Looking for an interesting and unique dining spot for your next night out? These cool restaurants in London offer something different and make for some of the best dinner spots in the city.
Trying to find the perfect dining spot is never easy, especially when we’ve waited so long to be able to dine inside once again. In fact, researching where to eat can be harder than choosing a film on Netflix, but don’t give up the search and fall back on your tried-and-tested favourite or unenthusiastically pile into the nearest possible establishment just to put an end to the ceaseless bickering.
Now that restrictions are easing, we want to explore and have as many new experiences as possible. We’ve found an eclectic mix of 27 bars and restaurants across London that all have that certain je ne sais quoi. So, whether you’re having an overdue catch up with old friends, celebrating getting through another week, or getting back in the dating game, any one of these city-based venues are bound to make for a unique, interesting and cool setting for your evening.
Cosy lighting, comfy booths and a generous menu, Rondo has the hallmarks of a neighbourhood restaurant except it’s in a prime location bang slap in the middle of Holborn.
The menu is seasonal so return again and again to see what new delights the chefs, lead by Chris Gillard formerly of St John, can offer you. Right now, though, you’ll find dishes such as succulent roast ‘Sutton Hoo’ chicken with moreish creamed corn or baked aubergine with chickpea and rocket.
The staff are genuinely lovely and very attentive, we’d recommend asking them for their favourite sharing bites and starters and even letting them pick a few for you.
This is the kind of place you can while away the evening, warmed by the amber glow of the bistro-style lamps, enjoying the gentle buzz of other diners and exploring the wine menu. But don’t forget about the cocktails either, they’re absolutely delicious so make sure you treat yourself to both.
Address: 199-206 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7BD
Sketch is somewhat of an institution in our fair city of London. With a prime spot just off Regent Street, it attracts people from all over the world because of its unique charms.
Stepping into this restaurant and bar is to step out of reality and into a fabulous, eccentric fantasy. From the hopscotch at the entrance to the egg shaped toilet pods, the wonderful weirdness of this place makes it an experience in itself.
There are four dining rooms to choose from including the regal-looking private room, colourful parlour, enchanted glade and millennial pink gallery. It is here that art and food meet in one of the most stylish settings most have ever encountered. Apart from the blindingly obvious all-pink theme, this room is famous for the rows of David Shrigley artwork that sit on the walls. His pieces are famous for not only being comedic, but making shrewd comments on society and thanks to the restaurant’s interactive new app you can watch them come to life, dancing and playing in front of you. It’s the kind of innovative move that only Sketch would make.
Which brings us nicely onto the food. Sketch is not only experiential in the visual sense, the service of the staff is worthy of five stars which makes booking a meal here even more pleasurable. Pick from decadent dishes such as duckling with bitter chocolate or roasted scallops, and make sure to finish off with a big, creamy cake.
Address: 9 Conduit St, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG
If you thought Turkish cuisine only included kebabs, thin pizza and Turkish delights, a visit to Rüya London is a must.
The restaurant, located in Mayfair, is spacious yet cosy. The brass and dark wood accents, the plushy seats and the traditional oven occupying the middle of the room creates a warm atmosphere that perfectly matches the sharing spirit of the menu.
There is so much to try, going with a large group is the best way to experience this Anatolian gem in the heart of London. From the traditional and delicious Börek (filo pastry wrapped feta with carrot, courgette and walnut) to six different types of kebaps to enjoy with a side of crunchy fried okras and pistachio rice.
Make sure you leave some space for dessert. Their traditional Künefe – a cheese based sweet treat – is the perfect end to a delicious night.
Address: 30 Upper Grosvenor St, Mayfair, London W1K 7PH
Fischer’s feels old school, in the best possible way. Tucked away on one of Marylebone’s prettiest streets – with plenty of opportunities for a spot of shopping before dinner – even the restaurant’s facade, with its ornate iron railings and gold-foiled windows, looks worthy of being in a Wes Anderson film.
