Top Ten Restaurants in London

Everyone loves a list.  So, in the spirit of Gourmet Chick turning one this year and having eaten my way around London over the past two years and the world prior to that the following is my list of what I think are the top ten restaurants in London.  Of course such a list is subjective.  I can’t pretend to have eaten at every restaurant in London and my taste in restaurants may not be the same as yours.  What’s more clearly there are a lot more than ten good restaurants in London.  

Bone marrow at St John
In the interests of brevity I have culled down my favourites to this list of ten.  I have eaten at each of these restaurants during the past year, sometimes several times and I think they are all good enough to be recommended to you as a London top ten.  I am sure lots of you have your own view.  Let me know where you think I have gone wrong or which hidden gems (or not so hidden) you think I should explore during the next year of Gourmet Chick.  Each summary links back to my more detailed review of the restaurant.    

This atmospheric winebar also serves damn fine food.  The atmosphere is bustling and lively thanks to the no bookings policy.  You will probably have to wait for a table but you can pass the time with a glass or bottle of wine while leaning on the bar.  The food is worth the wait: think sea bass and fregola stew or tender char grilled bavette steak with chunky chips.   Cost: reasonable.
2.  St John
Across the road from Vinoteca is my next top pick, St John’s.  An iconic London restaurant my meal here of an entire suckling pig was a revelation.  The white walled aesthetic puts the focus firmly on the food which was ahead of its time in celebrating the whole animal.  Not a good choice for vegetarians but otherwise St John’s is a must.  Cost: Pricey.  
Bocca di Lupo opened this year too much acclaim and after a meal there you will be clamouring to join the fan club.  This Soho restaurant offers a modern take on Italian food served in small plates.  Sit at the chef’s counter and enjoy the theatre of the kitchen while you sample pork and foie gras sausage served with farro or a dessert of cannoli filled with chocolate spotted ricotta. Cost: pricey.   
Pham had to make this list probably as the restaurant that I eat at most often.  The restaurant is small and unassuming but the sushi is fantastic.  Super fresh with the clean flavour that marks it out as top quality.  Those in the know order the crunchy tuna rolls which never fail to disappoint.  Cost: Reasonable.  
The Ledbury sparkles because of the sheer effort and care that goes into each dish.  At this Michelin star restaurant in Notting Hill you will feel like royalty as you are served exquisitely presented amuse bouches.  The menu is modern European and on my visit there was an Asian influence to dishes such as lamb roasted in balsamic and served with miso glazed aubergine. Cost: budget breaking (there is a set price lunch menu though).
6.  Tayyabs
I’m not telling you anything you don’t know by putting Tayyabs in this list.  While technically a Pakistani restaurant this is widely regarded as London’s best Indian restaurant and what’s more it is ridiculously cheap.   Service is brisk and the speciality is grilled meat such as the sizzling seek kebabs.  Cost: such a bargain my mother would approve.  
7.   Ottolenghi
Just thinking about the food at Ottolenghi makes my eyes gain a far away distant look as I am transported into a world of fresh pomengrates, pistachios, lemon and yoghurt.  Everything on offer at Ottolenghi from the salad to the huge, fluffy meringues looks beautiful and tastes even better.  My favourite spot in London for a light lunch or a treat to takeaway.   Cost: reasonable.
Try to get there early to avoid the queues at this tiny Soho tapas bar.  Barrafina is the real deal.  You sit perched at a white marble counter savouring cheesy croquettes and slices of sizzling grilled chorizo.  In my view, the best tapas in London. Cost: Pricey.

Corn fritters at Lantana
9.  Lantana
This Australian cafe serves one of the best breakfasts in London because lets face it Aussies know how to make a good breakfast.  I freely admit that I am biased in this regard.  Think corn fritters with poached eggs and Monmouth coffee made in a gleaming Marzocco espresso machine that churns out consistently brilliant coffee.  Cost: Reasonable.  
I had to have a gastro pub on this list because I do love a good pub meal.  The Bull and Last fits the bill perfectly.  Tucked away in Kentish town this is a pub that serves real ale and really good food.  The triple cooked chips are without a doubt the best chips in London.  They are the perfect accompaniment to classic menu offerings such as roast chicken or battered fish.  Cost: Reasonable.   
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my tips for visitors who have 12 hours in London.  


