Hammersmith is called Hammersmith because it was, back in ye olde days, home to a hammer smithy. We only wish that figuring out where to eat and drink in the area was that simple. One of the largest first-world problems related to living in London is the overwhelming number of choices for where to go and get breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hammersmith, in particular, is a place that can be very easy to do wrong when it comes to entertaining your gustatory senses. Especially if you don't know where to look. Spend a night at Belushi's gnawing on hamburgered gristle and lapping sub-par pints and you'll likely never make a return trip. While we can't blame you much for that, we can urge you to give the area another shot.
Because, in stark contrast to its modernised shopping district, Hammersmith has got a bonafide sense of history and a varied dining scene that's definitely worth exploring. It is, after all, where the Pocket family reside in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations and not just a place where you can find your own great expectations let down by bang average stand-up at the Apollo.
We've created this guide to some of the best places to eat and drink in Hammersmith to help give you less of a headache when you're hungry, thirsty and aimlessly knocking about the ends with nothing to do. And if none of the below take your fancy? Well, there's always Taco Bell.
The Curtains Up
28A Comeragh Road, W14 9HR
A short walk from Barons Court and West Kensington Station, The Curtains Up is a cracking local pub with all the added drama of a downstairs theatre. The food is great, the pints are cold, and the friendly atmosphere seeps with a warmth and comfort emanating from the pub's open fire. The Curtain's weekly 'Pie Shop', dedicated to the creation and consumption of gorgeous handmade pies, provides a welcoming stage left from your standard M4 Mowbray and is available all day every Saturday. That, along with the opportunity to saw through an expertly cooked beef roast on Sunday, should have your weekend plans fully tied up. Mains like the game pie (generously packed with haunches of venison, pheasant and rabbit) and duck confit are a must-try.
61 Blythe Road, W14 0HP
Zia Lucia isn't just an independently owned neighbourhood pizzeria, she's also an actual, genuinely real person. Founders Claudio Vescovo and Gianluca D'Angelo got the inspiration for their little Italian import from Gianluca's aunt, Lucia, and her commitment to feeding her hungry family members. That inviting, stomach-filling ethos is present in spades (and slices) on Hammersmith's Blythe Road. Zia Lucia's pizza doughs are slow fermented for 48 hours and baked in hand-crafted wood-fired ovens. That time and effort is well worth it for the final, piping-hot, cheese-topped product. Kooky looking charcoal crusts may boast "digestive gas-absorbing capacities"; however, the only thing we're truly certain about is our ability to absorb Zia's glorious pizzas in startlingly quick succession. The best named pizza they've got on the menu though? That prize goes to the Andrea Pirlo.
The River Café
Thames Wharf, W6 9HA
We couldn't not include The River Café on this list, could we? Founded by Ruth Rogers and Rose Grey in 1987, the restaurant is an immovable icon in the London dining scene. It was awarded a Michelin star in 1997 and hasn't relented its grip of gourmands' taste-buds since. The list of chefs who have trained at The River Café's kitchen is star-studded enough to make any Las Vegas hotel get a comically large cheque book out. And the food? The food is very, very good. It's very, very expensive. But we really can't overstate how very, very good it is. Go for a special occasion to remind yourself just how sanctified a dining experience can be.
Best Mangal 2
66 North End Road, W14 9EP
Not to be confused with Stoke Newington's Twitter-savvy Mangal 2, Hammersmith's Best Mangal 2 (and its original Best Mangal brother) has long been a stalwart of the West London takeaway scene. A 'mangal' is the Anatolian term for a charcoal fire, so don't be surprised when you hear the symphonic sizzle of fat meeting coal as soon as you walk through the door here. Perfect for pre or post-lash, you can find charred kebabs, juicy lamb chops, and barbecued quails all on the menu. All the meat used at Best Mangal is Halal and bought direct from a specialist meat buyer at Smithfield market. It's a traditional Turkish eating experience done well.
Pergola Olympia London
Level Five Rooftop, Olympia Car Park, Olympia Way W14 8UX
Hungry for a food court that doesn't remind you of being fourteen and sucking on an Oreo and Lion Bar Shakeaway while your crippling social anxiety prevents you from chatting about anything besides Geography homework? Well, we can't help you on the anxiety front, but we can recommend that you get yourself down to the Pergola Olympia London where you can get access to not-one, but three great restaurants all on one super scenic rooftop. Along with a pretty snazzy bar serving drinks thankfully free of chocolate products, you can order a range of food from the likes of Claw, Passo and Patty and Bun. You hear that? That's the sound of pizza, burgers, and lobster rolls crying out for you to come and eat them? Heed their call.
28 Fulham Palace Road, W6 9PH
Antipode abso nails Australian café culture with its bozza coffee and laid-back vibes. It's a popular haunt among London's little toque head-topper crowd, brewing its espresso through a three group Synesso Cyncra and grinding beans using a Nuova Simonelli Mythos One and a Mahlkonig EK43. Not only that, but it also slow brews a careful selection of single origin beans by hand using a Hario V60 and a Kalita Wave. No, we're not 100% sure what all that means, either. But with coffee jargon that space-age sounding, rest assured that the beverages are top-notch. As well as getting on a grand caffeine buzz, you also have the option to chow on Antipode's signature kimchi and mature cheddar toasties and other brunch faves like smashed avo toast and shakshouka. And no worries if all that coffee has you unable to nod off, either, as the venue doubles as a cocktail bar and dinner spot by night.
