From spacious outdoor terraces to intimate fine dining destinations, consider these some of the most worthy F&B bucket-list destinations in the British capital.
Manteca is east London’s most talked-about new hangout, though it feels like the kind of place you’d want to keep a secret. It champions a nose-to-tail cooking concept and serves up freshly rolled pasta with simple, premium quality ingredients that require little to no introduction. Order a selection of the small sharer plates and follow up with the dessert menu’s non-mover: the chocolate tart, which comes topped with a sprinkle of original 70% cocoa beans.
Louie, Covent Garden
If London escapism is what you crave, book a table in Louie and let its international influences take you on a trip that feels far removed from its zone-one location. This is French fine dining with a touch of New Orleans’ flavour and New York’s brownstone grit. Expect oysters and champagne as well as barbeque lobster and pecan pie, enjoyed with a backdrop of rhythmic jazz.
Aerial Rooftop, White City
Located at the top of The Broadcaster in White City, Aerial is one of west London’s newest rooftop destinations. Its casual, comfortable approach to dining is refreshing, making it a great place to settle in under a parasol for an evening with friends. Light bites and classic barbeque food is the order of the day, urban buzz (and views) included. Try the shrimp burger and make your way down the summer-inspired cocktail list as the sun sets over the city.
Granger & Co. King’s Cross
This all-day Aussie dining spot is by no means a London newcomer, but it’s well and truly earned its place in any restaurant hotlist. Brunch is a stylish affair, and each dish is as pleasing on the eye as it is on the taste buds (note the perfectly whipped scrambled eggs and picture-perfect ricotta pancakes). The dinner menu is equally charming. It rotates seasonally, but the guarantee promises fresh, innovative recipes with a healthy slant.
Circolo Popolare, Fitzrovia
For group bookings and celebrations, there are few more vibrant places than Circolo Popolare in Fitzrovia. Brimming with charisma and offering a fusion of sensory stimulators, it’s one to add to the bucket list. The showpiece dish is the sharing raclette pasta, which is mixed and served at the table. Cocktails come served in an eclectic yet carefully chosen array of vessels chosen to suit their theme, and brightly coloured artefacts decorate the space to solidify this trattoria’s unmistakable Italian inspirations.
Bisushima, Covent Garden
Six floors up with views across Trafalgar Square, Bisushima marries London’s reputable rooftop bar scene with authentic Japanese cuisine. Stoney-coloured, minimal interiors and a spacious terrace create a sense of serenity that feels far removed from the streets below. Its flavoursome recipes are prepared in an open kitchen; the miso sea bass and Edomae-style sushi are of particular note. The cocktail menu is equally satisfying. Like the dishes, it focuses on premium ingredients and includes authentic Japanese spirits.
The Surprise, Chelsea
Newly independent and revived with interiors by ex-Firmdale Hotel stylist Isabella Worsley, The Surprise is a charismatic addition to the West London pub scene. The menu is traditionally British and includes seafood and steak dishes, as well as small starter plates that span everything from burrata to sardines. No meal is complete without a sweet end note – turn to their dessert menu, where the chocolate and coffee marquise is the star of the show. Combined with a homely aesthetic and stay-all-day atmosphere, you might just feel as though you’re in the comfort of a friend’s beautiful country home while lunching at this SW3 posting.
Bar Douro, The City
If you can’t make it to Portugal after all this summer, Bar Douro offers a taste of the country’s cuisine from the centre of London city. Expect small tapas-style plates inspired by the region’s delicacies: grilled octopus, croquetes de alheira, and vegetables dressed in port vinaigrette. The wine list is equally authentic – it reads (and tastes) differently to London’s norm. There’s an outdoor terrace, but inside is worth a visit – the walls are decorated from floor to ceiling in painted porcelain azulejos (tiles).
Opened in June 2021, this petite, high-profile Japanese restaurant seats just six diners at a time for a 20-course tasting menu. Locally sourced, British ingredients are served omakase style and the menu changes daily. It’s a welcome concept considering the reputation of chef Taiji Maruyama (originally of TAKA Marylebone). Those looking to mentally transport themselves out of London, even if only for an evening, should secure a spot at this small but prestigious table ASAP.
Native at Browns, Mayfair
The new(ish) Browns Fashion concept space has opened its doors on Brook Street in Mayfair and nestled in the courtyard is Native, the zero-waste dining concept that’s every inch as chic as the pieces in store. A haven away from the hustle and bustle of the streets outside, Native serves innovative, seasonal small plates that use British produce. It’s a quiet place to break up a day browsing the new collections.
The Wigmore, Fitzrovia
‘Outdoor dining’ – two words we’ve googled more than ever over the past few months. The Wigmore’s garden terrace makes it all worthwhile. Blending relaxed pub-like connotations (think lobster rolls, chunky chips. and posh scotch eggs) with the luxury of its adjoining hotel, The Langham, The Wigmore combines two quintessentially British themes in one. Splendid.