The Best Restaurants In London

The Best Restaurants In London

The restaurant scene in London is one of the most dynamic in the world, with magnetic openings sitting alongside stalwarts. From Hammersmith to Hackney, the 84 Rooms team handpick their favorites, old and new alike.

/ Kate

Bistro Freddie

  • Cuisine: French bistro-style classics
  • Price: ££
  • Go for: Dinner
  • Location: Shoreditch

A new bistro from Dominic Handy (of Crispin’s) Bistro Freddie already feels like a classic, despite opening only this September. Designed by Jermaine Gallacher, it has an old-school bistro feel, with candlelight and starched white tablecloths adding layers of coziness and elegance. Named after Handy’s father Freddie, chef Anna Søgaard’s menu is similarly comforting, with our favorites being the snail flatbread with garlic and tarragon butter and bavette in peppercorn sauce, alongside frites that are, quite possibly, the best in London. It’s the kind of unpretentious place that you can imagine returning to time and time again, whether for a celebration or a spontaneous dinner out on a Monday. Round it all off with a couple of boulevardiers.

Sessions Arts Club

  • Cuisine: Seasonal
  • Price: ££
  • Go for: A special dinner with a friend or a lover
  • Location: Clerkenwell

Once you find the red door, a lift whizzes you up a few floors and through a velvet curtain to one of London’s most beautiful restaurants. Set inside a Grade-II listed former courthouse in Clerkenwell, its candlelit dining has peeling plaster walls, which double up as an art gallery, and velvet sofas in front of roaring fireplaces. Start with a martini at the bar while you wait for your table, before ordering as much as you have the appetite for from Florence Knight’s elegant menu. Our favorites include the croquettes (often crab or brown shrimp), eel potato and creme fraîche and the granitas — served in a clementine when in season. Most importantly, it draws a stylish crowd who don’t feel compelled to take pictures of their food — heaven.

Mountain

  • Cuisine: Basque country
  • Price: ££
  • Go for: Lunch with friends, so you can share the bigger dishes
  • Location: Soho

Following in the footsteps of his much-lauded Shoreditch restaurant, Brat, Tomos Parry opened Mountain in Soho this summer. Another slice of understated perfection, it has maintained a buzz that looks set to continue thanks to its deft handling of a menu — much of which is cooked over fire in wood ovens — that champions the produce of Parry’s native Wales while taking its cues from Spain’s mountains and coastlines. We loved the raw sobrasada, the spider crab omelette and the Menorcan-style lobster caldereta. Book in for a long lunch and, if you have the stamina, carry on in the bar downstairs.

River Cafe

  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Price: £££
  • Go for: A special lunch
  • Location: Hammersmith

Of course, we couldn’t leave The River Cafe out of our London edit. An institution helmed by chef Ruth Rogers, it has specialized in simple Italian cooking since 1987. Located on the Thames near Hammersmith, it is known and loved for its lovely terrace, excellent service, and exceptional food — and its unpretentious vibe. Start off with some sharing pizzetta, before moving on to its perfect pasta primis (the ragu is a must) and seasonal secondis. Its lemon tart and signature negroni, which you can buy by the bottle in the shop next door, are always a good idea. Reserve far in advance.

Café Cecilia

  • Cuisine: Seasonal
  • Price: ££
  • Go for: Breakfast or lunch
  • Location: Hackney

Located just off Broadway Market, following the curve of the Regent’s Canal, Café Cecilia is a neighborhood restaurant by Max Rocha — who cut his teeth at The River Cafe, St John and Spring. Dishes are kept seasonal and simple, and ingredients are allowed to sing. Think sage & anchovy fritters and Welsh pork shoulder with borlotti beans and girolles, followed by chocolate and Guinness cake for dessert. The wine list is an intriguing one, with plenty of natural bottles on offer.

Spring at Somerset House

  • Cuisine: Seasonal Daily Changing
  • Price: £££
  • Go for: Lunch
  • Location: Covent Garden

Led by Skye Gyngell, Spring is housed in a restored 19th-century drawing room inside Somerset House, which had previously been closed to the public for 150 years. It has a daily changing menu of seasonal British dishes such as slow-cooked sage, fennel, and blood orange, or sirloin with Jerusalem artichokes, grilled leeks, cime di rapa, and aioli. For after, expect desserts such as bitter chocolate pavê with bourbon, rye, and marmalade ice cream or St Jude cheese with truffled honey. The restaurant also makes liqueurs and tinctures in-house to fire up its cocktail and juice lists.

Evelyn’s Table

  • Cuisine: British produce, Scandinavian and Japanese techniques, classic French train.
  • Price: £££
  • Go for: A date
  • Location: Soho

A terrific find in Soho, Evelyn’s is tiny but perfectly formed. An intimate 12-seater counter dining experience, it’s run by head chef Luke Selby, and his brothers Nat and Theo. It serves up an evolving menu built on their formative experiences: a love of British produce, Japanese techniques, and classical French training. The banana cake is out of this world.

St. John

  • Cuisine: British
  • Price: £££
  • Go for: A late, long lunch
  • Location: Farringdon

St John is an all-day, all-night, all-seasons kind of place. For us, its original Farringdon restaurant is simply an institution. And it’s not just the food, it’s the fact that it does the simple things right. The team will make you a proper drink, or pour you a pint, as you make your way through an egg mayo sandwich or some rarebit at the bar. It will seat a raucous group of you at 7 pm, and still be asking if you want more at 11 pm. It will make a pie for two that is quite clearly for more. That’s why, when somebody asks what you’re doing next weekend, and you answer St John, it needs no further explanation.

Campania

  • Cuisine: Southern Italian
  • Price: ££
  • Go for: A cozy date night
  • Location: Shoreditch

Tucked away on a cobbled corner off Columbia Road, this is one of our favorite east London spots for a date night. The interiors are delightfully rustic, the staff is always warm, and its Southern Italian cooking is not hearty and delicious. The menu rarely changes, much to our joy, so order the gnudi, the meat ragu of the day, and the fish cassoulet. All helped on its way by a bottle from the Italian wine list and topped off with its perfect tiramisu.

Rochelle Canteen

  • Cuisine: Seasonal
  • Price: ££
  • Go for: Lunch
  • Location: Shoreditch

Since the pandemic, Rochelle Canteen has become more of an all-year-round affair with heated outdoor dining leading in addition to its main indoor space. Set in the walled garden of an old school off Arnold Circus, Margot Henderson’s restaurant serves up simple and seasonal dishes that are always spot on, accompanied by St John wines. Lunch here, in every season, is one of London’s greatest joys.