The 15 Top London restaurants right now – February 2018

The year is now well under way and we can almost feel srping around the corner. Well not quite, but we still have plenty to keep us excited (and full!) in the meantime!

Here are the top London restaurants right now:

With Valentine’s just around the corner what better way to start: Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden

How it’s rated: Google: 4.5, Timeout: 4.0, Tripadvisor: 4.5
How it’s priced: ££££

This triple rosette winning spot has quite literally been voted the most romantic restaurant in London, not once, but twice by the good folks at Architect’s digest & Harden’s. What’s the secret? Well: beautiful plates of food, candles, and gentle music all help. As, I imagine, does the fireplace, fairy lights & faux indoor forest of delicate white blossoms as endless as the stars. It is very romantic, and if you’re thinking of book for valentines day then get in quick.

The Healthy Choice: Tuyo, Hackney

How it’s rated: Google: 4.7, Tripadvisor: 4.5
How it’s priced: ££

Tuyo, which translates as ‘yours’ in Spanish serves Fresh Mediterranean, Tapas-style cooking at its best in Hackney. Among its top dishes is the delicious josper Spanish style prawns with chilli & sumac ajillo sauce finished with chorizo crumbs. Eat well and leave room for a dessert as they are a real highlight of Tuyo’s already highlighted menu.

Most Instagram-able Dish, The Matcha Tiramisu at Oliver Maki in Soho

How it’s rated: Google: 3.9, Yelp: 4.0, Tripadvisor: 4.0
How it’s priced: £££

Located in the heart of hipster Soho, Oliver Maki is a sleek looking Japanese fusion restaurant, led by ex-Nobu sushi chef Louis Kenji Huang. You’ve no doubt seen the very original Matcha Tiramisu on Instagram – well worth a try and the mandatory snap!

The Classic: Bocca di Lupo, Soho

How it’s rated: Google: 4.2, Yelp: 4.2, Tripadvisor: 4.0
How it’s priced: ££

Bocca di Lupo is a small, family-run restaurant opened by Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo back in 2008. Since then, it’s won not only various awards for its honest Italian cuisine, but also the hearts of those seeking out authentic homemade bread, sausages, salami, pickles, mostarda and pasta, all of which are crafted into a shareable menu of small and large plates, also featuring specially-sourced produce from across Italy’s 20 regions. It even boasts its own neighbouring gelateria, meaning you can close your meal as the Italians do: with a scoop or two of homemade gelato.

Boom, third course!! @adammiddleton13 #boccadilupo #epiclunch

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Best steak: Hawksmoor Seven Dials, in Covent Garden

How it’s rated: Google: 4.6, Yelp: 4.5, Tripadvisor: 4.5
How it’s priced: ££££

Don’t underestimate the not-so-secret little brother of the esteemed Spitalfields Hawksmoor – this Covent Garden basement room serves up more than its fair share of big-boy blow out specials. 400g T-bone steak anyone?! Start the week in style with their £5 Monday wine club and the only way is up… Choose from a range of classic cuts of the highest quality cow – but make sure you keep space for the exceptional sides as well as the carnivorous centerpieces. The grilled bone marrow deserves a special mention, but so does the sticky toffee pudding! Let’s not pretend though – this is not a spot for the herbivorous.

Best for taste discovery: Palomar – A little piece of Jerusalem nestled in the heart of Soho

How it’s rated: Google: 4.6, Yelp: 4.5, Tripadvisor: 4.5
How it’s priced: £££

With dishes influenced by Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant, Palomar really knows its spices. It has an impressive bar at the front which overlooks the kitchen, and an intimate dining space to the rear of the restaurant, with plenty of seating for diners. The menu is a tantalising spread of dishes, and the starters- such as soft kubaneh bread and burnt courgette tzatziki- are much more than just fillers, holding their own amidst the more decadent mains. Expect creatively named and exquisitely flavoured dishes such as ‘Octo-hummus’ and ‘the Beets go Prawns’, and finish off with the whimsically named ‘Jerusalem Mess’.

Amba butter squid on the specials 🦑

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Best Pasta: Padella Pasta in Borough Market

How it’s rated: Google: 4.5, Yelp: 4.5, Tripadvisor: 4.5
How it’s priced: £

A short walk from Borough Market, Padella has an atmosphere of culinary innovation; the handmade pasta menu changes daily, as chefs experiment with different fresh ingredients and flavours that promise to deliver. Every visit is unique; one day will offer pillowy ravioli with the mellow nuttiness of truffle oil; the next, silken spools of fettucine with a kick of nduja and mascarpone. Special mention goes to their sourdough, perfect in its own right and as an accompaniment to the pasta sauces. Order a few dishes to share- at very reasonable prices, there’s no need to risk food envy- and make sure to leave room for dessert!

