TPG’s favourite restaurants in London
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There are thousands of restaurants in London, offering cuisine from every corner of the globe. Trip Advisor alone lists almost 20,000 restaurants. That’s an overwhelming selection of options.
Any “best restaurant list” is very subjective. Is it the best rated? These are likely to be the most expensive. The best food? What if you don’t care for a particular cuisine?
Instead, we want to share with you our personal favourites. The TPG U.K. team all lives in London, so we’ve had the opportunity to try out plenty of options around the city.
These are our tried and tested favourites.
For a taste of Austria in London, Nicky Kelvin recommends this old school Austrian brasserie on upmarket Marylebone High Street. Fischer’s traditional Viennese menu starts at breakfast, where, instead of a Full English, there’s the Viennese Breakfast — it’s a plate full of black forest ham, German salami, caraway-infused gouda, hard-boiled eggs and apricot chutney. Throughout the day, there are the gourmet coffees Austria is famous for, served, of course, with cake.
For lunch or dinner, you should try its famous schnitzels. You can choose between chicken or veal and they are served with jus Parisienne or lingonberry compote. The wine list features whites, red and rose from Austria for an authentic experience.
It’s open seven days from breakfast through to dinner. Book online for full meals — coffee, cakes and snacks are walk-in only.
Liam Spencer says this spot is home to the best Italian food he’s ever had in London and the Evening Standard highly recommends it, too. It’s a lovely, intimate place in Shoreditch with a really affordable menu showcasing authentic northern Italian fare. There are only 40 seats here, so best to book online in advance.
Via Emilia keeps a limited number of seats each day for walk-ins, so if you can’t score a reservation online, try your luck on the day.
Its homemade pasta dishes are absolutely delicious, which make up the majority of the menu. Most pasta dishes are under £10, which is a bargain in a city like London. It’s open seven days for lunch and dinner in Hoxton Square.
Daniel Ross knows Spain and Spanish food. Along with being a regular traveller there, he’s also fluent in the language. He loves El Ganso in Broadway Market, even claiming it has tapas better than you will find in Barcelona.
The head chef hails from Valencia but has also cooked in Japan and South America and has brought his worldly experience to London.
You can expect classic Spanish tapas like anchovies, jamon Iberico and pan con tomate. There’s also pork shoulder, chicken paella and black tiger prawns. The tapas menu is served all day from 1 p.m. weekdays and weekends, well into the night, just like they eat in Spain.
I’m not a vegan myself and don’t usually enjoy vegan food very much as I miss the varieties, textures and tastes that meat can bring. When a friend suggested we try this vegan Mexican restaurant, I was sceptical, to say the least. But it is so good I have returned time and time again, and regularly bring people from out of town when they visit for a truly unique meal.
I love Mexico and Mexican food, and there are some very familiar flavours there like carnitas burritos, but made with jackfruit rather than pork. There’s also their “VFC” which tastes just like fried chicken. I don’t know how they do it, but it is delicious.
Club Mexicana locations change from time to time — it’s currently in Soho, Covent Garden and Dinerama in Shoreditch. Check the website for bookings and current opening hours.
This lovely little French wine and cheese bar is tucked under Southwark Cathedral and is a brilliantly kept secret as it’s really hard to find the entrance (unless you’re in the know). Hayley Coyle says Boro Bistro is one of her favourite spots as it’s cosy, comfortable but with loads of mad touches — think vintage 70s erotica in the bathrooms. The menu is simple — lots of decent cheese, cured meats, bread, tapas and the wine list is long. It’s a perfect place for long afternoons with friends. In the winter, the terrace becomes a whimsical Alpine chalet, with faux fur rugs and blankets to keep you snug.
It’s open Tuesday to Sunday with food service finishing at 8.30 p.m. on Sundays. It’s right near Borough Market, too, so you know its suppliers will be top-notch.
You’ll find Dishoom on many lists of the best and most famous restaurants in London. The city is no stranger to South Asian food — you can find plenty of cheap and cheerful curries at your local curry house. For something more refined, Dishoom provides beautiful decor, service and atmosphere. But the food is the real standout. Even those with only a passing interest in hearty Indian food are likely to enjoy its delicious fare. One of the most popular items is the Chicken Ruby, which Nicky Kelvin says is particularly amazing.
Dishoom is known for being really hard to get a table. While it takes large group bookings, normally, you have to wait in line in smaller groups for an hour or longer, even if you arrive as it opens.
COVID-19 has changed this process a bit — groups of up to six can now book online a month in advance (or try their luck on the night). Book as soon as you can because this place is beyond popular.
Dishoom has grown to multiple London locations — Carnaby Street, Shoreditch, King’s Cross, Covent Garden (temporarily closed for refurbishment) and Kensington. There’s a uniquely South Asian breakfast menu served until 11:45 a.m., and then an all-day menu from noon.
There’s plenty of great pizza restaurants in London and I don’t pretend to know the most authentic Napoli-style pizza in the whole city. What I do recommend is this cute, very welcoming spot, which I discovered in Hoxton Square, though its success has led to additional versions in Clapham and Canary Wharf.
The name Radio Alice comes from an old 70s Italian pirate radio station. This now lives on through the music it plays in its restaurants, a great accompaniment to the delicious pizzas and proper Italian aperitivos. Spritz, anyone?
It makes light, crispy, organic, sourdough pizza with stoneground flour. What makes these pizzas unique (and might make Nonna gasp) is that many of the toppings are placed onto the pizza after it is neatly sliced into eight pieces. This means every single slice has exactly the same amount of toppings, for the perfect bite. No more eyeing off the slice with the most meat on it.
Unfortunately due to COVID-19, Radio Alice is currently operating takeaway and delivery only, though hopes to reopen its restaurant soon.
Bob Bob Ricard
The sexiest place in London is… a restaurant? That’s according to Jean Arnas, who adores this iconic Soho venue. It mixes both its cuisine and clientele for a uniquely glamorous experience. How glam? Every table (which is also a booth) is equipped with a “press for Champagne” button, and there’s a strict dress code that welcomes “fashionwear”, but not “gymwear”.
The cuisine is a unique mix of British and Russian fare from chicken Kiev to beef Wellington and plenty of caviar options to match with those glasses of Champagne, or a vodka shot if you prefer. All this luxury doesn’t come cheap, with a beef Wellington costing a whopping £39 per person, though you may be pleasantly surprised at the wine list prices. A decade ago, the restaurant controversially capped the mark-up of its most expensive wines at £50, keeping the prices reasonable for some seriously decadent drops.
It’s open for lunch Fridays to Sundays, and dinner seven days a week.
London is a melting pot of cuisine from around the world. This multicultural mecca serves up everything from Portuguese to Peruvian, from Ethiopian to a proper Full English breakfast. There are dishes for just a few pounds, up to dishes that are easily £50 plus.
You’ll be spoilt for choice — but it can be overwhelming to narrow down the options. We love these London restaurants and hope you will too.
Featured photo by Jenni.heller via Twenty20
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