Ever since I moved to London four years ago I’ve slowly been building up a mammoth list of restaurants, cafes and coffee shops that I’d like to visit which I’ve spotted when I’ve been out and about exploring London. Some of these have also been recommended to me by friends so I’ve added them to the list which I wanted to share with you.
I’ll keep coming back to this blog post, updating it every time I’ve visited somewhere and every time I add new places so keep scrolling for my HUGE London Restaurant Hit List (handy if you’re ever stuck for ideas).
My London Restaurant Hit List:
Tramshed ✔️ [visited] – this is one of the first restaurants I visited when I moved down to London and I blogged about the whole roasted chicken with chips on a later visit which easily feeds two or three people at great value for money. Tramshed is in shoreditch but it’s a member of the Hix group of restaurants and there are a few across London. It’s well worth a visit and I’d go back again.
Ping Pong ✔️ [visited] – I first visited ping pong six months ago but since then I’ve been back three times which tells you how much I love it. The dim sum and the bao buns are especially good here – the pork cha sui bao and the duck bao are my favourites and if you visit before 6pm after work some of the menu has 50% off.
Ting, Shangri-La ✔️ [visited] – I took my mum here for a champagne afternoon tea for her birthday last year and although it was a tad expensive it was worth it. Ting is in the Shangri-La hotel at the top of the Shard in London Bridge. The views are incredible and the food and service were both excellent. A must do!
Flat Iron ✔️ [visited] – My absolute FAVOURITE steak place in London; its super cheap at £11 for the flat iron steak but so delicious. What more could you want?! I’ve been more times than I can count to three different restaurants but the Covent Garden one is my favourite because you get free salted caramel ice cream dipped in dark chocolate on the way out. You also get free popcorn which is cooked in beef fat (sounds weird but so flavourful) at all of the restaurants. I’ve recommended Flat Iron to so many people but just remember that you can’t book here so you just have to turn up. It’s not uncommon to have to wait for a table. This is not a choice for vegetarians or vegans!
Duck and Waffle ✔️ [visited] – I took my boyfriend here for his birthday last year for dinner but I’ve also visited for breakfast with some girlfriends so I guess I just need to go for lunch then I’ve got the set! It’s a nightmare to get a reservation (think two months ahead) and the food was tasty but the service was a bit overkill. The views across the City of London are pretty great though.
The Ivy Market Grill ✔️ [visited] – This is another place I’ve been to many times; the Ivy Market Grill is part of The Ivy chain which has slowly been expanding across the U.K although each one is slightly different with a different theme and specific decor although they usually offer the same menus. I’ve visited the Norwich one for breakfast, the Canary Wharf one for dinner and I’ve been to the Covent Garden (Ivy Market Grill) one many times for both lunch and dinner. I also think that they serve the best dessert in London, it’s amazing!
Bourne & Hollingsworth ✔️ [visited] – I’ve been here three times now but I’d go back again in a heartbeat. It can be a bit tricky to book a table for a Saturday or Sunday so you have to book well in advance but they do amazing brunch and the decor is Instagram next level with amazing plants and greenery everywhere with a very airy and fresh feel.
London Grind ✔️ [visited] – The Grind chain is probably my favourite chain of cafe / restaurants, they have been rapidly expanding over the last few years (patiently waiting for them to open one in Canary Wharf) and the little cafes just serve coffee but the restaurants do amazing brunches. The newest location to open is in Greenwich which I’ve briefly visited for coffee but my favourite is the London Grind on London Bridge. The smashed avocado on toast seriously hits the spot and they do pretty great iced lattes. I’ve also visited the Exmouth Market Grind, Coven Garden Grind, Clerkenwell Grind, Royal Exchange Grind (this one is teeny tiny and only serves coffee) and Greenwich Grind.
Darwin Brasserie ✔️ [visited] – This restaurant is at the top of the SkyGarden, based in the City of London. I’ve visited it twice now; I though the lunch menu was expensive at £50 a head but the breakfast (on a separate visit) was pretty great.
Barbecoa Jamie Oliver – I’ve not visited many ‘chefy’ restaurants, and by chefy I mean fancy pancy famous chefs, (I’m not including Jamie’s Italian because who doesn’t love Jamies?!) but from the photographs I’ve seen, Barbecoa looks like it has quite a nice view of the cathedral at St Pauls. So it’s been added to the list.
Paternoster Chop House – As the First Dates restaurant, I of course had to add it to the list just to try it once and see if it’s as good as it looks on TV. It’s based in City, round the corner from St Pauls Cathedral but it’s a little bit pricey so I’ve been saving this for a special occasion.
