Hardens Guide to the Best Restaurants in London South Kensington
Hardens guides have spent 32 years compiling reviews of the best South Kensington restaurants. On Hardens.com you'll find details and reviews of 42 restaurants in South Kensington and our unique survey based approach to rating and reviewing South Kensington restaurants gives you the best insight into the top restaurants in every area and of every type of cuisine.
Featured South Kensington Restaurants
1. Light of India Indian restaurant in Kensington and Chelsea 67/69 Gloucester Road - SW7
2022 Review: Worth knowing about near Gloucester Road tube – this large hotel dining room has been serving Indian cuisine since 1984. Too few reports for a rating, but promising feedback and worth bearing in mind if you are in the vicinity.
2. Bombay Brasserie Indian restaurant in South Kensington Courtfield Road - SW7
“Authentic flavours”, “attractive surroundings” and “reasonable prices for what you get” win consistent solid ratings for this upmarket Indian veteran, now 40 years old and owned by the Taj Hotels group.
3. Yashin Ocean House Japanese restaurant in South Kensington 117-119 Old Brompton Rd - SW7
Flying under the radar, as they have for over a decade now, Yasuhiro Mineno’s and Shinya Ikeda’s offbeat duo – a two-floor site in a Kensington backstreet (est. 2010), and the newer ‘Ocean House’ spin-off (est. 2013, in the quirky former Brompton Library) – never inspire a huge volume of feedback, perhaps because they are by no means cheap. The owners have fine CVs though and all reports continue to say the sushi here can be exceptional.
4. Noor Jahan Indian restaurant in Earl's Court 2a Bina Gardens - SW5
This “ever-popular warhorse” has served “classic Indian food” in traditional curry house style to an appreciative audience on the Earl’s Court-South Ken border for 60 years now. The “staff have been there forever and we love this happy and delicious place”, say fans – it’s “old-fashioned, but that’s part of the appeal”.
5. Margaux French restaurant in South Kensington 152 Old Brompton Rd - SW5
“Boeuf bourguignon was done to perfection” – typical of the “very solid French cooking of meat and fish courses” at this “reliable neighbourhood restaurant”, on the well-heeled borders of Earl’s Court and South Kensington. Top Tip – “it’s best to eat upstairs”.
6. Tendido Cero Spanish restaurant in Earl's Court 174 Old Brompton Road - SW5
“Innovative and exquisite tapas” and “excellent (if pricey) Spanish wines” have long attracted Hispanophiles to this bar, directly opposite its older sibling, Cambio de Tercio. “Lighting and service are top-notch”, too. The only complaint is that “the buzzy ambience can change quickly to unpleasantly loud when there are too many groups in”.
7. Thali Indian restaurant in Earl's Court 166 Old Brompton Rd - SW5
“Well worth seeking out on South Ken’s ‘Curry Corner’” – this “family-run restaurant with Bollywood paraphernalia on the walls” certainly “punches above its weight”, with “a good selection of north-Indian dishes” and especially “delicious starters”.
8. Cambio de Tercio Spanish restaurant in Earl's Court 161-163 Old Brompton Rd - SW5
“Spanish food is all the rage now but this place has been thriving for years”, say fans of Abel Lusa’s “fun” but relatively unsung Hispanic in the Old Brompton Road, founded in 1995. “If you’re into great Spanish food, this is possibly the best in London” – and it has a “terrific Spanish-only wine list”. “Food, wine and service are simply first class”, and “they never let you down”.
9. Macellaio RC Steaks & grills restaurant in South Kensington 84 Old Brompton Rd - SW7
“Just the place to stuff yourself silly with beef!”, say loyal fans of Roberto Costa’s successful chain, where you choose your cut from “amazing meat displays to get the juices flowing”: a formula that’s brought expansion over the years to six locations across the capital, including on Shaftesbury Avenue (where it’s branded ‘Teatro del Carne’). Ratings sank this year, though, on a number of “disappointing” reports, with recurring themes including “quality meat undermined by poor cooking” and “high prices for wines considering their middling status”.
10. Chucs Italian restaurant in South Kensington 97 Old Brompton Road - SW7
“A throwback to old-school dining” – this wittingly old-fashioned chain (created in the last 10 years) channels an imagined La Dolce Vita lifestyle into its “enjoyable if slightly stuffy” mix of chic Italian cafés and restaurants (if you are of a certain age, think 1980s Tatler). They look “pretty” and are “attractive in their own way”: “not bad if a bit overpriced”. That’s the kind view anyway: harsher critics say they “could do better” and “don’t deserve a revisit”. But they must be doing something right, as in July 2021 they opened in St John’s Wood.
