Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London South Kensington
Hardens guides have spent 31 years compiling reviews of the best South Kensington restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 30 restaurants in South Kensington and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing South Kensington restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured South Kensington Restaurants
. Bombay Brasserie
Indian restaurant in South Kensington
Courtfield Road - SW7
“Solid and reliable”, plush Indian veteran in South Kensington that celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and still earns consistently good marks for its cooking. Now owned by Taj Hotels, it has a spacious glassed-in terrace and spruced-up decor, although some long-time regulars preferred it “when the atmosphere was more Indian Raj”.
. Yashin Ocean House
Japanese restaurant in South Kensington
117-119 Old Brompton Rd - SW7
Despite designer interiors and posh locations (the ten-year-old original in a Kensington backstreet; the ‘Ocean House’ spin-off in South Kensington, in a quirky building built as Brompton Library), this off-radar duo perennially inspire surprisingly little feedback. Not only that, such reports as we do get typically say something like “one of the most delicious Japanese restaurants in town”. Perhaps it’s because they are not cheap?
. Noor Jahan
Indian restaurant in Earl's Court
2a Bina Gardens - SW5
“Been a dedicated customer of the Noor for 40 years” – this “classic, old-style” curry house has served “very tasty Indian food” to a loyal clientele on the Earl’s Court-South Ken border since 1964. To regulars (and the occasional sleb, from Eric Clapton to Gwyneth Paltrow), it makes “the perfect Sunday evening meal, for comfort food”. It has a younger offshoot in Bayswater. Top Tip: “the food can come very fast, so best to stagger the order”.
. Tendido Cero
Spanish restaurant in Earl's Court
174 Old Brompton Road - SW5
This “buzzy neighbourhood stalwart” in South Ken has long been known as a good bet for “top tapas”. Its older sibling, directly across the road, is Cambio de Tercio, a leading light of Hispanic cuisine in London.
Indian restaurant in Earl's Court
166 Old Brompton Rd - SW5
With a menu “based on the family recipes of the owner, from northern India”, this smart little South Kensington spot is “welcoming and casual, making it perfect for focusing on the delicious flavours and aromas”.
. Cambio de Tercio
Spanish restaurant in Earl's Court
161-163 Old Brompton Rd - SW5
“Abel [Lusa] and his team have created one of London’s best neighbourhood restaurants” at this Spanish specialist in the Old Brompton Road. The food is consistently “fantastic” “(if pricey)”, while service and ambience are also “excellent”. Since launching in 1995 – well before the boom in Hispanic cuisine – they have maintained impressively high scores, building “a justifiably loyal clientele”.
. Macellaio RC
Steaks & grills restaurant in South Kensington
84 Old Brompton Rd - SW7
“Exceptionally fine beef” from the Italian Fassone breed in the valleys north of Genoa is theatrically presented – as if in a butcher’s shop – at Roberto Costa’s growing group of steakhouses, where the “superb cuts are butchered in front of you”. “I finally went to try out what looked like magnificent beef, from the haunches in the window. I wasn’t disappointed – it delivered magnificently.” The South Ken branch in Old Brompton Road remains the most popular. There are others in Fitzrovia, Exmouth Market, Union Street and Battersea. (The latest to open in summer 2021, in the West End’s Theatreland, is called Il Teatro del Carne – see also).
Italian restaurant in South Kensington
97 Old Brompton Road - SW7
Aiming for a taste of La Dolce Vita lifestyle, these retro-glam Italian cafés and restaurants mostly occupy the same sites as the eponymous clothing brand, and deliver classic casual Italian menus mixing pizza and pasta (both typically over £20 a plate) with both more and less substantial dishes. A brief involvement with Zaha Hadid’s Serpentine restaurant has ended, but a new, sixth branch debuted in July 2021 in the heart of St John’s Wood (on the site of a former Côte). With 84 covers, it’s the largest outlet to-date and opens all day from breakfast.
Pizza restaurant in South Kensington
73 Old Brompton Rd - SW7
This “good, dependable local Italian” duo in South Kensington and Dulwich Village can be relied on for plates of “excellent pizza” and “freshly made pasta” at sensible prices. There’s a “great atmosphere when they’re busy”, and “children are made very welcome”. The South Ken branch, formerly part of Christie’s auction house, has a useful heated terrace for dining al fresco.
