The best restaurants in London right now

In a city where you're spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a place to eat, it can be hard to cut through the noise. Here, we do that for you, rounding up our pick of London's best restaurants

Grilled fish and charcuterie at Manteca, Shoreditch

London is awash with incredible restaurants. The city’s dining scene has bounced back with a vengeance post-pandemic, and it seems like you can barely turn a corner without walking smack bam into one of the many hot new openings. And for every dazzling dining establishment, there seems to be numerous articles listing the city’s best in droves.

Here at Foodism, we like to do things a little differently. So, to help you cut through the noise, we’re going to update this list every month with our pick of the best restaurants at the moment. It may feature new openings, or it might highlight stalwart favourites that have dropped back onto our radar. It will travel from north to south, east to west, and from tasting menus to hole-in-the-wall establishments, but what it will always do is help guide you to consistently good dining experiences that serve as a reminder of why London is so damn great.

The best new restaurants in London


Blue Mountain School, 9 Chance St, E2 7JB

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Taking over the space that used to house Mãos in the Blue Mountain School, Cycene is the exciting new restaurant from Theo Clench, former executive chef at Akoko. The multi-course, multi-stage dinner takes you on a journey through the building, kicking things off in the downstairs bar before travelling through to the kitchen and then finishing off in the dining room. It makes this not just dinner but an exciting, convivial affair where you might just get chatting to your companions. Don't worry, the food more than matches up to the adventure – pulling on Asian and Australasian influences, the seafood-heavy, 10-course menu changes with the seasons.

Darjeeling Express

Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, W1B 5PW

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Asma Khan's Darjeeling Express has been an integral part of the London restaurant scene since it first opened in 2017. So why does it sit in the best new restaurants category, we hear you ask? Well, after upgrading to a bigger location in Covent Garden in 2020, Khan announced in 2022 that the restaurant would be returning to its 'spiritual home' in Kingly Court. And so it did, reopening in January 2023. Everything that garnered it such a cult following (it counts actors Paul Rudd and Dan Levy as fans) remains: the incredible cooking and joyous atmosphere.

Humble Chicken

54 Frith Street, W1D 4SJ

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Another one that isn't so much a new restaurant as a rebirth, Humble Chicken reopened in January 2023 after a short hiatus to rebuild and refine its concept. It now exists as a concise, kitchen table-style restaurant where the tasting menu takes you through a series of vibrant dishes that highlight Japanese flavours. Expect a perfectly paced and balanced menu that kicks off with a selection of punchy snacks like mussels with citrus kosho ponzu and avocado and a big trotter bao, moving through a series of courses – including a decadent bread course – before leading through to what was easily the best piece of beef we've eaten in a long time. This elegant and exciting cooking and a perfect reinvention.

The best restaurants in central London


42 North Audley Street, W1K 6ZP

Bibi shook up the London restaurant scene when it opened with a bang in 2021. Just a few months later, the restaurant was scooping up awards left, right and centre, nabbing both the fifth spot on the National Restaurant Awards list in 2022 and the Best New Opening crown. It’s not hard to see why – the menu of Indian dishes, many of which get a lick of smoke from the Sigree (grill), have all the recognisable flavours in a format you’ve never seen before. Chet Sharma is a culinary genius, and Bibi is comfortably one of the most exciting and joyous places to eat in the city.


Various locations

The restaurant that has come to define modern Spanish food in London, Barrafina has been shaking up the restaurant scene in the city since 2007. The first walk-in-only restaurant to win a Michelin star in London, the dynasty includes five locations around town, while still managing to maintain the same level of quality as if there were just the one. The menu contains all the classics – unctuous jamón and cheese croquettes, jammy tortilla, moreish pluma iberica – but the daily specials are where things really come to life, pushing the boundaries and utilising hyper-seasonal ingredients in delicious tapas. As the city comes back to life, settling into the counter here feels like reclaiming a slice of pre-pandemic London.

