Here it is! My list of favorite restaurants and bars in London town – I’m sure there are some I forgot to add. If you have any other recommendations you think I should try on my next trip, let me know!
Granger & Co – I think I’ve already told you guys about this spot before, but Granger & Co is a restaurant by Australian restauranteur Bill Granger. I first tried one of his restaurants while visiting Sydney in 2012 and fell madly in love with his banana ricotta pancakes with honeycomb butter. Much to my delight, his Notting Hill restaurant, Granger & Co, also boasts this brunch favorite! This is a must visit – they also have a great dinner menu!
Kensington Square Kitchen – this was a super convenient spot for me to grab breakfast or lunch, since it was just a five minute walk from my flat! Sitting right off Kensington High Street and looking onto Kensington Square Gardens, this teeny tiny eatery features a small, curated menu of simple dishes with just a little flare. For example, owner and head-chef Sara Adams whips up a creamy, traditional porridge, but tops it with unexpected fruit concoctions featuring figs, raspberries and more. Just to give you another idea, she takes a traditional chicken Caesar salad, but tops it off with a duck egg. Such a welcome surprise!
Egg Break – this former Thai eatery turned breakfast joint features egg dishes aplenty with a bunch of intriguing flavors and combinations. Think pork belly bun + fried egg and sriracha mayo, and fried eggs with creamy polenta and mushroom ragu. YUM!
Aubaine – this French-inspired spot is another one I frequented often. Right on Kensington High Street, it features gorgeous tailored decor and a diverse breakfast menu featuring things like avocado toast, granola & yogurt, eggs Benedict/Florentine/Royale, Croque Monsieurs, and more. The lunch menu is also delicious! Filled with French favorites like mussels, mixed in with light salads and heavier entree items such as burgers or roasted duck breast, everyone will find something to eat here. This spot also happens to be a chain, so there are tons of lovely locations!
Duck & Waffle – this breakfast/brunch hot spot is situated in atop a 40-story skyscraper right around the corner from the Liverpool Street Underground tube station. It features savory and sweet waffles, in addition to a more classic selection of breakfast items. Get an amazing view and breakfast all at one time – killing two ducks with one stone.
Nopi – this is another one I never had a chance to try, but if it’s anything like it’s sister restaurant, Ottolenghi (read below), it’s gotta be good.
The Ivy Chelsea Garden – I debated whether to put this under Breakfast or Lunch, because I’ve had amazing meals both times! When I had breakfast at The Ivy, I ordered truffled scrambled eggs… does it get better than that? Yum. The menu is pretty extensive which made it extremely difficult to choose. For lunch, we settled on two starters of truffle arancini and zucchini fritti. Both were devoured within minutes. If it’s nice out, try to reserve a table on the patio or in the garden – such a charming outdoor area!
Ottolenghi – this spot is one of my absolute favorites in London. I’ve only ever been to the Belgravia location, but I hear the Notting Hill location is great too! It’s another good option for a quicker, healthier lunch. But don’t let the healthy assortment of salads, simply grilled meats and hummus (THE BEST!) fool you. Ottolenghi also has an array of freshly made treats and sweets for you to take with you when you go. We’re talking GIANT meringues, brownies, cakes of all varieties, and more. Click here to check out all of Ottolenghi’s locations!
The Orange – this tiny boutique hotel/pub is situated just a few blocks from Sloane Square. It’s not the traditional pub feel or food – featuring high ceilings, simple pale wooden furniture and lots of light, this spot is a delight for lunch! The menu is extensive and has something for everyone. They have everything from vegan soups to hearty hamburgers and truffle fries. The recipes are very unique and delicious!
Locanda Ottoemezzo – this is another spot that was just a hop, skip and jump away from my flat. They have a fancier restaurant and a cafe, both serving traditional Italian fare. The pizza in the cafe is to die for! The restaurant serves dishes like creamy risotto in a large parmesan rind.
Food Hall at Harrods – whenever I was in the Knightsbridge neighborhood around lunchtime, I always hopped in the Harrods Food Hall to get my favorite Spicy Rainbow Salad to go. This yummy salad features butternut squash, corn salsa, chili peppers, and saffron rice tossed in a spicy jerk dressing. So delicious and healthy! They also have lots of amazing pasty’s, pies, fresh breads, sushi, meats, and other prepared food. They even have bubble tea!
