Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Southwark
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Southwark restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 66 restaurants in Southwark and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Southwark restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Southwark Restaurants
1. Paladar South American restaurant in Southwark 4-5 London Road - SE1
“You go here to have an all-embracing ‘good time’” if you pop down to this “quirky and fun” destination, near Elephant & Castle. “It specialises in Latin American recipes from across the continent” using “genuine ingredients” to produce “unusual and delicious dishes”. “What also makes this restaurant stand out is the outstanding wine list and friendly and knowledgeable service”: “they always make it feel that there is a big party on!”
2. Macellaio RC Italian restaurant in Southwark Arch 24, 229 Union St - SE1
“Just the place to stuff yourself silly with beef!”, say loyal fans of Roberto Costa’s successful chain, where you choose your cut from “amazing meat displays to get the juices flowing”: a formula that’s brought expansion over the years to six locations across the capital, including on Shaftesbury Avenue (where it’s branded ‘Teatro del Carne’). Ratings sank this year, though, on a number of “disappointing” reports, with recurring themes including “quality meat undermined by poor cooking” and “high prices for wines considering their middling status”.
3. Est India Indian restaurant in London Bridge 73-75 Union Street, Flat Iron Square - SE1
2021 Review: If the food market in Flat Iron Square doesn’t take your fancy, remember this consistently good modern basement Indian, serving a wide mix of options, including a number of south Indian dishes like dosas; good with families too.
4. Menier Chocolate Factory British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 51-53 Southwark Street - SE1
2021 Review: Stick to the good-value, meal-with-ticket deals at the theatre restaurant of this converted Victorian chocolate factory, whose food is “honest” but rather “hit and miss”, hence “not good enough to pay full stand-alone prices” – especially with foodie Borough Market just across the road.
5. Bar Douro Portuguese restaurant in Southwark Arch 35b, 85b Southwark Bridge Rd - SE1
“Really enjoyable Portuguese tapas” is served in this “lovely, light and airy space”, tucked under a railway arch, near London Bridge. Founded by Max Graham, from the Churchills port dynasty, fans even say it’s “reminiscent of early-years Barrafina”. Top Tip – “the tiny clams”. (Note: don’t be put off by the queue outside – it may be for the pancake shop in front!).
6. Lupins British, Modern restaurant in Bankside 66 Union St - SE1
This “awesome little spot” near London Bridge (“handy for Tate Modern”) serves “fresh and really interesting” ‘British tapas’, including some “innovative vegetarian options”. Five years after the launch, founders Lucy Pedder and Natasha Cooke have a second venue, Pomelo, at the Goods Way food market in King’s Cross.
7. Caravan Bankside British, Modern restaurant in Metal Box Factory, 30 Great Guildford St - SE1
“Delicious shakshuka with maxing smoky flavours” is typical of the “colourful and flavoursome” brunch-friendly dishes at this “very buzzy if not loud” chain, known for its “top coffee” (which they roast themselves), and whose best-known sites are the Exmouth Market original and large Granary Square branch. Recently, they also added an opening in Canary Wharf and a brew bar at their Caledonian Road roastery (not listed), with further ‘measured expansion’ planned. For the most part, they are still mostly seen as a “reliable” choice for an “interesting and healthy” breakfast: “not everything is a hit but for a casual lunch I am pretty happy”. Top Tip – “when the sun is shining, it’s worth waiting for an outside table” in N1.
8. Chimis Argentinian restaurant in Southwark 132 Southwark Bridge Road - SE1
2019 Review: In a no-man’s-land stretch of Southwark, this Spring 2018 opening is an Argentinian/Chilean parrilla majoring in meaty and fish grills. It is brought to us by Nicolas Modad (previously head chef at Brindisa) and Federico Fugazza (founder of Porteña at Borough Market).
9. Lantana London Bridge Australian restaurant in Southwark Ground Floor West, 44-46 Southwark St - SE1
2021 Review: With their “chilled ambience and laid-back vibe” this trio of cafés have championed Aussie-style day-time eating for more than a decade in London. “Good for breakfast, brunch and lunch”, they are “not too overpriced compared with competitors”, and the Shoreditch and London Bridge venues are open in the evening for drinks and dinner.
