London has become one of the world's top culinary destinations over the past several decades, expanding its traditional British fare offerings to include some of the world's top Michelin-starred restaurants and delicious globally-influenced menus. Visitors can enjoy unique dining experiences at venues like the Radha-Krishna Temple's Govinda Restaurant, known for its association with former Beatle George Harrison. Themed dining experiences include Islington's Little Bat, which showcases an Alice in Wonderland-styled menu, and famed Chelsea spot Bluebird, which offers several dining experiences within an historic Art Deco-style garage. For visitors looking for a more conventional British dining experience, popular chain Poppie's Fish and Chips serves up traditional seafood platters wrapped in newspapers, while the Star of Bethnal Green offers a wide variety of acclaimed meat and vegetarian Sunday roast selections. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
© Luminary Bakery
Luminary Bakery is a charming East London cafe located in the city's Stoke Newington district, originally opened as a venture within Brick Lane's Kahaila Cafe in 2016. The restaurant strives to help underprivileged women throughout the United Kingdom, with a focus on women who have been victims of domestic violence, poverty, incarceration, and homelessness. Its programs hire underprivileged women for skills training and full-time employment as part of a six-month training program. Excellent breads, cakes, pastries, and cafe fare are served up at the restaurant throughout the week, including afternoon tea events on the last Sunday of each month. Visitors can also purchase cakes from the company's cake shop, with proceeds benefiting future training program development.
71-73 Allen Rd, Stoke Newington, London N16 8RY, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-76-86-97-79
© The Wigmore
The Wigmore is a delightful new pub within the upscale Langham Hotel, helmed by Masterchef alumni Michel Roux, Jr. The restaurant, which was opened in 2017, features decadent decor within its majestic Belle Époque-style dining room, a space that formerly housed a Victorian-era banking hall. Modern British tavern fare is served up throughout the day, including hearty traditional fare like Moroccan lamb pies with smoked aubergine, beef rump with Anna potatoes and anchovy butter, and plant-based vegan burgers prepared with red pepper relish and saffron emulsion. Clever bar snacks play up global influences, ranging from masala Scotch eggs to ham croquetas and duck pastillas. Drink service is provided by the hotel's Artesian Bar, featuring a menu of hoptail beer cocktails, shandies, and cask ales.
15 Langham Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 3DE, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-79-65-01-98
Lahpet is one of London's only authentic Burmese restaurants, owned and operated by restaurateur Dan Anton and executive chef Zaw Mahesh. The restaurant strives to elevate the culinary profile of classic Myanmar cuisine, highlighting regional specialties with contemporary twists. It opened its first food stall location in 2017, with a full-service permanent restaurant space in East London following a year later. Entree options focus on curries and bowls, including favorites like hake masala, king prawn curry, lentil chow chow, and coconut chicken egg noodles with spring onion, lime, egg, and coriander. Small plates for sharing include Mandalay fritters, balachaung shrimp paste dumplings, and yellow pea paratha served with flatbread. An impressive selection of house cocktails is paired with a list of international beers and fine wines.
58 Bethnal Green Rd, Shoreditch, London E1 6JW, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-38-83-56-29
4.Emila's Crafted Pasta
© Emila's Crafted Pasta
Emila's Crafted Pasta is a charming artisanal pasta joint along the St. Katharine Docks, opened in 2016 by Andrew Macleod. The restaurant recreates the ambiance of traditional Italian trattorias, featuring a gorgeous outdoor terrace overlooking the docks' marina and harbor. Diners can choose their own pasta types from a list featuring favorites like casarecce, egg pappardelle, stuffed ravioli, or potato gnocchi and pair them with an extensive selection of handcrafted pasta sauces. Sauce options range from traditional homemade basil marinara sauce to creamy walnut and chestnut mushroom, four-hour slow-cooked bechamel, and butter and sage sauce. Traditional antipasti are also served up, along with a selection Italian craft beers, cocktails, and fine wines.
C3, Ivory House, St Katharine Docks, St Katharine's & Wapping, London E1W 1AT, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-74-81-20-04
© Pophams Bakery
Pophams Bakery is a creative artisanal bakery in the heart of Islington, opened in 2017 by Ollie Gold. The traditional-style patisserie has gained a cult following on social media for its highly-photogenic laminated pastries, including favorites like lemon curd and poppyseed or rhubarb and brûléed custard pastries. Fans claim that the bakery crafts the flakiest pastries in London Town, ranging from cleverly-styled croissants to savory rosemary and sea salt twists. On the weekends, diners can enjoy an extended menu of gourmet favorites, including selections like tonka bean crème brûlée and apricot, hazelnut praline, and peanut butter, jam, and banana pastries.
