Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Kensington
Hardens guides have spent 29 years compiling reviews of the best Kensington restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 44 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
. Launceston Place
British, Modern restaurant in Kensington
1a Launceston Pl - W8
“In a quiet residential corner of Kensington”, on a picture-book street – this “lovely and calm” pre-Victorian townhouse (established as a restaurant in 1985, and owned by D&D Restaurants since 2007) creates a sense of “privacy” that’s particularly “great for a romantic evening”. “Over the years there have been many changes of chef”, but since Ben Murphy joined in early 2017, the food rating here has been “on an upward trajectory” and his “exciting” cuisine – “fun, whimsical, delicious” – won impressively consistent praise this year. “Surely a Michelin star is now beckoning for this young chef”?
. Il Portico
Italian restaurant in Kensington
277 Kensington High St - W8
This “proper, family-run Italian trattoria” in Kensington pre-dates the new Design Museum on the other side of the road by decades, and exudes “cosy”, “olde world charm”. That it’s “family-owned and family-friendly” is key to its longevity, and has made it a “go-to restaurant” for its many long-term regulars. But “after decades, the business has passed down a generation, and young and old alike agree it’s brought an improvement, with an approach that’s more energetic”. Its strengths are “a charming atmosphere”, “authentic Emilia-Romana cuisine, instead of the usual floods of red sauce” and the “unfailing and unflappable care of owner James Chiavarini and his well-trained staff”.
Pizza restaurant in Kensington
267 Kensington High Street - W8
“Skip the ubiquitous PizzaExpress locations and head to this family-run sister to Il Portico” (“owned by the same family”), a few doors down, and opposite Kensington’s new Design Museum. The pizzas (featuring “activated charcoal bases”) are “miles better than the usual”, and they also offer “freshly made pasta and traditional entrees”. Top Tip – “go for the incredibly simple Sicilian deep-fried pizza dough with salt on – then ask why there aren’t east London hipsters selling these!”.
Indian restaurant in Kensington
The Barkers Building, Derry Street - W8
“There aren’t many restaurants where I will queue for nearly two hours to get a table but it’s worth the wait!” – This “madly popular” Mumbai-inspired chain “has taken London by storm” and is now the capital’s most mentioned chain. Even if the heady days of its Covent Garden debut are long gone, criticisms that it’s “too popular for its own good” are most notable by their absence; and instead its “a firm favourite” for its massive army of fans who feel “it never fails to impress”. The “buzzy, Indian, faux-retro vibe” (“I felt transported to the Parsi eating houses of Bombay in the 1960s”) helps set up a “crazy, frenetic atmosphere”; and even if the “noise levels are pretty bad”, “somehow it all comes together”. It helps that service is “always punctual and friendly” (respect: it’s such a busy chain), and the tapas-y food – though no longer as bleeding edge as it once seemed – still feels “vibrant”, with a selection of dishes that’s “far from run-of-the-mill” (“recommended by all our Indian friends!”), plus “an exceptional list of drinks”. Breakfast here is unexpectedly “a true thing of beauty” too: “so different” in a brilliant way. “You can book during the day, but not at night” – “the wait is tedious, but the buzzer system works well” and cocktails at the bar help blur time. In mid 2019, the chain acquired the former Jamie’s Italian site next to its original WC2 branch in order to expand its footprint. Top Tips – “black dahl is still the best” and “the bacon naan is the greatest restaurant breakfast dish of all time!”.
. Min Jiang, The Royal Garden Hotel
Chinese restaurant in Kensington
2-24 Kensington High St - W8
“With such delightful views of Kensington Gardens, the food could so easily become secondary”, but the impressively glam 8th-floor of the “luxurious” Royal Garden Hotel has long been acknowledged as one of the capital’s best destinations thanks to its “consistently excellent” Chinese cuisine (“better than I had in Hong Kong!”). Its ratings came off the boil slightly this year however, amidst some unfamiliar accusations that “it’s going downhill and becoming very expensive”: “if this is the best Beijing Duck in town, then I’m the Emperor of China!”
. Kitchen W8
British, Modern restaurant in Kensington
11-13 Abingdon Road - W8
This under-the-radar venture, in a smart row of businesses off Kensington High Street, has supplied “unexpectedly delicious” meals to a well-heeled local crowd for 10 years – although the consistently high marks should be no surprise given that it’s part-owned by star chef Phil Howard (of Elystan Street and formerly The Square). Atmosphere-wise, it’s somewhere between “quietly sophisticated” and “Spartan”.
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