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A bean, potato, and fried egg breakfast taco on a white plate with yellow rim on a blue background.
The bean, potato, and fried egg breakfast taco at Quarter Kitchen.
Caitlin Isola

The 38 Essential Restaurants in London

Egg-topped breakfast tacos from a churchyard kiosk, spicy chicken with hand-pulled noodles at the city’s first Uyghur restaurant, a star chef’s Italian spot ideal for fall, and more of London’s best food

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The bean, potato, and fried egg breakfast taco at Quarter Kitchen.
| Caitlin Isola

The Eater 38 hopes to answer any question that begins, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” It’s a curated list that covers the entire city, spanning more than 20 cuisines, neighbourhoods, and price points. It’s a list that tells the story of the London food scene, documenting the dim sum, Sunday roasts, curries, pizza, sinasir, rarebits, banh mi, udon noodles, pepper pot, and moo krob. All these dishes and more make London among the very best and most diverse places to eat in the world.

This guide aims to reflect the best food and most important restaurants in the capital as of autumn 2023, as new venues make their mark and older establishments rediscover their groove. It continues to showcase a mix of over three dozen restaurants, which have all done outstanding things in extraordinary times: emerging, surviving, thriving, and continuing to enrich the city and its food culture through a half-decade of unprecedented change and tumult.

Adam Coghlan is a writer and editor based in London. In 2017, he launched Eater London and ran the site until it ceased daily publication in 2023. You can find him on Instagram @adamcoghlan.

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Durak Tantuni

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As Jonathan Nunn wrote in his guide to north London’s best-value restaurants, “Durak, a tantuni salonu run by Dogan Yesil on West Green Road, is the superior late night snack template.” Only the tantuni, a speciality which originates in the city of Mersin on the southern coast of Turkey, is served here. Beef is boiled, seasoned with the likes of tomato, pul biber, sumac, and cumin and subsequently fried in cotton oil before being loaded, meat juices aplenty, inside a thin lavash with chopped parsley, tomato, and onion. It is then given a pleasing bend before being eaten; a selection of high-acid accompaniments — pickled chillis, lemon — provide the necessary cut-through.

Meat and veggies in a wrap about to be wrapped up.
The tantuni is ready to be rolled.
Michaël Protin

Mukaddes Yadikar’s restaurant near Walthamstow Central station opened in London in summer 2017. It was London’s first strictly Uyghur restaurant, and has become perhaps E17’s finest neighbourhood restaurant. Some points of advice: First, go with a group. Second, to start, go for the Chaomian, a stir-fry of short noodle snippets wokked with chunks of beef, spring onion, and tomato. Third, and most importantly, get the signature da pan ji (“big plate chicken”): a remarkably deep, savoury, and spicy chicken and potato stew, teeming with Sichuan peppercorns, served with flat hand-pulled noodles. This is a warm, homely, and treasured space to eat in east London.

A variety of dishes, including a meat and vegetable platter, rice and noodles, and soup.
Dishes at Etles.
Andrew Leitch


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Gratefully, chef Sirichai Kularbwong and family have reopened London’s preeminent Thai neighbourhood restaurant. Customers returning to the most homely and reassuring of dining rooms find menu staples such as phad thai, wok-fried morning glory with garlic and fish sauce, sour tom yum, and fried tilapia. But real ones know that it’s the blackboard menu of specials where Kularbwong really flexes: steamed sea bass Cantonese style; herbal fruit salads, such as mangosteen, lychee, shallot, and mint; jungle curries; larbs; grilled ribs; and the peerless twice-fried moo krob with garlic, chilli, and holy basil.

A chef adds fixings to a whole fish dish.
Seabass with ginger and spring onion at Singburi.
Michaël Protin

Bake Street

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This small Stoke Newington cafe seriously overdelivers, preparing some of London’s best American diner-style smash burgers, Nashville hots, playful samosas, and the inimitable chicken makhani sandwich come the weekend, with a solid core menu for weekday visitors. Its sweet offering isn’t half bad either; do not miss the ingenious creme brulee cookie, developed by pastry chef Chloe-Rose Crabtree from a recipe by Los Angeles’s Dough and Arrow, or the seasonal ice cream from Crabtree and co-founder Feroz Gajia in warmer months.