19 Prebend St, Islington, London N1 8PF, UK, website
Oriole is a hip converted pub space on East Poultry Avenue, opened in 2015 by the team behind popular nightlife spot Nightjar. The subterranean cocktail bar and lounge features clever explorer-themed decor and a strong beverage program showcasing Old World and New World-inspired cocktail selections. Guests can enjoy unique cocktail selections like Cappadocia Juleps, which infuse Turkish apple ice cider and marjoram wine into gin, or Florida-inspired Everglades, which feature Wild Turkey bourbon, fir tree liqueur, mandarin juice, and cacao agrodolce. A light menu of bar fare is served up throughout the evening, including shrimp tostadas, truffle mash croquettes, and sweet potatoes prepared with tamarind and green curry ice cream.
E Poultry Ave, Farringdon, London EC1A 9LH, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-34-57-80-99
7.Baz and Fred
© Baz and Fred
Baz and Fred is one of London's most unique pizza joints, known for its revolutionary Chadwick ovens, which can reach cooking temperatures of over 500 degrees Celsius. The restaurant, which opened in 2012, serves up delicious stone-baked pizzas crafted with fine imported ingredients, including fresh San Marzano tomatoes and Neapolitan salami. All dough is prepared in house, proven for two to three days to allow for peak rising conditions. Pizza options range from classic margherita and marinara pizzas to fun artisanal varieties packed with ingredients like aubergine, chorizo, 'nduja, and goat cheese. Clever cheesy garlic bread pizza is a can't-miss menu favorite, especially when paired with side dips like pesto dip or the restaurant's signature spicy Death Sauce.
68 Union St, London SE1 1TD, UK, website
© Radha-Krishna Temple
Radha-Krishna Temple serves as the headquarters for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which came into worldwide prominence in the 1960s following the group's association with rock musician George Harrison. For more than half a century, the temple has been a major spiritual oasis for Londoners and visitors from around the world. Its award-winning Govinda's Restaurant, opened in 1979, is one of the oldest operating vegetarian restaurants in London, serving up delicious plant-based food that follows the religion's sattvic diet. Diners can enjoy traditional Indian-style menus that rotate daily, along with a buffet of international fare like quiche, lasagna, and pizza. All meals are blessed according to Hare Krishna tradition before service. The temple's Radha's Boutique also sells a variety of apparel, meditation accessories, spiritual books, and traditional music selections.
9-10 Soho St, Soho, London W1D 3DL, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-74-37-36-62
© Laki Kane
Laki Kane is one of London's most acclaimed cocktail bars, located in Islington along Upper Street near Angel Station. The delightful Polynesian-styled beach bar, which is operated by Georgi Radev, serves up tiki-style drinks crafted with premium international rum, including favorites like the passion fruit-infused Granadilla Collins and the jackfruit and cachaça concoction Batida de Jack. Flaming Zombies are served up in maiden's heads, while traditional coladas and tropical punches are served in voodoo-associated ritual vessels. Rum tasting flights are also served up throughout the evening, along with a clever menu of bar bites that highlights international fare like sweet corn cakes, Thai-style crab and prawn balls, fried tofu rolls, and chicken satay.
144-145 Upper St, Islington, London N1 1QY, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-76-07-07-66
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© Little Bat
Little Bat is a charming neighborhood bar styled after Lewis Carroll's famed "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat" poem, opened in 2016 by Richard Wynne, the force behind Shoreditch favorite Callooh Callay. The hip Islington hangout may be devoid of a flashy exterior, but its sumptuous decor inside creates an inviting atmosphere for cozying up with dates and drinks, featuring dramatic skylights and chandeliers, tasseled lampshades, and vintage globes. An inventive cocktail menu highlights seasonally-rotating drinks like the Bartender's Breakfast, which infuses dark chocolate liqueur with espresso and nutmeg, or the Bathtub Sour, which highlights peach bitters, egg whites, and apricot-infused gin. Delicious bar bites include decadent options like lobster mac and cheese balls, buttermilk fried chicken, and affogatos prepared with cacao nibs, espresso, and Disaronno.