Inside, Fischer’s cinematic quality only intensifies. Butter yellow tiles cover the walls, interspersed with period portraits and typically Austrian scenes, which together have an eccentric but charming touch. This is only complemented by the flurry of vintage lamps that are dotted are around, each one giving off its own golden glow.
In keeping with the restaurant’s Viennese theme, the menu is filled with traditional dishes that are often laden with cheese, butter and cream. In other words, bloody delicious. From the Käsespätzle – which is a mini bowl of Austrian pasta in cream, bacon and covered in melted cheese – to the selection of schnitzels, the dishes are rich so make sure you come hungry and get stuck it.
Address: 50 Marylebone High Street, London, W1U 5HN
The Big Mamma restaurant group, which is already a household name in Paris, is infiltrating London’s food scene at breakneck speed. After launching the very popular Gloria in Shoreditch, the second site in Fitzrovia, Circolo Popolare, has punters queuing around the block.
The decor is a mix-match of kitsch Italian-themed tat (in the best possible way), fairy lights, indoor foliage and glowing alcohol bottles, stacked up to the ceiling. The staff are also all Italian, and the menu is packed full of authentic Sicily-style fare with showstoppers like juicy pizzas and creamy tiramisu, so go hungry.
If you’re looking for a place to take your friends that is definitely in-vogue, this is the spot. Since it opened, it’s been all over our Instagram feeds, becoming a right of passage for anyone who considers themselves in the know.
Address: 40-41 Rathbone Pl, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1HX
With sustainability at the forefront of our minds, from trying to make our holidays greener to keeping our beauty cabinets as plastic-free as possible, the trend for eco-friendly restaurants is on the rise.
CUB is not only based on one of East London’s edgiest streets and the work of globally recognised mixologist Mr Lyan (whose South Bank-based bar was awarded best in London), but the menu is crafted from plants that would usually be thrown away or overlooked. The set menu features a selection of food plates and carefully created cocktails, with a fascinated story behind each dish, so make sure you ask your server what you’re eating.
The restaurant itself is intimate, so we would recommend booking a table and checking opening times as CUB is closed Sunday to Tuesday.
Address: 153 Hoxton St, Hoxton, London N1 6PJ
Ideally located directly opposite Green Park, in the heart of Piccadilly, Hide is the latest fancy Mayfair restaurant offering from award winning chef and author Ollie Dabbous.
Set over three floors which each have a subtly different vibe, the restaurant feels huge yet curiously intimate at the same time. The elegant ‘above’ restaurant boasts stunning views over the park, which you can enjoy while trying the 10 course tasting menu. While, the downstairs dining room is recommended for a more casual affair.
The ‘ground’ restaurant is a charming and airy space, filled with natural light, that’s perfectly offset by the dark wood interiors. It’s hard to take your eyes off the quirky but majestic oak staircase, which is an undeniably standout feature.
The dishes, created from the freshest seasonal produce are a delicious, visionary treat for the eyes, as well as the palette. As for the drinks, Hide is the proud owner of the largest wine list in Europe no less, and rather than trawl through 100’s of pages, the menu can be perused at leisure from a luxurious (and more sustainable) leather bound iPad.
Address: 85 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7NB
Turkish chef Yeni Lokanta has brought his acclaimed skills from Istanbul to London’s Soho. The modern space is juxtaposed against the bustling street it overlooks and the menu is excitingly imaginative. Çig kofte tartare with sumac molasses is the standout dish, tangy and delicious. As for the lamb shank (complete with tamarind, spinach and porcini), it’s melt-in-the-mouth with a sharp, toothsome kick we’ll be dreaming of for weeks to come.
Address: 55 Beak Street, Soho, London W1F 9SH
The Dining Room
When it comes to full out luxury, The Ned’s member’s restaurant The Dining Room ticks all the sophisticated boxes.
As is typical of the Soho House group, the design touches are second to none, with a palette of teal blues and metallic golds reflected in the velvety furniture, unique furnishings and even, ornately painted walls – surely the hallmark of flair?
