Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Southwark
Hardens guides have spent 31 years compiling reviews of the best Southwark restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 50 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
. Macellaio RC
Italian restaurant in Southwark
Arch 24, 229 Union St - SE1
“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).
. Bar Douro
Portuguese restaurant in Southwark
Arch 35b, 85b Southwark Bridge Rd - SE1
“Love it” – eating at this Portuguese tapas bar near Borough Market is “always a thoroughly enjoyable experience – especially outside in summer”. It’s a tiny, atmospheric place serving big flavours, the result of “top-quality ingredients and execution” backed up by “a comprehensive Portuguese wine list”.
British, Modern restaurant in Bankside
66 Union St - SE1
The “fabulous Anglicised tapas” at this “hidden gem next to the Omeara music venue” have made a hit of Lucy Pedder and Natasha Cooke’s four-year-old venture. It’s “tiny and unpromising on the outside, but has a really lovely menu of superb small plates, generally modern British with an Iberian inflection”. There’s now a spinoff, Pomelo, at the new Goods Way food market in King’s Cross.
. Caravan Bankside
British, Modern restaurant in
Metal Box Factory, 30 Great Guildford St - SE1
“OK I guess, but could be so much better” is an increasingly common view on this once-groundbreaking chain, where the feeling that “it seems to have gone off a bit” is most prevalent at the well-known Granary Square branch, which risks becoming “a cheerless, so-so, fast-turnaround experience”. At its best, though – mostly to be found at the EC1 original, with its “great outside seating area and very relaxed atmosphere” – the group remains popular for its “innovative and delicious breakfasts”: “great sharing plates” and “something for everyone” (which includes “a good set of vegan and vegetarian alternatives”).
Pizza restaurant in Southwark
44-46 Southwark Street - SE1
“Some really delicious Italian food using very good ingredients and a stylish, if low key, venue” – that’s the deal at this Neapolitan duo in Borough and the St James’s Market development. Pizza – using seawater in the dough – is a staple of the menu which also extends to pasta and other fare.
. Baozi Inn
Chinese restaurant in Southwark
34-36 Southwark Street - SE1
An “excellent” Chinese menu wins a small but dedicated fan club for Wei Shao’s slightly disparate group of eateries. Most prominent nowadays is its three-storey, 120-cover flagship near Borough Market. There’s also the Chinatown original (no reservations), whose main options include baozi, dumplings, wonton and noodles, and a Soho site serving northern Chinese street food, plus all-day dim sum. (There’s also a stall at Market Halls Victoria).
. Tonkotsu Bankside
Japanese restaurant in Bankside
4 Canvey St - SE1
“Casual and inexpensive, but no compromise on the standards” – this Japanese noodle chain has become a firm favourite in London’s “competitive” ramen market, with 14 branches (and counting). “I can’t speak highly enough of the quality of ramen here, absolutely packed full of flavour and at a really good price.” The name is taken from the pork broth used, and the noodles are made daily in-house and cooked, it is said, for precisely 32 seconds.
. Casa do Frango
Portuguese restaurant in Southwark
32 Southwark Street - SE1
This “buzzy” yearling serves “tasty Portuguese tapas” and “grilled chicken, done to perfection” in the Algarve style, over charcoal with piri-piri seasoning. “Don’t eat too much – the desserts are delicious as well”, led by pastel de nata and a thick chocolate mousse. The Green Room is a ‘secret’ cocktail bar, and there’s now a second branch with a large terrace between Great Eastern Street and Commercial Street in Shoreditch.
. Bala Baya
Middle Eastern restaurant in Southwark
Arch 25, Old Union Yard Arches, 229 Union Street - SE1
A “great take on modern Israeli cooking” – ex-Ottolenghi chef Eran Tibi creates “brilliant dishes inspired by the buzzing food markets in Tel Aviv” at this all-day venue on two levels in a Southwark railway arch. Top Tip: “love the shakshuka, a Sunday morning treat”.
. Mar I Terra
Spanish restaurant in Southwark
14 Gambia St - SE1
This old Southwark pub “is not the smartest venue” but it’s a favourite near the South Bank and Young Vic. The unexpected find of good value, contemporary Spanish tapas is key to its popularity, but its highest rated asset is its “wonderful staff”.
. Monmouth Coffee Company
Sandwiches, cakes, etc restaurant in Southwark
2 Park St - SE1
“You can’t beat the coffee from Monmouth”, which is “still the best in town”, agree the caffeine hounds who flock to the capital’s most famous artisan coffee specialists. They rave about “top beans turned into wonderful coffee by talented baristas”, who “seem to extract an extra level of flavour – I can only put it down to alchemy!” “Super-friendly staff and good pastries” complete the deal. Any downsides? – “shame about the queues” which are a permanent feature of both the long-established Soho and Borough Market venues and the newer Wednesday-Saturday Spa Terminus branch in Bermondsey. Top Tip: “don’t miss the Sally Clarke truffles (great after an espresso)!”
