23 June 2023

My 50 Favourite London Restaurants

Since I moved back to London 15 years ago, I have spent a lot of time eating my way around the city's increasingly diverse and impressive restaurant scene. To help me keep track — and for when friends and family asked for recommendations — I started jotting down my favourites in a Moleskine City notebook, which eventually evolved into a Google Sheet and then a blog post in 2016. An update was long overdue and here it is: my 50 favourite restaurants in London. 

My main criteria for the restaurants on this list are: quality of food, warmth of service and style/ambience of the venue. The list features a wide range of cuisines and price points — from budget to blow-the-budget. Because of where I live and hang out and where I worked, there's a bias towards SE and central neighbourhoods; sorry, West London, I'm working on it! I left out places where brunch is the primary focus because I already created a guide to my favourite brunch spots.

I've added links to my reviews where they exist — some date back more than a decade, highlighting the long-lasting appeal of many of these places. I will update the list, and the accompanying Google Map, on a regular basis.

Last updated: June 2023

Angelina | Dalston

With its ten-course kaiseki tasting menu that draws from both Italian and Japanese cuisine, Angelina is a great spot for a celebratory dinner in Dalston. Or, you know, a rainy Tuesday in Dalston. The dishes are exquisitely prepared, from the snacks to the sweets, and there's a creative cocktail menu too. Sit at the counter for a more intimate feel and to watch the chefs at work. There's also a four-course omokase menu available.

56 Dalston Lane, London, E8 3AH. Website. Instagram. My review.

BAO | Soho

The original Bao on Soho's Lexington Street still attracts a healthy queue at busy times. The pillowy soft steamed buns with delicious fillings are worth the wait — the fried chicken is my favourite, although I'm a sucker for their specials, like the Year of the Pig bao. Inside, the décor is simple and there's a relaxed ambience. If you are happy to get your bao to go, the Borough Market branch has a hatch for easy takeaway ordering.

53 Lexington Street, London, W1F 9AS. Website. Instagram. My review.

Other locations: Borough, King's Cross and Marylebone.

Beza | Elephant & Castle

There are quite a few Ethiopian restaurants in and around Elephant & Castle and Beza, at Elephant Park, is a great option for a spicy but comforting vegan feast. The pictured sharing platter is for two people and features lentils, chickpeas, split peas, cabbage, beans and lots of garlic, served on injera, a sourdough pancake-like flatbread. Beza is very casual and has just a few tables but I always leave feeling full and satisfied.

8A Sayer Street, London, SE17 1FH. Instagram.

Blacklock | Covent Garden

Blacklock is top for chops (and steaks). Choose between beef, pork and lamb or opt for the 'all in' at £25 per head. The burger — a double cheeseburger with caramelised onions and vermouth — is excellent too and all the better for being served on such an incongruously dainty plate. Don't miss the white chocolate cheesecake, doled out, 'say when' style, from a massive bowl. Blacklock isn't the ideal place to take your vegetarian friend, although they do have one meat-free main course.

16a Bedford Street, London, WC2E 9HE. Website. Instagram.

Other locations: Canary Wharf, City, Shoreditch and Soho.

Bleecker | Spitalfields

Back in 2012, King's Cross — where I was working — wasn't a great foodie hotspot. Then, street-food market KERB opened, bringing different food trucks every day, and it revolutionised my workday lunches. My favourite was Zan Kaufman's Bleecker, whose cheeseburgers are meaty, flavoursome and just as messy as they should be. Flash forward to 2023 and they are still as delicious as ever. 

Old Spitalfields Market, London, E1 6EA. Website. Instagram. My review.

Other locations: City, Shepherd's Bush and Victoria.

Brasserie of Light | Marylebone

At the Brasserie of Light — Selfridges' totes baroque restaurant and bar — The Orbit remains one of my all-time favourite desserts. I mean, just look at it. And it tastes as good as it looks, with chocolate mousse, salted caramel, honeycomb and popping candy nestled inside the planetary system. The main courses and cocktails are just as tasty and beautifully presented. An elegant and fun spot to escape from the crowds of Oxford Street.