The Modern British menu has been carefully curated to use only the freshest ingredients, locally and organically sourced where possible, both for sustainability and for taste.
Eating beautiful food in beautiful surroundings in one of London’s most talked about venues, what could be chicer?
Address: 27 Poultry, Bank, London, EC2R 8AJ
Bombay Bustle is the spot for vibrant Mumbai flavours, and Mondays at the Mayfair joint are now movie nights. The bar area will be transformed into a pop-up cinema, and for £52pp you can get a flavour-packed three-course dinner (including dishes like Chicken Tikka Makhini, Malabar Lamb and saffron-infused Jalebi Cheesecake) and a glass of champers while watching films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Lobster on the big screen.
Address: Bombay Bustle, 29 Maddox Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2PA
Roux at Parliament Square
If you manage to get a table at Roux at Parliament Square, you’re in for a treat.
After entering what looks like a lavish private house, minutes away from Trafalgar Square, you’ll then be ushered into a spacious and elegant dining room. Here, the first thing to notice is that the tables are all considerably far from each other – a real perk (especially if you are there for a romantic date) that is now extremely hard to get in a busy city like London.
Needless to say, the service is impeccable and only topped by the delightful food created by head chef Steve Groves. The menu celebrates tradition, elevating the classics with a modern twist and always keeping local produce in mind.
With such an incredible menu, what’s the best thing to order? At Roux at Parliament Square, you will be presented with the tastiest celeriac, incredible veal cannelloni and an award-winning suckling pig with Jerusalem artichoke but, whatever you choose, it’s impossible to go wrong.
Address: 11 Great George St, Westminster, London SW1P 3AD
You’re in Brixton on a Saturday night and need a plan that involves dinner, drinks AND a bit of a dance. Tick off all three at Cattivo, which is part-restaurant, part-cocktail venue, part-club. Inside the paint is peeling (albeit very chicly) and the tunes are bumping, so snuggle into a blue velvet booth and chow down on some Italian comfort food: assorted meatballs and delicious homemade pastas galore. The “slow and deep beef pappardelle” is something else. Thank us later.
Address: Cattivo, 207 Ferndale Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8BA
Fare Bar + Canteen
In the market for a gaspingly good Friday night? Check out the swanky, multi-level Fare Bar + Canteen. The upstairs pizza bar is airy and industrial, but we’d book a table in the underground restaurant, where candlelight flickers cosily off whitewashed walls. All of the food is sublime, but the juicy Denver red beef – sprinkled with mustard seeds and chargrilled around the edges – is to die for. Make sure to accompany with a whiskey highball.
Address: Fare Bar + Canteen, 11 Old Street, EC1V 9HL
A short stroll from Old Street you’ll find a heavenly Peruvian-inspired spot that goes by the name Pachamama East – little sister to the OG Pachamama spot in Marylebone. We arrived at 7pm on a Thursday, and the atmosphere was already buzzing.
Below the bare bulbs that stream from the entrance towards a sparkly disco ball, the floors are rustic and the walls look as though they’re crumbling – and it all works, in the most tasteful way. And speaking of taste, the menu is divided into three categories: soil, land and sea (if you’re sharing – which you should – we recommend ordering two from each).
Don’t sleep on the crispy lamb belly, which is partnered with punchy green pepper and arrives sizzling and juicy, or the knockout octopus with black quinoa – truly tender tentacles. To finish, we recommend ordering a Chicharita cocktail; a tangy tequila and lime juice tipple hailing from Lima. That’s a lot of flavours for a single sitting.
Address: Pachamama East, 73 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HR
Looking for a new after-work go-to? You know, the place you gather every Thursday for excellent gossip but even better food? Well, we think we might have found it.
Situated in a (now immaculately stylish) old carpet warehouse, LINO boasts a sparkling modern menu that includes the likes of oxtail and potato hotpot (golden, glistening and delicious) alongside steamed pollock and seaweed butter (a blockbuster of a dish best washed down with a punchy Negroni). We’ll be back every week. Promise.