Roast – I was supposed to visit Roast last year but it fell through so it’s still on my list. Based in London Bridge at the top of Borough Market it sounds perfect for a Saturday to watch the hustle and bustle of the market. It’s not supposed to be cheap but the food is tasty apparently.
My Old Dutch ✔️ [visited] – Having lived on the German / Dutch border for a few years in my childhood, I absolutely LOVE Dutch pancakes and there aren’t many places to get them in London. I visited the Old Dutch with a gal pal just before pancake day this year and while they’re not quite as good as what they serve in he Dutch pancake houses on the continent, they were tasty.
Madisons ✔️ [visited] – I visited Madisons last year but haven’t had chance to write up the review yet. It has fantastic views of St Paul’s cathedral but the ambience was terrible – way too noisy and the restaurant felt more like a rowdy bar. It was a really disappointing visit for a place that had been quite hyped up to me.
The Parlour ✔️ [visited] – I’m always on the lookout for new brunch places to try, especially in East London which is fairly local to me. The Parlour is part of the Drake & Morgan chain based in Canary Wharf and the brunch was fairly average. I’m not sure I’d rush back. Again, I’ve visited the parlour but I haven’t published a review for it yet.
Hawksmoor – I’ve heard SO MANY RAVE REVIEWS about Hawksmoor so it’s surprising that I’ve not tried it yet. Its a steak house but the excellent reviews I’ve heard are all about the roast dinners so I’ll be booking a table for a Sunday. It’s quite expensive and I’ve got high expectations.
Cinabon – My all time favourite pastries are cinnamon swirls and apparently Cinnamon do giant ones so sign me up!
Maitre Choux – ✔️ [visited] – what I like about this place is that it’s super unique; essentially it serves fancy (albeit slightly expensive) eclairs. There are two or three in London but I’ve only been to the store in Soho. You can sit down and have a coffee and I even think they serve an afternoon tea with eclairs. They’re pretty fun with the decoration and flavours so definitely worth a visit.
The Table Cafe – I’m always on the lookout for new places for brunch and I saw this place on a friends instagram a while back. It looks like it does pancakes and waffles so what’s not to love?! One to try.
Aviary – I’ve visited the Aviary rooftop bar in City for drinks before with a gal pal and it’s got incredible views of the amazing buildings in City. Granted, the cocktails aren’t cheap but great for a special summer evening. I’d like to go back to try the food sometime.
Aladin Brick Lane ✔️ [visited] – When I moved down to London a curry on Brick Lane was always top of the to do list and after three years I’ve finally done it. It was super tasty but I’ve not published the review yet so stay tuned.
Elan cafe ✔️ [visited] – This is a super pretty pink cafe, very floral in decor with marble tables and gold detailing. There are only about three in London, I visited the one on Old Brompton Road not far from the V&A museum in South Kensington. It’s a great alternative to Peggy Porschen …
Peggy Porschen ✔️ [visited] – Considering the hype, Peggy Porschen did not live up to expectations! Yes it’s door is quite pretty with the flowers but we waited 45 minutes to get in and the service was shocking. Elan Cafe is a much better alternative with the same level of beautiful floral decor.
Bills’ ✔️ [visited] – You can’t go wrong with trip to Bills’. I’ve been for breakfast in Hoxton Square, Shoreditch but I haven’t published a review on this blog yet but it was tasty and there are so many Bills’ restaurants around these days so you know the sort of standard you’re going to get.
Chin Chin Labs – I first saw the Chin Chin Labs hot chocolates on Instagram and they look UH-MAY-ZING. I knew I had to try it! The hot chocolate is topped with a cloud of torched, fluffy marshmallow. At £5 for a hot chocolate it’s expensive, but you only live once.
Saint Aymes cafe – This cafe is quite similar to Elan Cafe and Peggy Porschen, in that it’s very instagrammable but after my disappointing visit to Peggy Porschen I haven’t got high expectations. I’m quite apprehensive about this place but it looks pretty so I’ll try it out.
Franks Cafe – I’ve heard that this is a really cool rooftop bar in Peckham so I think I’ll give it a try in the summer.
Cahoots – This 1940s bar is underground and tables are set in an old underground tube carriage. It sounds pretty unique so I’d like to visit for cocktails once.
Radio Rooftop Bar – This is another rooftop bar, quite similar to Aviary with its cool views of the City that I’d like to try.