Quo Vadis

26-29 Dean Street, W1D 3LL

This classic grand dame of Dean Street has undergone a facelift recently, expanding the dining room and giving it a light refresh for the new year. The food will, thankfully, remain as wonderful as always, with the classic Jeremy Lee touch. From the infamous eel sandwich, to the daily changing pie and the selection of impeccable puddings, Quo Vadis does the magical job of whisking you away from real life for a moment, and plonking you in a timeless era where the outside world doesn’t matter, the food is great and the wine is ever present.


Various locations

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Head to any notable restaurant in London at the moment and the head chef is probably at St. JOHN alumni. The restaurant that redefined what British food is, St. JOHN has lived out multiple decades, multiple different dining trends and multiple generations to remain one of the city’s most essential dining establishments. There is an undercurrent of classicism here, seen in the almost tongue-in-cheek formalities and descriptions, but at its core St. JOHN is playful, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously either. Grab a welsh rarebit and their infamous bone marrow and revel in the deep history of the place. This is life-affirming food at its best.

Plaza Khao Gaeng

103-105 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1DB

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Rumour has it that at a launch dinner for Plaza Khao Gaeng, someone was so overwhelmed by the chilli kick in the dishes that they almost passed out. Whether or not the whispers are true, they are correct in one thing: this is a restaurant that takes its spice levels seriously – just as they are cooked traditionally in Thailand. No dumbing down for Western palates here. Chef Luke Farrell spent many years living in Thailand and brought back with him an immense respect for the cuisine, but also a series of seeds for classic Thai herbs and chillies that he’s planted in a greenhouse in Dorset, which helps him capture the bright and lively flavours so specific to the country’s cuisine.

The best restaurants in east London


593 High Road Leytonstone, E11 4PA

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You would be hard pressed to find a restaurant that has built up more of a frenetic following than Singburi. Perhaps due to its extended closure throughout the pandemic and switch to takeout-only for a time, the restaurant has diners chomping at the bit to get by. While the regular menu offers up some of the best Thai food in London, it’s on the blackboard where the magic really happens, with a rotating selection of daily specials that are worth a write up all on their own.


1 Vyner Street, E1 9DG

The place that vaguely sarcastically refers to itself as ‘your 4th favourite Italian restaurant’ is largely one of London’s best dining establishments in general because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. This approach leads to quality Italian food with a regional slant and a seasonal focus being cooked every day, the menu often changing slightly depending on what’s in the kitchen that week (or even that day). Opt for the set menu – it’s where head chef Mitshel Ibrahim really flexes his culinary muscles.


49-51 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PT

After a series of pop-ups and temporary spaces, Manteca finally found its permanent home in a former Pizza Express site in Shoreditch. Filling a gap that most Londoners didn’t even know there was in the Italian restaurant market, Manteca is the brainchild of Smokestak founder David Carter and Chris Leach, formerly of Petersham Nurseries and . With an in-house curing space, hand-rolled pastas and a menu that reads like a love letter to Londonified Italian cuisine, it’s no surprise the restaurant has garnered roaring reviews from most major critics and an already dedicated clientele since its permanent move to Shoreditch. We'd advise an elasticated waistband, as you’re going to want to make space for all four sections – charcuterie, small plates, pasta and wood oven – of the menu.

Smoking Goat

64 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ

When you think of restaurants crucial to the fabric of a city, Smoking Goat seems to be a fitting choice for London. The current iteration of the restaurant has been around since 2017, and is still packed out most nights of the week with both bookings and walk-ins. While travel may be finally back on the cards, Smoking Goat has been a pretty good way to take our taste buds to South East Asia in the interim. The lardo fried rice and fish sauce chicken wings have reached almost cult status, while the rest of the menu punches well above its weight; a lengthy laab list ranges from mackerel to cull yaw (a retired dairy sheep), grilled and sliced meats are served with chilli sauces or sambals and, if you’re lucky, the drunken noodles might make an appearance every now and then. Wash it all down with one of the incredible natural wines on the menu or a crisp beer from the selection on tap.