A fried chicken sandwich with cheese.
Bake Street’s fried chicken with makhani sauce, American cheese, and coriander chutney on brioche.
Adam Coghlan

107 Wine Shop and Bar

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When P. Franco, one of London’s most important wine bars and restaurants of the last decade, closed in March, it did so to widespread disbelief and sadness. But natural wine and small plate lovers need grieve no more, for 107 Wine Shop and Bar is here — on the same site, with many of the same staff (led by Will Gee), the same ilk of peripatetic guest chefs (recently Mitchell Damota and Elliot Hashtroudi), and the same low-intervention wines that P. Franco was so successful in mainstreaming in Hackney over the years. The communal high table remains; so too does the storm-snapped half sign bearing three letters of the name of the Chinese takeaway that came before P. Franco. Plus ça change?

p. franco, one of the city’s best wine bar and restaurants
Outside 107, which still looks just like P. Franco.
Michaël Protin

Westerns Laundry

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Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim and David Gingell’s Westerns Laundry (the pair also oversees Primeur, the various Jolenes, and Big Jo) is one of London’s best seafood restaurants, a notable champion of English and especially Cornish suppliers. It’s still serving glorious plates like fideo pasta rich with cuttlefish, squid ink, and aioli; monkfish friggitelli and mojo verde; and John Dory, peas, braised gem lettuce, and pancetta. A covered terrace and stellar wine list, with low-intervention and classic options, add to the reasons to visit this outstanding warmly lit and carefully designed Holloway restaurant.

Various seafood dishes with glasses of wine.
Prawns, cuttlefish, and natural wine at Westerns Laundry.
Patricia Niven

Eater London’s Restaurant of the Year 2022 is comprised of three discrete yet intertwined endeavours. Downstairs in the basement kitchen, George Jephson butchers whole animals, repurposing them as immaculate charcuterie, while upstairs, chef Jamie Smart uses excellent ingredients to prepare simple plates that lean French and southern European — think trout poached in butter with roe and sorrel; or a roast game bird with quince and bitter leaves. Sommeliers Tom Beattie and Fran Roberts, the duo behind the wine importer bearing both names, run the bar and the floor with a small team. Cadet is a wine bar, a restaurant, a charcutier, and a shopfront; it feels French and it feels London; and, from the moment it opened, it has always felt just right.

A group of people mills around outside a restaurant with large windows.
Outside Cadet on Newington Green in north London.
Michaël Protin

The Quarter Kitchen

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Max Fishman’s Quarter Kitchen — the breakfast and lunch kiosk which he opened with chef Rodrigo Cervantes in a Hackney churchyard in the summer of 2022 — serves some of London’s best Mexican food. Originally from Mexico City and previously an employee of Smoking Goat, Koya, and Rita’s in London, Cervantes cooks a mighty fine breakfast. Options include two tortillas with hash browns, fried eggs, and smoked bacon glazed with maple syrup and sugar; breakfast burritos based on the American McDonald’s versions (with sausage patties, American cheese, and chopped peppers); gorditas; tepache; tacos al pastor done on a small yakitori grill inside the kiosk; and the mess-making bright red pambazo. The Quarter Kitchen also serves excellent coffee and features a range of espressos from some of Europe’s best roasters.

A bean, potato, and fried egg breakfast taco on a white plate with yellow rim on a blue background.
Bean, potato, and fried egg breakfast taco.
Caitlin Isola

Bánh Mì Hội-An

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This diminutive shop on Hackney’s Graham Road serves one of the city’s best sandwiches — inside one of the city’s best baguettes. Although the spot has just one table and three or four seats, it’s difficult to think of warmer hospitality than at Bánh Mì Hội-An. The duo behind the counter prepare fresh sandwiches to go, and while the pork classic is excellent, don’t sleep on the turmeric-heavy fried catfish on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays; fragrant with coriander, mayo, fermented chilli paste, sriracha, and pickled vegetables, it is an object lesson in flavour, texture, and balance.