10. Bread Street Kitchen British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 47-51 Great Suffolk St - SE1
2021 Review: Gordon Ramsay’s “Italian-leaning” warehouse conversion in Southwark, with an indoor ‘olive grove’ complete with trees, pleases some with its “giant portions of great food” and “fantastic cocktails”. Far too many reporters this year, though, complain of a “sterile” aspect to its “industrial” decor, and dismiss the fare as mightily “uninspired”.
11. O'ver Pizza restaurant in Southwark 44-46 Southwark Street - SE1
“Pizza with imported sea water from Naples! What’s not to like...?” ask fans of this studiedly authentic Neapolitan duo on Borough’s main drag and in St James’s Market. Portions are “generous”, too.
12. Baozi Inn Chinese restaurant in Southwark 34-36 Southwark Street - SE1
“Authentic and tasty dumplings” and other northern Chinese street-food classics make any of Wei Shao’s small group “a great standby for a quick and fun meal”. Some prefer to stay longer (“our family goes for a Sunday feast”) with the biggest range of dishes at the 120-cover flagship near Borough Market. There are also branches in Chinatown, Soho, and the Market Halls in Victoria and Oxford Street.
13. The Table British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 83 Southwark St - SE1
2021 Review: “A firm favourite for breakfast and brunch in Southwark” – this café-style fixture a short stroll from Tate Modern serves “a great menu to suit all tastes”, and fans say it’s “unbeatable”.
14. Tonkotsu Bankside Japanese restaurant in Bankside 4 Canvey St - SE1
This “slurpy Japanese noodles” outfit has grown from a 2011 pop-up to a fledgling national chain (14 branches in London, plus Brighton and Brum). These days it “feels formulaic, but the ramen does the business – the tonkotsu (pork broth, from which the place gets its name) is satisfyingly porky and the chilli chicken has a spicy hum”. Critics are not so sure, pointing to “very disappointing noodles” and “drab stock”.
15. Casa do Frango Portuguese restaurant in Southwark 32 Southwark Street - SE1
“Nando’s eat your heart out”, say fans of the “real” Portuguese peri-peri grilled chicken “and very tasty sides” at this “fun if busy, busy, busy” (to the point of being “overwhelming”) duo near Borough Market and Shoreditch (of which the former is by far the most commented-on). It’s backed by MJMK (who also run Kol, Lisbetoa et al) and a first central London branch seating 200 is set to open in 2022 in Mayfair’s Heddon Street.
16. Bala Baya Middle Eastern restaurant in Southwark Arch 25, Old Union Yard Arches, 229 Union Street - SE1
“The really tasty and innovative modern Israeli cuisine never fails to impress” at former Ottolenghi chef Eran Tibi’s all-day venue in the “very hip setting” of a Southwark railway arch. “Every wine is from Israel – and ours were very good”.
17. Mar I Terra Spanish restaurant in Southwark 14 Gambia St - SE1
“Very good-quality” tapas and a “nice, buzzy” atmosphere greet guests at this converted small backstreet pub near the South Bank, one of the longer-established Hispanic specialists in town. It’s a “favourite for a casual night out” and “conveniently located for the NT, Young Vic, Tate Mod and so on”.
18. Monmouth Coffee Company Sandwiches, cakes, etc restaurant in Southwark 2 Park St - SE1
“Amazing coffee” – “a wide selection from single estates that’s carefully selected and optimally roasted” – together with “well-paired pastries and cakes as complements” continue to make these “lively and fun”, artisanal brew stops “a good morning ‘perk me up’”, and some of the most popular destinations in town. Staff are “impressively calm and friendly” too; “worth queuing for”.
19. Mercato Metropolitano Italian restaurant in 42 Newington Causeway - SE1
“Very reasonably priced, good food and great fun” is all yours for the taking at this former paper factory near Elephant & Castle, converted to host more than 40 different food and drink pop-ups. “You just wander from one to another, then find a place to sit and eat in the common area”, which includes London’s biggest beer garden – “a great outdoor space”. There are now three other MMs in London, following a concept launched in Italy (hence the name).
20. Bao Borough Taiwanese restaurant in Southwark 13 Stoney Street - SE1
“The best-ever bao buns: so light and fluffy with absolutely delicious fillings” again win raves for this five-strong chain, backed by JKS Restaurants (which plans a Battersea opening later in 2022). “Worth queuing for, although happily they now take bookings”. Top Menu Tips – “very good Taiwan-style spicy beef noodles”; “the warm bao with horlicks ice-cream is the most unusual!”
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