Nom! The 12 Spiciest (And Best!) Restos

Roast dinners, sausage and mash, and Shepherd’s Pie, oh how we love them all, but sometimes, we crave something a little “further a field.” We’re not saying Aunt Betty’s ain’t tasty, but on occasion, we want a dish that blows our head off, makes our eyes water, or simply transports us back to our intrepid adventures in the back streets of Hanoi. You know how it is.
So, scouring London with a mouth not a map, we’ve rounded up some of the spiciest, tastiest, and most authentic global eats in town— with not a single Oxo cube in sight.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nopi.
Nopi
Coming from the team behind Ottelonghi, there’s no way Nopi wasn’t gonna be awesome. Dishing up a medley of Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean meals, the grub is fresh, flavoursome, and served with gourmet presentation. Their succulent seared scallops are something else, and don’t get us started on their truffled polenta chips. Be it brekkie, lunch, or dinner, leave satisfied.

Nopi, 21-22 Warwick Street, London, W1B 5NE; 020 7494 9584.
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Photo: Courtesy of Mien-Tay.
Mien-Tay
For really good rice paper rolls, get yourself over to Shoreditch. Mien-Tay serves up a selection of fresh plates, from a lengthy menu that could’ve come straight out of Ho Chi Minh. With its low-key vibe, it’s the perfect place for a weekend bite with friends.

Mien-Tay, 122 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, E2 8DP; 020 7729 3074.
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Photo: Courtesy of Azou.
Azou
For a taste of something different, Azou offers the best authentic North African cuisine, we know of, in an equally authentic setting. Complete with lanterns and mosaics, the dimmed-lighting casts a romantic light over the Moroccan, Tunisian, and Algerian menu, which, trust us, you can’t do justice on your own. Our advice: Rally up a gang, order a feast, share and share alike.

Azou, 375 King Street, London, W6 9NJ; 020 8563 7266.
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Photo: Courtesy of Zoilo.
Zoilo
Full of flavour, the menu at Zoilo reads like a meat-lover’s wishlist. From sweetbreads to flank steaks, and braised lamb sarnies, Zoilo is the destination for true carnivores. Opened as the second Argentinean joint from the celebrated chef, Diego Jacquet, you can consider Marylebone’s Zoilo as the swanky older brother to Casa Marvelo, with even more taste and charm. The empanadas are a treat, the "provenzal" chips are all too moreish, and the 300-gram steaks sell themselves. Oh and, you’re leaving cheated unless you’ve explored the decadent wine list in all its Argentinean glory.

Zoilo, 9 Duke Street, London, W1U 3EG; 020 7486 9699.
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Photo: Courtesy of Almeida.
Almeida
For fine French cuisine, the foie gras crème brûlée at Almeida gets our full dix points. Mastering modern European cuisine with artful presentation, intense flavour, and a menu that excites, Almeida is the option for proper foodies in the city. Its relaxed atmosphere and selection of different menus make it an easy option for long, leisurely Sunday lunches.

Almeida, 30 Almeida Street, London, N1 1AD; 0207 354 4777.
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Photo: Courtesy of Novikov.
Novikov
We say Italian, you say pizza and pasta. But in reality, Novikov is so much more than that. In fact, the sea urchin spaghetti changed our lives forever. The menu offers an array of delectable, regional specialities, made up with only the finest, freshest ingredients. Airy and elegant, Novikov’s all class.

Novikov, 50A Berkeley Street, London; W1J 8HA; 020 7399 4330.
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Photo: Courtesy of Naamyaa Cafe
Naamyaa Café
With a menu stemming from Thailand, Islington’s Naamyaa is so much more than just pad thai. Channelling the East with its interior, it is modern and authentic, with its menu on a matching pinnacle. With beef, chicken, prawn, and vegetable, served with fine rice noodles and fluffy jasmine rice, the selection will excite foodies and newbies alike, we promise.

Naamyaa Café, 407 St John St, London, EC1V 4AB; 020 3122 0988.
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Photo: Courtesy of Yalla Yalla.
Yalla Yalla
We’re yet to find better hummus in London — and it’s not for not looking. Yalla Yalla is our go-to for our all-too-frequent falafel cravings. Filling their wraps full with fresh, healthy, wholesome goodness – why would we want to break our twice-a-week habit? If you’re yet to visit, we wish you the best of luck with your willpower. Falafel always wins.

Yalla Yalla, 1 Green's Court, London, W1F 0HA; 020 7287 7663.
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Photo: Courtesy of Roti Chai.
Roti Chai
You can direct yourself to this little haunt with just your nose, for you can smell the spices a mile off. Just off Oxford Street, Roti Chai serves up proper Indian street food, with authenticity, flavour, and fire. Swing by for a quick curry to satisfy your spice cravings.

Roti Chai, 3 Portman Mews South, London, W1H 6HS; 020 7408 0101.
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Photo: Courtesy of Coya.
Coya
How many times have you had good Peruvian food? Scratch that, how many times have you even had Peruvian food at all? Once you’ve been to Coya, the answer is simply not enough. Capturing the spirit of Latin American cuisine, Coya dishes up an exciting array of mouth-watering bites, from meat-heavy, spiced ribs and skewers to flavourful ceviches, and lighter quinoa salads. With it’s dimmed lights and moody ambience, explore the menu with a romantic date.

Coya, 118 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London, W1J 7NW; 020 7042 7118.
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Photo: Courtesy of Fish, Wings & Tings.
Fish, Wings & Tings
Capturing the flavour of the Caribbean, Brixton’s Fish, Wings & Things is just the ticket to transport you out of a grey London day and on to a palm-scattered beach. From Red Stripe Tempura Prawns, to Reggae Chicken, and Jerk Wings, there’s no faulting the authenticity of the menu.

Fish, Wings & Tings, 96 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PU; 020 7733 3401.
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Photo: Courtesy of Steven Joyce.
Shake Shack
Okay, so it’s not a world away from our own cuisine here in Blighty, we know you’re pretty accustomed to the beef burger, but Shake Shack is our favoured American inclusion. Besides the cheesy chips, stacked burgers, and hot-dogs, it’s their drool-worthy Frozen Custard Concretes that have us hooked. Shake Shack, 24 Market Building, The Piazza, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8RD; 020 3598 1360.
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