From outdoor medieval markets to the coolest new spots for rooftop cocktails and bottomless brunches, here’s our pick of the best places to eat in London in 2023
The best places to eat in London in 2023: Classic favourites
Fish & Chips
There are countless chippies in London but The Fryer’s Delight in Holborn is a charmingly old-school one-off, serving delicious paper-wrapped fish and chips. One taste and you’ll see why they have won numerous awards.
If you’re looking for a restaurant for a cosy dinner or romantic tête-à-tête, look no further than Kitty Fisher’s – named after an infamous 18th-century courtesan – in Mayfair’s historic Shepherd Market. Low lighting and fresh flowers set the tone in this Georgian townhouse, and the modern British food is delicious. Theatrical sister restaurant Cora Pearl in Covent Garden is worth a visit too.
M. Manze (for pie and mash)
M. Manze is the capital’s oldest pie and mash shop (since 1902) and the best place to try this traditional British dish. If you’re feeling brave, get the eels – jellied or stewed – too, in keeping with the authentic surroundings of the original Bermondsey-based caff.
Started as an oyster stall in 1742, Wiltons was opened as a restaurant in the 1840s, and the oysters remained a mainstay of the menu. A meal at Wiltons (including oysters, naturally) is the ultimate treat, and something akin to time-travel, from the monogrammed carpet and velvet banquettes to the silver trolleys that are trundled through the restaurant – and the impeccable menu of British classics, of course.
OXO Tower Brasserie
On the top floor of the famous OXO Tower, complete with iconic views of St Paul’s, the OXO Tower Brasserie offers up a grand space with a casual atmosphere and a bustling open kitchen. This place is always buzzing, and the food is excellent too.
Oblix, The Shard
For breathtaking panoramic views and an intimate dining experience, grab a table at Oblix, on the 32nd floor of the Shard. The dimly lit space is elegant and romantic, and the cuisine superb, but chances are you’ll only have eyes for the stunning views of London.
From humble beginnings as a grocery shop, Harrods is now a Knightsbridge icon, and looks magical at dusk when it lures you into the warm with its glowing lights. Its swanky dining hall has six restaurants, including a grill, a caviar house and London’s poshest chippie. This being Harrods, you can also create a bespoke blend of tea and dry age a steak for as long as you wish in the food halls.
Fortnum and Mason
With its roots in devising snacks for hungry travellers– hence the invention of the scotch egg – Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly remains renowned for its ready-to-eat luxury foods, having provisioned British soldiers during the Peninsular war and Florence Nightingale’s hospitals on the request of Queen Victoria, no less. Pick up foodie souvenirs from caviar and Stilton cheese to biscuits and conserves.
The best places to eat in London in 2023: New openings
For something a little bit different, Oche is a newcomer to the London scene and has already made quite a name for itself. The home of ‘gastro-gaming’, this is a place to enjoy a cocktail and a few bites from the sharing menus while playing a round of darts. Their bottomless brunch also includes live West End singers.
Just metres from Covent Garden’s Piazza, this forward-thinking, ultra-cool café is headed up by pastry chef Kimberly Lin and serves up Instagrammable dishes containing mood-boosting, natural and seasonal ingredients inspired by the elements, gems and signs of the zodiac. Head in for all-day brunch or an evening meal.
The Landmark Hotel, a (very grand) grande dame in Marylebone, has launched a new gastropub within the hotel, the Great Central Pub. Expect impeccably cooked and presented pub classics – the likes of ‘posh’ fish finger butties and steak and ale pie. The beer is locally sourced, the portions are hearty, and an open fireplace ups the comfort factor in the winter months.
Set in a Georgian townhouse overlooking Covent Garden’s bustling Piazza, Pivot, which opened in 2021, serves one of the top-rated pre-theatre menus and Sunday roasts in London. Scottish chef Mark Greenaway dishes up wholesome classics like bangers and mash with modern, gourmet twists in a cool, relaxed setting.
The best places to eat in London in 2023: Markets, food halls and festivals
With four spectacular venues across the city (including one inside a beautiful renovated church), and a fifth set to open in spring 2023, these trendy market halls are a go-to if you just can’t decide what to eat. It hosts an array of street food and drink traders, offering everything from pasta and pizza to bao buns and cocktails.
Dating back to the 13th century, Borough is London’s oldest food market, and its atmospheric halls and passageways are a treat for the senses. From chorizo wraps to gourmet scotch eggs, you’ll find stalls full of delicious food and drink everywhere you look.
in Hackney, is a magnet for the area’s hipsters every Saturday. Join the queue for tasty morsels from the likes of Citron Vert (French Creole bowls), Temaki Bros (sushi handrolls), Toropampa (Argentinian steak burgers), Deeney’s (whose ‘Macbeth’ haggis toasties have a cult following) and Street Pig (applewood-smoked BBQ ribs). Arrive hungry.
Spread over several floors, giant Italian food hall Eataly houses a market and retail space, as well as three restaurants and a bar. Shop Italian cheese, cured meats and wine to your heart’s content before sitting down to a perfectly cooked plate of pasta, or why not learn to make your own at one of their special cooking classes?
Mare Street Market
Mare Street Market is a unique space in foodie haven Hackney offering a host of attractions under one airy roof: an excellent restaurant with open kitchen, a buzzy cafe and bar, plus a barber, nail studio, flower shop and record store, so you can really make a day of it.
The best places to eat in London in 2023: Food districts
Brick Lane is the place to go for one of the best curries in the capital – and in the UK. Opt for the award-winning Bengal Village restaurant at Number 75, established over two decades ago and lauded by the critics for its authentic Bangladeshi cooking.
A foodie oasis in the heart of London, Granary Square, on the banks of the Regent’s Canal and just metres from King’s Cross station, is home to a mouthwatering selection of places to eat and drink, including the ever-popular Indian eatery Dishoom, buzzy brunch favourite Caravan and trendy pasta restaurant and deli, Lina Stores.
London’s beauty lies in its diversity. Don’t leave this cosmopolitan capital without exploring Chinatown and its restaurants, which number more than 70. Sip a traditional Taiwanese tea or get your chopsticks ready for an authentic dim sum dinner – it’s all on your doorstep in the heart of the city.
Drinks-themed tours and experiences:
At Twinings’ 300-year-old flagship store at 216 Strand, guests can join a masterclass led by ‘Tea Ambassadors’ in which they’ll learn the fascinating history of Twinings and afternoon tea, and enjoy tasting teas from oolong to pu-erh.
With a recipe that has remained virtually unchanged since 1800, Beefeater Gin has a pedigree that’s second to none. The Distillery Tour tells the story of the birth of London gin, a heady tale of international politics, the British Empire, Victorian entrepreneurs and savvy American barmen.
The London Coffee Festival
The London Coffee Festival on trendy Brick Lane takes place in late September and features masterclasses on mixing the perfect coffee-infused cocktails and demonstrations from world-class baristas, while you can browse and sample to your heart’s content at 250 artisan coffee and food stalls.