From above, a partially eaten banh mi sandwich and a cup of mostly eaten soup, with napkins and utensils.
Banh mi with a chicken noodle soup — a perfect, restorative winter lunch.
Adam Coghlan

Trullo’s elegant dining room and simple, seasonal food make it one of London’s best Italian restaurants and one of its finest neighbourhood restaurants. Dark wood, low lighting, white tablecloths, and straightforward plating make Trullo decidedly anti-Instagram. Its spiritual parents are the two most important restaurants of a generation, the River Cafe and St. John. Dishes marry Italian traditions with British (and Italian) ingredients, which are fashioned into antipasti, fresh pastas, and secondi, dishes which often do a little time on the charcoal grill. Where sister site Padella is cheaper, faster, and increasingly difficult to get into, Trullo, which offers the same signature beef shin pappardelle and other Padella hits, is more of a grown-up place to eat and relax. A largely Italian (and natural-leaning) wine list is just as considered as everything else.

A slice of tart with a dollop of cream alongside.
Lemon tart at Trullo.

F.K.A.B.A.M. (Formerly Known as Black Axe Mangal)

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Once, the existence of a restaurant like B.A.M. would have been unimaginable in London, but chef Lee Tiernan has pedigree (St. John), and London has changed. Here, Turk-ish (sourdough) flatbreads and kebabs by a British chef in Islington are prepared in a wood oven decorated with graffiti tributes to KISS et al. Tiernan closed the restaurant for much of 2020 and 2021 but has returned, a la Prince, with a new name and many of the old classics, including squid ink flatbread with smoked trout roe; lamb offal flatbread; and various well-travelled hunks of grilled protein imaginatively and judiciously seasoned.

A flatbread topped with meat and vegetables, alongside curls of crackling, on a colorful tablecloth.
A lamb offal flatbread and pork crackling at F.K.A Black Axe Mangal.
Ola Smit


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East Ham is home to London’s largest Kerala community and its greatest concentration of South Indian restaurants. The pick of them is Thattukada, run by chef-owners Biju and Preeti Gopinath. Curries and roasts have a depth of flavour and spicing that belie their simple descriptions, and they should be mopped up with crisp parottas or snow-white appams. But it’s the legendary fries that are unmissable: half a chicken cut into segments, then aggressively and skilfully fried with chilli and crispy onions; little netholi (anchovies) cooked and eaten whole; or battered mussels that pop thrillingly in the mouth.

A plate of chicken fry on a dark background.
Chicken fry at Thattukada in East Ham, an outstanding Kerala neighbourhood restaurant.
Tomas Jivanda


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This elegantly designed wine club beneath a Haggerston railway arch now firmly belongs in the top bracket of (French) restaurants in London. Chef Seb Myers and his modern-ish, playful take on French country cooking fits perfectly with the fascinating and broad wine list owned by patron Jonathan Alphandery. With dishes such as a red mullet tartine; grilled leeks vinaigrette with Tunworth cheese; a duck offal choux farcis; and mackerel with coco beans and greens; as well as a caramel tart with blue cheese, Planque has nearly everything that makes a great modern European restaurant great.

A restaurant exterior with artwork on a white brick wall and a small sign with the restaurant’s name.
Outside Planque.
Michaël Protin

Cafe Cecilia

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Since Cafe Cecilia opened in 2021, it has maintained a steady flow of plaudits from all the coolest places, in part because of chef-owner Max Rocha’s connection to the world of fashion (father John and sister Simone are designers). However, there’s a surfeit of substance as well as style in this stark, minimalist cafe-bistro. Rocha and his staff are direct descendents of the ingredients-obsessed River Cafe, Rochelle Canteen, and Quo Vadis. Like peer Anna Tobias’s cooking at Cafe Deco, Rocha’s can be a bit beige, but it’s deserving of the attention it has received. Do not miss the steak and chips with peppercorn sauce, nor fruit tart at dessert.

A chef plates a dish at Cafe Cecilia.
Plating a dish at Cafe Cecilia.
Michaël Protin

Chef Mitshel Ibrahim’s Vyner Street trattoria cannily slants mainstays of Italian cuisine to create a restaurant that feels like the London Italian that it is, rather than the Venetian bacaró that inspires it. The dining room and ample terrace await faithfully with Roman artichokes; pillowy gnocchi fritti anointed with mortadella; carne salada paired with shimeji mushrooms alongside Parmesan; and quality rotating pastas. The tiramisu is deservedly legendary.

