Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Westminster
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best Westminster restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 19 restaurants in Westminster and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Westminster restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Westminster Restaurants
1. The Cinnamon Club Indian restaurant in Westminster Old Westminster Library, Great Smith St - SW1
“The atmospheric book-lined walls of Westminster’s former public library are a highlight” and add “a lot of character” to Vivek Singh’s famous venue a short stroll from the Palace of Westminster: one of the Top 40 most-mentioned restaurants in our annual diners’ poll and the best-known top Indian destination. “It’s worth a visit just for the bar!” – where an evening often commences – but the prime attraction is “clever”, “high-end” nouvelle Indian food “that’s truly different” and with “very delicate spicing”. “The huge area can make service a challenge” but generally staff cope well.
2. Hannah Japanese restaurant in Southbank Southbank Riverside, Belvedere Road - SE1
This little-known “hidden Japanese gem” near the London Eye showcases the skills of chef-parton Daisuke Shimoyama, who spent six years as head chef at Umu in Mayfair before launching his own venture at this hotel in the former County Hall. His omakase “tasting menu is particularly impressive” and is matched by an interesting sake list selected by the chef, while budget options at lunchtime include a bento box.
3. The Pem British, Modern restaurant in Westminster Conrad London St. James, 22-28 Broadway - SW1H
Sally Abé has equalled the “superb” standard of British cooking that she achieved at the Harwood Arms at this Westminster yearling, named for a pioneering suffragette. But while the traditional hotel dining room she was imported to revivify is an “amazingly spacious and comfy space” – and benefits from “quietly super-efficient and knowledgeable staff” – it doesn’t yet generate the volume of reports it perhaps deserves: “why was it empty? This deserves to be one of London’s most popular restaurants!”
4. Blue Boar Pub British, Modern restaurant in Westminster Conrad London St James, 22-28 Broadway - SW1H
This ‘modern take on the British pub’ with food by chef Sally Abé, formerly of the stellar Harwood Arms, is “part of the huge improvement of the City of Westminster’s offering over the last few years”. “The food is good, particularly the meat” – but calling it a ‘pub’ can feel like “a hopeless misnomer” (“it is a hotel restaurant with formal service – OK, no tablecloths – but waiters standing to attention”) and at quiet times it can lack atmosphere.
5. The OWO International restaurant in Westminster The Old War Office, 57 Whitehall Place - SW1A
Italian-Argentine megachef Mauro Colagreco, of Mirazur on the French Riviera, is the star gastronomic attraction of the late-2022 launch of the Raffles hotel and apartment complex, emerging from the Edwardian baroque shell of the Old War Office building opposite Whitehall Palace, owned since 2014 by the Hinduja Group. In all, there will be 11 restaurants and two bars on the sprawling site, with Colagreco responsible for ‘a brasserie with a twist, a fine-dining restaurant and an avant-garde private chef’s table’.
6. Ekstedt at The Yard, Great Scotland Yard Hotel Scandinavian restaurant in Westminster Great Scotland Yard - SW1A
“Really amazing use of the smoke and fire they cook with” (“there’s practically no gas or electricity in the kitchen!”) “produces lots of novel flavours” at star Swedish chef, Nicklas Ekstedt’s Whitehall yearling, which well-travelled reporters say “lives up to the Stockholm original” with its “inspired Nordic cuisine” (matched with “a novel selection of wines”). And “the lovely staff are really engaged with what they serve you” at this dining room within the five-star Hyatt: arguably, the most interesting culinary arrival of the year. One gripe, though: “some rather mean portions”.
7. The Parlour, Great Scotland Yard Afternoon tea restaurant in Westminster Great Scotland Yard - SW1A
2022 Review: On the site of the original Metropolitan Police HQ, this 100-seater hotel (owned by an Indian entrepreneur and operated by Hyatt) opened in December 2019. The comfortable, ground-floor lounge – with Raj-inspired decor – serves a contemporary take on afternoon tea, with added spice; there are spicy chai options and tea-based cocktails too.
8. Osteria Dell’Angolo Italian restaurant in Westminster 47 Marsham St - SW1
2021 Review: “Ignore the lobbyists feeding MPs and enjoy this for what it is” – a smart, traditionally decorated corner-spot that’s one of the only restaurants in Westminster worth going to eat in! “Italian through and through”, it features “many regional dishes” and “unusual takes on traditional pasta and main courses (including crab, rabbit and quail)”; plus an interesting, all-Italian wine list.
9. The Northall, Corinthia London International restaurant in Trafalgar Square 10a Northumberland Ave - WC2
Despite its gracious, high-ceilinged interior, this luxury five-star’s comfortable dining room – with its own dedicated entrance, near the Embankment – is sometimes overlooked by reporters. Those who make the trip, however, say the cuisine (overseen by executive chef, André Garrett) is “good value” (especially the set option) and that, in particular, it’s “a great lunch location”.
