Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Chelsea
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Chelsea restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 51 restaurants in Chelsea and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Chelsea restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Chelsea Restaurants
1. The Five Fields British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 8-9 Blacklands Ter - SW3
“Set in a quiet little street off the King’s Road”, Taylor Bonnyman’s “discreet and elegant” Chelsea townhouse HQ flies under the radar in terms of PR, but is one of the survey’s Top 40 most-mentioned restaurants, thanks to its “exceptional” quality. “Top-class ingredients are beautifully treated by a first-class team” overseen by Taylor and head chef Marguerite Keogh to deliver “classically inspired British seasonal food” that’s “refined and sophisticated, but never overwrought”. Service is “slick” and “classy” but “always with a smile” and the “soothing crisp lines” of the “beautiful dining room” create an “intimate” and “welcoming” atmosphere. “A truly special place for a celebration”, especially of a romantic nature.
2. Stanley's British, Modern restaurant in Kensington and Chelsea 151 Sydney Street - SW3
Just off the King’s Road, this two-year-old courtyard bar and restaurant (with outside booths) is a “lovely” venue in partnership with the nearby Chelsea Gardener. The straightforward British seasonal food is consistently well-rated, but no-one suggests it’s going to set the earth on fire.
3. Phat Phuc Vietnamese restaurant in Chelsea Courtyard, 151 Sydney Street - SW3
“Unique, authentic and to a high standard” – the tasty Vietnamese and Singaporean bowls at this street noodle bar present some of the best eating value in expensive Chelsea. A South East Asian counterpart to the ‘dirty burger’, the name apparently means ‘happy Buddha’ – and you can buy the T-shirt or cap to prove you’ve eaten here.
4. Five Guys Burgers, etc restaurant in Chelsea 127 King's Road - SW3
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”.
5. The Builders Arms British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 13 Britten St - SW3
2022 Review: This lovely 200-year-old pub in a Chelsea backstreet serves a very decent menu (including “child-friendly” options) and is thriving follow a smart refurb under the ownership of Rupert Clevely’s Hippo Inns for the second time – in 2010 he sold it to brewer Youngs as part of Geronimo Inns.
6. The Ivy Chelsea Garden British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 197 King's Rd - SW3
“You wouldn’t go for ‘haute cuisine’, but as a jolly place to eat comfort food in a spectacular setting, it is hard to beat” – that’s the upbeat view, anyway, on this now-“ubiquitous” brasserie chain. Eight years and 40 openings later, the spin-offs increasingly eclipse the Theatreland original (see also), whose Edwardian features provide the style-guide for its nationwide ‘roll out’. “Even if the unchallenging food reaches no heights, there’s a consistent buzz”, which makes them a “posh”, “fun” choice for a get-together, if not a particularly foodie one. This is particularly the case at the landmark London off-shoots: at ‘Chelsea Garden’ (“gorgeous greenery”); Kensington (“slick”, with a “pretty glitzy crowd”); and on the Thames (“great views over Tower Bridge”). But while it’s always been acknowledged that the mass offering is “a shadow of the mothership’s” – with “average grub at not-so-average prices” – the feeling that the brand has become just “a chain that does not excite” is gaining ever-stronger currency. Service seems more “stretched” nowadays, and a sliding ambience rating is making the whole offering seem ever-more “overrated, for all its modern art and perky décor”.
7. The Ivy Asia Chelsea Pan-Asian restaurant in Chelsea 201-203a King's Road - SW3
“Great fun … despite lots of Instagram poseurs hanging around” – that’s the most common view on Richard Caring’s latest Ivy sub-brand: a mashup of “stunning” OTT interiors and a Pan-Asian menu which by-and-large totally avoids dishes from China to throw together Thai curries, wagyu beef and lots of fish and seafood (much of it presented as sushi or sashimi). Even fans would concede that “the food is secondary here – for entertainment value, this place has ‘got it’, but the menu is somehow lost in the mix”. And there are those who discern “crazy levels of cultural appropriation (a floor-to-ceiling, fake banyan tree? Seriously?), stirred in with a menu that’s less Asian-fusion than Asian-confusion, all creating a bit of a Caring-inspired mess”. This year saw the addition of a Mayfair branch to the original one (in the shadow of St Paul's) and last year’s opening in SW3 (where “very loud music can add to the already-high noise level”).
8. Rabbit British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 172 King’s Rd - SW3
This quirky, faux-rustic venture in Chelsea was the second in the Gladwin family’s nowadays fast-growing farm-to-fork group. Its sustainable small-plates can be “very good”, but there are also a few gripes in reports, including service that can be so-so and a feeling that “tables are too close together”.
9. Sticks'n'Sushi Japanese restaurant in Chelsea 113-115 King's Road - SW3
The “surprisingly delicious and wide-ranging menu” combines sushi with yakitori skewers (the so-called ‘sticks’) at this extremely popular Japanese-inspired group, whose “bustling” branches betray the Scandi style of their Copenhagen-based owners. It’s “a perfect choice if not everyone wants sushi” (even if it’s “expensive and portions are a bit on the small side”). A tenth branch is promised in late 2022 in Westfield W12.
