Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best London restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 90 restaurants in London and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing London restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured London Restaurants
1. Cabotte French restaurant in Bank 48 Gresham St - EC2V
“Flying slightly under the radar”, this “superior City venue” is “a lovely find, right in the heart of the the Square Mile where it can be hard to encounter a good meal” (“clients are always pleased to visit it!”). “The front of house team are so charming” and deliver “precise and tasty” Gallic cuisine. The major attraction here, though, is the “comprehensive wine list” – “one of the best wine selections in London: it’s hard to find a better selection of Burgundy, but the other region lists are well represented”, with “many rewards to be found, both on pricing and rare gems”.
2. Angler, South Place Hotel Fish & seafood restaurant in City 3 South Pl - EC2
“Perfectly executed fish” from a “varied and delicate” menu adds to the elevation of this 7th-floor D&D London perch, at the top of a hotel near Broadgate, where the “nice verandah” comes into its own in the summer months. Cooking of this quality is rare in the City, and even non expense-accounters will seek it out. This year’s most critical report? – “probably worth its Michelin star, but pricey and the chef didn’t take any gambles”.
3. Obicà Mozzarella Bar, Pizza e Cucina Italian restaurant in City Unit 4 5 - 7 Limeburners Lane, - EC4M
This international chain has three London representatives – in Soho, the City and Canary Wharf – and focuses on light Italian dishes (pizza, pasta and salads) showcasing the eponymous cheese from Campania alongside other Italian produce; plus a range of cocktails and wines. A good spot “for post-work drinks and nibbles”.
4. Bolton’s Italian restaurant in 13 Cullum St - EC3
At Bolton's restaurant our philosophy is simple, we are inspired by the finest, freshest ingredients and the most authentic vibrant flavours. In Italian our culinary style is called alla Casalinga which means home-style cookery or as we like to say, "like mamma used to make."
5. Piazza Italiana Italian restaurant in 38 Threadneedle Street - EC2R
Occupying an impressive Edwardian banking hall in the heart of the City, this high-ceilinged space provides a large, classic Italian menu and – if you still have space – makes a feature of a sizeable cheeseboard, showcasing Italian cheeses. Reports are uniformly upbeat, including as a business choice (and, if Accounts are on your case, there’s a good-value lunchtime set menu).
6. City Càphê Vietnamese restaurant in City 17 Ironmonger St - EC2
2019 Review: “Superb Vietnamese street food” draws a hungry City crowd to this pitstop near Bank. It’s “super-busy at lunchtime – better to take away than sit at the tiny tables”.
7. Homeslice Pizza restaurant in City 69-71 Queen Street - EC4R
“Still delivering on what it set out to do” – Alan and Mark Wogan’s (yes, the late Terry’s sons) hip pizza chain is the best-rated of the mid-sized groups, thanks to its “huge and amazing pizzas with delicious and unusual toppings” (“now the choice is even easier with the 50/50 option!”). Top Menu Tip – “awesome vegan nduja pizza” is amongst a growing number of plant-based options (and, from June 2022, they now have a fully meat-free site, in their 135-cover Shoreditch branch).
8. The Anthologist British, Modern restaurant in City 58 Gresham St - EC2
A handy location, near the Guildhall, “buzzy” large interior and versatile menu of “decent (if unspectacular) food” mean it’s worth remembering this “reliable option in the City”, although it “can be incredibly busy”.
9. Café Below British, Modern restaurant in City St Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside - EC2
2021 Review: “Escape the feel of the City for very reasonable home cooked-food” in the ancient crypt of Bow Bells church. “There are no better dining establishments in the Square Mile: affordable, great service, good food with delicious daily changing salads” including “excellent veggie and vegan options”. Depending on when you go, it’s either a “quiet” space or quite a “noisy” one.
10. Lutyens Grill, The Ned Steaks & grills restaurant in City 27 Poultry - EC2R
“Is there a better business venue?” query fans of this plush steakhouse, which sits within a panelled corner of the vast former HQ of Midland Bank, next to the Bank of England. It’s the prime dining option within the hotel accessible to those not blessed with membership of Soho House, featuring top-quality British and imported steak.
11. Cecconi's, The Ned International restaurant in City 27 Poultry - EC2R
“The original location is by far the best” – “almost Continental in feel, and opposite the back entrance of the Royal Academy in Burlington Arcade”: “a regular haunt” for Mayfair types where “a seat at the bar is the best possible place in the world”. “Always buzzy and with exceptional Bellinis, it’s best for breakfast or brunch”. On the downside, “the high prices of the food reflect the area and locale”. Its simpler spin-offs (most notably pizza joints in Soho and Shoreditch) capture a fragment of this “fun and upmarket” style.