Diners with food and drinks on a small patio table.
Drinks al fresco on the terrace at Ombra in Hackney.
Michaël Protin

Roti King

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The area around Euston station is replete with no-frills, delicious places to eat. This little Malaysian basement setup from chef Sugen Gopal on Doric Way may be the best. Two pieces of freshly made, high-moisture roti canai — to eat in or take away — are best served with curry dal. That speciality costs only £4.50, though round two is likely, and a newly introduced online queueing system has added a new seamlessness to the experience.

A server holds a platter of roti and daal.
Roti canai and daal at Roti King, a classic London restaurant.
Ola Smit

Chef Ed Wilson’s hearty French Italian menu is a showcase for his own personal love of food. To eat here is to share that passion, especially now with an increased emphasis on fresh pasta and spectacular comfort food. Wines are predominantly natural and biodynamic. Illustrated wine posters, art, and curios on whitewashed brick walls also make the two relaxed dining rooms on Columbia Road among London’s most handsome and cool. Here also lie the city’s smallest and most beautiful bathrooms — among the very first to use Aesop, to boot.

A plate of agnolotti bathed in warm autumnal light, flecked with Parmesan cheese and purple radicchio leaves.
Agnolotti at Brawn.
James Hansen

Kate's Cafe and Restaurant

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At the late chef Kate Armah’s outstanding east London neighbourhood Ghanaian restaurant, the sharing platter — which includes tsofi, chicken wings, kebabs, plantains, and more — is the manifestation of generosity in hospitality. Other highlights include akonfem (guinea fowl), red red (fried plantain with black eye bean stew and gari foto), and any of the soups, which come served with choice of starchy sides such as fufu, kenkey, kokonte, or rice.

Takeaway boxed on top of a counter.
Takeaway boxes at Kate’s Cafe.
Michaël Protin

Quality Wines

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After a refurbishment of both kitchen and premises, this haven on Farringdon Road is back to the form that has made it one of the most essential of the city’s essential kitchens in recent years. Chef Nick Bramham’s cooking now leans more towards the Aegean, with the likes of giouvarlakia bringing herbed meatballs bobbing in avgolemono. The menu will change weekly and will travel across southern Europe, but look out for Bramham’s clever riffs on BLTs, lobster rolls, and perfectly seasoned pasta dishes, after peerless gildas, before flawless sour cherry cannoli.

Sweets on a decorative plate, on a spotlighted gray counter.
Pig fat cannoli at Quality Wines.
Mason Noteboom/Quality Wines

Smoking Goat

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Since March 2023, the always inventive Ben Chapman and his brilliant development chef Kim SongSoo have repositioned the laid-back Shoreditch Thai restaurant and bar Smoking Goat as a “chicken shop” — serving (very good) fried chicken, fish sauce wings, and snacks fashioned from crisped seasoned chicken skin. But Kim has also conceived a number of new dishes with a fresh focus on wok-cookery, including fried noodles with egg, chilli, and green onion that makes a visit essential; the moreish, textural phenomenon can work on its own or as the centrepiece around which other dishes can be enjoyed, such as the sweet, umami-rich pork with Chinese olives.

A pink plate of noodles fried into a single sheet, topped with sliced vegetables.
Fried noodles at Smoking Goat.
Adam Coghlan

This handsome, minimalist, blond wood-and-concrete Shoreditch restaurant is a marriage of its co-owner James Lowe’s British heritage (St. John Bread & Wine) and his many stints across the globe, including one at Noma. Lowe is a gifted chef and one of London’s foremost proponents of quality British produce. His relaxed brand of fine dining regularly celebrates mutton, game, and goat, as well as wood-fired seafood and seasonal English vegetables.

A dining room ready for service, with chefs working in the kitchen at the back end.
The dining room at Lyle’s in Shoreditch.
Ola Smit

Sushi Tetsu

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Clerkenwell’s Sushi Tetsu might be the hardest reservation in London, in part because there are only seven seats. It also pound-for-pound serves the best (value) sushi in the city. To observe Toru Takahashi’s knife skills and to eat his omakase menu while receiving Harumi Takahashi’s gently flawless hospitality (the two are married) is to experience one of London’s most complete and completely brilliant restaurants. Send an email to receive information on how to book.

