As the bustling metropolis of London continues to evolve, so does its gastronomic landscape. The diversity of the city’s dining options is reflected in the 50 Best Restaurants in London for 2023, a compilation that spans from beloved favorites to enticing newcomers, ensuring you have a myriad of choices for your next dining adventure.
October 2023: Our relentless pursuit of culinary excellence means we’re dedicated to presenting you with the crème de la crème of London’s restaurant scene at this very moment.
Each establishment on our list promises an unforgettable dining experience, etching itself into your memory. This is your ultimate guide to London’s dining scene in 2023. And don’t forget to sign up for our complimentary newsletter for exclusive London restaurant news and tips. Bon appétit!
The Best Restaurants in London
1. Café Cecilia ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What’s the buzz? Since Max Rocha’s debut solo venture hit the scene in 2021, it’s been nothing short of a sensation. Part neighborhood bistro, part tribute to the chef’s Dublin roots, Café Cecilia showcases Rocha’s training at culinary luminaries like St John and The River Café, delivering exquisite, uncomplicated dishes. Whether you’re extolling the virtues of the onglet, savoring the Guinness cake, or indulging in sublime sage-and-anchovy fritti, it’s a revelation.
Why go? The view of the Cambridge Heath gas towers has never been as charming as when observed through the colossal windows in this airy, L-shaped warehouse-style space, all while devouring those irresistible fries.
Must-try: Anything infused with Guinness is a must. Be it the cake, the bread, the ice cream, or the fritti, every bite is a burst of flavor.
2. Quo Vadis ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
image take from wikipedia
What’s the deal? The recently revamped classic dining room at the “great dame of Dean Street” now boasts one of the world’s most charismatic chefs at the helm. Jeremy Lee has crafted a menu that’s an absolute treasure: seasonal, sensational, and never shy on indulgent desserts.
Why go? For an unforgettable Soho escapade. Exceptional British fare, an upscale bohemian ambiance, and prime people-watching opportunities encapsulate the quintessential London dining experience.
Must-try: Pies are Lee’s passion. Sample whatever filling is on offer, and don’t forget to order the smoked eel sandwich on the side.
3. Akoko ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What’s the deal? A west African tasting menu paradise in Fitzrovia, boasting over ten courses under the artful guidance of executive chef Ayo Adeyemi, who assumed control of the kitchen in September 2022, rapidly making it his own.
Why go? This laid-back and spacious venue exudes elegance without the fuss – no pretentious, intricate dishes here, just bold, inventive flavors drawing from age-old family recipes and influences from Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal.
Must-try: Opt for the tasting menu; you’ll be richly rewarded with delectable lobster tail, scotch bonnet soup, and irresistibly moreish jollof rice.
4. Tofu Vegan ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What’s the deal? The menu is an ode to all things plant-based, a symphony of mock-meats, tofu, and beancurd creations. What’s truly remarkable is the sheer deliciousness of this Chinese-inspired vegan cuisine.
Why go? It’s a celebration of the vegan revolution. Come and experience the rapturous delights.
Must-try: The shredded tofu and water chestnut wontons in house special sauce are a revelation, bursting with deep, garlicky, fiery, and effervescent flavors, a pure pleasure.
5. Chet’s ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What’s the deal? LA chef Kris Yenbamroong has been dazzling his hometown with robust Thai flavors for a decade, and now London gets its taste of the action. Chet’s, his first full-time European venture, sits in the Hoxton hotel in Shepherd’s Bush, serving generous portions of fun.
Why go? It’s more budget-friendly than booking a flight to Thailand via California, and because it’s housed in a hotel, you can indulge in decadent breakfasts and leisurely lunches.
Must-try: The sumptuous blue-cheese-slathered wedge salad, complete with candied pork jowl and garlic nam jim dipping sauce. Add a fried chicken khao soi – a katsu-style chicken atop creamy Chiang Mai curried noodles.
6. St John Marylebone ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Entrance to St John Marylebone (Image credit: St John)
What’s the deal? The latest iteration of this iconic London restaurant is perhaps its finest offering to date. A concise, ever-changing blackboard menu eschews the intimidating formality of the long-standing Smithfield outpost, yet it overflows with culinary treasures, from anchovy-based small plates to hearty fish dishes and heavenly stews.
Why go? To savor some of the most exquisite British fare that will ever grace your palate. After your meal, tumble into The Golden Eagle pub across the street for a pint and savor the experience.
Must-try: Deep-fried chunks of cheesy, crispy rarebit – a royal treat you can exclusively enjoy at this very St John.
7. Dilara ⭐⭐⭐⭐
image from flickr @kake
What’s the deal? Nestled unassumingly on Finsbury Park’s Blackstock Road, Dilara serves substantial portions of Uyghur cuisine, a fusion of northern Chinese dishes like noodles and dumplings, kebabs, and meat-soaked bread. A single visit will leave you forever captivated.
Why go? It’s one of the rare places in London where you can savor the overlooked yet incredibly flavorful Uyghur food. Come for the robust Szechuan punch and some of the finest noodles the city has to offer.
Must-try: The large-plate chicken, accompanied by hand-pulled noodles and a dry chili spice. Pair it with tugure dumplings, samsa pastries, and a side of smashed cucumber to elevate your dining experience.
8. Rochelle Canteen ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What’s the deal? Situated in the garden of a former school off Arnold Circus in Shoreditch, Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson’s idyllic bolthole epitomizes simplicity and impeccable sourcing. Think St John without the boisterous wine revelry and with less offal on the menu.
Why go? Lunches here are nothing short of idyllic, especially in the spring, making it a must-visit for any discerning diner.
Must-try: Keep it straightforward with starters like clams, chili, and garlic. And don’t overlook the classic puddings, particularly those drenched in custard.
9. Mount St Restaurant ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What’s the deal? Dine in an art gallery – yes, you heard it right. This Mayfair newcomer, established at the end of 2022 by Hauser & Wirth, houses a staggering £50 million worth of masterpieces from artists such as Lucian Freud and Pablo Picasso. The food, a British classic with a touch of Victorian elegance, is equally remarkable.
Why go? When was the last time you enjoyed dinner with a genuine Matisse painting towering over you? The art doesn’t just adorn the walls; even the salt and pepper cruets are inspired by American artist Paul McCarthy’s daring ‘Tree’ sculpture.
Must-try: The show-stopping lobster-head pie has everyone talking, and at £96, it’s a luxury worth savoring. Alternatively, opt for more budget-friendly classic savories like London rarebit, Gentleman’s Relish, or deviled-kidney omelette, each priced at £12.
10. Cafe Deco ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
photo by Michaël Protin
What’s the deal? Tucked away on a charming side street in Bloomsbury, Cafe Deco boasts remarkable culinary pedigree. The talented Anna Tobias, who honed her skills at the renowned Rochelle Canteen, helms the kitchen. The team from 40 Maltby Street is also part of this culinary journey.
Why go? This National Trust café is the epitome of chic, with a menu that highlights elevated, ingredient-driven European classics. Expect delightful items on toast, hearty yet stylish soups, and rustic yet inventive salads.
Must-try: The super-seasonal menu constantly evolves, but don’t miss Tobias’s signature dish – a small egg-mayonnaise starter that never disappoints.
In conclusion, London’s culinary scene for 2023 promises a mouthwatering adventure filled with diverse flavors, innovative concepts, and beloved classics. Whether you’re seeking the bold and inventive or the classic and comforting, London’s dining establishments have you covered. Explore this list of top-notch eateries and savor the rich tapestry of culinary delights that this vibrant city has to offer.