Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Clerkenwell
Hardens guides have spent 30 years compiling reviews of the best Clerkenwell restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 83 restaurants in Clerkenwell and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Clerkenwell restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Clerkenwell Restaurants
1. The Green British, Modern restaurant in Clerkenwell 29 Clerkenwell Grn - EC1
2019 Review: Good ratings all round for this year-old modern gastropub on a corner by Clerkenwell Green, under the same ownership as The Culpeper, nearby. Top Tip: “the £15 two-course lunch menu is a steal”.
2. Palatino Italian restaurant in Clerkenwell 71 Central Street - EC1V
Chef Stevie Parle’s three-year-old pasta specialist is a real “crowd-pleaser”, with “consistently interesting, extremely tasty” Roman-inspired dishes emerging from its “impressively visible kitchen”. It’s part of a “warehouse-style” Clerkenwell work-space, but “when busy you forget the office atmosphere which can otherwise be a little cold”. Top Tip – “cacio e pepe is to die for”.
3. Café du Marché French restaurant in Clerkenwell 22 Charterhouse Sq - EC1
“Just the kind of spot you expect on the market square of a small French town” – this “delightful stalwart, hidden at the back of a cobbled mews off Charterhouse Square”, is an “unchanging old friend” to its big fanclub. “Convivial, candlelit and very romantic”, its menu is “not gourmet, but it delivers classic Gallic cuisine served with a lot of charm”; and regular jazz helps “adds to the great ambience” in the evening.
4. Smiths of Smithfield, Top Floor Steaks & grills restaurant in Clerkenwell 67-77 Charterhouse St - EC1
A “lovely location” with “great views” across the meat market to the City is reason enough to visit this top-floor venue, with a menu that focuses unsurprisingly on red meat. There’s a “good atmosphere, with tables not too close together”, which makes it a top choice for City-fringe business lunches. The “fixed-price steak and Malbec is great value for money”.
5. La Ferme London French restaurant in Clerkenwell 102-104 Farringdon Rd - EC1
2018 Review: “Possibly the Frenchest restaurant ever” – this “cosy”, rustique-style deli/restaurant near Exmouth Market has a small but enthusiastic fan club for its fairly ambitious Gallic cuisine.
6. The Zetter British, Modern restaurant in Clerkenwell 86-88 Clerkenwell Rd - EC1
An all-day neighbourhood restaurant serving innovative dishes in a relaxed setting. Our menus showcase high quality, British ingredients focusing on seasonality & provenance....
7. Sushi Tetsu Japanese restaurant in Clerkenwell 12 Jerusalem Pas - EC1
“Prefer it to The Araki…”, “the best sushi I’ve had outside of Tokyo…”, “superb…” – Toru Takahashi’s Clerkenwell venture is “beyond reproach”: “a true neighbourhood sushiya” that rivals London’s best-known names, at a fraction of the price, and delivers “astonishing flavours” and the “intimate” experience you’d expect of somewhere with just 7 seats, minded over by “delightful” staff. One perennial complaint though – “the whole dreary booking process”.
8. St John Smithfield British, Traditional restaurant in Clerkenwell 26 St John St - EC1
“The original nose-to-tail flag-bearer, and still a joy!” – Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson’s “stark” ex-smokehouse in Smithfield has won fame with “top quality, distinctive British cuisine” (“using unusual cuts”, most famously offal), and “although they might have started the trend, they still lead from the front with exciting, innovative and surprisingly delicious food”. It’s “honest, skilful cooking that puts the produce front and centre” on “an uncompromising and sometimes challenging menu”; and the “hearty-yet-nuanced” results are a case of “simple things done well”… “perfect”. With its brutally “simple and stylish”, “whitewash-walled” interior (“deafeningly loud” at times) and “relaxed but attentive service”, it remains “a must-go” (“what a place to take visitors to show off London’s restaurant scene”). Top Tip – “Eccles Cake with Lancashire Cheese is outstanding”.
9. The Quality Chop House British, Traditional restaurant in Clerkenwell 94 Farringdon Rd - EC1
“You either love or hate the iconic and original (and cramped and uncomfortable) Victorian booths, which are part of the charm of this Clerkenwell institution” (est 1869) , “which has not been a ‘Progressive Working Class’ establishment for a very long time, no matter what it says on the ancient, etched-glass windows!”. Relaunched in the early 1990s in the first stages of Britain’s latter-day food revival, it’s been run since 2012 by Will Lander and Daniel Morgenthau and its ratings are going from strength to strength on the back of its “honest, modern-ish take on hearty traditional dishes” (“perfect for meat eaters – huge steaks”) and “unusual and interesting wines”. They run a deli and wine shop next door too, ‘Quality Wines’ which is currently a voguish haunt in its own right, with chef Nick Bramham producing a small menu of trendy small plates.
10. The Drunken Butler French restaurant in Clerkenwell 20 Rosebery Avenue - EC1R
Chef Yuma Hashemi presides over an open kitchen – combining contemporary European small plates with influences from his boyhood in Iran – at this unusual Clerkenwell yearling. In the evenings, you choose from either a short (five-course) tasting menu or a long seven-course one. Sundays are given over to traditional Persian feasting, which fans suggest is the biggest draw here: “a meal to remember, with beautiful flavours and textures”: “tahdig (the caramelised crust at the bottom of a pot of rice) was a thing of utter beauty”.
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