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The best restaurants in Hampstead

Our pick of the best places to drink and dine in London’s leafy north-west

By Time Out London Food & Drink
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January 2019: We’ve added a couple of eateries that are currently rocking Hampstead: The Swing (pan-Asian canteen and chef’s tables) and Mama’s Kubo (home-style Filipino cooking). For something more sophisticated, there’s also modern British destination restaurant Hām.  

Strolling around Hampstead Heath is hungry work – lucky there are scores of top places in the area to refuel. Chow down on coffee and pastries in a local café like Ginger & White, or treat yourself to something a little more swish at one of the area’s upmarket eateries.

Restaurants and cafés in Hampstead

The Brew House Café

Restaurants British Hampstead Heath

Now run by Searcys, The Brew House Café at Kenwood House is an institution frequented by old and young, wellied and well-heeled alike. Tuck into a warming bowl of soup or a refreshing salad; alternatively, simply sip a latte while reading the newspaper. If the weather permits, head to the tiered, sheltered terrace – one of the prettiest spots for afternoon tea in north London.

Ginger & White

Restaurants British Hampstead

There are better sources of cake within a muffin’s throw, but Hampstead has a soft spot for this affable child-friendly coffee shop hidden down a cobbled alleyway. Come here for all-day breakfasts, weekend brunch and daily lunches, as well as coffee and cake in the afternoon. The owners have expanded their set-up, with a bigger, licensed outlet now trading in Belsize Park.  

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Ham

Restaurants British West Hampstead

It’s named after the old English word for ‘home’, but don’t be fooled, there’s nothing folksy about Hām. This West Hampstead destination feels sophisticated but relaxed, and the kitchen turns out luxuriously simple food to match – from dazzling tempura asparagus with miso-tinged hollandaise to a fleshy, fatty wedge of Saddleback pork with anchovies, roasted onion and sharp cucumber. Service chimes with the special-occasion prices.

Jin Kichi

Restaurants Japanese Hampstead

Jin Kichi’s elegant green facade is still a welcome sight on bijou Heath Street after all these years – a sure sign that its mainstream Japanese cuisine is a good fit for the neighbourhood. A robata grill holds centre stage in the homely no-frills dining room, so expect plenty of yakitori skewers alongside neatly presented sushi, tempura, tonkatsu pork, udon noodles and other classics. Takeaways too.  

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Les Filles

Restaurants Cafés Hampstead

What was LLS Café is now Les Filles, but the ‘clean food’ ethos is unchanged at this très jolie café/deli near Hampstead Heath. Originally founded by two French filles (hence the name), it offers an all-day menu kicking off with vitamin-packed smoothies and energy-giving breakfast bowls such as the famous mochachia (coffee chia pudding topped with cacao nibs, pecan and coconut cream). After that, expect sandwiches, soups and colourful layered salads with names like ‘sumptuously red’ and ‘the golden one’. Branches in Lancaster Gate and Waterloo.

Mama's Kubo

Restaurants Filipino Finchley Road

Home-style Filipino cooking comes to Hampstead in the shape of this café/restaurant from Alan Yau alumnus Rommel Bustarde (ex-Wagamama, Busaba Eathai, etc). Expect a sweet, sour and salty flavour trip plus a mash-up of Spanish, Chinese, Malaysian and Indonesian influences all rolled together in dishes such as kare kare (oxtail and vegetables stewed in peanut sauce), pancit palabok noodles or squid adobo (braised in garlic, vinegar and soy).

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The Swing

Restaurants Contemporary Asian West Hampstead

‘Colourful, crispy, smoky, charred, steamed, sticky, burnt, flamed food for friends’ is the schtick, and The Swing proves its point with a backpacking pan-Asian menu that pulls in everything from Korean chicken gyozas and spicy tuna tacos to smoked short-rib sliders or miso candy sweetcorn (from the robata grill). Graze in the canteen (walk-ins welcome) or reserve one of the chef’s tables for a 12-dish ‘trust me’ tasting menu.

More Hampstead highlights

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© Britta Jaschinski

Hampstead area guide

Things to do

First fashionable for its spa waters in the eighteenth century, Hampstead has long been London's most gorgeous hilltop hideaway. Between Hampstead Village and Highgate, its heath is a stunning, 791-acre patchwork of woodland, playing fields, swimming ponds and meadows. With its mix of picturesque countryside, historical buildings and cosmopolitan shops and restaurants, Hampstead is a breath of fresh air for even the most jaded Londoner. 

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