  1. Great list, and when I finally visit Pham Sushi, you will be the closest association. 😉 I haven’t been to the Ledbury in months, so a good reminder. And I’ve yet to try Lantana, which also seems to get uniformly rave reviews.

  2. Come on – Hakkasan is the best and is not even in your top ten! The Ledbury? I don’t think so.

    I’m also gonna say Gaucho. Its a chain (so shoot me) but its awesome.

  3. Nice list – have managed to catch a few of those already, including Vinoteca which was excellent and have a feast at St John booked for my birthday – bring on the swine!! Just wish I actually ate out enough to warrant an annual top-ten. I need a job with an expense account. Hmmm MP perhaps? Nah £25 a day is never gonna cover lunch at Le Gavroche.

  4. Hmmm. Am clearly going to have to eat out more to try some of these!

  5. Nice list! I was underwhelmed by Lantana when I tried it. Maybe I should give it another go. I adore Vinoteca. One of the best spots in London!

  6. Love love love tayyabs and dying to try ottolonghi.

  7. Great list! I love lists too and as I have a forthcoming trip to London, I found it most useful. You’ve reminded me to go to Lantana’s, that Aussie place too. Since Bill Granger hasn’t arrived yet!

  8. What fun, I’m obsessed with lists! However, we only share Barrafina at the moment, although I’ve been to a few on your list. I’m looking forward to visiting The Ledbury. Launceston Place made it to my list recently…

  9. American in London – I should say that I was really tempted to also put Galvin bistrot de Luxe on the list as I really loved that meal.

    MTV – Hmm sledging! I do love Hakkasan but I have not been there in the past year and I have limited the list to the past year. As for Gaucho, well you will just have to take me there since I haven’t been…

    Grobelaar – what a brilliant sounding birthday celebration. I agree we all need a job with an expense account.

    TC – There is so much choice in London it is hard to narrow it down to ten.

    Niamh – As I said I may be biased where Lantana is concerned. Good to see we agree on Vinoteca though.

    Krista – I had seen your list a while ago but hadn’t realised you had updated. Overlap on five – well those five must be REALLY good (If anyone is interested the five recommended in their top ten by both Londonelicious and Gourmet Chick are 1. Vinoteca, 2. Ottolenghi 3. Tayyabs 4. Pham and 5. St John). Reading your top ten has reminded me that I really must get to Ishbilia.

    Heavenly Housewife – everyone loves Ottolenghi so I am sure you will too though – it is relatively expensive for a casual place but well worth it.

    Emily – will keep you posted if I hear anything else about the arrival of Bill Granger’s new cafe.

    Helen – Yes I spy a few on your list that I have eaten at as well and almost made my top ten -so hard to narrow until ten. I am looking forward to trying Launceston place after your glowing review of it.

  10. have always enjoyed your blog from the old layout to this cute pink one now. i recently blogged sushi hiro as the best sushi i’ve had in london, i should try pham and do a comparison!

  11. Hello! Everyone at Vinoteca is so pleased to have made #1 on your list, being placed at the top of a list with such great restaurants is quite a compliment, so thank you, and please do come again!

    I haven’t been to about half of your list, but definitely will be making an effort to visit a few, especially Bocca di Lupo, which I keep hearing great things about.

    Thanks, Caitlin

  12. Holly – Well I haven’t been to Sushi Hiro so I will have to do the same comparison

    Vinoteca (Caitlin) – The value for money and atmosphere along with great food and wine makes Vinoteca my number one pick. I just hate the queues – such a shame you are so popular! Yes I do recommend Bocca di Lupo for sure.

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  14. I’d never heard about Pham Sushi before but had a look at the website and now I’m hooked!

    Ottolenghi is a favourite of mine too. There are few places where I could eat absolutely everything on the menu, but this is definitely one of them.

    Great list!

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