. Mercato Metropolitano
Italian restaurant in
42 Newington Causeway - SE1
“Fabulous atmosphere” and “so many choices”: this 45,000 sqare foot former paper factory near Elephant & Castle hosts 40-odd operators at any time, offering anything from Argentinian grilled meat to Uzbeck rice dishes along with London’s biggest beer garden. “We love it: everyone can please themselves and meet again in the middle”, while “it’s great for kids because they can make as much noise as they like”. “You just have to avoid the really crowded times as it’s pretty popular now”. Founder Andrea Rasca also runs markets in Milan and Turin – and across London in deconsecrated Grade-1-listed St Mark’s church, Mayfair.
. Bao Borough
Taiwanese restaurant in Southwark
13 Stoney Street - SE1
“The bao are just so good” at these “charming” and stylish Taiwanese cafés, whose eponymous steamed buns filled with “brilliant” and “magnificent” Asian flavours have been a sensation since their first opening at Netil Market in London Fields in 2013. There are now six venues, the most recent of which have branched out in new directions: Café Bao at King’s Cross, serving an East Asian take on Western classics, such as chicken XO Kiev and baked ham hock congee pie, and Bao Noodle Shop, on the former site of Andina in Shoreditch, which is inspired by old-school Taiwanese beef noodle shops.
. Wright Brothers
Fish & seafood restaurant in Southwark
11 Stoney St - SE1
“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”.
British, Modern restaurant in London Bridge
12 Stoney St - SE1
This ten-year-old Borough Market favourite has a “lovely lively ambience” and makes good use of its location to source “excellent, fresh” ingredients for its “delicious Italian-accented small plates” and “tasty seafood”. A pioneer purveyor of natural wines in London, it also champions cooking with wood, both on the grill and in the oven that produces “top-class sourdough pizzas”. A sibling opened in Mare Street, Hackney, in July 2021.
. Applebee’s Fish
Fish & seafood restaurant in Southwark
5 Stoney St - SE1
“Once an old-fashioned chippy, it has upped its game effectively now that Borough Market has become fashionable” and nowadays is a more stylish café in this foodie enclave, where a plate of simply prepared fish or seafood makes for the perfect al fresco lunch. Top Tip: “the Applebee’s prawn and fish wrap is one of the best things to eat in London”.
. El Pastór
Mexican restaurant in London Bridge
7a Stoney Street - SE1
“A fun spot in Borough Market” – the original “buzzing” branch of the Hart Bros’ Mexican duo wins praise for its “tasty tacos”, “packed with smoky flavour and a good punch of heat”, although even fans often note that it feels “a little pricey for what it is”. In June 2021 (after our survey had concluded), a striking new Soho flagship was launched using the space vacated by Hix (RIP), comprising an 86-cover ground floor (terrazzo tiles, muted walls, chandeliers and hanging plants) and 60-cover basement (‘Mezcaleria El Colmillo,’ named after the nightclub Sam and Crispin Hart ran in the ’90s and ’00s in Mexico City).
. 26 Grains Stoney Street
British, Modern restaurant in Borough
2-3 Stoney Street - SE1
In late 2019, the team from well-known café, 26 Grains of Neal’s Yard, opened a big sister over the road from Borough Market. It’s a casual, tastefully decorated haunt serving simple food; and where at night, the vibe is less café, more wine bar. In late 2020, Tom Cenci (the ex Duck & Waffle head chef, whose own Loyal Tavern venture did not survive the pandemic) took over what has become an extended residency. The cooking (by him and one other chef) centres on sustainability, and less-used cuts of meat (particularly Irish beef).
. Arabica Bar and Kitchen
Lebanese restaurant in Borough
3 Rochester Walk - SE1
“Very good quality food” from across the Middle East – along with “especially great spiced cocktails” – is on the menu at this permanent Borough Market venue and its two-year-old King’s Cross offshoot in the Aga Khan Centre building, a stone’s throw from Coal Drops Yard. Self-taught chef James Walters has developed the business gradually over 20 years, from a stall selling Levantine snacks at markets and festivals via a regular Borough Market presence that graduated to a glass-fronted sit-down restaurant in 2014. He is looking to expand further.
View full listings of 50 Southwark Restaurants
Popular Southwark Restaurant Searches