Address: LINO, 90 Bartholomew Close, London EC1A 7EB
Iranian-inspired Berenjak is a buzzy little bare-brick joint bursting with flavour. Once you’re done swooning over the mosaics and hanging foliage, get a spirit-lifting sharbat down you (a non-alcoholic Persian fruit cordial you can choose to spike – along with the other drinks on the menu – with apricot gin). Next, order the koobideh kabab (minced goat shoulder) with a side of saffron rice (complete with goat butter). Immediate thoughts will include – but are not limited to – “smoky”, “meaty” and “downright divine”.
Address: Berenjak, 27 Romilly Street, Soho, London W1D 5AL
BUNS & BUNS
A bread-themed restaurant? We must be dreaming. Turns out we were actually in Covent Garden, holed up in Buns & Buns. Fresh from Miami, the eatery is modern and plush, with smart booths and geometric tiles surrounding the grand marble bar that stands sleekly in the centre of the room. The menu here is an inventive testament to bread that’s best shared, with. highlights including the shiitake mushroom bao bun (sticky, sweet and scrumptious) and carbonara-topped pizza (seriously special). One of London’s most exciting newcomers in yonks.
Address: BUNS & BUNS, 5c Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 8RA
Hicce x Wolf & Badger
Hicce (Latin for ‘current’ and pronounced ‘ee-chay’) is a new spot on the top floor of Wolf & Badger’s flagship store; entirely separate to the shop, but with a parallel sense of curation and calm. The food here (spearheaded by Murano’s Pip Lacey and designed to be shared) revolves around using the barbecue to grill, steam and smoke, so each dish is layered with flavour. The ‘jars’ of pickled loveliness, like carrot and cardamom, are a refreshing way to start; the wild red prawn ‘hotsticks’ with Hicce butter are moreish and juicy.
For mains, no matter what meat or fish you order (though we do recommend the mackerel with radicchio and kumquats) you must try the Brussel sprouts – cooked with hazelnuts and kohl rabi, they’re unrecognisable from the Christmas sort. The drinks menu is equally delightful, with plenty to appease Dry Janners, but the Bagleys cocktail (Don Julio Reposado, campari, passionfruit and grapefruit sherbet) stayed on just the right side of sweet.
Address: Hicce, Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, London, N1C 4DQ
Grays and Feather
Acclaimed purveyor of sparkling wine, Grays and Feather (who you may know from Southbank Food Market) now have a bricks and mortar establishment. And heck, is it something. You’ll find it at 26 Wellington Street, where Charles Dickens once held offices, taking over the bright and airy ground floor and the basement – a bigger, but more intimate space. On our visit we settled into The Snookery, a low-ceilinged, warmly lit room with cushions and curios – and about as cosy as you can get in central London.
We suggest asking the sommelier for advice on your wine choices (and the stories that come with them), but we can merrily recommend the house sparkling white and the honjozo saké to surprise your taste buds. The specialists work with small and lesser known winemakers; even if you only go for a glass or two, there’s a real feeling of uncovering something special with each one you try.
There’s also food, served to share – the roquefort, honey & waldorf salad with salt apple crisps was a surprisingly refreshing delight. In fact, you get the feeling that the whole experience has been designed around the sense of discovery – and it is well worth finding out for yourself.
Address: Grays and Feather, 26 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7DD
The May Fair Kitchen
It would be wrong to end the year without a spot that ticks off industrial lighting, natural wood and marble table tops. At May Fair kitchen, you get all of 2018’s most popular aesthetic, as well as an unexpected and exciting melding of flavours from Spain, Italy, Peru and Mexico. The food offering is reliably delicious, but make sure to sample cocktails too; the signature El Diplomat, with rum, byrhh, sangue morlacco and chocolate bitters is a warming delight.
Address: May Fair Kitchen, Stratton Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8LT
Tucked just behind Kingly Street in Soho, The Court is the swanky new private members club to be seen at.
Steeped in history, The Court was originally the legendary night club, the Bag O’Nails, favoured by artists like Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in the 1960’s.
