We’ve rounded up the dishes that make this city such a great place to eat out, from high-carb favorites to must-have desserts and special sides.
Shoreditch – 4 Redchurch Street, London E1 6JL
Chef Tomos Parry has taken the world-famous turbot from Elkano, just outside San Sebastian, as the cornerstone of his Basque-inspired Shoreditch restaurant. Cooked over hot coals, this is one dish you really can’t make at home, and why would you when you can do it so perfectly right here?
More about Brat
Mayfair – 42 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JH
There’s a bit of drama at the table in the ever-available wild biryani that’s Gymkhana’s trademark. Waiters break open the pastry in front of you and let the biryani scene waft across the table before you spoon it out and add the pomegranate and mint raita.
More about Gymkhana
Knightsbridge – Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
The Meatfruit, a dish that first became famous on his TV shows, illustrates the historical perspective of the menu at Dinner by Heston. The dish has its origins in the 14th century but is brought up to date here. The tangerine jelly “bowl” looks like a tangerine and hides a chicken liver and foie gras parfait. It takes days to make and minutes to complete.
More about Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Soho – 26-29 Dean Street, London, W1D 3LL
Chef Jeremy Lee loves this dish so much he brought it to Soho from his previous restaurant, the Blueprint Cafe. Rectangles of sourdough encase the smoked eel fillet, which is then brushed with mustard and topped with onion pickles and horseradish. The perfect sandwich.
More about Quo Vadis
Clerkenwell – 26 St John Street, London EC1M 4AY
Fergus Henderson’s OG Smithfield restaurant has a lot of signature dishes, but this do-it-yourself dish made with roasted white sourdough, roasted veal bones, and parsley has been there since day one. Scoop out the hot pulp and spread it on the toast exactly how you like it.
More about John
Soho – 28-34 St Martin’s Court, London WC2N 4AL
Opened in the 1890s, this Theaterland establishment knows its seafood and this pie is one of the restaurant’s best-sellers. With a mix of cod, smoked haddock and salmon, it’s topped with buttery puree.
More about J Sheekey
Kensington, King’s Cross, Carnaby, Covent Garden, Canary Wharf, Shoreditch
Combining two of Londoners’ favourites, a good Indian and a hard-hitting bacon sarnie, this dreamy breakfast dish is always a great way to start the day. The homemade naan has a little cream cheese spread along with tomato and chilli jam and coriander, and the streaky bacon comes from Scottish butcher Ramsay of Carluke.
More about Dishoom
Clerkenwell – 92-94 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3EA
If Quality Chop House ever removed these from its menu, there would be a repeat of the Clerkenwell Riot. The two-day labor of love recipe results in “crunchy golden nuggets,” which are then lightly drizzled with mustard dressing and sprinkled with salt. Carby heaven.
More about Quality Chop House
Holborn – 182 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8EW
Owner Otto Tepasse is the proud owner of several shiny duck presses at his Grays Inn restaurant. Behind the unassuming facade, this theatrical restaurant woos Londoners with its lavish table service. The duck, which must be pre-ordered before it is cooked and then mashed in front of you, makes three separate courses. It’s expensive but worth every penny.
More about Ottos
Clapton – 58 Evering Rd, Lower Clapton, London N16 7SR
Soft and squishy and a quick, easy and delicious way to hurl yourself towards Type 2 Diabetes, these biscuits have transformed a tiny East London cafe into one of London’s hottest bakeries. Go early as this is very likely somewhere the early worm will get the viral insta-bakery.
More about Bake St.
Photo by Jessica Wang
Finsbury Park – 52 St Thomas’s Road, London N4 2QW
London has a lot of good, nay great, burgers, but there’s something about the smashed cheeseburger from the folks at Four Legs that makes people actually drive across town to try it. It’s made with Yorkshire Dexter beef and topped with a burger sauce inspired by the chef’s childhood memories of McDonald’s.
More about Plimsoll
Holborn – 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
Calum Franklin may have left HDR, but his crown as a “pastry deviant” has been taken by chef Nokx Majozi. One of the restaurant’s PIe Room signatures, this creamy veggie cake represents double carbs at its finest.
More about the Holborn Dining Room
Borough Market and Shoreditch
It takes eight hours to prepare the braised long horn beef shin ragout at this popular noodle joint and, as chef Tim Siadatan explains, “that’s when the magic happens”. It is served every morning with freshly made pappardelle.