10. Kerridge’s Bar & Grill British, Modern restaurant in Westminster 10 Northumberland Avenue - WC2N
“A little bit of Marlow on Embankment”, say fans of TV-Tom’s London HQ: a “smooth operation”, which occupies a vast, atmospheric chamber within one of London’s most glamorous five stars (well, if it’s good enough for Ivanka…). The posh brasserie food, overseen by chef Nick Beardshaw, is “quite heavy and meaty” and fans say “while it’s a bit pricey, you will have an enjoyable meal”. On the downside, there’s a disappointed minority for whom the atmosphere “is very hotel dining room” and who see this as “another disappointing experience from a TV-star branded establishment”.
11. Chez Antoinette French restaurant in Westminster The Caxton, 22 Palmer Street - SW1H
“Invitingly tucked away off Victoria Street”, “it feels like stepping into Paris” at this “good little bistro”, where “helpful staff” deliver “a short but interesting” all-day menu of “simple but delicious fare” at “good value prices” (“excellent saucisson, and good bavette steak, duck leg… a very good tarte Tatin and reasonably priced house wine!”). Only fleeting mentions for the branch cutely located in the tourist hell of Covent Garden on the lower ground level of the market itself, but all good.
12. Boyds Grill & Wine Bar British, Modern restaurant in Trafalgar Square 8 Northumberland Ave - WC2
2019 Review: The potentially “lovely room”, just off Trafalgar Square – part of a monumental, much-marbled Victorian hotel (which spent most of the 20th century as part of the MoD) – and “good-value set menu” can make this an “excellent central London location”, although its “rather cavernous” nature can mean there’s “not a great ambience”; “very nice wine list”.
13. 50 Kalò di Ciro Salvo Pizza restaurant in Westminster 7 Northumberland Avenue - WC2N
“Properly Italian pizza” – “the best in London, possibly in the UK” – is hiding in plain sight in the heart of the West End, just off Trafalgar Square. Ciro Salvo is a third-generation pizza maestro based in Naples, and his London offshoot showcases his secret-formula high-hydration and long fermentation ‘50 Kalo’ dough. “The dough is the fluffiest ever and every ingredient used is the best of the best, from olive taggiasche to Cetara anchovies to Piennolo pomodori. Incredible!”.
14. Bone Daddies, Nova Japanese restaurant in Belgravia Victoria St - SW1
This ten-year-old rock ’n’ roll ramen concept is in expansion mode at the moment, having pushed into the southwestern suburbs with openings in Richmond and Putney in recent years, followed by High Street Ken and the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo station in 2022. They “still do a very fine bowl of tonkotsu”, and the classic rock soundtrack stays the same.
15. The Garden Cafe at the Garden Museum British, Modern restaurant in Lambeth 5 Lambeth Palace Rd - SE1
The “fantastic food” is in a very different league to that of most museum cafés, in this attractive space off the gorgeous courtyard of Lambeth’s Garden Museum, where former Padella chef, George Ryle, is responsible for “fresh and interesting cooking” with an Italian accent. But not all the typical norms have been neglected: there’s also “delicious coffee and cakes”.
16. Gordon’s Wine Bar International restaurant in Strand 47 Villiers Street - WC2
“Love it… I always feel like a spy when I drink there…” – London’s oldest wine bar (est. 1890), near Embankment tube, is worth a visit for its “great interior” alone, with ancient brick-lined vaults, but it also boasts one of the capital’s biggest outside terraces. You no longer queue for the cold cuts, cheese and pies – they bring them to you with waiter service. The “excellent selection of wines” is by far the greater attraction.
17. Mathura Indian restaurant in Westminster 4 Greycoat Place - SW1P
“In an old Fire station near Victoria”, Atul Kochhar’s October 2021 newcomer is “a massive undertaking (with over 170 covers)”. It inspires a wide range of reactions, none of them terrible, some of them rapturous, but many of them mixed. The “unusual” food has “amazing spicing, with a focus on fish”, but some dishes can appear “too ordinary” or “needing a rethink” and even fans note they are “expensive”. In a similar vein, the “friendly” service can be “iffy” in its efficiency; and “ambience can be lacking” despite the “stylish conversion”. Still, it’s an ambitious venture still finding its feet, and perhaps the fairest overall verdict at this stage is: “enjoyable rather than brilliant”.
18. Mauro Colagreco at Raffles London at The OWO French restaurant in Westminster The Old War Office, Whitehall - SW1A
A major new hotel for London sees the Old War Office being taken over by Raffles, no less, and with famed French chef Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur taking three of the 11 dining spaces, we'll have plenty of choice about where to eat. More information (and restaurant names) as we know them, but there'll be a "a brasserie with a twist, a fine dining restaurant, and an avant-garde private Chef’s Table". Opening now planned for Spring 2023.
19. Passyunk Avenue American restaurant in Waterloo Leake Street - SE1
2022 Review: This ‘Philadelphia dive bar’ in Cleveland Street, Fitzrovia, has certainly “got the American vibe”, with “US-style beer and bar food” giving a real taste of the City of Brotherly Love. Philly street food classics such as the hoagie and cheesesteak are on the menu – and “it’s not health food, that’s for sure”. Reporters are divided on the results – “defining the category” for fans, “pretty underwhelming” for sceptics. There’s now a second site at Westfield Stratford, complete with baseball batting cages, but a 2021 crowdfunding bid to raise £150,000 for a massive bar under the railway arches in Leake Street, Waterloo, struck out.
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