Coq d’Argent ✔️ [visited] – I’ve visited Coq d’Argent for breakfast before which I thought was pretty average (review not published yet) but I’m excited to return in the summer as they have a fantastic rooftop garden which overlooks the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England in City so I’ll be back for drinks.
Hotel Chocolat ✔️ [visited] – You’ve most likely heard of the delicious chocolates by Hotel Chocolat but most people don’t know that there are a few places that serve the delicious Hotel Chocolat hot chocolates. There aren’t many of these special cafes so they can be tricky to find; there are only two in London, both tucked away in Covent Garden. I’ve also visited one of the cafes in Leeds too. You choose your type of hot chocolate from a menu including 70% chocolate, 50% chocolate, salted caramel and tonnes of other choices but the BEST bit is he delicious chocolate cream that they pipe on top and you can demolish it with a spoon. So delish.
Balthazar Covent Garden – I’ve heard great things about this place, especially for brunch but it’s a bit more of a fancy brunch because its not cheap.
The Counter Delanauy Strand – I’ve walked past this place a few times and the menu always catches my eye. I love the German food that it serves so I’m excited to try the schnitzel here but they’ve got a great sausage menu too. Delish!
Aubaine – Aubaine is a modern French restaurant which looks beautiful from the photographs I’ve seen. Most of the restaurants are in West London so I’m looking forward to trying this place.
Jin Bo Law – Another rooftop bar to try, again this is based in Aldgate near the City at the top of the Dorsett City Hotel. It’s got what looks like lovely views of the London skyline.
The Clink – Based in HMP Brixton prison, this food at this restaurant is all cooked and served by inmates who are currently studying for food qualifications and all the furniture in the restaurant has been built by the inmates. You’ve got to book at least 72 hours so a security check can be carried out in advance and approved before your visit and several items including mobile phones are prohibited. Reading the website, it’s recommended that you arrive 30 minutes before your reservation to lock away your personal items and sit through a security briefing. It’s also alcohol free, not surprising given that it’s in a prison. It’s such a unique concept that I definitely want to pay it a visit!
Dean Street Townhouse – I’ve read about this restaurant and somehow it’s ended up on my list. The brunch pictures look good.
Herman ze German – I love German food and after loving German Gymnasium, I did some research on other German restaurants in London and this came up. It looks a lot more casual and cheaper than GG so I’ll give it a go.
German Gymnasium ✔️ [visited] – This is one of the best German restaurants in London, based in Kings Cross. I’ve been twice now and I’ve never been disappointed- the food is authentic and delicious. I can recommend the schnitzel and the sausages.
The Breakfast Club ✔️ [visited] – I’m not sure how this place has got the crazy reputation that it has – you normally have to queue up for a table on the weekends. Don’t get me wrong the food is tasty but I’d say it’s quite average. I’ve not published a review for brunch yet but it’s coming soon.
Fischer’s – Marylebone (German) – this is a Viennese style “cafe” which serves all of my Deutsche favourites including schitzel and sausages (it’s one of the few places I’ve found Nuremberg sausages in London too). This is another place that I’m really keen to try out soon.
Caravan ✔️ [visited] – I’ve only just visited Caravan for the first time in the last few weeks so I’ve not written up a post yet but it was AMAZING. I’m really looking forward to going back already, we had to queue up a little to get in as we hadn’t booked but the buzz inside was great and the brunch food was really tasty. Plus they had aseop handwash in the bathroom!
Dishoom ✔️ [visited] – I’ve eaten at Dishoom several times before for dinner (and loved it) but I really want to head back to try out the breakfast. Apparently they do a really good bacon naan bread roll which just sounds the ultimate bacon butty – am I right?! They only serve the breakfast menu before 11 and you can’t book a table so you’ve got to rock up in good time and hope for the best. I’ve turned up several times to find out that the waiting time is so long that they won’t be serving the breakfast menu by the time we get seated (waa). I’m going to make it my mission to try that bacon naan this year.
The Jugged Hare – I’ve done a fair bit of research into places to visit for a Sunday roast in London and I’ve now got a big old list of places I’m slowly ticking off. The Jugged Hare is based in City near Old Street and apparently does a great roast – I’ll be the judge of that!
The Gun – Another Sunday Roast location, I’ve only visited The Gun for drinks before and I’ve always wanted to head back for a Roast dinner. It’s based on the Isle of Dogs, not far from Canary Wharf but it’s sat right next to the river thames with the o2 arena in Greenwich just opposite.