49 Columbia Road, E2 7RG

If we were to think of one modern restaurant that has had a definite influence on London, it would probably be Brawn. This Italian-accented, European restaurant just off Columbia Road can be largely attributed to the rise of the small plates and natural wine movement in the city, and it's exactly the kind of food we want to be celebrating with as the world slowly returns to normal. Bold flavours and a kind of relaxed yet warm vibe make this the sort of restaurant you’d want to move to the area for simply to make it your local. The parmesan fritters are iconic, and the wider menu meanders between everything from cured monkfish to heavier, offal-focused dishes and house-made pasta. Be sure to leave room for dessert – the tiramisu is unparalleled.

The best restaurants in south London


Borough Market and Shoreditch

Padella was a game-changer when it opened in 2016. The dream of Trullo founders Jordan Frieda and Tim Siadatan, the pasta restaurant has a focus on high-quality ingredients, simple dishes and, most crucially, wallet-friendly prices. The fact that six years on the restaurant still garners queues around the corner should really tell you all you need to know. It’s the kind of restaurant you could head to for all occasions and it’s a given that it’ll deliver. The cacio e pepe and 'nduja mascarpone pastas are swoon-worthy, and easy-drinking wine comes by the carafe. Whether you’re pulling up a pew for a pile of pasta on your own or settling in for a multi-plate extravaganza with friends, Padella is always the answer, and its great-value menu is more relevant than ever.

40 Maltby Street

40 Maltby Street, SE1 3PA

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40 Maltby Street is arguably peerless on the London dining scene. Part of the European-accented small plate brigade, it seems to march to its own tune, existing in its own little culinary vacuum. Great news for diners as that means it continues to churn out some of the most inventive and interesting food either side of the river.

Peckham Cellars

125 Queen's Road, SE15 2ND

When you picture the perfect neighbourhood restaurant it’s probably Peckham Cellars that comes to mind. House in a moody space with candlelit tables, wine bottles lining the walls and a team that greets every guest like a local, Peckham Cellars is enough to encourage you to up sticks and move to the south east. The menu has a european lilt and the wine is – unsurprisingly – enormously impressive.

Kudu Grill

57 Nunhead Lane, SE15 3TR

This South African from the now sprawling Kudu Collective is housed in a suitably moody repurposed pub space. The food, however, is anything but moody. It is a joy. Bringing in South African flavours in the most unique of ways with a constant focus on fire-based cooking (courtesy of the Braai), the result is a menu that feels unlike anything else in London.


12-16 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL

Levan is exactly the kind of restaurant you’d be chuffed to stumble upon – or the one you’d actively want to move close to in order to make it your neighbourhood local. The wine list errs on the natural side, and the menu bats well above its weight. What, at first glance, seems like a succinct and classically European menu, shows itself to be so much more, with impeccable dishes that hold their own among some of the city’s best.

The best restaurants in north London

Acme Fire Cult

40FT Brewery, 2-3 Abbott Street, E8 3DP

Whispers about Acme Fire Cult began last summer when Daniel Watkins and Andrew Clarke’s BBQ-focused pop-up launched to riotous success at London Fields Courtyard. Since then the roaming concept has taken a few temporary homes, until now, finding a permanent spot at Dalston’s 40ft Brewery. It’s a fitting partnership – Acme Fire Cult has a penchant for using beer by-products in their dishes and sauces, such as the Acme Marmite, made from leftover beer yeast. Expect a flavour-packed, veg-centric menu with quality brews to wash it all down.

Prawn on the Lawn

292-294 St Paul's Road, N1 2LH

Prawn on the Lawn has come a long way since it was a fishmonger serving as much fish fresh off the counter as was possible with their food licence. These days the empire extends from London to Padstow, with two bolthole restaurants and one sprawling farm residency on the outskirts of the Cornish town. It has managed to retain the charm that garnered it such a cult following all those years ago and, crucially, the menu continues to centre fish brought up from Cornwall overnight.