54 Islington Park St, Islington, London N1 1PX, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-73-59-60-70
© Pitch Stratford
Pitch Stratford is a unique outdoor dining experience opened in April of 2019, offering an open-air terrace dining space and bar and an array of street food vendors serving up internationally-inspired fare. Food vendors and pop-ups rotate throughout the week, curated by popular food market curators At The Table. Visitors can also enjoy drinks from Umbrella Brewing Company and craft ciders from Signature Brew, along with a selection of tiki-inspired cocktails. DJ sets and live music performances are showcased throughout the week, featuring regional acts like Carl Barat, Jazzy B, and the Heatwave. Each week, the marketplace also screens cult classic films and international sporting events at its 196-inch outdoor cinema screen.
2 Bridge Rd, London E15 3FF, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-39-93-01-12
© Coq D'Argent
Coq D'Argent is a lovely French-inspired brasserie and rooftop garden along London's Square Mile that has been a staple on the city's dining scene since 1998. Consistently delicious all-day menus highlight elegant main courses like côte de veau, vol au vent, filet de boeuf, and carré d'agneau, served up with elegant side dishes like pommes frites and gratin dauphinois. Shareable table service is provided for favorites like côte de boeuf and Chateaubriand steak, as well as seafood platters featuring Colchester rock oysters, prawns, and whole cock crabs. Diners can also choose selections from a raw bar serving up oysters and crustacean selections or enjoy gourmet caviar service served with homemade blinis. A diverse wine list is served up throughout the day, along with a selection of after-dinner drinks.
1 Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-73-95-50-00
13.The Royal Vauxhall Tavern
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is South London's oldest gay bar, originally constructed as a Victorian music hall in 1862. The hall, which is commonly referred to as the RVT, was originally opened as part of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens facility and became a common spot for drag performances following World War II. In September 2015, the venue became the first LGBTQ-related building to receive Grade II listing for its historic architectural and cultural significance. Today, visitors can enjoy award-winning cabaret and drag performances throughout the week in a lively, diverse environment that welcomes audience members of all genders and sexualities. Regular performances showcase artists like Bucks Fizz, Duckie, Liberty X, and The Lipsinkers, presented alongside weekly special events like bingo and trivia nights.
372 Kennington Ln, Lambeth, London SE11 5HY, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-78-20-12-22
© Ruby Violet
Ruby Violet is a charming traditional British ice cream parlor that opened its first location in Tufnell Park in 2012, helmed by baker Julie Fisher. Today, the parlor operates a second branch in Kings Cross, serving up fantastic ice cream and vegan sorbet varieties throughout the year. All ice creams are crafted from organic milk according to traditional preparation methods, with fresh fruit and high-quality imported ingredients used in exciting standard and seasonal flavors. Diners can enjoy clever flavor options like pistachio, tiramisu, hazelnut, and bloody mary, which can be eaten on traditional cones or as part of decadent dessert options like affogatos and soda floats. Ice cream tasting flights are also served, letting visitors try a selection of six of the company's daily flavors.
118 Fortess Rd, Kentish Town, London NW5 2HL, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-76-09-04-44
Quaglino's is an upscale European-style brasseries that has been a St. James's institution for nearly a century, originally opened by Giovanni Quaglino in 1929. The restaurant was one of Britains' most popular restaurants throughout the World War II era and rose to international prominence again in the 1990s as a location used on the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. Stunning upmarket cuisine is showcased on the restaurant's menus, including stuffed courgette, braised veal breast with truffled comté macaroni and cheese, and rabbit leg beignet with fine herb pomme purée. Elegant cocktail and oyster raw bar service is also available, along with grilled shareables like chargrilled Chateaubriand steak and Mediterranean-style slow-cooked shoulder of lamb. Late-night menus are offered on weekend evenings, when DJs and guest musical artists take to the restaurant's stage.