. Wright Brothers
Fish & seafood restaurant in South Kensington
56 Old Brompton Rd - SW7
“Amazing seafood” – “really fresh and full of taste” – is the headliner at this oyster supplier turned producer turned “bustling” seafood bar at Borough Market, from brothers-in-law Ben Wright and Robin Hancock (now also with offshoots at Battersea Power Station and South Ken). In March 2021, acclaimed chef Henry Harris joined as group chef, adding his knowledge of classic meat dishes and fine wines to the Wright Bros’ traditional oysters, crustaceans and seafood platters. Top Tip: “curried oysters sounds awful and sacrilegious but is stunning – a real tasting experience”.
Middle Eastern restaurant in Kensington and Chelsea
7-9 Bute St - SW7
“Innovative and delicious Lebanese/Middle-Eastern cooking” has firmly established Barry and Patricia Hilton’s nattily decorated modern bistro in the ‘Petit France’ enclave close to South Kensington’s museums. “It’s great to see them back in action – they’ve tweaked the menu and the food is even more delicious”. “Fabulous service, too”. The venture started out with a series of pop-ups, and a second bistro that started off in Soho transferred to Queensway in summer 2021.
Italian restaurant in Chelsea
126 Fulham Rd - SW3
It’s “nice to sit under the canopy on a summer’s evening”, even if it “can be crowded and noisy”, at this “well-established neighbourhood Italian”, on a prominent Chelsea corner site. An early exponent of serving Italian food tapas-style, it still wins praise for its “reasonable prices” and dependable standards.
Polish restaurant in South Kensington
20 Thurloe St - SW7
“The antidote to noisy, sterile London eating”, this “wonderfully different” old-world Polish institution near South Ken tube “feels like it has been here forever, because it has”. Since 1947, to be precise, but it’s certainly a “lovely time-warp – you can imagine it’s still 1962”, in the Cold War era when Christine Keeler and Roman Polanski had assignations here. More recent regulars have included the late restaurant critic AA Gill, and they’re all drawn back by the “never-changing menu” of robust Polski classics.
. The Hunter's Moon
British, Modern restaurant in Kensington and Chelsea
86 Fulham Road - SW3
“Classy, with a nice grown-up atmosphere” – this ‘traditional countryside pub and dining room in southwest London’ (the first from the Lunar Pub Company) opened in late 2019, and is successfully living up to its ‘rus-in-urbe’ aspirations. There are lots of warm vibes for its well-realised food and cosy style (even if the prices are those of SW3, not the shires). They are already onto their second project (opening in late 2021) – The Ganymede in SW1 (see also).
. Tapas Brindisa
Spanish restaurant in South Kensington
7-9 Exhibition Rd - SW7
Providing “tasty tapas on the well-trodden path between South Ken tube and the museums” means the well-known Spanish food importers can hardly go wrong with this “cheap and cheerful” fixture. There’s plenty of pavement seating to go with the “friendly staff and a really nice tapas menu with all the faves” – plus “great Spanish wines”.
Italian restaurant in Chelsea
257 Fulham Rd - SW3
This family-run Italian in the Fulham Road has built a solid fan-base over almost two decades for its seasonal cooking – including “particularly good fish” – and offers “spectacular value” for lunch. It is not hugely known, but regulars will travel from across town for a meal.
. Big Fernand
Burgers, etc restaurant in Kensington and Chelsea
39 Thurloe Place - SW7
The famous Parisian ‘hamburgé’ brand with over 55 branches in France and the Middle East quietly opened a London site at the start of 2020: a return to the capital after a failed attempt at colonisation which ended in 2014. A civilised venue in Francophile South Kensington (north of the tube), it serves nine types of burger along with excellent frites and looks set to carve a niche in the capital’s crowded marketplace for burger joints.
. Le Colombier
French restaurant in Chelsea Square
145 Dovehouse Street - SW3
“I love it because it reminds me of when I lived in France!” – Didier Garnier’s “good, old-fashioned brasserie” occupies a tucked-away Chelsea corner in a cute, well-situated backstreet, and is particularly “popular with a local upmarket clientele”, who are forgiving of the fact that it’s “a bit packed and noisy” and a little “expensive” for somewhere not aiming to produce culinary fireworks. Selling points are its “traditional French-bourgeois” menu, “elegant” decor, “attentive and professional service” (with le patron much in evidence), and an “extensive wine list” (which, unlike the food, “is not at Chelsea prices at all”).
. Patara South Kensington
Thai restaurant in South Kensington
181 Fulham Rd - SW3
“Thai food with a modern twist that’s miles away from the standard Siamese” is the hallmark of this long-established group whose half-dozen venues are “just the kind of local reliable Thai that everyone needs”. Having launched in South Ken in 1990, more recent expansion has seen branches opening in the affluent suburbs of Hampstead and Wimbledon.
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