Sushi Tetsu, one of the city’s finest Japanese sushi restaurants, is closed due to the cornavirus COVID-19 outbreak in London
Outside Tetsu.
Michael Prötin/Eater London

Otto's French Restaurant

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Here is a restaurant that unashamedly and decadently revisits the past. Theatrical cooking happens tableside, and many guests take the chance to marvel at the traditional silverware required for the preparation of canard à la presse (pressed duck), Otto Tepasse’s trademark; the duck meat is dressed with a rich brandy-heavy gravy made from the pressed carcass and served alongside the world’s most otherworldly carbohydrate: pommes soufflées. When a restaurateur opens a namesake restaurant, especially in the possessive, it can be narcissistic or lazy or both. In the case of Otto’s, Tepasse is so important to this operation, the name could not be more appropriate.

A person in a suit lifts a cooked duck from a copper pot with a large pan.
Pressed duck at Otto’s, one of London’s iconic dishes.
Ola Smit

Sessions Arts Club

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Florence Knight’s Sessions Arts Club pairs one of the city’s most stunning dining rooms with one of its low-key best and cleverest kitchens. No dish better demonstrates Knight’s skill and ingenuity than the fried potato, smoked eel, and cod’s roe, which sees the eel embedded inside the carbohydrate like a smoky fish-and-chip millefeuille. Other must-tries include the squid with calamarata pasta; crab croquettes; and rabbit, cotechino, cabbage, and mustard. If a Diptyque candle became a room, then this would be it.

A waiter carries dishes on a serving platter.
Dishes being carried into the dining room from the kitchen at Sessions Arts Club.
Michaël Protin

Master Wei

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Chef Wei Guirong is a star of London dining: Her first (joint) venture, Xi’an Impression opposite the Emirates stadium in Highbury, has long held cult status among food lovers in London. But increasingly, Master Wei, Guirong’s solo project in Bloomsbury, is outshining its forebear. This is a bigger site, for one, which means there’s a greater chance of scoring a table — more space in which to enjoy peerless biang biang noodles with vegetables or beef; fine liang pi, cold skin noodles with a cool, refreshing, umami-rich dressing; and the chef’s Xi’an-style “burgers” with a filling comprising cumin-spiced beef or pork.

A range of shared items on decorative dishes.
Biang biang noodles, smacked cucumbers, ou jia mo, and liang pi at Master Wei.
Sam Ashton

St John Bread and Wine

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While the original St. John is rightly regarded as the most important British restaurant in a generation, Bread & Wine, the sister site in Spitalfields, is a better and more interesting restaurant today. If food were a religion, then this would be its church. Welsh rarebit, bone marrow and parsley salad, foie gras on toast, mussels with cider, devilled kidneys, half a dozen madeleines, and a whole roast suckling pig are classics. Lunch here is one of the purest, most heavenly restaurant experiences in London.

A table full of dishes and wine.
Welsh rarebit, liver toast, and madeleines at St. John Bread and Wine.
St. John Bread and Wine

Locanda Locatelli

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Giorgio Locatelli is one of London’s best-known chefs, and while peers of a similar renown leave their namesake creations in the hands of others, Locatelli is often at Locanda, either in the kitchen or working the room. The restaurant’s location, inside the Hyatt Regency Churchill hotel in Marylebone, belies a friendly warmth and conviviality. It’s one for a special occasion, but the quality of the food keeps the restaurant — after two decades — among London’s essential venues. Try the fresh pappardelle with ceps; malfatti potato parcels with peppers, mint, Parmigiano-Reggiano; roast monkfish with walnut-caper sauce and samphire; or anything on the menu in autumn, the best time in the year to eat a lot of Italian food.

A fillet of sea bass on a mound of vegetables.
Pan-fried sea bass with seasonal vegetables at Locanda Locatelli.
Locanda Locatelli

Koya Soho

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Shuko Oda’s little bar in Soho is among London’s most acclaimed Japanese restaurants. Over a long, blond wooden counter, chefs calmly and politely pass hot bowls of steaming broth containing noodles made on-site, topped with proteins like tempura prawn or smoked mackerel, or seasonal green vegetables from Sussex farm Namayasai. The specials board of small plates changes every day and exhibits some of the city’s best modern British cooking; the traditional Japanese breakfast is the most steadying in London.

