Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London St John's Wood
Hardens guides have spent 30 years compiling reviews of the best St John's Wood restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 9 restaurants in St John's Wood and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing St John's Wood restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured St John's Wood Restaurants
1. Chucs Italian restaurant in St John\'s Wood 3 Circus Road - NW8
The sixth branch of this chain – with its glam, retro Italian inspirations – opened 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 open all day from breakfast to dinner.
2. The Ivy Café British, Modern restaurant in St John's Wood 120 St John's Wood High St - NW8
“Trading on The Ivy’s name, but nothing like the real thing”: outlets of Richard Caring’s sub-sub-brand are “squarely bistro in nature” and proving less successful than their brasserie namesakes in capturing diners’ affections. True, some do tout them as a “dependable if unexciting” choice, but – lacking the pizzazz which carries the experience at their grander cousins – the focus falls more on the “bland, by-numbers” food and service that’s “neither here nor there”. Top Tip – “Prefer breakfast to the expensive lunch and dinner options”.
3. Chicken Shop & Dirty Burger Chicken restaurant in St John's Wood 128 Allitsen Rd - NW8
“High-quality burgers” hit the spot at this funky small chain which “does the simple things well”. The outlets are “fab for families and kids – there’s something for everyone and puddings are a great crowd-pleaser”.
4. Soutine International restaurant in St John’s Wood 60 St John’s Wood High Street - NW8
“It’s early days, but all the signs are good for Corbin & King’s new venture” in St John’s Wood (on the site of a defunct branch of Carluccio’s) – “a big hit in an area where, surprisingly, there are few really good places to eat” (and “streets-ahead of the nearby Ivy Café”). The faux-French styling is laid on with a bit of a trowel, but the end-result is enveloping and very “stylish”; while the mostly-French brasserie fare steers the typical C&K line between being very acceptable and merely acceptable. “Terrible acoustics” is an issue raised in some feedback (“excessively noisy for the elderly St John’s Wood clientele”, according to one septuagenarian reporter).
5. The Gate Vegetarian restaurant in Westminster 87 Allitsen Road - NW8
“Standards remain high” at Michael and Adrian Daniel’s “veggie stalwart” chain – in particular at the W6 original in a “convivial”, offbeat building south of Hammersmith Broadway, which some consider “the best vegetarian in town” thanks to “inventive” food that’s “wow-amazing… even for a committed carnivore”. Its spring 2019 opening in St John’s Wood is also going down well – launching as the second highest scoring member of the group with “a fabulous and very varied selection of vegan and vegetarian food”. The W1 operation in Seymour Village and EC1 branch near Sadler’s Wells are slightly less highly rated, but the tenor of practically all reports hails “thoughtful and tasty fare, catering to a range of dietary requirements”.
6. Oslo Court French restaurant in St John's Wood Charlbert Street - NW8
“Like going on a 1970s cruise without leaving the shore” – this “crazy-but-fun throwback” at the foot of a Regent’s Park apartment-block is certainly “one of a kind”, and always “leaves you smiling”. “Faultless and charming” staff of decades’ standing bantering with silver-haired regulars of a not-dissimilar vintage create an atmosphere that’s “half restaurant – half theatre”: “there are always generations of families celebrating a birthday” and “the hubbub can be deafening, with cakes arriving at regular intervals”. The “absurdly retro menu” (crudités, melba toast, steak Diane…) is seemingly unchanged from when the place opened, and delivers “overwhelming helpings of well-cooked classic dishes, washed down with very sensibly priced wine”. “The renowned dessert waiter with his trolley is still there, but of late, no longer always does the same performance at the end of the meal, whereby he tells you what you want without you asking, and says ‘mama saved the last piece for you!’”
7. L’Aventure French restaurant in St John's Wood 3 Blenheim Terrace - NW8
“A romantic hideaway obscured, by climbing plants, from passers-by” – Catherine Parisot’s St John’s Wood institution has just celebrated its 40th anniversary, serving “classic French cuisine” that is “unchanged in years”. “It is old-fashioned but never boring, conventional but not too formal, simple but not too basic, traditional but still progressive”. To the relief of her many fans, Madame C is targeting her half-century here: “she is always there to come and talk to you, the waiters are very friendly and they want you to have a good time”.
8. Crocker's Folly Lebanese restaurant in St John's Wood 23-24 Aberdeen Pl - NW8
“Very ornate interiors” at this “fascinating pub” were created thanks to a misguided late-Victorian entrepreneur who thought a major railway terminus would be built in St John’s Wood. For the last few years, it’s been a new departure for the Maroush group, and – after a poor start dabbling with traditional British cuisine – it’s “getting better now that they’ve returned to their Lebanese roots”. Mezze and kebabs in a pub may seem an odd mix and it is “a difficult place to get to”, but by all accounts it’s worth the effort.
9. Maguro Japanese restaurant in Maida Vale 5 Lanark Pl - W9
This “spot on” Japanese near Little Venice wins consistent high ratings for its ultra-fresh sushi, sashimi and maki rolls as well as cooked dishes. Do book because it’s “small and often overcrowded, but worth it for the food and welcome”.
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