Duke of York Square Food Market – if you’re free on a Saturday and don’t have any brunch plans, head over to Duke of York Square (a short walk from Sloane Square tube station) for their weekly food market! It only happens on Saturday and features dozens of vendors from all over London. I went more than once and tried a bunch of different items – some of my favorites included a duck confit sandwich, some Asian dumplings, freshly made cannolis, and a fresh-made hot sandwich made up of ground sausage, cheese and onions. So delicious! It’s so much fun to walk around and try a bunch of things!
Ping Pong – okay, this one is a bit of a chain, but I’m OBSESSED. If you love dim sum, you are going to love Ping Pong as much as I do! They have so many dumplings to choose from – it’s like a kid in a candy store.
The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon at Fortnum and Mason – for a classic tea in a sophisticated setting, try this spot – set on the top floor of the famed Fortnum and Mason department store, be treated to an afternoon filled with savories, sweets and shopping after you eat! The Christmas shop in the store is a must-visit. I found it better than any of the other department stores I visited in London! They have the most intricate ornaments! Also, on the bottom floor of Fortnum and Mason, you can shop your favorite biscuits, candies, and teas to your hearts content. They also have jars upon jars of lemon curd, flavored honeys and a bunch of other treats you can ship or pack in your suitcase to take home!
The Goring – you may recognize the name of this hotel back from the royal wedding. This is where Kate stayed the night before her nuptials! This luxurious spot is a wonderful place for a traditional, elegant afternoon tea.
Sketch London – this is the place you’ve seen on my Instagram more than once. The gorgeous pink gallery is where you will be seated for afternoon tea – the menu for tea is certainly not traditional, but definitely delicious! Think quail-egg topped tea sandwiches, pesto and cheese panini, homemade marshmallows, and rosé. This is also a great place to dine for dinner! PS – if you do make reservations at Sketch, don’t forget to check out the bathrooms before you head out…
Mr Fogg’s – this is actually a spot I visited on my trip in October 2014! As you can guess, this private spot is styled in the period when Phineas Fogg set off around the world. The cocktail menu is kind of crazy, but so much fun – some drinks come in cool contraptions and others have special effects (I ordered a drink that smoked). If you’re looking for a unique drinking experience with some old-world charm, definitely make a reservation here!
Chiltern Firehouse Bar – if you are unable to snag a reservation for dinner at Chiltern Firehouse (more on that below), I at least recommend heading to the hotel bar for a drink before dinner. The decor of the bar is adorable, all the waitresses are wearing custom Emilia Wickstead jumpsuits, and the drinks are divine. PS – this place is a celebrity hot spot. Just note, the bar closes to outsiders at 9pm, so schedule it for before dinner. After 9pm, the bar is only open to hotel guests.
Beach Blanket Babylon (Notting Hill) – I met a friend for drinks and dinner here one evening and we had so much fun! The food was honestly nothing to write home about, but the cocktails and the ambiance in the bar were amazing! The decor is almost other-worldly. You can check out some photos of it here, but you’ve gotta go to know what I’m talking about.
Cahoots – in a similar fashion to Mr Fogg’s, this place will take you back in time. This space was a former tube station-turned-bar, and still features the original tube station sign! The menu looks like a newspaper from long ago and the seating areas are old train cars. It’s a very fun experience and the cocktails are delicious!
The Donovan Bar at The Brown Hotel – they actually changed the cocktail menu before the last time I visited, but it’s still worth a trip to this luxurious hotel bar! The drink menu is extensive and impressive. I asked for my favorite drink (The Rose of England), and luckily the bartender was still able to make me one. So yum!
The Botanist – this is a place I visited one too many times. All of the cocktails are crafted beautifully and are all very tasty – my favorite was the Clover Shrub. It sits right on Sloane Square, just around the corner from the tube station. Also, lots of cute guys at this one ;)
Aqua Shard – if you want drinks with view, hit up the bar at Aqua Shard. With panoramic views of central London and a buzzing social scene, this spot is one you won’t want to miss! If you’re afraid of heights, this may not be for you – you’ll be 31 floors above ground!
