughout.
Chef William Drabble earnt his first Michel star aged just 26, and has now put his stamp on the exclusive St. James Hotel and Club with this French-leaning menu at their Seven Park Place restaurant.
Signature dishes include poached native lobster tail with cauliflower purée and lobster butter sauce, with a varied breakfast menu too if you’re up and about nice and early. The fact that Seven Park Place has just nine tables only adds to its exclusivity!
Unapologetically old-school in its approach to fine dining, Le Gavroche is run by celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr., having previously been opened by his father and uncle way back in 1967.
One of the city’s most exclusive restaurants, it’s worth the wait to secure a table, even if the prices are a touch too high, due to the excellent menu and overall dining experience.
The flagship restaurant of one of the UK’s most famous chefs, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay has been one of London’s most highly-rated restaurants for over 20 years now.
While it’s Ramsay’s name above the door, head chef Clare Smyth MBE has put her own inventive spin on the menu to create an unforgettable dining experience.
Best Casual Dining Eateries in London
If haute cuisine isn’t really your thing, don’t worry, because the city is home to hundreds of more relaxed eateries, no matter what you’re in the mood for. Here are just some of the best.
Located down Covent Garden’s Neal’s Yard, the Barbary is a fun dining experience, with just 24 bar stools set out around a horseshoe-shaped bar, behind which you can see the chefs hard at work.
Yes, with just 24 places, it can be tough to get a seat, although you can snack on the appetizing bar snacks while you wait.
Once you’re in though, it’s entirely worth it for the amazing North African cuisine, including the signature Naan e Barbari.
If you think you know smokehouse food, head to Soho and give temper a try. With a South American BBQ influence, temper grill or smoke whole carcasses before serving up on tacos and flatbread in affordable and tasty portions.
Everything is cooked in front of you on a central fire pit, with a relaxed atmosphere and a fresh twist on the traditional smokehouse.
You probably wouldn’t have put the word’s ‘Thai’ and ‘Barbeque’ together, but that’s exactly what the team have done at Kiln in Soho, putting a Thai street food vibe right in the centre of London.
Best of all, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg either, with an affordable menu which takes inspiration from around Thailand, but makes use of home-grown produce.
Xu – Chinatown
By the people behind the hugely successful Bao (which you can read about below), Xu is a Taiwanese restaurant with a 1930s vibe and a slightly more upmarket feel than its predecessor.
With a range of Taiwanese cuisine to try out, whether it’s sweet, sour or spice that you’re after.
But it’s not just the food that draws visitors to Xu, with their very own excellent tea bar upstairs too.
The Smoking Goat in Shoreditch is all about ‘drinking food’; specialising in Thai BBQ dishes that go down a treat with a pint or two.
With roots as a Soho dive bar, it still retains a ‘pub’ kind of feel and it’s not the quietest place for a meal, but if you’re after good food with a bit of a kick, you’re in the right place.
Signature dishes include the fish-sauce chicken wings and lardo fried rice, all without your bank balance taking a hit.
It’s situated in an old shipping container, but don’t go thinking that Smoke & Salt is all style and no substance.
The food takes classic British ingredients but puts a modern spin on them, making use of the smoking, curing and preserving techniques which give it its name.
To top it all off, Smoke & Salt is crazily good value and the service is excellent too, with the only downside being how small it is!
London’s Best Cheap Eats
It’s true that London is an expensive city, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bargains to be had.
Here are some of the city’s best restaurants where you can still get an excellent meal without breaking the bank.
Som Saa – Spitalfields
While its chefs aren’t from the country themselves, Som Saa is home to some of the most authentic Thai cuisine in London.
This is real, regionally Thai cuisine and a far cry from anything you’ll have had from your local takeaway.
It’s located in an old East London garment factory, but it’s the food that’ll blow you away here, not the décor. Just be wary, real Thai food means real spice!
Known as the ‘naughty little brother’ of the swanky ‘Dairy’, Counter Culture certainly lives up to its name with a grungy atmosphere, but it’s the food that’s the main attraction here, serving up small plates from around the world.
There’s only room for 14 diners here, and it takes the ‘casual; aspect of casual dining pretty far, but it’s a must-try if you’re in the Clapham area.
Hoppers is one the London’s few restaurants which specialises solely in Sri Lankan food and is named after this local delicacy, which is essentially a pancake topped with egg.
It’s only small so it gets very busy very quickly, but it’s worth it for some of the best South Asian cuisine that London has to offer, at a reasonable price point too.
Ceviche – Various Locations
Billing themselves as the restaurant that kick-started a trend of Peruvian restaurants in the capital, the Ceviche family of restaurants takes its name from the country’s national dish, a citrus and chilli flavoured fish, which they serve up in over a dozen different variations.
And while you have to try the ceviche here, they also offer up a lot of other Peruvian delicacies as well as some local cocktail specials at the bar.
Bao – Various Locations
Bao started out as a street food vendor, serving up small Taiwanese dishes before making the move to their own place (they now have three restaurants).
It’s another place with a very small interior, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in taste.
As well as the delightful steamed buns that give Bao its name, the menu is packed with spicy street-inspired small plates that go down great when you’re just after a light bite.
Uchi – Lower Clapton
One for the Instagrammers, Uchi pulls off a great minimalist aesthetic, which extends to the menu, with just seven items, from sushi to tempura.
If presentation and décor are just as important to you as the food, then Uchi is definitely the place to head, with soft lighting, pretty furnishings and everything served up with an amazing attention to detail on small crockery and banana leaves.
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