From above, plates of noodles, tempura, and rice.
Dishes at Koya Soho.
Koya Soho

Food House

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One of the comparatively recent new wave of Sichuan and Xi’an restaurants in Chinatown, Food House (風味食堂) is run by a younger generation of chefs and restaurateurs. Indeed, it might be the hippest restaurant in central London. Hordes of immaculately dressed shoppers and students gather for hot pots, whole fish in chilli oil, numbing Chongqing noodles, cumin-studded grilled skewers, and Chinese hamburgers while competing with the staff for the coolest look. This extremely trendy restaurant is a scene all of its own, but not unwelcoming; it’s perfect for either a date or a group booking.

Food House on Chinatown’s Gerrard Street
Inside Food House in London’s Chinatown.
Ejatu Shaw/Eater London


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Chef Normah Abd Hamid and her family team offer a Malaysian comfort menu that makes the restaurant one of the best in the city from a nook of a unit in Queensway Market. Sour, hot assam pedas; roti to rival London’s King in Euston; and beef rendang or nasi lemak to go alongside. Normah’s is quaint and Normah is brilliant; this remains one of central London’s best restaurants to visit with a small group of friends and one to take out-of-towners visiting the city.

A large bowl of curry laksa with eggs and vegetables peaking out of the broth, and chopsticks resting on the rim.
Curry prawn laksa at Normah’s.
Michaël Protin


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Mayfair’s Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Gymkhana is one of a few places in London that manages to straddle the line between celebrity hype and quality cooking. Tandoori masala lamb chops, chicken butter masala, and the trademark wild muntjac biryani remain standouts. The prices match the level of cooking and the surrounds, making this one for special occasions.

A large pot of colorful biryani, with a doughy cover peeled back.
Muntjac biryani.

40 Maltby St

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A treasure. Unmoved by the comings and goings of trends, Bermondsey’s 40 Maltby St is a 40-cover answer to the question, pejorative as it may often be: What is British food? Steve Williams is a chef’s chef, cited by James Lowe, Brett Graham, and Florence Knight in their top five in the city. Raef Hodgson of distributor Gergovie Wines — which features low-intervention styles — runs the front of house without hubris. Check Instagram for the menu, which is always going to feature in-jokes and delicious dishes such as pork schnitzel with raw celeriac, mustard, and braised potatoes, onion, and thyme, or a chestnut and brown sugar meringue.

A variety of dishes on a green background.
Dishes at 40 Maltby St.
Ola Smit

Kaieteur Kitchen

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Chef Faye Gomes’s peerless Guyanese market stall has relocated to Castle Square following the controversial demolition of Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre next to which Gomes had traded for 17 years. Check chef Gomes’s Instagram in advance for trademark, long-prepared, and slow-cooked traditional dishes like pepper pot, garlic pork, and cow foot souse. Or turn up for a surprise of dishes that draw on the many culinary influences and colonial legacies of Guyana: dal puri roti; pholourie; fried fish with tomato; potato, green mango, okra, and coconut curry; stewed brown chicken, which, like the pepper pot, is coloured and enriched with cassareep, a liquid extraction from cassava root, as well as clove and cinnamon; and stew pumpkin.

A plate of meat, plantains, and vegetables.
Guyanese meat and rice at Kaieteur Kitchen.
Tomas Jivanda

Saikei Chinese Restaurant

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This vast restaurant dining room sits quite inexplicably on the ground floor of a Holiday Inn Express budget hotel just off the A102 on the south exit of the Blackwall Tunnel. But this is a destination dining room of tremendous pedigree, which is built for midweek and weekend lunches, preferably with large groups. A mid-length, high-quality dim sum menu features a must-try fried prawn and Chinese chive number that stakes a fair claim to being the best single-bite hot item in the city — a crispy, fatty, sweet, salty umami nugget. Among the noodle plates to share, king prawns are excellent, with the noodles taking on the requisite smoke from the wok, seasoned judiciously. Saikei is a close-to-perfect family and group dining experience.