400 Oxford Street, London, W1A 1AB. Website. Instagram.

Brasserie Zédel
| Soho

I've long since lost count of the number of times I've been to Brasserie Zédel where you can always be assured of great-value French food in a 1930s Parisian brasserie setting underneath Piccadilly Circus. The prix-fixe menu is hard to beat, although I sometimes upgrade to a flat iron steak. If you arrive early or are in need of a nightcap, head to Bar Américain for a well-mixed cocktail or two.

20 Sherwood Street, London, W1F 7ED. Website. Instagram.

Brat | Hackney

I still haven't been to Tomos Parry's original Brat in Shoreditch — how?! — but visiting its wood-fired sister restaurant in Climpson's Arch in Hackney was a special experience. You really should have the turbot — not just because the restaurant's name comes from the Northumbrian for turbot, but also because the turbot at Brat is amazingly good. Melt-in-the-mouth delicious. All of the starters and sides were excellent too. Go very hungry, leave very full!

374 Helmsley Place, London, E8 3SB. Website. Instagram. My review.

Other locations: Shoreditch and Soho.

Brutto | Clerkenwell

Brutto is the latest Italian eatery from Russell Norman, whose iconic Polpo also features on this list. Located in Clerkenwell (on the site of the former Hix — RIP), Brutto is a Florentine trattoria par excellence. Its name comes from the Italian saying, 'brutto ma buono — ugly but good; maybe that's why the lighting is so low. In any case, the food looks good and tastes even better. Stand-out dishes include the vitello tonnato, pasta e fagioli and rosbif con patate. The negronis are on point (read: strong) too.

35-37 Greenhill Rents, London, EC1M 6BN. Website. Instagram.

Cafe Murano | Bermondsey

I've been to all of Angela Hartnett's trio of Cafe Muranos (Murani?) but my local on Bermondsey Street is the one I frequent most. I usually try to manage a small pasta dish to start and the chicken Milanese with rocket as my main course, but this is quite ambitious — a pasta course and maybe a dessert is more than enough. There's a good-value set menu for lunch and pre-theatre and the airy Bermondsey café is a great spot for people-watching over brunch.

184 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3TQ. Website. Instagram.

Other locations: Covent Garden and Mayfair.

The Clove Club | Shoreditch

Isaac McHale's The Clove Club easily makes it into my top three restaurants for a special celebration. In my case, I was celebrating my birthday a few days early before London went into lockdown in November 2020. Despite the unusual circumstances, it was a night to remember for all the right reasons. Each delightful course on the tasting menu was creative, perfectly prepared and beautifully presented and the service was exceptional. I hope I'll have the opportunity to go back soon.

Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London, EC1V 9LT. Website. Instagram. My review.

Coal Rooms | Peckham

The best time to visit Coal Rooms, located inside the former ticket office of Peckham Rye station, is on Sunday so you can experience their roast lunch — one of the best in London. I usually get the roast chicken or beef but am sometimes tempted by the other options from the grill menu, which are also available during the rest of the week. Earlier in the day it's a more breakfasty/brunchy affair.

11a Station Way, London, SE15 4RX. Website. Instagram. My review.

Coral Pearl | Covent Garden

You wait for 1/4 of the list for a Sunday roast recommendation and then you get two in quick succession. As they put it themselves, Cora Pearl serve 'elevated British comfort food in the heart of London's Theatreland'. The Sunday roast menu is suitably epic (see photo above) and the hearty à la carte includes some very satisfying options. If you can't get a table inside the small, beautiful dining room, they also have covered outdoor seating on Henrietta Street.