Following a major refurb, the club relaunched earlier this year, with a spectacular bar and restaurant - beautifully decked out with extremely cool artworks by revered New York street artist, Bradley Theodore.
The food is divine, which with Michelin Star chef Tom Sellers as consultant chef, is nothing less than we would expect. What’s more, you can enjoy live piano and singing while you dine.
Address: The Court, 9 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5PH
Brera Riverside is Canary Wharf’s knockout new Italian restaurant and we can’t commend it enough. Decked out like the sort of eatery you might find on a Napoli side street, the floors are beautifully tiled and a grand deli counter sits at the restaurant’s front, from which you can pluck fresh Italian produce. The menu is wonderfully simple and strewn with Italian classics, but the Brera lasagna reigned supreme. How good was the tiramisu? There are no words.
Address: Brera Riverside, 31 Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf, London E14 8RR
MILK BEACH is a taste of Bondi Beach in (much less sunny) Queen’s Park. With bright décor full of marble tables and plants, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a lesson in style over substance. Not so. With coffee beans that can be traced back to the farm and organic wines from independents, everything has been consciously considered. MILK BEACH doesn’t take bookings so we recommend arriving early on a weekend, and definitely order the coddled eggs and sweet potato purée.
Address: MILK BEACH, 19 Lonsdale Road, Queen’s Park, NW6 6RA
Gloria is a 70s Capri-style Trattoria in the middle of Shoreditch, run by a passionate bunch of 85 people from the Bel Paese and the sunny coast of Naples.
The explosive menu mixes old Italian classics, with amazing products direct from 180 small producers in Italy – plus a few fun twists from Chef Andrea. From the oozing pesto heart burrata, to the Osso Buco Ravioli, to the Neapolitan Pizza heated in the gigantic Marana oven, you’re in for a feast. And look out for the legendary lemon meringue pie for dessert.
The place gets funky at night, with house-made playlists and a cosy vibe downstairs.
Address: 54-56 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3QR
108 Brasserie, Marylebone
Don’t be fooled by the (glamorous) look and the name, 108 Brasserie serves a lot more than elaborate French food.
This modern British eatery champions British tradition and elevates British classics like the ultimate comfort food, fish and chips, served (why not) with some decadent creamy spinach – but that’s just the beginning. From Italian burrata and wild mushroom risotto to Thai green curry, the menu is a real journey around the world through your tastebuds.
The little extra? The sleek decor and lots of space.
Frenchie, Covent Garden
Every single London-based foodie will have already tried to get a table at Frenchie. Or, failing this, they will have at least stared dreamily at the menu as they’ve waited for pay-day.
So we imagine we’re preaching to the choir when we tell you that Frenchie is the first (and only, for now) UK-based restaurant of French chef Greg Marchand, Jamie Oliver’s protégé and one of France’s hottest rising chefs. And this modern French bistro has everything a millennial could dream of: Instagram-friendly industrial design, soft stools to lounge around sipping delicious pre-dinner cocktails on and, most importantly of all, mouth-watering food from across the channel.
French classics, like the tender duck breast or the creamy foie-gras with cranberries, are served next to more experimental dishes like their famous maple syrup and bacon scones. The cherry on the cake, though, is that light and decadent banoffee dessert – which is, in our humble opinion, the most delicious way to end your day.
Address: 16 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8QH
If you’re looking for an opulent dining experience, look no further than Isabel’s. From the fabric-lined walls to the staff uniforms created by Colombian designer Johanna Ortiz, this place screams glamour and is perfect for scratching that let’s get dressed up and go all out itch.
Food-wise, everything revolves around a low-carb, high-protein ‘small plates’ menu that blends South American and Mediterranean influences, with on-trend lactose- and gluten-free options throughout. Whether you’d pick a grilled suckling lamb shoulder or beef tartare topped with a vibrant quail’s egg yolk, you’ll have made a good choice here.
Address: 26 Albemarle St , London W1S 4HY
Additional words: Amy Beecham / Image: Gavrill Papadiotis
Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.