11. Dozo Japanese restaurant in South Kensington 68 Old Brompton Road - SW7
2019 Review: “Informal Japanese” which offers “rare good value” in pricey South Kensington, near the former Christie’s showroom (there’s also a similar heart-of-Soho branch which inspires little feedback). Eating at “sunk-in tables” adds to the ambience.
12. Rocca Pizza restaurant in South Kensington 73 Old Brompton Rd - SW7
This duo of traditional local Italians are “perfectly good for a cheap ’n’ cheerful meal”, with pasta and pizza cooked to order and a “great atmosphere”. Both branches have terraces for al fresco dining – both front and back in Dulwich Village; heated and covered in South Ken.
13. Wright Brothers Fish & seafood restaurant in South Kensington 56 Old Brompton Rd - SW7
“The best oysters and crustacea in a bustling market-facing venue” is how many restaurant-goers think of this “buzzy and packed” small group, whose SE1 branch at Borough Market is better known than its Battersea Power Station sibling. “Order from the blackboard for the freshest catch.” “You come for the seafood, not the sparkling repartee” and service “can get a bit frazzled”. (We have continued to list the South Kensington outlet, but as we go to press it is ‘temporarily closed’ due to staff shortages).
14. Ceru Middle Eastern restaurant in Kensington and Chelsea 7-9 Bute St - SW7
“Delicious food from the Levant, served with charm” has earned an enthusiastic following for Barry and Patricia Hilton’s “interesting Middle Eastern” bistros: particularly the original, tucked away in South Kensington’s ‘Little France’ in a quirky modernised unit with a Scandi-meets-North-Africa vibe. A thumbs-up too for its newer, year-old Queensway branch.
15. Go-Viet Vietnamese restaurant in South Kensington 53 Old Brompton Rd - SW7
2021 Review: “Refined Vietnamese food” – “with clean, fresh flavours” – is showcased at this three-year-old South Ken flagship of former Hakkasan chef Jeff Tan, who also owns Viet Food in Chinatown. Top Tip – “the weekend lunch menu is a steal for the quality”.
16. Five Guys Burgers, etc restaurant in South Kensington 43 Thurloe Street - SW7
2021 Review: “When all you want is an old-school burger”, these US-based arrivals of recent years really “hit the spot” – you can “build your own”, with “tons of accessories”; plus “seriously addictive fries”, “thick milkshakes”, and “more soda flavours than is reasonable”. “The eat-in experience is as depressing as McDonald’s”, though, in fact perhaps more so – “some branches have a strangely gloomy ambience” – but fans feel that “if you don’t mind 1980s-rock, a trip can still be surprisingly fun”.
17. Riccardo’s Italian restaurant in Chelsea 126 Fulham Rd - SW3
This “welcoming neighbourhood spot” on a Chelsea corner “won’t win awards – but it won’t let you down” with its “reliably tasty” Tuscan cooking. “The only downside is if you go late, the noise level is high.”
18. Daquise Polish restaurant in South Kensington 20 Thurloe St - SW7
“Time has stood still” at this “old-fashioned and sedate” Polish institution by South Ken tube, since it opened in 1947: a “lovely, happy place that is utterly confident in what it does and sees no need to mess about with its authentic, filling and homely Polish cooking”. (“It’s perhaps a curious choice for romance, but my Polish wife loves it!”)
19. The Hunter's Moon British, Modern restaurant in Kensington and Chelsea 86 Fulham Road - SW3
This “lively and friendly local” in South Ken rates well for its “high-quality menu complemented by daily specials”. Opened three years ago by the Lunar Pub Company, it’s “not somewhere for a quiet and romantic dinner, but the young local crowd make it a vibrant venue”.
20. Tapas Brindisa Spanish restaurant in South Kensington 7-9 Exhibition Rd - SW7
“Delicious tapas with a view of the River Thames” from “a large open terrace” is going down a storm at the instantly popular, new Richmond branch of the well-known chain (occupying the prominent site that was formerly Jackson & Rye, RIP). Backed by the firm of wholesalers of the same name, the group has steadily grown from its Borough Market origins over the last 10 years, and fans feel “it’s exactly what you would expect from a place run by Spanish produce importers”. On the downside, though, there is a school of thought that “while the food’s done decently, it’s serviceable but unexciting”.
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