Mangal 2

4 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BH

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Arguably one of the most exciting restaurants in London at the moment, Mangal 2 underwent something of a metamorphosis over lockdown, switching from a BYO, classically Turkish restaurant to a heightened version, pushing the boundaries of what it means to cook Turkish food in London. Brothers Ferhat and Sertaç Dirik have quietly chipped away at the menu over the last two years, creating a restaurant that is now wholly confident in its new identity. Some of the classic dishes from its new iteration have remained, like the mushroom manti dumplings, which are silky, tangy little things that make for happy slurping, and are joined by newer dishes like heavily salted cull yaw chop and grilled lobster roll, the meat swaddled in the fluffiest brioche bun.

The Tamil Prince

115 Hemingford Road, N1 1BZ

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Setting up shop in a former pub in the slight no-man’s-land between Kings Cross and Barnsbury, The Tamil Prince is a revelation. It had the critics agog, with its bold flavours and commitment to perfectly executed Indian dishes. The team brings experience from some pretty big names, too: Roti King, JKS and Bar Termini, so I think it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. The former, however, is of particular note – the breads here are as fluffy, crispy and multi-layered as the now infamous ones at the chef’s alma mater.


300-302 St Paul's Road, N1 2LH

Few restaurants in London have seen the same enduring staying power as Trullo. Despite opening over a decade ago, it can still be nigh impossible to nab a reservation on any given night, so booked out is it with loyal locals and keen visitors who will travel across the city for the restaurant’s silky pasta and the unbeatable, inventive-yet-classic menu of Italian staples. It’s the kind of restaurant you could happily visit once a week and never get bored of – in fact, we’re almost certain there are a number of people who do just that.

The best restaurants in west London

Maria G’s

Various locations

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Inspired by his time cooking and working near the Amalfi Coast, chef Robin Gill’s Maria G’s restaurants in Fulham and Kensington bring coastal Italian cuisine to West London. Whether you’re sipping a negroni al fresco in the peak of summer, or cosied up in a corner with a glass of red and a heaping plate of pasta on a frigid winter day, this is a restaurant that does a good job of transporting you to Italian shores – no matter how far away a seaside holiday might seem.


27 Uxbridge Street, W8 7TQ

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Celebrating the cuisine of his native Palestine, Fadi Kattan’s Akub is a love letter to the chef’s home country. House in a dinky townhouse in the back streets of Notting Hill, the restaurant – which opened in January this year – is spread over three floors, with a striking, glass-roofed internal courtyard. The menu is of the kind that you could easily eat your way through the entire thing – kick things off with the bright and vibrant labneh balls rolled in za’atar, sumac or dukkah, and make sure to leave space for the musakhan, filled with pulled chicken and confit onions. Oh – and don’t worry about overeating, you can help it all digest with a nip of arak to end proceedings.


31 Kensington Park Road, W11 2EU

Jackson Boxer’s glorious Notting Hill restaurant should need no introduction, but for the uninitiated, let us illuminate you. Occupying prime real estate on Kensington Park Road, the bistro-style restaurant has a focus on seafood, with a distinct British lilt and subtle Mediterranean influences. While the menu is seasonal, a few dishes have emerged as instant and enduring classics: the expansive fried haddock bun and the potato bread topped with cod’s roe, but pretty much everything is sure to impress.


46 Golborne Road, W10 5PR

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While ostensibly a wine bar, Caia is so much more than it presents itself at first glance. Yes – there is an impressive wine list and, yes, there is a downstairs area dominated by an impressive sound system and proliferation of tunes on vinyl, but the cooking deserves a spotlight all of its own, and would hold its own in even the most straightforward of restaurants. The fact that Jessica Donivan’s impressive, fire-cooked food is occurring here simply serves to make the whole experience a lot more fun and therefore a whole lot more exciting.


65 Shepherd's Bush Green, W12 8QE

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From the man behind LA’s cult-favour Night + Market, Chet’s is an American-Thai restaurant, that combines the bold flavours from the cuisine with American diner classics. What might seem like a culturally confused conundrum is actually a playful, heavy-hitter of a menu with dishes you would happily return for time and time again. Don’t look past the infamous Chet’s wedge and the crispy rice salad, or leave without ordering the smash burger – it’s legendary for a reason.

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