Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London Chelsea
Hardens guides have spent 29 years compiling reviews of the best Chelsea restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 78 restaurants in Chelsea and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing Chelsea restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured Chelsea Restaurants
1. The Five Fields British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 8-9 Blacklands Ter - SW3
“More like the Elysian fields!”: Taylor Bonnyman’s “congenial” but “unpretentious” Chelsea HQ (founded in 2013) doesn’t court publicity, but emerged with the survey’s highest food rating this year. With its “sophisticated” interior, “spectacular wine list” and “wonderful” service – “impeccably timed, professional, yet warm” – it’s long been hailed as an “outstanding all-rounder”. But it has hit a particularly impressive and consistent culinary stride in recent times, with not a single negative report received this year (and we received many reports). Head chef, Marguerite Keogh “strives for perfection, and the care and attention to detail of ingredients processed and plated is second to none”, delivering “divinely flavoured dishes” in a mould that’s “classic in style, but very modern in execution” – “witty and inventive, without being up itself or over-fussy”. Much of the produce is sourced from the restaurant’s own garden in East Sussex. Choose at lunch or dinner from a prix fixe three-course menu or alternative tasting option.
2. Medlar British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 438 King's Rd - SW10
“Well worth a visit in this remote corner of Chelsea”: this “outstanding oasis in Worlds End” has won a big culinary reputation, and chef Joe Mercer-Nairne “maintains high standards year-in-year-out”, with a “classic French approach that’s not so over-refined as to suck enjoyment out of it”. “Very good ingredients are cooked with great care, love and attention, but not overdone, nor over-fancy”. Service is of a very “high class” too, while the interior is “sophisticated” (“if a little cramped”). “It’s another surprising omission from the Michelin star list: is it because it’s at the wrong end of the King’s Road?”
3. Wulf & Lamb Vegetarian restaurant in Chelsea 243 Pavilion Road - SW1X
“Never thought vegan food could be so guilt-inducing!”: this self-consciously decadent plant-based two-year-old – under ex-Vanilla Black chef Franco Casoli in a “lovely” mews off Sloane Square – is “just a damn good restaurant in many ways… unlike many other vegans that seem to equate vegan food with a depressing ambience!”. “The only grumble is the need to go downstairs to order”.
4. Stecca Italian restaurant in Chelsea 14 Hollywood Rd - SW10
Hit and miss feedback on this Italian two-year-old, in a posh side street opposite the entrance to the Chelsea & Westminster hospital. On the plus side, all reports rate the cooking as good or better. But it can also seem pricey for what it is, and meals don’t always run like clockwork: “the management and the regular clientele were treating the place as the most remarkable restaurant in this part of the world, but our service was very up and down, to the extent they gave us free puddings”.
5. Elystan Street British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 43 Elystan Street - SW3
Phil Howard “is going from strength to strength” at his “vibrant and lively” three-year-old, tucked away in a chichi Chelsea backstreet, where survey ratings scaled new heights this year. Deceptively, the slightly “austere” room “has the feel of a high-quality, neighbourhood local, but standards of food and service are, by contrast, top class”. “Phil has gone back to basics” with his culinary approach and his “beautiful, clever dishes are a delight”: “really inspired cooking using seasonal ingredients and recipes” with a “light touch” and “superb precision”. Famously, he’s more ‘flexitarian’ in approach than when he was at The Square and “while it’s not a vegetarian restaurant, it delivers some of the most interesting gastronomic vegetarian dishes ever!” Service is “outstanding” too – “interested, engaged and good communicators”.
6. Kutir Indian restaurant in Chelsea 10 Lincoln Street - SW3
Rohit Ghai has done it again at his late-2018 newcomer: the latest occupant of the “cosy” and “romantic” (if “on-the-quiet-side”) Chelsea townhouse, which for many years was another premier Indian (Rasoi Vineet Bhatia, RIP). Practically all reports are a hymn of praise to his “faultless cooking”, which has immediately propelled it into London’s very top tier for nouvelle Indian cuisine.
7. Kahani Indian restaurant in Chelsea 1 Wilbraham Place - SW1X
Ex-Tamarind executive chef, Peter Joseph (raised in Tamil Nadu) is cooking up a storm at his “smart” September-2018 newcomer, “tucked away behind Cadogan Hall” near Sloane Square. Even a reporter who considers it “expensive” feels “it’s certainly amongst London’s Top-5 Indians”, and there’s little but high esteem for its “refined”, “thoughtfully prepared” cooking: “distinct and light” dishes featuring “favourite flavours but raised to a fine dining experience, including a tasting menu option”.
8. Chelsea Cellar Italian restaurant in Chelsea 9 Park Walk - SW10
“Romantic, quaint and cosy basement” near Chelsea & Westminster Hospital that earns high marks across the board for its “classy and delicious” Italian cicchetti, plus a seasonal menu of larger plates and 250 wines (also available as off sales). “The owners really take care to look after you” and “clearly put everything into this place”.
9. Frantoio Italian restaurant in Chelsea 397 King’s Rd - SW10
The flamboyant owner, Bucci, creates “a great atmosphere” and helps present a “really good menu for both meat and fish lovers” at this “fun” World’s End trattoria. It’s a real “favourite” among locals: “I love, love, love this place! Been going for 20 years and it’s like walking into a family gathering”.
10. The Cross Keys British, Modern restaurant in Chelsea 1 Lawrence Street - SW3
“Eager staff”, a proper “local pub atmosphere” and a “great menu” of modern British dishes make this a “real discovery” just a stone’s throw from the Thames. The oldest boozer in Chelsea (est. 1708), it has served pints to luminaries including JMW Turner, Dylan Thomas and Bob Marley.
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