30 Henrietta Street, London, WC2E 8NA. Website. Instagram.

Dishoom | King's Cross

The arrival of Dishoom was another culinary turning point for King's Cross, where I worked for over a decade. With its notoriously long queue for tables in the evening, I was lucky to be able to drop by during the (relatively) quieter weekday lunchtimes. Dishoom's restaurants pay homage to the Irani cafés of Bombay, from the design to the menu (the King's Cross branch is modelled on a café near Bombay's Victoria Terminus). Dishoom is best experienced if you go in a group and order everything — definitely get the black daal (and the bacon naan if you're there for brunch) but you can't really go wrong.

5 Stable Street, London, N1C 4AB. Website. Instagram. My review.

Other locations include: Canary Wharf, Covent Garden, Kensington and Shoreditch.

El Pastor
| Borough

Good Mexican food can still be relatively hard to find in London but El Pastor's three taquerias all hit the mark. The tacos al pastor — marinated pork with grilled pineapple and spices — are my favourites but I also like the choose-your-own-adventure sharing plates, where you get a stack of warm tortillas along with beef short rib or crispy fried fish. You'll want to have a frozen margarita or two, of course, and guac with totopo chips are a must too.

7A Stoney Street, London, SE1 9AA. Website. Instagram. My review.

Other locations: King's Cross and Soho.

Fallow | Mayfair

I'd never heard of corn ribs before I went to Fallow and then suddenly, they were everywhere (I know, I should spend more time on TikTok). With its focus on sustainability and creativity, Fallow is a lovely place to eat in St James's. I also had an excellent bacon cheeseburger and an impressive dessert (fig soft serve ice cream and chocolate hazelnut crumb). The cocktails were delicious and the staff were very friendly and welcoming.

52 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4RP. Website. InstagramMy review.

Flat Iron | Borough

The Flat Iron restaurants have a simple concept: how would you like your flat iron steak cooked and which sides would you like? There's usually a burger and a couple of other steak options on the menu too, but that's about it. And why complicate things when you can do one thing — delicious, flavoursome steak at a very reasonable price — very well? There's no dessert menu but they give you a little token with the bill, which you can exchange for a soft-serve ice cream on your way out. And isn't that so much more fun?

112-116 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TH. Website. Instagram.

Other locations include: Covent Garden, Kensington, King's Cross, Soho and Spitalfields.

Floral by Lima | Covent Garden

Since my trip to Peru, I've sought out opportunities to sample Peruvian food — and pisco sours, one of my favourite cocktails. At Floral, Virgilio Martinez's contemporary menu takes you on a journey through Peruvian cuisine with Nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese) flavours. I always go for the sea bream ceviche with 'tiger's milk' and try hard to save room for the tres leches for dessert.

14 Garrick Street, London, WC2E 9BJ. Website. Instagram.

Flour & Grape | Bermondsey

Another of my 'locals', Flour & Grape is a great spot for pasta on Bermondsey Street. They don't take bookings but they have a queuing app so you can go for a drink nearby (ideally at 214, their basement gin bar) while you wait. The pasta dishes are meant for sharing — three between two is about the right amount, depending on how hungry you are. The bucatini cacio e pepe and the pappardelle with beef short-rib ragù are my go-to orders. 

214 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3TQ. Website. Instagram. My review.

Frenchie | Covent Garden

When you're moving house the following day and have packed up your kitchen, where better for a 'last' supper than at Frenchie in Covent Garden? As its name suggests, the menu features French fare with a global twist. Everything we ate was beautifully prepared with many delicious pairings and creative additions. Don't miss out on the nibbles (especially the parmesan gougères and the bacon scone with maple syrup) or the exquisite cocktails. 

16 Henrietta Street, London, WC2E 8QH. Website. Instagram.

The Garrison | Bermondsey

One of my most frequented gastropubs in London — and not just because it's a short walk from my home — The Garrison is great for relaxed weeknight suppers, Sunday roasts and everything in between. With its rustic décor, welcoming staff and regularly changing modern British menu, there's an awful lot to like about this Bermondsey eatery.

99 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XB. Website. Instagram.

