Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Bloomsbury
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Bloomsbury restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 106 restaurants in Bloomsbury and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Bloomsbury restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Bloomsbury Restaurants
1. Norma Italian restaurant in Fitzrovia 8 Charlotte Street - W1T
“The décor feels wonderfully indulgent without descending into kitsch” at the Stafford Hotel Group’s “stylish” three-year-old. Something similar could be said about the “interesting spin on Sicilian cuisine” that’s “excellently prepared and full of authentic flavour”, and delivered in generous portions. “Staff are brilliant” too. Top Menu Tip – “a top choice for inventive and not-too-excessive pasta” or small plates (e.g. prawns, monkfish, burrata); “top it all off with first-rate tiramisu and rose-flavoured panna cotta”.
2. Pied à Terre French restaurant in Fitzrovia 34 Charlotte St - W1
“Still impressive, reinventing itself and going strong!” – David Moore is the “warmest of hosts” and his exceptional Fitzrovian townhouse has been at the vanguard of London’s dining scene for three decades now. “Many chefs pass through his patronage” – the current incumbent being Asimakis Chaniotis, whose “surprising” and “fabulously flavoursome” dishes include the option of one of London’s foremost vegan tasting menus: “particularly impressive, imaginative and fun – even carnivores don’t miss the meat!” It’s not a huge site, but clever conversions over the years have created a “comfortable” and “lively” space (with a chef’s table and bijoux private dining room on the upper floors). There were a couple of ‘off’ reports this year, of the “maybe-I-caught-it-on-a-bad-night” variety. But all-round raves remain the norm here: “I have been coming to this restaurant for over two decades and have never failed to be delighted!”. Top Tip – “the vegan feast was a highlight of lockdown” and has continued as a home delivery option – “a wide range of delicious dishes, all with tantalisingly deep flavours”.
3. Bunga Bunga restaurant in Covent Garden 167 Drury Lane - WC2B
Five years after the opening of the legendary Battersea bar and pizzeria, Bunga Bunga has come to Covent Garden with an even bigger and bolder version of the original. On the ground floor, discover a family pizzeria and bar, BungaTINI. Below accessed through the meat locker li...
4. Bea’s of Bloomsbury Sandwiches, cakes, etc restaurant in Bloomsbury 72 Russell Square - WC1B
2019 Review: “Fabulously busy… in a good way (as it feels like you have come to the right place)” – this cute tea rooms near Holborn Library spawned a chain of the same name on the back of its inviting-looking cakes and “tasty lunches and snacks” that are “worth a little waiting for”.
5. Café Deco British, Modern restaurant in Fitzrovia 43 Store Street - WC1E
“It can feel a little uncomfortable” and “canteen-like”, but this converted greasy spoon in Bloomsbury (nowadays a ‘bar, restaurant and wine shop’) belies its looks by serving “imaginative seasonal cooking from a constantly changing menu reflecting the availability of ingredients”. The involvement of chef Anna Tobias (who’s worked with a host of star chefs) and the hip 40 Maltby Street team hasn’t harmed its PR – our feedback is positive, but not quite at the level of raves from the likes of Grace Dent and Tom Parker Bowles.
6. Master Wei Chinese restaurant in Camden 13 Cosmo Place - WC1N
“Excellent Xi’an hand-pulled noodles” (“pasta-like noodles with chillies to make your eyes water”) “at reasonable prices” ensure that chef-proprietor Wei Guirong’s central London canteen, “tucked away in a narrow pedestrian street near Russell Square”, is always “buzzing”. It is a sibling to Xi’an Impression near Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
7. Macellaio RC Steaks & grills restaurant in Camden 6 Store Street - WC1E
“Just the place to stuff yourself silly with beef!”, say loyal fans of Roberto Costa’s successful chain, where you choose your cut from “amazing meat displays to get the juices flowing”: a formula that’s brought expansion over the years to six locations across the capital, including on Shaftesbury Avenue (where it’s branded ‘Teatro del Carne’). Ratings sank this year, though, on a number of “disappointing” reports, with recurring themes including “quality meat undermined by poor cooking” and “high prices for wines considering their middling status”.
8. Bloomsbury Street Kitchen Fusion restaurant in Camden 9-14 Bloomsbury Street - WC1B
2021 Review: The promising, but hitherto under-exploited mix of Mediterranean and Japanese small plates is the crux of the menu offering at this August 2019 opening, which promises ‘a modern, day-to-night, neighbourhood restaurant and bar… complemented by a diverse variety of wines, sake and signature cocktails’.
9. Savoir Faire French restaurant in Bloomsbury 42 New Oxford St - WC1
2021 Review: “Images redolent of ‘Le Gai Paris’ (the naked bottoms went perfectly with my slow roasted pork belly!)” grace the muralled walls of this “friendly and efficient” Gallic corner bistro, near the British Museum: “a reliable and enjoyable choice”, serving affordable classic French dishes.