10. La Delizia Limbara Pizza restaurant in Chelsea 63-65 Chelsea Manor St - SW3
2019 Review: This “great little Italian pizza place” in a side street off the King’s Road is a “best-in-class for a cheap and cheerful bite”. There’s a “limited menu, but what it does it does well”… and has done for yonks.
11. Al Forno Pizza restaurant in Wimbledon Town 2a King’s Road - SW19
2021 Review: These “buzzing family-run Italians” in southwest London create “an exceptional atmosphere” for large parties of all ages – and “they won’t break the bank”. “Despite the celebratory brouhaha, they produce a very respectable menu of traditional dishes – fish stew, duck, pizza on demand” – “even the veggies are catered for”. “Expect noise and old people dancing.”
12. Ziani’s Italian restaurant in Chelsea 45 Radnor Walk - SW3
This diminutive but “highly enjoyable” Venetian trattoria off Chelsea’s King’s Road (named in honour of the Doge who laid out Venice’s Piazza San Marco) is “really popular with the locals” for its “great buzz”, led by the “loud and funny waiters”. Founder Roberto Colussi died five years ago, but it has carried on in the way he intended, and will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year.
13. Borough Market Kitchen International restaurant in Southwark Jubilee Place - SE1
2022 Review: Never known to stand still in its 800-year history, Borough Market has expanded again. Hot on the heels of its home delivery service (www.goodsixty.co.uk/borough-market) is this new food hall, just off Winchester Walk, which features 13 permanent fitted kitchens and a further 10 pop-up stalls – a crucible for young brands that are going places. Current incumbents include Applebee’s Fish stall, Brindisa Kitchen, Juma Kitchen, the phenomenal Mei Mei, and Rudie’s Jerk Shack.
14. Zheng Malaysian restaurant in Chelsea 4 Sydney St - SW3
“Really interesting Malay/Chinese combo” cuisine sets this smart, if low key, Chelsea venue apart, minimally decked out with painted black walls. Spun off from an original in Oxford, it is named after the Chinese admiral who explored South East Asia 600 years ago. “Staff are very friendly and helpful” in navigating the menu, with its collision of Chinese, Malay and Indian food cultures.
15. Made in Italy Italian restaurant in Chelsea 249 King’s Rd - SW3
“Rustic décor, friendly service and great pizza” win recommendations for this long-running duo, whose Chelsea branch boasts a heated roof terrace. They make their own fresh cheeses at a factory in Battersea, and their “burrata heart on a pizza is a creamy delight”.
16. Oka Japanese restaurant in Chelsea 251 King's Road - SW3
These “busy and bustling fusion restaurants” offer a “wide choice” of East Asian dishes, headed by “Japanese-style favourites” – including various sushi or sashimi options and miso black cod – that are “competently and surprisingly well prepared”. Israeli-born founder Ohad Kastro celebrates the 10th anniversary of the original launch in Primrose Hill this year; branches in Soho, Marylebone, Chelsea and Barnes have followed.
17. La Mia Mamma Italian restaurant in Chelsea 257 King's Road - SW3
2021 Review: An “intriguing concept” – ‘A rotation of Mammas’ from 20 different Italian regions per year provide the hearty scoff at this welcoming Chelsea yearling, where handmade pasta is something of a feature. By all accounts, the formula works, delivering “interesting dishes not found in your typical Italian restaurant” to a consistently good standard, and – for the ’hood – it’s not especially pricey either.
18. Wild Tavern Italian restaurant in Kensington and Chelsea 2 Elystan Street - SW3
“Hopping Chelsea local” (overlooking Chelsea Green), whose owners George Bukhov-Weinstein and Ilya Demichev also play a part in other casual luxury brands such as Beast and Burger & Lobster. Here, a vaguely Alpine interior hosts an offering whose menu incorporates a raw bar and pastas, plus prime steaks and fish grills sold by the 100g. Results are generally good, but whether they represent fair value is debated (“such an exceptional bill should not be presented to anyone with a weak heart…”)
19. The Cadogan Arms British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 298 King’s Road - SW3
Since it was “gussied up” last year, this “beautiful and comfortable” old Chelsea pub (built in 1838) hasn’t made waves, despite a PR push and a laundry list of influential backers (including the owners of JKS Restaurants and Kitchen Table’s James Knappett). Its slick gastropub fare can be “excellent”, but is not reliably so; service sometimes strikes an “entitled” note; and it can appear “sad to see an institutional Chelsea boozer become a self-conscious eatery”.
20. Elystan Street British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 43 Elystan Street - SW3
Phil Howard – “in a former life, the chef at The Square, where he held two Michelin stars” – continues to deliver “sophisticated, precise and light” ‘flexitarian’ cuisine at his “quietly situated” Chelsea HQ, where he has been ensconced for the last six years now. It’s rather “grown up” in style – “the atmosphere is very much of understated wellbeing” and the room “spacious”. As at some other establishments, though, the pressures of the era dent its ratings this year: “post Covid, the previously first class service is not quite as slick as it was: still professional, but just missing a beat every now and then”, and this can sometimes lead to a “lacklustre” overall impression. Many fans, though, still feel “you can’t go wrong” here. Top Tip – “fair wine prices”.
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