The Best Restaurants In London, According To Chefs

Photo: Courtesy of Koya.
We all love a good dining recommendation, whether it comes from a good friend, a colleague, or a really loud passenger on the train (thank you, girl with the Céline bag on the Overground — that sourdough pizza place was really good!). But, if anyone knows where to eat, it's the chefs actually making the meals you love eating yourself.
No, we don't mean the housemate who served you watery spag bol last night, nor the boyfriend who warmed up a frozen pizza for you, either. We're talking about the head chefs and top dogs at some of London's finest dining establishments. They're the ones who really know. Ahead, 15 local chefs share their favourite places to eat in the city (outside of their own kitchens, of course) — think of it as your little black book for dining in London.
1 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Claudio Cardoso.
Claudio Cardoso, Executive Chef at SUSHISAMBA London

"When I'm not at SUSHISAMBA, I usually go to Borough Market, which has a range of different food, both local and international in origin. But, for something more indulgent, I recommend Patty&Bun — it is my ultimate 'comfort food' fix."

2 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Patty & Bun.
Patty&Bun, 54 James Street; +44 20 7487 3188.
3 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Rachel O’Sullivan.
Rachel O'Sullivan, Executive Chef at Lardo

"One my favourite restaurants in London is Morito on Exmouth Market. I feel really happy when I am sat at the bar there. I love all the different spices and flavours they use there, and I always over-order. I always have to start my meal with the gilda — pickled onion, chilli and anchovy. It's quite intense, but also addictive."
4 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Morito.
Morito, 32 Exmouth Market; +44 20 7278 7007.
5 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Anshu Anghota.
Anshu Anghotra, Executive Head Chef of Lanes of London

"One of my favourite restaurants in London at the moment is Barnyard. I like it because it has super cool, rustic interiors with delicious food, fantastic service, good prices, and loud music."
6 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Barnyard.
Barnyard, 18 Charlotte Street; +44 20 7580 3842.
7 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Naved Nasir.
Naved Nasir, Executive Chef at Dishoom

"I really enjoy visiting Koya on Frith Street. It's such a lovely, relaxed, and unassuming little place. My favourite dish is the mushroom and walnut udon."
8 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Koya.
Koya, 49 Frith Street; +44 20 7434 4463.
9 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Sophie Gordon.
Sophie Gordon, Chef at Villiers

"I'm a huge fan of breakfast, and I love M1lk in Balham, with their all-day brunch menu. It's so laidback, and the staff are always friendly. They have a small menu which always delivers, great coffee, and an interesting, yummy selection of cakes and sweet treats."

10 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of M1lk.
M1lk, 20 Bedford Hill; +44 20 8772 9085.
11 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Cristiano Caputo.
Cristiano Caputo, Executive Head Chef at The Jones Family Project

"One my favourite places in London is José and Pizarro on Bermondsey Street. Actually, make that two places, as technically, they are separate. The first is a typical buzzy tapas bar, and the second, situated next door, has more of a restaurant feel. It has a full à la carte menu as well as tapas dishes, and is in a more spacious venue with full table service. I love the simplicity yet awesome quality and flavours of the food they deliver in both places."
12 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Pizarro.
Pizarro, 194 Bermondsey Street; +44 20 7378 9455.
13 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Michael Lecouteur.
Michael Lecouteur, Executive Chef at Mews of Mayfair and Mayfair Pizza Co.

"Ibérica. Love the Spanish tapas; small plates = yummy in my tummy. César García and Nacho Manzano are great chefs and cook amazing food."
14 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Iberica.
Ibérica, multiple locations.
15 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Mike Denman.
Mike Denman, Executive Chef at Plum + Spilt Milk

"I like Morito, because I love that style of food and nibbling on lots of things in an informal setting. I also love to eat at a place called Petek on Stroud Green Road. It's a Turkish restaurant, and I order the mixed sharing platter every time. They never let me down. It's a great local restaurant."
16 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Petek.
Petek, 96 Stroud Green Road; +44 20 7619 3933.
17 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Lee Bull.
Lee Bull, Executive Chef at Q Grill and Holborn Dining Room

"My favourite restaurant for a quick bite is Barrafina in Soho. I love ordering lots of little plates and getting stuck in, and the flavours are great in that place. For a celebration, I always like to go to J Sheekey, one of the truely great fish restaurants. They always get it spot on and always look after me there. If I’m trying to impress someone, I go to Zuma, I've have never had a bad meal there and the food and atmosphere are fantastic. A couple of ex-colleagues and very good friend of mine just opened Verden in Hackney, and that is next on my list."

18 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Barrafina.
Barrafina, 54 Frith Street; +44 20 7813 8016.
19 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Doherty.
Daniel Doherty, Executive Chef at Duck & Waffle

"Nothing beats Honey & Co. when it comes to Middle Eastern food — it's cheap, lovingly cooked, and tasty as hell. Another place that is a go-to of mine for a quick, affordable bite is Bone Daddies — home to the best ramen in the city! And, for an evening out, Lyle's is the place to try, with really delicious, seasonal food."
20 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Honey & Co.
Honey & Co., 25a Warren St; +44 20 7388 6175.
21 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Omar Allibhoy.
Omar Allibhoy, Founder of Tapas Revolution

"I like to go to Galvin's Bistrot de Luxe, because they do things properly. All the food is delicious because they use great produce and they cook the old-fashioned way — the way I learnt to cook. Nowadays, I find it very difficult to find places like this."
22 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Galvin’s Bistrot de Luxe.
Galvin's Bistrot de Luxe, 66 Baker Street; +44 20 7935 4007.
23 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Toby Stuart.
Toby Stuart, Executive Chef at The Riding House Café

"Weekend breakfasts at Domali in Crystal Palace for convenience is great. Here, I love to get a reduced-calorie, post-exercise, vegetarian full English with a fresh juice. And, when I’m feeling a bit naughty, they do fat chips with pungent garlic mayo, which are always a treat with the family — there are always threats made about the last few chips."
24 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Domali.
Domali Cafe, 38 Westow Street; +44 20 8768 0096.
25 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Stéphane Pacoud.
Stéphane Pacoud, Head Chef at Bellamy’s

"Little Italy on Frith Street serves real, unfussy Italian food and is open all day and half the night, seven days a week. From the best charcuterie I've ever seen to wonderful Calamari Fritti, a very good ragout with pappardelle, and an excellent seafood pasta without tomatoes, it's a rare find in the city, and it's delicious."

26 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Little Italy.
Little Italy, 21 Frith Street; +44 20 7734 4737.
27 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Thomasina Miers.
Thomasina Miers, Founder of Wahaca and DF/Mexico

"My favourite restaurant in London is always changing, but I am currently loving Rotorino in Dalston, Stevie Parle’s new neighbourhood Italian restaurant. The food was so utterly delicious when I last went, and the atmosphere so cosy, that I was completely won over."

28 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Rotorino.
Rotorino, 434 Kingsland Road; +44 20 7249 9081.
29 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Sasha Ziverts.
Sasha Ziverts, Head Chef at Wright Brothers

"Usually, I tend to go to local restaurants or Asian-inspired restaurants. Bone Daddies is great for ramen, and Kurobuta on King's Road is fun for its atmosphere and great menu. I also go to the Little Bird Café for the best coffee in London."
30 of 30
Photo: Courtesy of Kurobuta.
Kurobuta, 251 King's Road; +44 20 3475 4158.

More from Living


R29 Original Series