12. Goodman City Steaks & grills restaurant in City 11 Old Jewry - EC2
“Still the go-to New York-style steak house” – this Russian-owned chain has “a distinct style from Hawksmoor” which it somewhat resembles; and though its fanbase is much smaller, it’s held in equal regard by those who recommend it. Well located for expense accounters, its branches in Mayfair, the City and Canary Wharf are a “safe bet for good steak” and deliver a straightforward formula inspiring few grumbles. “The prices aren’t dirt cheap, but those AAA steaks never were”.
13. K10 Japanese restaurant in City (Takeaway only) 15 Queen Street - EC4N
2021 Review: “Good value” sushi, sashimi and other Japanese dishes trundle past your seat at these two ‘kaiten’ (conveyor-belt) operations in the City, tempting you to help yourself. It makes a fun, fast and efficient way to grab lunch. The chain also has takeaway and delivery options for evenings.
14. Hawksmoor Guildhall Steaks & grills restaurant in City 10-12 Basinghall St - EC2
“Bloody good, succulent steaks”, with “epic cocktails and wines”, all served in “rather clubby”, “classy” surroundings is a formula that’s won fame and fortune for Huw Gott and Will Beckett’s steakhouse phenomenon. “Many happy afternoons have been lost in these places!”, which continue to be voted as London’s “best steak chain by far”, and “a go-to for business”. “Everything is top-notch: the quality and cookery of the beef; the exemplary seafood (be it Salcombe crab on toast or their lobster); even down to their excellent sides of mac ’n’ cheese, bone marrow or Caesar salad”. However, a visit “is not exactly easy on the wallet”. “It’s verrrrry expensive” (and “if you go with mates who like to chug back the wine, the bill will be massive!”). And ratings are coming under ever-more pressure due to “staff who seem unable to cope”, or meals with “too many misses at too heavy a price to be a reliable bet”. Last year, the team expanded to Manhattan and also opened a “stunning floating boat/barge” in the docks at Canary Wharf. Later in 2022, the group will also add a Liverpool branch to rival Manchester’s; and a few months later make a Dublin debut on College Green too. “Are they losing some of their je-ne-sais-quoi as they get bigger and badder? There’s a sneaking suspicion the lustre is being slightly lost.”
15. Coq d’Argent French restaurant in City 1 Poultry - EC2
“The great location” atop No 1 Poultry, “in the heart of the City”, makes this D&D London venue “perfect for entertaining out-of-town business guests” (who might recognise it from the James Bond sequence in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics). It’s “slick and efficient”, too, which helps for scheduling “a time-critical business lunch”. On the debit side, “staff sometimes get overwhelmed by the number of diners”, and “the nosh is upmarket but predictable” – “glad I wasn’t paying for it!”.
16. Taberna Etrusca Italian restaurant in City 9 -11 Bow Churchyard - EC4
2022 Review: This 55-year-old City trattoria is a popular, lunchtime rendezvous spot on account of its “huge” helpings of classic dishes; its terrace by Bow churchyard for al fresco eating; and its good regional list of Italian wines.
17. The Bow Wine Vaults British, Traditional restaurant in 10 Bow Church Yd - EC4
2022 Review: “A stalwart for lunches in the City”, this “unpretentious” venue in “lovely Bow Lane by the famous church” has “kept its standards up” for 35 years. The outdoor seating was a major attraction during the pandemic restrictions, and prices are “very reasonable” for the area, while “the boisterous tables make it easy to have confidential chats without being overheard”.
18. Kurumaya Japanese restaurant in City 76-77 Watling St - EC4
2019 Review: “Been going here years and love their sushi”, say fans of this well-established operation near St Paul’s, which has “a conveyor belt bar upstairs and a restaurant downstairs” – “the best value for money Japanese in the area, and the quality is always very good”.
19. Parlour, The Ned British, Modern restaurant in City of London 27 Poultry - EC2R
2022 Review: Yet another option for eating at The Ned! This time, the colossal hipster hotel near Bank has added a new basement bar and entertainment space, complete with regular live music. The food is more than just bar bites though – Lobster Thermidor anyone?
20. Sweetings Fish & seafood restaurant in City 39 Queen Victoria St - EC4
“Sitting cheek by jowl at a counter that dates from the 19th century… bliss!” – this “City legend amongst fish restaurants” is “such a haven of bygone days, which gives it its special ambience and devoted following”. Founded in the 1830s, and on its current site since the 1920s, it’s “still serving sensational oysters (washed down with a pewter tankard of Black Velvet) after all these years” alongside “very traditional fish cooked simply and well” (e.g. “divine whitebait”). “It’s a bit pricey and you can’t book but otherwise excellent.”
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