Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Kensington
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Kensington restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 35 restaurants in Kensington and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Kensington restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Kensington Restaurants
1. Maggie Jones’s British, Traditional restaurant in Kensington 6 Old Court Pl - W8
Named after the pseudonym used by the late Princess Margaret for incognito dining, this cosseting 1970s-style brasserie provides a “cosy and romantic setting” for aristos or commoners in search of comforting Anglo-French classics, washed down with wine in magnum bottles whose consumption is measured by a dipstick. It’s on top form these days, with improved ratings across the board.
2. Cheneston’s Restaurant, The Milestone Hotel British, Traditional restaurant in Kensington 1 Kensington Ct - W8
Deriving its name from an early spelling of Kensington, Cheneston's is our intimate and elegant restaurant, offering the finest British cuisine.
As you step in from the bustling city streets of Kensington you will be struck by the fine traditional décor, rich ...
3. Romulo Café Filipino restaurant in Kensington 343 Kensington High Street - W8
“Flying the flag for Philippine cuisine in the UK” – this “pioneering” Kensington fixture (owned by the grandchildren of a famous general) “was one of a handful of Filippino places when it opened” and its “consistently good” cooking and striking interior design has made it a good culinary ambassador, showcasing heirloom dishes from within the founding family. They also have three cafés under the same brand in the Philippines.
4. Apadana Restaurant Persian restaurant in Kensington and Chelsea 351 Kensington High Street - W8
Apadana Restaurant is a 5 Star Award-winning chic restaurant that uses family-kept recipes to craft authentic, sumptuous Iranian classic dishes in the heart of London's trendy Kensington high street.Indulge your senses in our family kept recipes passed on for generation...
5. Clarke’s British, Modern restaurant in Kensington 124 Kensington Church Street - W8
“Sally Clarke remains very present” at her “sophisticated” and “welcoming” Kensington HQ, which she established in 1984 at the bleeding edge of a trend to a more seasonal, ingredient-led style of dining that’s nowadays become an accepted norm. Consequently, for some fans, this has been “a ‘go-to’ for decades” owing to its “consistently superb cuisine”, creating dishes “with fantastic attention to detail” that “are imaginative without seeming ‘tricked up’”. The décor has always divided opinions here: “quite formal” for some tastes, but to others “romantic” and “perfect for a relaxed evening with grown-up conversation”. Ratings slipped a little this year across the board, though, as even those hailing it as “excellent” may note that “prices seem to have jumped here even more than most post-Covid”.
6. Oree Sandwiches, cakes, etc restaurant in Kensington 147 Kensington High St - W8
2019 Review: “Fabulous breads and pastries” (as well as “better coffee than some of the favourites”) bring a taste of ‘the boulangeries and patisseries of rural France’ to the three west London sites operated by this outfit from Nantes.
7. Yashin Japanese restaurant in Kensington 1a Argyll Rd - W8
Flying under the radar, as they have for over a decade now, Yasuhiro Mineno’s and Shinya Ikeda’s offbeat duo – a two-floor site in a Kensington backstreet (est. 2010), and the newer ‘Ocean House’ spin-off (est. 2013, in the quirky former Brompton Library) – never inspire a huge volume of feedback, perhaps because they are by no means cheap. The owners have fine CVs though and all reports continue to say the sushi here can be exceptional.
8. Five Guys Burgers, etc restaurant in Kensington 183 Kensington High Street - W8
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”.
9. The Ivy Kensington Brasserie British, Modern restaurant in Kensington 96 Kensington High St - W8
“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”.
10. Dishoom Indian restaurant in Kensington The Barkers Building, Derry Street - W8
“I have yet to find the person who does not absolutely love Dishoom!” – Shamil and Kavi Thakrar’s “must-visit chain” remains our poll’s most-commented-on group, on the strength of its “exceptional” homage to the Irani cafés of Bombay. “A sense of nostalgia for a vanished India and quirky colonial notices add to the fun” of its “cool”, “evocative” branches, where “outstanding staff, even when very busy” (which is to say always) preside over “borderline hectic” conditions with great verve and efficiency. The “slightly different Indian food” (“with spice rather than heat”) is “far better than it has any right to be” given the volumes it’s served in… “superb”… “so consistent” and “extremely fairly priced” too. The “left field” breakfast menu is famous nowadays, and “awesome bacon and egg naan rolls” have “redefined what brekkie is all about” for many Londoners. Founded in 2010, they will hit six branches in London in 2022, with a big (355 covers) new Canary Wharf outlet, complete with a bar and terrace overlooking the docks. On the downside, bookings at all the outlets are restricted and “queues are half way down the street”. “It’s worth it though!!”. Top Menu Tips – “Finally got to try the black dal… a big hug in a bowl” that’s “to die for” and “Ruby Murray is a family favourite”. And, with their burgeoning delivery business, “the fact you can now order the Bacon Naan for home consumption is a wonderful, wonderful thing”.