1 Rainville Road, W6 9HA
Look: west London isn't an area where you'll exactly struggle to find great Lebanese food. There's damn fine falafel joints and a load of top Levantine restaurants spread all over the area. Hammersmith itself is home to more than a few. Mes Amis, however, is by far the most aesthetic of them all. It's the sort of restaurant an influencer with an intense craving for hummus and moutabel would create in a perfectly-filtered Instagram feed factory. Full of hanging lights and numerous tchotchkes of debatable origin, Mes Amis' mezze and grilled meat selection also hits the spot. A trip to Mes Amis is a foolproof way to impress a date with your innate knowledge of Middle Eastern cuisine.
020 7385 5155
The Blue Anchor
13 Lower Mall, W6 9DJ
Not far from Hammersmith Bridge, The Blue Anchor is a pleasant pub nestled on the pleasant banks of the sometimes not-so pleasant river Thames. When the tide is up and the sun is out, there's not many places you'll be able to find to have a more scenic pint. When the tide is down, just go inside and enjoy The Blue Anchor's relaxing interior. Expect classic (and generous) dishes of ale battered fish and chips and chicken schnitzel delivered to a high degree of standard. The Blue Anchor is so much more than somewhere where the pub grub is only good for soaking up the damage done by five pints of bitters. All the food is simple, hearty, and simply heartening to consume.
101 Thai Kitchen
352 King Street, W6 0RX
Here's the 411 on 101 Thai Kitchen: it's not your bog standard pad thai kind of place. Roi Et, a name that literally translates to mean "one hundred and one", is a city in the heart of the Isaan province in north east Thailand. Named after such a vibrant food hub, it should come as no surprise that this local favourite is one that specialises in the Isaan cuisine from that region. Dishes of Thai Isaan sausage are meaty and fragrant with garlic and lemongrass; som tum papaya salad is equal parts refreshing and sinus-cleansingly spicy; khao kaeng curries are similarly fiery. Pretty much everything is worth a try and, moreover, excellent value for money. The warning of 'food may/will contain MSG' (the best kind of warning there can be) on the website alongside the liberal lashings of fish sauce ensure you're in for a good time. This is regional Thai food done oh, so right.
236 King Street, W6 0RF
Every area in London deserves at least one bloody good Indian restaurant. It just so happens that Indian Zing is Hammersmith's. Chef-owner Manoj Vasaikar has brought his sophisticated style of fine-dining Indian cuisine to King Street's popular shopping district. The menu – rifling with delicate thalis, biryanis and tandooris – follows the Indian principles of 'Vastu Shastra' in an attempt to create harmony between the five elements of earth, sky, fire, water and air. Indian Zing also does a bang up job of satisfying the five basic tastes of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. We'd recommend ordering a vast spread of the dishes along with a mountain of naan to mop up the dregs. Finish all that off with tandoori griddled figs, muesli crumble and vanilla ice cream for a guaranteed return visit.
19 Upper Mall, W6 9TA
The Dove is a pub with reams of history in its wicker paper basket. Set against the River Thames, the public house (and its Grade-II listed building) has been around since the 18th Century. Which means you won't be the first person to find themselves enticed by its weathered charm and old-school real ales – Charles II was known to take his mistress Nell Gwynn here for the occasional romp – and you certainly won't be the last. Not only privy to royal affairs, The Dove was also frequented by Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene back in the day and holds the world record for the smallest bar room in the world. Which is a weird flex, but okay. A visit to The Dove isn't just a nice way to take a brief glimpse into Hammersmith's past; having a drink here means becoming part of Hammersmith history for yourself. Settle down to a plate of braised lamb shoulder shepherd's pie and raise a pint of cask-ale to an establishment that hasn't shown any signs of stopping.
Simya Korean restaurant
The Broadway, W6 9YE
The first Simya Korean restaurant was (and still is) located inside a Shopping Palace on Fulham's North End Road. It was (and still is) one of the best spots to pick up Korean food in London. Not content with a single premises, chef proprietor Choi Meyung has since expanded to a second site in Hammersmith's Broadway Shopping Centre. Choi Meyung either really knows what he's doing, or there's simply something about being within close vicinity to bargain clothing that makes Korean food taste amazing. Because the second coming of Simya is an equally great spot to get in a quality feed. Simya specialises in Korean barbecue and traditional dishes of bulgogi, bibimbap, and tteokboki. The vibe is very much what you make of it here. Settle down with an ice-cold bottle of Hite beer after-work and you can easily unwind and dine at the same time. Go on the weekend with some soju in easy reach and you'll be ready for the large night ahead.
127 Shepherds Bush Road, W6 7LP
Los Molinos is a family-run Spanish tapas restaurant, established in 1991. It sits a pleasing 5 minute walk from Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush tube stations, so even if you don't live in the area, it's not exactly a trek. You'll still find the usual suspects of jamon serrano, croquetas and lots of tidy pinchos on the menu. Joining them; however, are a selection of rustic and traditional Spanish dishes you won't find at more anglo-pandering joints. It's Iberian cuisine come to life: chipirones en su tinta (baby squid cooked in wine and its own ink), fabada asturiana (white bean stew with pancetta, chorizo and black pudding), higados de pollo salteados (chicken livers sautéed in olive oil and sherry). Bring your friends with a bottle of wine and enjoy the convivial atmosphere.