More about pan
Soho, Shoreditch, Borough Market, King’s Cross
The bao that started out as a street food stand selling those Taiwanese pork buns may be more of a restaurant group today, but its classic bao is still the one to beat. The rice flour baos are filled with soy-braised pork belly, fried fermented mustard greens and coriander before being dusted with peanut powder for the finishing touch.
More about Bao
Farringdon – 66 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6BP
Choosing a typical Racine dish is a painful task when it comes to leaving out delicacies like Bayonne ham and celery tartar sauce or the mussel mousse. But the perfection of Henry Harris’ Crème Caramel is hands down the best thing to eat here, right down to its wobble.
More about Bouchon Racine
Bloomsbury – 54 Lamb’s Conduit Street, London WC1N 3LW
Honey & Co’s famous cheesecake has a certain amount of deconstruction, but that’s how its customers like it, and woe to them if they remove it from the menu. With a base of kadaif, a layer of cream cheese fortified with both feta and honey, and a topping of fresh seasonal fruit, it’s light yet satisfying.
More about honey & co
King’s Cross, Soho, Covent Garden, Borough Yards
Admit it, you’ve sat at the counter at a highly acclaimed tapas joint in Spain and thought, “Well, that’s good, but it’s actually not as good as Barrafina”. If there’s one dish that sums up this restaurant that’s a love letter to Spain, it’s their tortilla, prepared and served in tiny pans in front of you for you to slice open to reveal that golden, muddy center.
More about Barrafina
Aldgate – 83-89 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1JU
Marinated in a secret spice paste before being roasted in the tandoor grill, the lean chops at Tayaabs are a key reason fans of this Whitechapel tandoor establishment keep coming back.
More about Tayaabs
Shoreditch, City, Soho, Covent Garden, Canary Wharf
If you’re looking for a plate of food significantly larger than your head and can’t reconcile which of Blacklock’s delicious chops to order, the All-In is the meal for you. After all, why choose between beef, pork, or lamb chops when you’ve got them all piled high on their awesome flatbreads instead?
More about Blacklock
Shoreditch – 35 Sclater Street, London E1 6LB
At first glance, this might seem like a basic BBQ sandwich, but Smokestak’s always-on buns show their attention to detail – this isn’t just any old cue eatery. The milk bun is toasted before being spread with barbecue sauce on the bottom half and beef on top. then it’s stuffed with her amazing sliced breast and – our favorite – those pickled red chillies.
More about Smokestak
Haggerston, Seven Dials
This was 2015’s hot dinner dish of the year – and we still love it dearly. Diced eggplants are dipped in a light batter of tapioca flour and then—crucially—drizzled with a rich Szechuan sauce before frying. It’s topped with chilies and furikake for the perfect mix of sweet and sour, soft and crunchy.
More about Chick n Sours
Photo by Jimi Chiu
14-16 Queensway, London W2 3RX
This Bayswater institution has been serving up London’s most luxurious pasta dish for 45 years – for a time they single-handedly ran Billingsgate’s lobster dealers. There are three sauce options, with ginger and spring onions being the classics, and the noodles cost extra. But if you’re worried about the bill, then ordering lobster pasta here probably isn’t the best idea anyway.
More about Mandarin Kitchen
Tottenham – 274 High Rd, London N15 4AJ
The modernity of Chuku’s Quinoa Jollof may have raised eyebrows, but the Egusi Bowl at this Tottenham restaurant specializing in Nigerian tapas is a firm favorite. It includes three cassava dumplings and a tri-colored sauce trio made from Nigerian melon seeds; Spinach, coriander and fennel as well as peppers and tomato.
More about chukus
Spitalfields – 62 Wentworth Street, London E1 7AL
Watch these hand-pulled noodles being prepared in the open kitchen before fueling yourself. These wide, springy noodles serve as the perfect contrast to the cumin lamb and garlic sauce, but you can also make this a vegan option by simply opting for the special sauce.
More about chukus
Victoria – 70 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1DE
As with Heston’s Meatfruit, Andrew Wong’s Rabbit Carrot Puff has a nice fake as well. Is it a dumpling or is it a carrot? It’s obviously the former, stuffed with rabbit and carrots and topped with a wafer-thin slice of pickled carrot.
More about A Wong
As quintessentially English as the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, afternoon tea is a treat loved by tourists and Londoners alike. We have…
If you’re looking for an overview of London’s great restaurants, you’ve come to the right place. Every restaurant on this list passed the test…
The most important meal of the day deserves to be more than a hastily chopped banana between subway stations. London’s greatest breakfasts are right here…
Subscribe for the latest from Hot Dinners