It’s a question we get asked all the time. Where should we be dining in London right now? If that thought has popped into your mind recently, you’ve come to the right place.
From authentic Spanish tapas for a date night that will transport you to Barcelona to fresh pasta that you would think to only find in Italy, ginormous juicy burgers enjoyed with friends or a colourful South Indian brunch ideal to cure any Sunday hangover, here is our guide to the city’s best restaurants right now.
Barrafina Drury Lane
Simply put, the cuisine at Barrafina is outstanding. At first glimpse, this little Spanish tapas restaurant might not look like much, but upon taking your seat at one of the restaurant’s 28 bar stools, you’ll suddenly feel as though you’ve been transported to a restaurant in Seville, rather than the centre of London’s Covent Garden.
The communal setting, hustle and bustle of the open kitchen, and free-flowing drinks create a vibe that you won’t find anywhere else in London. The restaurant chain, owned by The Harts Group, boasts three restaurants all within close proximity – Dean Street in Soho; Adelaide Street just off the Strand; and Drury Lane in Covent Garden – with each restaurant doing an excellent job of presenting its own unique dishes.
The concept of dining at Barrafina is almost like you are being treated to “dinner and a show” – as you sip on a cocktail or some wine and watch the talented chefs prepare and cook all the dishes just a few feet away. The chefs are also extremely friendly and happy to answer any questions about the cooking process or fresh produce.
We were recommended by our waiter to order 3 dishes per person and he also took the time to talk us through the many specials they had on offer that evening. From fresh seafood to tender juicy steaks and fresh seasonal vegetables, there’s something for everyone. Highlights on the menu include, Gambas rojas al ajillo, Bomba Ibérica with Salsa Picante, Chorizo Tortilla and Braised Ox Tail.
Big fan of burgers? You’ll definitely want to pay a visit to Honest Burger.
This divine burger joint first opened up their first restaurant in Brixton Village, with an aim to give customers high-quality burgers inspired by British Produce and that is exactly what they have continued to do in all 36 restaurants. All of the beef patties are also made in Honest’s own butchery.
Locations in London include Covent Garden, Liverpool St, Bank, Chiswick, Clapham, Greenwich, Holborn and more.
We recently ate at the Covent Garden restaurant and were blown away by the whole menu. Highlights include the Honest burger, comprised of beef, red onion relish, smoked bacon, cheddar, lettuce and pickles. The Tribute and The Fritter are also recommended.
All burgers are served medium (pink) unless otherwise requested and come with (the most incredible) rosemary salted fries. The sides are just as good as the mains; buffalo wings, onion rings and homemade slaw.
Thank you, Honest Burgers for the best burger I’ve had in years.
I really didn’t expect Peruvian food to become my favourite cuisine in the world and after discovering Pachamama, I can happily say that I’ve found one of my favourite restaurants EVER.
Cool and quirky with a mix of old and new décor, Pachamama is beautiful inside and just as its exotic name, it’s the kind of restaurant that would be perfect for a special occasion. From the minute we sat down until we left, we were wowed – the food is sensational and the service, attentive and helpful without being pushy.
Our lovely waitress recommended 3-4 dishes per person and we opted for a selection of all of the customer favourites and traditional Peruvian plates. The menu is separated into 4 categories; snacks, sea, land and soil.
We went for and highly recommend all of the dishes we devoured.
Snacks: smoked cheddar tequenos and beef short rib croquetas
Sea: the sea bass ceviche served with tiger’s milk, choclo and sweet potato crisps, the scallop tiradito with elderflower, coconut and mango and lastly the Galician octopus with confit potatoes and wakame.
Land: The duck on rice, Peruvian fried chicken with Atacama hot sauce and lastly the beef short rib with Aji and sweet potato.
Soil: Peruvian rice
If you cannot possibly choose from all of the amazing dishes, then a dinner tasting menu is also available for £45 per person. Everything is phenomenal. End of story.
This Italian restaurant shows guests that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for freshly made pasta dishes.
Most of Pastaio’s pasta mains are below £12 with the exception of a few large sharing plates and seafood mains. The seating is relaxed, open plan, and made up of share tables. You’ll find yourself sitting elbow to elbow with other diners – perfect for those that love making new friends! When visiting we were surrounded by diners, with every table being taken and a queue outside the door. It’s the perfect place to dine with friends or your other half; vibrant, filled with an exciting buzz and relaxed. There’s even a prosecco slushy machine and blues and hip hop music playing in the background.
Our waiter was one of the friendliest I had ever met. He helped to recommend dishes, asked us questions to help us make our choices, and frequently checked to see if everything was ok. What a guy!
From the anti-pasti section, we started with a plate of freshly shaved prosciutto and the fried mozzarella, ‘nduja & honey sandwich – this was cheesy, sweet and had a fantastic crunch to it.
We then moved onto our mains where we opted for the slow-cooked sausage sauce, malloreddus and the showpiece, the Instagrammable one, the seafood paccheri; mussels, clams, prawns, zucchini & saffron. This is recommended for 2-3 people, but I pretty much ate the whole thing myself. There is also gluten-free penne available for all dishes.
The ideal place for a lazy but glamorous Sunday brunch with your loved ones. Ooty’s brunch menu is one of the best out there, comprising of 4-courses of indulgent, high quality, and mouth-watering South Indian fair.
The decor is chic, pretty and comfortable – brunch here feels like a really fancy treat.
The restaurant aims to capture the essence of another era, with an ambiance and décor that is an apt amalgamation of the legacy of the British Raj with the plush contemporary finish of modern-day London.
The brunch menu features incredible delicacies and traditional plates from all corners of South India, starting with an Anglo-Indian breakfast of house granola with palm yogurt & berry compote as well as a basket of croissants and raisin and chilli muffin.
We then chose the egg dosa with Chettinad duck for our second course, which was perfectly cooked – light but filling. The highlight has to be the third course – Ooty’s traditional tiffin boxes filled with lime leaf seafood stew for me and Andhra mutton koora for my guest.
All tiffins are served with potato, edamame and sugar pea stir fry Brown onion and caraway seed pulao Malabar parotta.