The Princess of Shoreditch ✔️ [visited] – This gastro pub was on my list and when I was out and about one weekend, we deferred to the list and randomly picked somewhere to go for a Sunday roast and tried The Princess of Shoreditch (which is actually in Old Street). We walked in without a booking and managed to get the last table and ordered the whole roast chicken, one of our favourite things to order if it’s on the menu! Absolutely loved it and would 100% go back to try the venison that they also had on the menu.
The Culpeper – I’ve read that The Culpeper, based near Spitalfields Market, does good Sunday roasts so it’s on the list for me to try.
The Anchor and Hope – Not another Sunday roast place?! I must’ve read about The Anchor and Hope in Southwark because it’s managed to wangle its way onto the list.
The Royal Oak ✔️ [visited] – This is the Marylebone pub that was set up by Dan Doherty the previous head chef of the Duck and Waffle. Apparently Dan is no longer at the Royal Oak but his food was rather good, we ordered a whole roast chicken which was delicious.
The Grapes ✔️ [visited] – One of my favourite pubs in the whole of London. Based in East London’s Limehouse, it’s teeny tiny, only serves Sunday roasts on Sundays and you’ve got to arrive by half twelve (it opens at 12) otherwise you’ll either struggle to get a table or they will have sold out because once it’s gone it’s gone! It’s also got the added bonus of being owned by Sir Ian McKellen so Gandalf’s staff is just chilling in the bar! It’s pretty cheap too by London standards at about £13 for a roast. Yum!
The Marlborough – I love visiting Richmond and next time I visit I will definitely be trying The Marlborough for a Sunday roast. Apparently they do great wines and have a nice beer garden so one for the summer!
Aqua Spirit – This was recommended to me by a friend as a nice place to go for drinks. There’s an Aqua bar in the Shard but this one is just off Oxford Street and Regent Street. It’s a bit pricey but it’s supposed to be a snazzy place for cocktails.
Galvin at Windows – This restaurant is at the Hilton Park Lane and has been recommended to me for dinner & drinks so it’s got a place on my London restaurant hit list.
Bodeans BBQ – I walk past a Bodeans BBQ every day on my way to work and I’ve head great things about the food here. I’ve spotted a few across London now but I’ve not managed to try it yet.
Kimchee – I’ve never tried any Korean food but apparently Korean BBQ is fantastic because there’s a barbecue in the middle of your table and you cook your meat yourself. This sounds right up my street so I’d love to try it.
SAID – I love a good hot chocolate and the SAID hot chocolates near Carnaby Street look like a bowl of molten chocolate. I want to try it!
The Anthenian Greek – I love Greek food and The Real Greek is one of my favourite Greek restaurants in London but I’ve read about The Anthenian so I’m keen to try it.
Royal China, Canary Wharf – I don’t tend to go out to Chinese restaurants for food, I’m much more likely to order a Chinese takeaway on a Saturday night to eat. The Chinese Restaurant, Royal China in Canary Wharf is supposed to be really good so I’ll go for a meal and see how it compares with my usual takeaway.
Vagabond Wines – My friend went here recently and told me it’s the sort of place that I’d like so it got added to my list straight away. Apparently it’s got machines a bit like vending machines where you can try different types of wine by the glass. Sounds a bit of me!
Rabot 1745 – This restaurant in London Bridge is actually part of the Hotel Chocolat chain (who do uh-mazing hot chocolates) so I definitely want to try their restaurant.
The Alchemist ✔️ [visited] – This place does the best cocktails as it’s got a very mixology / chemistry theme going on so lots of the cocktails are quite unique. The food is pretty tasty here too, my favourites being the sizzling fajitas or the chicken in a basket. I’ve not published a blog review for this yet despite visiting many many times!
Patch East – About a month ago I asked the people in my team at work for recommendations for some cool bars in London and this is a bar in the City of London that serves cocktails so it’s written down on the list to visit this year.
Soft Serve Society – This place serves soft serve ice cream and all of the pictures I’ve seen look incredible so I’ll definitely be trying it this summer.
Vapiano – I’ve actually visited Vapiano before, in Berlin a long time ago. I know that there are a few across London so I’d love to go back. The concept is quite unique because you’re given a card when you arrive and then you can visit the different sections of the restaurant where lots of food is cooked to order and you swipe your card to log it. Then, at the end you’re card is swiped and you pay for everything you’ve eaten.
Bob Bob Ricard (expensive) – I’v heard lots of things about Bob Bob Ricard in Soho, mostly because of the ‘push for champagne’ buttons they have installed on every table. I’d love to visit but I’ve got a feeling it will be an expensive trip, so I might have to save it for a special occasion.
So that’s everything on my list! Have you visited any of these restaurants? What places are on your hit list?