Hawksmoor | Spitalfields

Given how often I eat at Hawksmoor — mainly the Spitalfields and Piccadilly Circus restaurants — I found surprisingly few photos in my archive. Maybe it's the lighting or maybe I need to work on my steak photography. Suffice it to say that Hawksmoor is my top recommendation for steak in London and each restaurant is beautifully and uniquely designed based on the character of the restaurant. Without exception, I order a fillet steak and I usually fail to leave room for dessert, but console myself with a cocktail or two from the excellent and extensive cocktail menu.

157A Commercial Street, London, E1 6BJ. Website. InstagramMy review.

Other locations include: Borough, Canary Wharf, Covent Garden and Knightsbridge.

Honest Burgers | Fitzrovia

In case it's not already clear, I really like burgers! And Honest Burgers' Honest Burger — with cheddar, bacon, onion relish and rosemary salt chips — is one of my favourites in London. These days, I usually get mine to go but if you're looking for a quick and tasty burger option and want to eat in, they have branches all over London (and beyond). They do interesting monthly specials but I'm a creature of habit and it's hard to beat the Honest Burger.

4 Market Place, London, W1W 8AD. Website. InstagramMy review.

Other locations include: Borough, Brixton, Camden, Clapham, City, Greenwich, Notting Hill and Soho.

Hoppers | Marylebone

Hoppers is a Sri Lankan restaurant whose signature item is the titular 'hopper', a crispy bowl-shaped pancake made of fermented rice and coconut. It's the perfect vehicle for the delicious karis (curries) and sambols that also feature on the menu. There are a lot of sections on the menu so it's better if you can go with a few other people and try everything, but the friendly staff are on hand to help you navigate from the snacks and short eats to rice and roasts.

77 Wigmore Street, London, W1U 1QE. Website. Instagram.

Other locations: King's Cross and Soho.

In Horto | Borough

As someone who feels the cold, I had a few misgivings after booking a table at In Horto ('in the garden') on a frigid December night. Luckily, it's more rustic ski lodge than déjeuner sur l'herbe and the hearty wood-fired food and warm service will keep you nice and toasty. Stand-out dishes were the beef shin and cheek Parmentier (pictured) and the beetroot-cured salmon. We definitely didn't need to order the confit potato chips but I'm so glad we did!

53b Southwark Street, London, SE1 1RU. Website. Instagram.

 | Soho

It took me a few attempts to dine at Kiln — the upstairs counter seats are saved for walk-ins, but there are a lot of walk-ins most evenings so there can be a bit of a wait. The counter is the best spot to watch the Northern Thai specialities being cooked over the open fire. There's fire in the food too — some dishes are very spicy — but the flavours are delicious and a sweet-and-sour cocktail or two will take the edge off. My favourite dish is their signature clay pot baked glass noodles with Tamworth belly and brown crab meat, but I also love the non-spicy slow-grilled chicken and soy.

58 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9TL. Website. Instagram.

Kin + Deum | Bermondsey

Siblings Roselyn and Bank Inngern took over the Bermondsey Street space their father's restaurant previously occupied and relaunched it as Kin + Deum, a relaxed and welcoming modern Thai eatery. I have a hard time not ordering pad Thai when it's on the menu (don't judge me!) and Kin + Deum's version (pictured) is fab. I also love their massaman curries and the starters and cocktails are super too.

2 Crucifix Lane, London, SE1 3JW. Website. Instagram.

KOL | Marylebone

If you like Mexican cuisine and are looking for somewhere to enjoy a special meal, look no further than KOL. The six- and nine-course tasting menus feature Mexican cooking with British ingredients, surprising and delighting with their flavour combinations, textures and colours. There were tostadas, moles, carnitas and much, much more. With its gorgeous interiors and warm, welcoming service, KOL is a wonderful place to spend an evening. Unsurprisingly, tables get booked up fast so try to reserve well in advance.