Hidden Gem: Little Social, Mayfair

Literally across the street from the slightly more famous and high key Pollen Street Social, Little Social is Jason Atherton’s heartier and more intimate project. Gentle lighting, oxblood leather banquettes and vintage vs neon decor makes this a perfect setting for relaxed but trendy dining. The menu is studded with little gems such as cottage pie bourguignon and, the cassoulet of cacao beans, confit duck & morteau sausage is a delicious fusion which brings the best of British and french cooking together. With a prix fixe menu offering three courses for £24.50, fine and casual dining doesn’t have to cost the earth.

For indulging (again): Patty & bun, various locations

Even January deserves a tasty burger!

Their burgers are decadent, dramatic and at times, ridiculously artery clogging, but dammit, they’re good. The Ari Gold is an oldie but a goodie and somewhat of a permanent fixture on their menu. Think all the classic burger fillers with an added smokey p&b mayo to finish it off. Plus for an additional £4 you can get an extra patty stuffed in there. Or two.

Best French restaurant: Frenchie in Covent Garden

How it’s rated: Google: 4.5, Yelp: 4.5, Tripadvisor: 4.5
How it’s priced: ££

Covent Garden can leave a lot to be desired for the new visitor. With so much tourist traffic, poor quality can slip through thanks to the sheer numbers. But Frenchie will reward you for choosing so well in the midst of the central London chaos. Modern, light and beautifully-presented French food.

Best Pub Grub: Harwood Arms in Fulham

How it’s rated: Google: 4.5, Yelp: 4.5, Tripadvisor: 4.5
How it’s priced: £££

The much maligned British menu is taken into good hands at Harwood Arms, and as the name suggests they take the pub traditions of this blessed isle seriously, without comprising on the highest quality grub – one Michelin star isn’t found on every West Brompton kerb after all! Tables need to be reserved, but you’ll be relieved how comfy and relaxed they feel once you step through the door. Of course there are handmade Scotch eggs, beautifully-cooked game to bring a crown for and, best of all, a range of real ales that would make your Granddad smile.

Scotch egg.

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Proud to be British: Native in Covent Garden

How it’s rated: Google: 4.6, Yelp: 4.0, Tripadvisor: 4.5
How it’s priced: ££

Celebrated for championing foraged ingredients, Native in Neal’s Yard is all about the wild food of Britain. Combining countryside thrift with innovative, modern cooking, there’s also a focus on local and seasonal produce as well as game, rare breeds and unusual cuts, meaning you can embrace your inner hunter-gatherer without all the leg work with everything from pickled seeds and hogseed salt to wild hare and crispy pigs’ ears. Dinner will set you back £28 for two courses of £35 for three – respectable, for the area – just be sure to give their English wines a go.

Counter Culture – Pull up a stool and embrace the counter culture of this intimate small plates bar in Clapham

How it’s rated: Google: 4.5, Timeout: 5.0, Tripadvisor: 4.5
How it’s priced: ££

Offshoot of The Dairy next door, Counter Culture in Clapham is an intimate snack bar with just 15 seats where customers are encouraged to pull up a stool and eat at the sociable counter from which it takes its name. Serving up a modern British take on Spanish-style pinxto dishes, expect a daily-changing menu of vegetable, fish and meat small plates including bao buns, flatbreads and salami, along with lots of experimentation in pickling and fermentation. There are also one or two dessert dishes each day. Formerly BYOB-only, Counter Culture now has its own alcohol license, but good news: you can still bring your own, with a £10 corkage fee.

The best value set menu: Dinner by Heston, Knightsbridge

How it’s rated: Google: 4.6, Opentable: 4.6, Tripadvisor: 4.5
How it’s priced: ££££ (££ for the lunch menu)

Want a taste of Blumenthal magic without having to mortgage your house? Voila. Heston’s two Michelin Dinner can be found inside the beautiful Mandarin Oriental so yes, it’s pretty snazzy and you’ll want to dress to impress. Available Monday-Friday you can find a £45 set lunch of three courses- which, compared to the prices A la carte, is a steal even if, admitted not cheap. Buy hey, this is best value, not cheapest and value it certainly is!
With a selection of two options per course- which change with the seasons- this is a perfect way to taste Heston’s creations without committing yourself to a full tasting menu or more outlandish dishes.

Best Chinese with a view: Hutong, London Bridge.

How it’s rated: Google: 4.1, Opentable: 4.3, Tripadvisor: 4.0
How it’s priced: £££

Hutong on level 33 of the Shard and that of course means that you are paying for the view and the prestige. This is pimped out dim sum- think caviar, champagne, and monkfish all cooked up into deliciously extravagant bites. Although their a la carte is dangerous ground for those on a budget, they do offer a four course lunch menu at £35pp which includes all of their greatest hits and will leave you feeling like the smug bargain hunter you are.

Want more on London’s top restaurants?

Here are the Top Bites in London according to local foodies!