16 Bury St, St. James's, London SW1Y 6AJ, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-79-30-67-67
16.Bocca Di Lupo
© Bocca Di Lupo
Bocca Di Lupo is a charming Italian-style eatery in London's Soho district, opened in 2008 by Victor Hugo and Jacob Kenedy. The award-winning restaurant is known for its stripped-down dining atmosphere and authentic regional Italian dishes, which are available at lunch and dinner throughout the week. Hearty pasta options like Naples-style seafood risotto, Sicilian linguine with mussels, and Ligurian fazzoletti with broad beans are complemented by a selection of oven-fired entrees like grilled fennel sausage and roast boneless suckling pig. Obscure cuisine selections are highlighted, showcasing dishes from regions like Lazio, Gaeta, Puglia, and Sperlonga. An extensive regional wine list is offered, along with a selection of imported beers and fine cocktails.
12 Archer St, Soho, London W1D 7BB, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-77-34-22-23
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17.The Vurger Co.
© The Vurger Co.
The Vurger Co. is a completely vegan and plant-based burger joint that was originally opened as a pop-up market stall in 2016, striving to add unique delicacies to London's alternative culinary scene. The restaurant, which opened two permanent locations in Shoreditch and Canary Wharf in 2018, crafts 100% vegan fast food offerings prepared with housemade sauces and toppings. Diners can choose from chickpea and black bean, eggplant, mushroom, or corn patties, which are topped with hearty ingredients like pickled cabbage, jackfruit chicharrones, and housemade vegan queso. All burgers can be made into bun-free bowls or served on gluten-free bun options upon request. Vegan milkshakes are served up in delicious flavors like strawberry, chocolate hazelnut, banana, and caramel, prepared with almond and soy milk.
Richmix, 9, Avant Garde, Cygnet St, London E1 6LD, United Kingdom, website, Phone: +44-20-32-22-00-49
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© Ognisko Polskie
Ognisko Polskie was founded in 1940 as part of the Polish Hearth Club and has since become a staple of London's Polish ethnic community and dining scene. The restaurant, which is housed within a gorgeous townhouse that showcases a grand chandelier-decked dining space, serves up traditional Eastern European dishes throughout the week. It has been acclaimed by The Sunday Times as one of the United Kingdom's 100 best restaurants for 2018, noted for its hearty, authentic pierogis, blinis, and placki-style potato pancakes. Diners can also enjoy savory entrees like pork schnitzel, ham hock golonka with sauerkraut and horseradish, or chargrilled chicken paprykarz prepared with deep-fried kopytka dumplings. A vodka bar highlights traditional and creative housemade liquor flavors like rose petal, mint, rhubarb, and fig.
55 Exhibition Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2PN, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-75-89-01-01
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Rudie's serves up delicious charcoal-grilled Jamaican specialties in a lively dining atmosphere in Dalton, known for its traditional jerk-marinated meats, which are prepared for 24 hours and cooked with wood chips to emphasize smoky flavors. The restaurant, which was opened in 2015, is known for its lively reggae music soundtrack and laid-back community gathering space vibe. Diners can choose from chicken, pork shoulder, or lamb rump jerk platters or enjoy vegan options like the restaurant's Jah Love platter, which features sauteed ackee, sweet peppers, spinach, and fried plantains. Shareable small plates highlight traditional Jamaican delicacies like saltfish or sweet corn fritters, rum-glazed pork ribs, and ackee and saltfish bakes. A large selection of Jamaican sipping rums are served up, paired with more than a dozen clever rum-based cocktails.
50 Stoke Newington Rd, Hackney Downs, London N16 7XB, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-72-49-99-30
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Kutir is a quaint Indian restaurant in Chelsea, housed within a renovated townhouse with a beautiful glazed conservatory roof over its dining space. The restaurant, which was opened in 2018 by Michelin-starred chef Rohit Ghai and restaurateur Abhishake Sangwan, is named for the Sanskrit word for a remote cottage, evoking a sense of traditionality and tucked-away comfort. Regional dishes are highlighted on the restaurant's seasonal menus, including creative modern takes like jackfruit kofta, duck korma, and lamb shank Roganjosh with purple potatoes and chokha. Diners can also enjoy small plates as part of the restaurant's tasting menus, which highlight options like paneer makhani, quail truffle naan, and masala prawns.
10 Lincoln St, Chelsea, London SW3 2TS, UK, website
21.Poppie's Fish and Chips
© Poppie's Fish and Chips
Poppie's Fish and Chips opened its first location in Spitalfields in 2011 and has become known throughout Britain for its delightful 1950s nostalgia vibe and authentic fish and chips platters. Today, the chain operates three locations in London, including a Soho location housed within the neighborhood's former House of Ho space. Retro-styled memorabilia throughout the restaurant recalls owner Pat "Pop" Newman's childhood, complemented by classic midcentury music selections. All seafood dishes at the restaurant are prepared with sustainably-caught fish, delivered to the restaurant each morning and prepared by in-house fishmonger Salih Sadik. Fish and chips platters are wrapped in newspapers in traditional style, featuring diners' choice of cod or haddock accompanied by the restaurant's award-winning potato fries.