9 Seymour Street, London, W1H 7BA. Website. Instagram. My review.

Kricket | Brixton

At Kricket, you can find modern Indian food in a cosy restaurant under the railway arches in Brixton. The dishes are designed to be shared although good luck persuading me to share the Keralan fried chicken, which is perfectly crispy on the outside, perfectly juicy on the inside. The veggie dishes are just as tasty, and there's a concise but creative cocktail list.

41-45 Atlantic Road, London, SW9 8JL. Website. Instagram.

Other locations: Soho and White City.

Kudu | Peckham

Named for an antelope, Kudu is a gorgeous South African inspired neighbourhood restaurant in Peckham. Patrick Willims and Amy Corbin's menu is designed for sharing and it's recommended to order dishes from across the  menu, from snacks to medium plates. The parmesan churros with miso mayo was one of the best dishes I've eaten this year, while the seared tuna and the rooibos-pickled carrot with ras el hanout and goat's curd (pictured) were delicious too. With friendly staff, strong cocktails and a lovely outdoor seating area at the rear, Kudu is a restaurant I can't wait to return to.

119 Queens Road, London, SE15 2EZ. Website. Instagram.

Other locations: Chelsea and others in Peckham.

Legare | Bermondsey

Petite but perfectly formed, Legare is a lovely Italian restaurant in the historic Shad Thames area of Bermondsey, near Tower Bridge. The small, regularly changing menu features creative antipasti, hand-made pasta and one or two meat/fish secondi, all very well executed. The laid-back atmosphere and friendly staff are just what neighbourhood restaurants like this need.

Cardamom Building, 31G Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YR. Website. Instagram. My review.

Levan | Peckham

Creative modern European small plates are the order of the day at Peckham neighbourhood restaurant Levan. The menu changes seasonally but Nicholas Balfe's creations never disappoint and the food looks as good as it tastes. There's a £55 six-course tasting menu or you can mix and match from the à la carte.

12-16 Blenheim Grove, London, SE15 4QL. Website. Instagram. My mini-review.

Lyle's | Shoreditch

Located in the historic Tea Building, on the corner of Shoreditch High Street, Lyle's serves exceptionally good modern British food in a laid-back, minimalist setting. Like me, you may need to look up a few of the ingredients on the menu, but you can be safe in the knowledge that each dish will be beautifully conceived and immaculately prepared.

Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6GY. Website. Instagram.

Maison François | Mayfair

My parents and I came across this French restaurant while walking in St James's. It had a very New Yorky feel to it and we enjoyed our first meal there so much that we've been back several more times. You don't have to have the poulet rôti but you probably should. Save some room to raid the dessert trolley too — the creamy hazelnut Paris-brest is my favourite sweet treat. As well as an excellent wine list, they have some very interesting cocktails on offer. I forget the name but the bacon bloody mary with a bacon straw was bloody good!

34 Duke Street, London, SW1Y 6DF. Website. Instagram.

Mele e Pere | Soho

The Brewer Street display of glass apples and pears at Mele e Pere ('apples and pears' in Italian) first caught my attention over a decade. Since that first visit to the relaxed Italian trattoria, I've been dozens of times with friends and family, celebrating new jobs, new adventures and New Year's Eve, among other occasions. The menu has changed a little over the years — they do pizza now — but the quality of the cooking, ambience and service haven't changed. My favourite dishes are the tagliatelle alla bolognese and the ribeye steak. My dad is partial to the vitello tonnato. They make their own vermouth too.

46 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9NY. Website. Instagram. My review.

Milk Beach | Soho

Milk Beach first opened in Queen's Park and then came the second location in Soho last year. The latter is bright and airy and almost makes you feel as though you've just strolled in from the eponymous beach in Sydney. The Aussie-inspired menu features South-East Asian and Mediterranean influences, with plenty of deliciousnesses like the prawn toast and the char siu pork. Oh, and the Golden Gaytime (pictured) — a perfect slice of toffee and buttermilk parfait, dark chocolate, malt and honeycomb crumble.

14 Greek Street, London, W1D 4DN. Website. Instagram.

Other location: Queen's Park.