10. Dalloway Terrace, Bloomsbury Hotel Afternoon tea restaurant in Bloomsbury 16-22 Great Russell Street - WC1
The “beautiful terrace” with its “attentive staff” at this very central hotel makes for an oasis of calm close to busy Oxford Street. Named in reference to Virginia Woolf, the queen bee of the Bloomsbury set, it has a “fun atmosphere”, and the heating and retractable roof make it ideal for afternoon tea throughout the year.
11. VQ, St Giles Hotel British, Modern restaurant in Bloomsbury 111a Great Russell Street - WC1
“Don’t think high end, but these local 24-hour cafés are reliable and pleasant for a plain meal at any hour of the night or day”, but particularly come into their own in the wee hours. In fact, only the well-known Chelsea original and the Aldgate spin-off (in a hotel) are open 24/7: opening hours in Bloomsbury are more selective. (Aldgate also has a standalone bar with a 24-hour alcohol licence).
12. Hare & Tortoise Pan-Asian restaurant in Bloomsbury 11-13 The Brunswick - WC1
The “mix of Asian food slightly adapted for all tastes” and offered at “really reasonable prices” makes this long-running chain “a family favourite”. Founded at the Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury 26 years ago, it now has branches in Ealing, Putney, Kensington and Chiswick, along with two delivery-only kitchens. Top Tip – “you can’t beat the curry laksa”.
13. Le Bab Middle Eastern restaurant in Soho Top Floor, Kingly Court - W1
“Intriguing twists on the kebab theme” (plus “good beer brewed on site” at the Kraft Dalston branch) continue to win consistently good ratings for this expanding chain, which in September 2022 adds a 20-seater in Brixton to its roster of locations. See also Kebab Queen.
14. Shake Shack Burgers, etc restaurant in Bloomsbury 80 New Oxford St - WC1
2021 Review: In less than 20 years, Danny Meyer has transformed his New York City hot-dog cart into a global fast-food brand giant with eight outlets in London – including a Covent Garden flagship that was revamped earlier this year. Ratings remain remarkably solid for “a chain that does what it’s supposed to do”.
15. Bon Vivant French restaurant in Bloomsbury 75-77 Marchmont Street - WC1N
2021 Review: “Like an everyday restaurant in a minor French town”, this “very busy” Bloomsbury bar/bistro is a “noisy but great fun” neighbourhood amenity: “some dishes are more successful than others” but most are délicieux.
16. MEATliquor Burgers, etc restaurant in Bloomsbury 15-17 Brunswick Centre - WC1N
“Dead hippie sauce is a must” at these “very loud” operations, which “remain at the head of the gourmet burger pack” for many fans with “lots of options available”. After 14 years of growth from a food van to a national chain with 10 venues in the capital, they “don’t seem to have lost their way yet”. “The dark and grungy ersatz New Orleans interior vibe” is of the love-it-or-hate-it variety.
17. Sagar Indian restaurant in Fitzrovia 17a Percy St - W1
“Very tasty dosas” headline the “wide range of delicious, South Indian vegetarian dishes”, “with many unusual choices” at this “unassuming-looking” small chain, whose most central branch is just off Leicester Square. “The food is good enough even to silence grumbling carnivores like me!”
18. Chettinad Indian restaurant in Fitzrovia 16 Percy St - W1
2021 Review: “Simply delicious south Indian cuisine” from the state of Tamil Nadu – including “the best dosas ever” – means this “justly popular independent” in Fitzrovia “is very different from your usual curry house”. “I’m slowly working my way through the menu and have yet to find something I don’t like”.
19. Bao Fitzrovia Taiwanese restaurant in Fitzrovia 31 Windmill St - W1
“The best-ever bao buns: so light and fluffy with absolutely delicious fillings” again win raves for this five-strong chain, backed by JKS Restaurants (which plans a Battersea opening later in 2022). “Worth queuing for, although happily they now take bookings”. Top Menu Tips – “very good Taiwan-style spicy beef noodles”; “the warm bao with horlicks ice-cream is the most unusual!”
20. Five Guys Tottenham Court Road Burgers, etc restaurant in Fitzrovia 266 Tottenham Court Road - W1T
2021 Review: “When all you want is an old-school burger”, these US-based arrivals of recent years really “hit the spot” – you can “build your own”, with “tons of accessories”; plus “seriously addictive fries”, “thick milkshakes”, and “more soda flavours than is reasonable”. “The eat-in experience is as depressing as McDonald’s”, though, in fact perhaps more so – “some branches have a strangely gloomy ambience” – but fans feel that “if you don’t mind 1980s-rock, a trip can still be surprisingly fun”.
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