Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London City
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best City restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 46 restaurants in City and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing City restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured City 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. Caravan British, Modern restaurant in City 22 Bloomberg Arcade, Queen Victoria Street - EC4N
“Delicious shakshuka with maxing smoky flavours” is typical of the “colourful and flavoursome” brunch-friendly dishes at this “very buzzy if not loud” chain, known for its “top coffee” (which they roast themselves), and whose best-known sites are the Exmouth Market original and large Granary Square branch. Recently, they also added an opening in Canary Wharf and a brew bar at their Caledonian Road roastery (not listed), with further ‘measured expansion’ planned. For the most part, they are still mostly seen as a “reliable” choice for an “interesting and healthy” breakfast: “not everything is a hit but for a casual lunch I am pretty happy”. Top Tip – “when the sun is shining, it’s worth waiting for an outside table” in N1.
3. 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!”.
4. 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.”
5. 1 Lombard Street British, Modern restaurant in City 1 Lombard St - EC3
“King of the City lunching scene” – Soren Jessen’s “buzzing” stalwart in the very heart of the Square Mile, near Bank, continues to maintain its “consistent standards” and is “a decent if very ‘City’ restaurant”. “Classic dishes” (“including some added when Mark Hix was still consultant chef”) are served alongside “a well-chosen wine list” (and they do an “awesome breakfast” too).
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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).
10. 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?
11. Three Cranes Steaks & grills restaurant in City 28 Garlick Hill - EC4V
2019 Review: Historic, heart-of-the-city tavern (with two serviced apartments) that’s part of the well-publicised collaboration of Henry Harris (formerly chef-patron of Racine) and founder of Harcourt Inns, James McCulloch. It’s been less PR’d than the other ventures, but early reports cite “simple French food, under the guidance of Henry Harris that make this small City pub near Mansion House a very good place”.
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. 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”.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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”.
17. Shake Shack Burgers, etc restaurant in City 45 Cannon Street - EC4M
2021 Review: In less than 20 years, Danny Meyer has transformed his New York City hot-dog cart into a global fast-food brand giant with eight outlets in London – including a Covent Garden flagship that was revamped earlier this year. Ratings remain remarkably solid for “a chain that does what it’s supposed to do”.
18. 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”.
19. Hispania Spanish restaurant in City 72-74 Lombard Street - EC3
This smart and expansive Hispanic spread over two floors in the heart of the City, opposite the Bank of England, scores well for its “classic tapas” and meat dishes, accompanied by a heavyweight wine list.
20. 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”.
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