Noble Rot | Mayfair

I was late to the Noble Rot party — it took me until they opened the 'threequel' in Mayfair to finally visit. In my defence, it is difficult to get a table unless you are organised. The Shepherd Market restaurant is small and cosy with thoughtfully chosen artwork adding colour and character. At Noble Rot, it's all about the pairing of great food and superb wine — the wine list changes regularly and features wines by the 75 ml 'sample' as well as the 125 ml glass, allowing you to try a number of different wines. If you aren't an oenophile, note that water and two beers are the only other drinks on the menu. But I was there primarily for the food and the asparagus with parmesan and lemon and the grilled turbot were outstanding.

5 Trebeck Street, London, W1J 7LT. Website. Instagram.

Padella | Borough

With its prime location at the edge of Borough Market and next to London Bridge Tube, Padella is rarely without a queue. But the good news is that they have a queuing app so you can go for a wander while you wait, and the tables turn over fairly quickly. Their speciality is simple, perfectly cooked pasta dishes in small portions designed for sharing. The pici cacio e pepe and the fettuccine with pistachio, basil and mint pesto are my favourites. The best seats are at the counter, but you probably won't get a choice! 

6 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TQ. Website. Instagram. My review.

Other location: Shoreditch.

Pizarro | Bermondsey

The larger of Jose Pizarro's two Bermondsey Street restaurants, Pizarro is best visited on a summer's day when you can sit by the open windows and watch the denizens of SE1 pass by. But I'm happy as long as the croquetas are flowing freely, which they usually are when I'm doing the ordering. I also like to order the jamón Ibérico and pan con tomate to start, often following up with the presa Ibérica or one of the fish dishes. During lockdown, they converted into a deli and I was grateful to treat myself to a few premium items while restaurants were closed. I've spotted Jose himself there a fair few times, sometimes with his partner and pups.

194 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3TQ. Website. Instagram.

Other locations include: City and Mayfair.

Pizza Pilgrims | Soho

Thom and James Elliot's Neapolitan pizzeria started life in a converted Piaggio Ape van on Berwick Street Market. They opened their first 'bricks and mortar' pizzeria in Dean Street in 2013 and there are now over 20 locations in London and a handful of other UK cities. Their buffalo margherita pizza is still one of my favourite pizzas in London even ten years on. The restaurants are relaxed and fun with '90s music and a healthy helping of puns.

11 Dean Street, London, W1D 3RP. Website. Instagram. My review.

Other locations include: Borough, Camden, Finsbury Park and Victoria.

Polpo | Soho

My review of Russell Norman's Venetian bàcaro is from 2010. I was new to sharing plates then ('tapas-style Italian dishes', as I referred to the menu) and to no-booking restaurants, but I was hooked. I've been to all of Norman's other eateries too, including Polpo's Kiwi spin-off Ombra and I've never had a bad meal at any of them. When passing by Beak Street to take a new photo recently, I noticed the Blue Plaque for Venetian painter Antonio Canal (AKA Canaletto), which cannot be a coincidence.

41 Beak Street,  London, W1F 9SB. Website. Instagram. My review.

Other location: Chelsea.

Quality Wines | Clerkenwell

Quality Wines started life as a wine shop and deli adjacent to the meat-tastic Quality Chop House. I've eaten at the latter but during its meatball phase; its newest incarnation is still on my to-visit list. But the wine shop now has a small restaurant of its own, serving Mediterranean fare, including excellent pasta and meat and fish dishes. The bread and cured meat platters (pictured) are also very good. The drinks menu is wine focused, as you would expect, but they do negronis as well.

88 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3EA. Website. Instagram.

Rambutan | Borough

At Rambutan, Cynthia Shanmugalingam’s Sri Lankan small-plates menu is concise enough that you can almost order everything even if there are only two of you. Many of the seats at the small restaurant in the heart of Borough Market overlook the open fire, with some additional bench seating at the back. Start with the gundu dosas (round dosa balls served with a fragrant green dunking sauce) and the beef and bone marrow croquettes, add a daal or curry and don't miss the sticky chicken pongal rice. It's already a very popular spot — and deservedly so — which means advance booking is highly recommended.