11. Akira at Japan House Japanese restaurant in Kensington 101-111 Kensington High Street - W8
“A revelation!” – the “pricey-but-good” first-floor restaurant (or better still “the private tatami mat dining room”) at Kensington’s Japan House cultural centre serves “food close to what you eat in Japan” alongside an extensive sake menu, and “everything is beautifully presented”. “Quite apart from the food, the entire experience in the building and the Japanese welcome make a visit worthwhile”.
12. Pascor Mediterranean restaurant in Kensington and Chelsea 221 Kensington High Street - W8
Perhaps because it’s easy to ignore amongst the dross of Kensington High Street, this two-year-old venue focused on the eastern Med doesn’t inspire much feedback, but such as we received is all positive. In June 2022, Tomar Amedi (former head chef of The Palomar) joined, and it is now billed as a ‘Levantine Fire Kitchen’. Could be one to watch.
13. Kitchen W8 British, Modern restaurant in Kensington 11-13 Abingdon Road - W8
“Polished cuisine” with a “creative mix of ingredients” – overseen from afar by star chef Phil Howard – elevates this “classic neighbourhood restaurant” off High Street Kensington into something “top class” and one of London’s better-known foodie destinations. If criticism is made, it’s typically that a diner “had heard great things, but was underwhelmed despite finding nothing obviously wrong”. In a similar variable vein, service veers from “very pleasant” to “sometimes chaotic”; and the “well-spaced” dining room is “lovely” to some, too low-key for others.
14. Chakra Indian restaurant in Notting Hill 33c Holland Street - W8
The cute location is a highlight of this “hidden gem”, obscurely tucked away in a plush Kensington backstreet, where the Indian food is “solid and great value for money”. (It’s actually part of a chain of four, but there’s scant feedback on its siblings in Little Venice, Barnes and Kingston).
15. Megan's on the HIgh Street British, Modern restaurant in Kensington and Chelsea 204 Kensington High Street - W8
With its inviting décor, this fast-expanding group has been a big “winner” since the pandemic, mushrooming to 18 sites, all of which have generally proved useful additions to their respective areas. But while “it certainly looks the part, and the staff look after you well enough”, the brunch-friendly fare can be hit ’n’ miss, with reports ranging from “surprisingly good” to “formulaic and really abysmal”. Top Tip – “always a top option for feeding the family”.
16. The Abingdon British, Modern restaurant in Kensington 54 Abingdon Rd - W8
“A cut above the normal pub” – with its “stylish mix of bar area and secluded, more intimate booths”, this smart venue on a Kensington backstreet has entertained well-heeled locals with a menu of elevated gastropub fare for a quarter of a century.
17. Il Portico Italian restaurant in Kensington 277 Kensington High St - W8
This “old favourite” opposite the Design Museum, now in its sixth decade, is “always buzzing, with great Italian food and a sense that every patron is ‘family’”. It’s family-run, too, with James Chiavarini having taken over from his father, Pino. “James has introduced some modernising touches but I love the feeling that you’re in Italy when you walk in the door – there’s nothing minimal or characterless about it”.
18. San Pietro Italian restaurant in Kensington 7 Stratford Road - W8
“Really excellent Italian local” that occupies a smart, if tightly packed, two-floor site in an off-the-beaten-track Kensington backwater. It’s a “cheerful place” with lovely fresh fish, “beautifully displayed packed in ice”.
19. Zaika of Kensington Indian restaurant in Kensington 1 Kensington High Street - W8
The “beautiful dining room” (“an old bank building”) hosts a menu inspired by the historic royal cuisine of Lucknow, at this smart restaurant near Kensington Gardens. It “never seems to make it into the ‘top’ lists”, unlike its highly rated stablemate Tamarind in Mayfair, “but the modern cooking never disappoints and is of the highest quality”.
20. The Scarsdale International restaurant in Kensington 23a Edwardes Sq - W8
In one of London’s prettiest squares, this “lively” pub classic has the dubious honour of being Piers Morgan’s local – he claims to have met the then-actress Meghan Markle here on the day she later met Prince Harry. (TV crime buffs will also remember it from the late-70s series The Professionals). The scoff’s mostly unreformed pub grub, but good value.
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