A delicious Italian eatery in Mayfair is a great spot for lunch or an elegant family dinner or a fun night out with friends. The bi-level restaurant has an upstairs, farmhouse style room that is more sedate than the buzzy downstairs room with an open kitchen. The menu features delicious Italian classics like freshmade pasta and enormous thin crust pizzas as well as more substantial entrees such as osso bucco and grilled fish. The atmosphere is glamorous but casual. It is open for breakfast as well and offers 'bottomless pizza' brunches on weekends.
Restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the duo behind the Wolseley, Delaunay and Brasserie Zedel took over the space of Oriel, a tired café that still drew a following for its central location. The casual, brasserie–style Colbert is in the same vein as Paris’s Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots, with all-day dining from breakfast until late.
Lady Carole Bamford’s eye for detail wins again at Daylesford’s Pimlico setting. The gleaming white marble interior and handmade willow staircase are exquisite, as is the shop’s selection of cheeses (especially the cheddar). After antiquing on the Pimlico Road (don’t miss Gordon Watson’s shop at No. 28), stop here for a cappuccino and a slice of apple, chestnut or pecan pie. There are additional locations in Notting Hill and Marlebone.
This small Soho spot gets high marks for its natural wines; homespun, relaxed European approach; and delicious, often-changing menu (the menu is posted on Ducksoup’s website daily).
The Hackney outpost of London’s beloved pizza joint, Franco Manca, is their sixth and most inviting restaurant, and the dominant eatery on a trendy street lined with drinking and dining options. Every evening, you’ll find a queue of local creatives and young families eagerly awaiting a seat. Pizzas have a crisp, textured sourdough base slapped with Italian-grown tomatoes and top-notch cheeses and cured meats. Organic red wine and locally brewed beer run freely, service is frenetic and unashamedly Neapolitan, and the functional dining space is reliably buzzy. This is the perfect spot for some comforting carbs before heading to the excellent gastropub Cat & Mutton on the corner, or Off Broadway opposite for innovative cocktails.
Granger & Co.
Popular with the Notting Hill ‘yummy mummies,’ this sunny spot makes a great breakfast and is a nice place to stop for a coffee. There are four other outposts in Marylebone, Chelsea and beyond as well.
Honey & Co
Londoners love this Middle Eastern deli/café that specializes in dishes from Palestine, Israel and Lebanon. Run by two chefs who formerly worked at acclaimed Ottolenghi and Nopi, Honey & Co’s menu features salads, falafel and various mezze that are all great to share (or order to-go). Save room for dessert, which might include blackberry, coconut and pistachio cakes or feta cheesecake with chunks of white peaches and roasted almonds.
Ivy Chelsea Garden
Housed in a nearly 300-year-old building, this lush restaurant remains one of the hottest places to see and be seen, in part thanks to the romantic green garden out back with trailing wisteria and climbing roses. The extensive all-day menu features classic English treats like toasted crumpets as well as such international fare as tuna Carpaccio with spiced avocado, crème fraîche and coriander shoots. Don’t skip the crowd-pleasing chocolate bombe—a sinful sphere of chocolate which, when doused with warm salted caramel sauce, melts to reveal a core of milk foam, vanilla ice cream and honeycomb. Reservations recommended.
At these convivial neighborhood bakeries, London’s beloved Israeli-born chef and cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi transports his patrons to aromatic lands south and east of the Mediterranean. Ottolenghi’s countertops, fragrant with dukkah and za’atar, lavishly display tarts, cakes and canapés of vibrant green, crimson and violet. The assortment is quite literally a feast for the eyes – one feels revitalized just gazing at it. Enlightened pastries are seasoned with Iranian lime, pomegranate molasses, and lemon myrtle salt, though traditionalists will be very content with a cappuccino and an inspired almond croissant. Ottolenghi is perfect for breakfast, lunch or a quick break between boutiques.
For residents of West London, a trip to Richmond to dine at Petersham Nurseries is what summer weekends are made for. A historic, impossibly picturesque garden center with a Michelin-starred restaurant, it’s well worth the trip west for some bucolic country air. During the day, the café is a great place to spot London fashion designers and artists digging into tea and sandwiches. There are also fabulous supper club events throughout the year. Additional location: A newer location at 2 Floral Court in Covent Garden draws inspiration from the original, and is more convenient to central London.
Pizza East Portobello
Nick Jones, of Soho House fame, brought his successful Shoreditch venture Pizza East west, to glamour heaven Notting Hill. Dine alfresco at Pizza East Portobello on tempting slices topped with Portobello mushroom, taleggio, oregano and crispy pork belly, tomato, mushrooms. If you’re still hungry after the 10-inch pizza, try the salted caramel chocolate tart or perhaps a scoop of limone at the gelato bar.
Run by Melanie Arnold and Margot Henderson (wife of Fergus Henderson of St John Bread and Wine), the Canteen serves simple food throughout the day. A recent trip delighted with its original setting—in a former school’s bike shed overlooking a grassy playground and the trees of Arnold Circus. Nearby is Calvert Avenue full of shops, a children’s barber, organic grocers and cafés with an artistic, hip looking crowd. With not a chain store in sight, this part of London feels distinctly removed.
This charming north London ice cream parlour has taken frozen delights to a new level. For the children there are cones and sundaes with hot chocolate or salted caramel sauce; adults are offered very grown-up treats: chocolate ginger, chocolate chilli, salted caramel and lemon and cardamom ice cream, or elderflower and prosecco, campari and blood orange, melon or gin and tonic sorbets. If you’re in town for a while, order an ice cream layer cake, stunning sorbet flowers or miniature baked alaskas to treat dinner party guests.
After you go see the Hayward Gallery, amble over to the Royal Festival Hall and have lunch at this D&D restaurant. With its soaring ceilings and vast windows overlooking the Thames, it is a fun place to eat and watch the boats sail by. The menu includes lots of grilled meats, as well as a market fish of the day, and there’s a children’s menu for those with offspring in tow. Perfect for weekday lunch or pre-concert option.
Occupying a corner facing Petticoat Lane in Spitalfields, the ground floor of the Culpeper is a traditional British bar, but the first-floor restaurant is an elegant, parquet-floored dining room with teal-hued banquet seating and industrial-chic lighting. Chef Sandy Jarvis was formerly head chef at the acclaimed Terroirs, and his calling card is unfussy, seasonal dishes, honest presentation and a focus on quality produce. Braised rabbit cooked to perfection sits on a bed of polenta, and pine nut–crusted sea bass is accompanied by green beans.
The Swan at the Globe
One of the most popular sights on the South Bank is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, whose Swan restaurant, perched on the third floor, is a great option for a gastropub lunch with lovely views. Also located close to Borough Market, the Swan is perfect for a pre- or post-shopping meal.
Dalston in northeast London is currently the city's hipster epicenter. The neighborhood's main thoroughfare, Kingsland Road, has shed the last of its grunge and is now lined with boutique wine bars, quirky dive bars and tiny, trendy eateries. Tonkotsu East (there is also a Soho outpost) offers a slightly more grown-up Dalston experience, in a beautifully decked-out railway arch just off Kingsland Road. The Shimeji, Shiitake and Miso Ramen is a revelation, and the innovative cocktails make a wait at the bar (there are no reservations for groups under six) a treat rather than a chore. Be sure to depart with a jar of Tonkotsu’s Eat The Bits Chilli Oil, which has established a cult following amongst Londoners and is currently flying off the shelves in Selfridges.
Vicoli di Napoli