55-59 Old Compton St, Soho, London W1D 6HW, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-77-34-48-45
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Bluebird is one of Chelsea's most beloved restaurants, housed within a Grade II-designated 1923 historic building that once served as a garage for the Bluebird Motor Company. Since 1997, the Art Deco-style building has been home to a refined restaurant, bar, cafe, and courtyard space, owned and operated by the D&D London restaurant group. Diners can enjoy elegant fare at the complex's restaurant such as 35-day dry-aged ribeye steaks with bone marrow and tarragon, Kentish lamb shoulder with charcoal mayo, and lobster spaghetti with chili and spring onion. Signature cocktails and bar snacks are served at the complex's bar, while elegant sandwiches, salads, and champagne drinks are served at its cafe throughout the day. Afternoon tea service is also available, highlighting finger sandwiches alongside unique tea options like blackcurrant and hibiscus tea.
350 King's Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5UU, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-75-59-10-00
23.The Star of Bethnal Green
© The Star of Bethnal Green
The Star of Bethnal Green is a delightful restaurant and bar in London's Bethnal Green district, known for its beautiful namesake gardens and open-air street market. The restaurant, which was opened in 2008, has become a favorite for its daytime drinks and karaoke and disco nights. Diners can enjoy excellent beef, chicken, and vegetarian burger options, including meatless burgers prepared with unique ingredients like chickpeas, sweet potatoes, goat cheese, and roasted red peppers. Full Sunday roast options include selections like confit duck leg, cider-braised pork, and stuffed portabella mushrooms, served up with traditional Yorkshire pudding. An assortment of locally-brewed beers are served up alongside clever twists on classic drinks like daiquiris and martinis.
59 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 6LG, UK, website, Phone: +44-20-74-58-44-80
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24.Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream
© Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream
Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream is London's first Filipino-style ice cream parlor, opened to the public in 2017 by second-generation Filipino immigrants Mae Maglanoc and Omar Shah. The restaurant is named for the nickname for popular Manila street food ice cream, which is extremely affordable due to its limited ingredient list. Unique ice cream flavors include ube, prepared with Filipino purple yams, malted chocolate milo, and sweet and savory queso, which blends cheese into sorbet. Vegan flavor options include guyabano and calamansi sorbet flavors. All ice cream can be served within bilog toasted buns, ube brownie sundaes, or traditional black cones. Barako Bean coffees are also served up, along with excellent milkshakes, hot chocolates, and lemonades.
91 Kentish Town Rd, London NW1 8NY, UK, Phone: +44 20 7267 1871
24 Unique Things To Do in London This Summer
- Luminary Bakery, Photo: Luminary Bakery
- The Wigmore, Photo: The Wigmore
- Lahpet, Photo: Lahpet
- Emila's Crafted Pasta, Photo: Emila's Crafted Pasta
- Pophams Bakery, Photo: Pophams Bakery
- Oriole, Photo: Oriole
- Baz and Fred, Photo: Baz and Fred
- Radha-Krishna Temple, Photo: Radha-Krishna Temple
- Laki Kane, Photo: Laki Kane
- Little Bat, Photo: Little Bat
- Pitch Stratford, Photo: Pitch Stratford
- Coq D'Argent, Photo: Coq D'Argent
- The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Photo: graghine/stock.adobe.com
- Ruby Violet, Photo: Ruby Violet
- Quaglino's, Photo: Quaglino's
- Bocca Di Lupo, Photo: Bocca Di Lupo
- The Vurger Co., Photo: The Vurger Co.
- Ognisko Polskie, Photo: Ognisko Polskie
- Rudie's, Photo: Rudie's
- Kutir, Photo: Kutir
- Poppie's Fish and Chips, Photo: Poppie's Fish and Chips
- Bluebird, Photo: Bluebird
- The Star of Bethnal Green, Photo: The Star of Bethnal Green
- Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream, Photo: Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream
- Cover Photo: andrea/stock.adobe.com