10 Stoney Street, London, SE1 9AD. Website. Instagram.

Riding House Cafe | Fitzrovia

Riding House Cafe is an all-day eatery that I've been frequenting for over a decade. When I first visited, I loved its New York vibes. It works just as well for a casual brunch, a family birthday and a date night, with a broad menu that includes everything from burgers and buttermilk chicken to curries and quinoa bowls. There are now two more sister restaurants but the Fitzrovia original is still my favourite.

43-51 Great Titchfield Street, London, W1W 7PQ. Website. Instagram. My review

Other locations: Bloomsbury and Victoria.

Santo Remedio
| Borough

Santo Remedio had a complicated start but six years later and the buzzy, vibrantly decorated London Bridge restaurant is thriving. With regional Mexican food and potent cocktails, it's a great place for a fun dinner, where you can graze your way through guacamole and totopos, followed by assorted tacos and tostadas. The fish tacos and the slow-cooked bone-in short rib DIY tacos are my favourites. I usually manage to find a little extra space for some churros, of course.

152 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TU. Website. Instagram. My review.

Other location: Shoreditch.

Silk Road | Camberwell

Interested in trying the cuisine of Xinjiang province in northwest China? Silk Road, a no-frills Camberwell institution, is the place to come. The food can be spicy and some dishes a little challenging for timider palates, but the friendly staff are always happy to help with ordering suggestions. I like to start with the spicy cucumber salad, followed by dumplings, 'middle plate chicken' (which comes with noodles) and home-style cabbage (stir-fried with chilli). You can eat very well here for a very reasonable price. It's popular for a reason.

49 Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8TR.

Six by Nico | Fitzrovia

Love the experience of tasting menus but can't stretch to a fine-dining budget? Six by Nico offers the perfect compromise: six courses within the particular theme of the month for a reasonable price (it was £35 when I last visited in 2021; the price has now gone up to £48). I visited during the 'Miracle on Charlotte Street' Christmas special — each dish was tasty and evoked a wonderful playfulness. I'm looking at the current 'Chippie' menu and already thinking about making a booking.

41 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 1RR. Website. Instagram. My review.

Other locations include: Canary Wharf.

Som Saa | Spitalfields

Som Saa started life as a pop-up in Climpson's Arch in Hackney but has been established in its Spitalfields home for over seven years now. Serving fiery, comforting food with influences from Northern and Northeastern Thai street food, Som Saa perfectly balances the four key flavours of Thai cooking: spicy, salty, sweet and sour (emphasis on the spicy, in particular). If you can, try to go in a group so that you can try more of the dishes

43A Commercial Street, London, E1 6BD. Website. Instagram. My review.

Theo's | Camberwell

Sometimes you just want a really good Neapolitan pizza in a relaxed and friendly setting. Theo's offers just that, which is why I'm a regular at both the Camberwell original and the Elephant & Castle spin-off. I almost always order the margherita — because when the ingredients are great quality, you don't need a lot of distracting toppings. The nduja, made with home-grown Scotch bonnet chilli peppers, is really good though, and the antipasti, especially the croquettes, are tasty too.

2 Grove Lane, London, SE5 8SZ. Website. Instagram. My review.

Other location: Elephant & Castle.

Trullo | Highbury

If you've made it this far through the list you might get the sense that I would get a nosebleed going as far north as Highbury. Not true, I promise, and I will always head to the most northern extremes of N1 if I know that a meal at Trullo awaits me at the end. Trullo is the older sister of Padella, also on this list, and while it has a similar selection of excellent pasta dishes, Trullo also has a secondi section in its ever-changing menu, featuring grilled and oven-roasted meat, fish and vegetable dishes. The food is delicious, the décor rustic and cosy and the welcome very warm.

300-302 St Paul's Road, London, N1 2LH. Website. Instagram.

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