The best restaurants in Clapham

Need a local favourite near that big 'ol Common? Here’s our pick of the best restaurants in Clapham
Jamie Lau
By Time Out London Food & Drink |
Advertising
Clapham houses many great restaurants that provide exceptional food at more-than-reasonable prices. Need a relaxed yet elegant restaurant that serves sublime French cuisine? Trinity. Want to pick up a pastry? Just try and walk past Madeleine – it's practically impossible. Prepare yourself for a southwest-side restaurant crawl, people. You won't regret it.

The best restaurants in Clapham

Restaurants, Spanish

Barsito

icon-location-pin Clapham

There’s a genuine Spanish feel to this tiny tapas bar: the vibe is informal, hams hang from the ceiling, diners eat at the counter and drinkers mingle in. The food preparation area (we can’t call it a kitchen) makes a caravan’s galley look spacious, but the no-frills menu is spot-on for flavour.

Restaurants, British

Bistro Union

icon-location-pin Clapham Park

Out in Abbeville Village, this self-styled ‘quintessentially British bistro’ succeeds on so many levels. Staff are chummy and welcoming, the room looks quirkily rustic and cutlery is kept in drawers under the tables. Meanwhile, shelves of homemade preserves and fruit gins set the tone for the kitchen’s slightly homespun approach.

Advertising
Restaurants, Spanish

Boqueria Tapas

icon-location-pin Brixton

Holed up in Clapham Park (en route to Brixton), Boqueria offers a fresh, modern take on the tapas theme that merits repeat visits. The vibe is laid-back and the L-shaped space has been thoroughly optimised, with aluminium stools along the spot-lit bar that leads to the main restaurant. References to the mother country are plentiful.

Restaurants, Contemporary European

Counter Culture

icon-location-pin Clapham

An oh-so-brilliant spin-off to Robin Gill’s Dairy next door, Counter Culture serves ‘how do you make that’ small plates in a seriously unpretentious setting dominated by counter seating (obvs). Staff are all tattoos and charisma, the music’s old school, booze is strictly BYO and the loos are next door. And you can book!

Advertising
Restaurants, British

The Dairy

icon-location-pin Clapham

Recycled furniture, workshop light fittings, a bar serving craft beers: it might look like another booze and burger joint – or maybe an Italian ‘small plates’ place – but The Dairy doesn’t churn out a formula. Seasonal British ingredients are treated with a level of finesse that would be the envy of many high-end Japanese restaurants.

Restaurants, Pizza

Joe Public

icon-location-pin Clapham

An artisan yet fast-food joint in a stools-only space that was formerly a public loo (hipster ticks all round), Joe is all about by-the-slice US-style pizzas cut from 20-inch whoppers. Toppings are strictly stateside and there’s Joe Public own-brand lager to drink. Prices (from £4 a slice) are an absolute steal for a high-speed sit-down meal.

Advertising
Restaurants, Fish and chips

Kerbisher & Malt

icon-location-pin Clapham Park

A perfect fit for increasingly gentrified Abbeville Village, this branch of the Kerbisher & Malt chain gives fish and chips a bit of a shake-up for trend-conscious Londoners. Wood-panelled booths and industrial lighting create a knowingly retro look, while the menu includes sustainable coley in matzo meal alongside more traditional chippie stalwarts.

Restaurants, French

Madeleine

icon-location-pin Clapham

In a prime spot at the fashionable end of Clapham Common, Madeleine is one of several cafés with outside tables geared to the passing trade between the Old Town and the tube. It’s also the best of the bunch, is charmingly French and is dedicated to serving breads, cakes and pastries from its (partly visible) in-house bakery.  

Advertising
Restaurants, Snack bars

Mamalan

icon-location-pin Clapham

An offshoot of the original on Brixton Market, this no-bookings, cash-only Chinese café is typical of a new wave of entrepreneurs who have moved from running supper clubs to setting up their own premises (helped by social media). With its smooth service and consistently good food, we reckon that Mamalan has got it bang on.  

Guy Dimond
Restaurants, Ice-cream parlours

Nardulli

icon-location-pin Clapham

Custom-built for sizzling hot days on Clapham Common, this low-key Italian-run ice-cream parlour serves up mamma and papa’s gelati just as they should be done – smooth, creamy and downright delizioso. They also do proper coffee, affogato, milkshakes, crêpes, waffles and even luscious gelato cakes. It’s a little lick of heaven in SW4.

Advertising
Bars and pubs

No 32 The Old Town

icon-location-pin Clapham

Visit in high summer and you can expect an invasion of boozed-up Clapham sun-lovers, but turn up when it’s quieter and you’ll appreciate No 32’s French windows opening on to the street, its first-floor terrace overlooking the common and the chic modern interior of this attractively refurbished boozer. Alternatively, come early for breakfast.

Restaurants, British

The Rookery

icon-location-pin Clapham

Slightly tucked away from Clapham’s hullabaloo, this up-tempo bar and dining room mixes pared-back interiors (bare lightbulbs, ceramic tiles, exposed cabling) with artisan beers, gluggable wines and a menu of backpacking global food – Tanzanian-style sea bass anyone? It’s just the place to get merry with your well-behaved pals.  

Advertising
Foti Jupa
Britta Jaschinski
Restaurants, Snack bars

Roti Joupa

icon-location-pin Clapham

Homesick Trinidadians come to Roti Joupa for curried goat, stew chicken and other culinary pick-me-ups. They’re also here for the cold macaroni pie, the ‘doubles’ (roti filled with chickpea curry) and the pholourie (dough balls with tamarind sauce). Prices are low and there are stools for perching, but this is food for the street.

Restaurants, Cafés

Tart

icon-location-pin Clapham

On the main drag between Old Town and the tube, this is probably London’s only tart-based bakery and café, serving up ‘hot and tasty’ high-sided savoury combos and sprightly salads with assorted drinks. Afternoon means coffee and cake, so expect a constant stream of commuters, yummy mummies and self-employed flâneurs.

Advertising
Restaurants, French

Trinity

icon-location-pin Clapham

Trinity remains Clapham’s best restaurant, a destination for special occasions and celebratory splurges. It also gets just the right balance between smart (neat napery, cutting-edge cooking) and casual (smiling staff, conversational hubbub). Prices might cause some eyebrow-raising (lunch £40, diner £55 for three courses), but the cooking is as good as ever.

Restaurants, Japanese

Tsunami

icon-location-pin Clapham

Still a big wave washing through Clapham, Tsunami serves up beautifully presented sushi, teriyaki, tempura and other Japanese crowd-pleasers in a gussied-up setting of wooden screens and luxurious leather seating. The cocktails flow, and welcoming international staff ensure that the experience is never intimidating.

Advertising
Restaurants, Indian

Zumbura

icon-location-pin Clapham

What do you do next if you’ve built two successful furniture businesses from scratch, and want a new challenge? Open an Indian restaurant. Or at least, that’s what Aamir Ahmad and his colleagues have done. Their background in fashionable interior design explains Zumbura’s good looks, while the cooking takes inspiration from ‘mum’s kitchen’.

And here are the best restaurants in all of London

Restaurants

The 100 best restaurants in London

We spent the whole year tirelessly restaurant-hopping, to create our ultimate guide to the finest eateries in London. If you’re looking for an exciting meal, this is the right place.

Snap up exclusive discounts in London

Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...

Advertising