Bubbleology – now this is of a non-alcoholic variety, but I felt it was worth mentioning. If you’re walking around the South Kensington area after a museum visit and craving something sweet, check out Bubbleology. I’m a BIG fan of bubble tea and they make the best there is! My favorite flavors are Coconut and Rosewater – both are incredible!
Hakkassan Mayfair – this is one of my favorite dinners in London! The restaurant has sort of a lounge feel to it – kind of dark, mysterious and sexy. The cocktails are divine, but the menu is where it’s at. I always order the dim sum mixed plate to start and the truffled duck. The plates are all for sharing, so I recommend choosing a couple starter options and each person choosing an entree that you can all try! I passed Rita Ora walking in while I was leaving on my last night at Hakkassan!
Dishoom – for all you authentic Indian cuisine lovers, this one’s for you. Something worth noting though, is that they do NOT take reservations and it is one of the hottest restaurants in London at the moment, so be expected to wait awhile. I waited in line for an hour and forty-five minutes… I’m not a very patient person, so I was pretty irritated by the time I sat down to eat, but the food is delicious! We ordered the Pau Bhaji to start – this actually didn’t sound good to me when reading the menu description, but our server said it was their most popular appetizer, so we went for it! This was my favorite thing from the meal. It’s basically spicy mashed up vegetables served with hot buns to spread it on. SO GOOD. I would recommend doing this on a night you are planning to eat earlier, around 6 – get there at 5:30pm and you should be good!
Chiltern Firehouse – this was my mom’s favorite restaurant we dined in during their visit! The service is incredible, the menu is exquisite and creative, and the food is just plain good. The ambiance is fun and lively too – it’s a very, very popular spot! I would recommend calling two months in advance of when you would want the restaurant… I’m not even joking. Two months to the day. PS – as I mentioned above, this is a great place for spotting celebrities!
Kitty Fisher’s – similar to Chiltern Firehouse, this place is a hotspot at the moment. It’s one I never got the chance to try, but it’s on my list for my next visit!
The Churchill Arms – for a more casual night, head to the Churchill Arms for a beer and some of the best Thai food you’ll ever get your hands on. Not only is the food worth the visit, but the pub is incredible. The entire outside of the Churchill Arms is completely covered in flowers. They’re watered and kept well-manicured all year round, so it’s worth going if only for a photo opp! But the Thai food is bomb. Since I love spicy food, I always ordered the Pad Kee Mao with chicken – it’s basically drunken noodles with fresh chili, basil leaves, and red & green peppers.
Barrafina – this is a place I actually never got a chance to go to… it’s one I went to twice, but the wait was over two hours both times!! Similar to Dishoom in that department I guess… BUT it’s crazy popular and has incredible Spanish tapas-style dishes. A great, young bar scene too.
Sticks n’ Sushi – craving sushi? Check out Sticks n’ Sushi, located at the heart of Covent Garden. It’s a huge restaurant with an even bigger menu, so just prepare yourself. I went with a couple of girlfriends, so we ordered one of their giant sampler sushi platters. We definitely didn’t finish it, but it was great to be able to try a bunch of different specialty rolls! Also, you’ll be really missing out if you don’t order the roasted cauliflower with black sesame truffle sauce as a starter or side. So flavorful and one of the best cauliflower dishes I’ve event eaten!
Chutney Mary – if you, like me, love a good chicken Tikka Masala, head to Chutney Mary. This is the nicest Indian restaurant I’ve ever dined in. I’m used to more hole-in-the-wall spots when it comes to Indian food, so this was a nice surprise! The bar area is gorgeous too.
Ceviche – on a night we didn’t get to Barrafina early enough, a friend and I walked across the street to Ceviche. This little Peruvian spot was such a treat! Cute decor, an interesting menu and outgoing waitstaff make it a charming option for a fun night out. We ordered the Don Ceviche (seabass in amarillo chilli tiger’s milk), Causa Iquitos (description sounds really weird, but was so freaking good), and a few other items. Each plate is pretty small, so all are meant to share.
Cote Brasserie – if you aren’t looking for anything too fancy, this place is great to drop in for some fine French food. They have delicious salads, mussels, fresh fish, steaks and more. Even the pickiest eater could find something to nibble on here!