The best restaurants in Hammersmith
The cooking at this no-nonsense Hammersmith establishment is largely from the Isan region of north-east Thailand and includes multiple versions of green papaya salad, embellished with anything from salted duck egg to sausage. Also expect various southern dishes such as sour prawn curry or turmeric-marinated sea bass prepared by cook Auntie Bee. Staff treat locals with congeniality.
A converted artist’s studio behind the Hammersmith Apollo provides the setting for this branch of the Gate mini-chain. Expect colourful, nourishing, eclectic dishes with plenty of ambition and serious veggie and vegan cred, including meze platters (salty feta fritters, mushroom ceviche, featherlight artichoke tempura) and global big-hitters such as aubergine ‘teriyaki’, raw pad Thai or wild mushroom risotto cake. Excellent puds too.
Perched at the zenith of London-based fish and chippery, this branch of scrubbed-up Kerbisher & Malt goes that extra mile for its loyal Brook Green customers. High-quality fillets are freshly dunked in floaty-light batter, chips are double-fried, the rich tartare sauce is made in-house, and the onion rings are pickled, adding an appealing vinegary tang.
Many Iranian restaurants strive to emulate the informality of the dinner parties at which so much of their nation’s cuisine is served. Not so with Mahdi, a sprawling space exotically festooned with carved wood, embroidered fabrics and even a stuffed peacock in one corner. To eat, bypass Western dishes such as chicken Caesar salad in favour of authentic meze, grills, kebabs, rice and stews. Portions are humongous.
It's on the same road as the high-stepping River Café, but this bijou family-run neighbourhood Lebanese restaurant couldn’t be more different. Kitsch, kooky, colourful and stuffed with knick-knacks (musical instruments, fans etc), it feels like someone’s front room with a kitchen in the middle blasting out heat and spicy aromas. Don’t be fooled by the French name, the food’s authentically Middle Eastern, straightforward and generous.
Hardly known for its pretty fancies, Hammersmith is moving into the fast lane with this on-trend Parisian bakery/patisserie/café. Retro-patterned wallpaper and lime-coloured walls set the scene, and there are a few tables inside (and out back) if you want to eat in. Top-rate crusty baguettes and soft milk breads host life-affirming fillings, while the patisserie includes the best tarte aux pommes we’ve tasted in London.
With its beach-style wooden bar, hessian cushions, beads and quirky curios, Potli has a tropical street-bazaar vibe. Locals visit for classic curries, smoky grills and regional riffs from all corners of the subcontinent – don’t miss the steamed banana-leaf packets stuffed with Gujarati-style prawns or the mega rogan josh lamb shank (enough for two). Drinks range from spiced martinis to bottles of Meantime IPA.
Set back from the Thames Path, the Michelin-starred River Café is a riverside icon in its own right. Warm, buzzy and expensive (in a semi-casual way), it’s dedicated to serving unfussy yet stunning Italian food based on artisanal seasonal ingredients. OK, prices are excruciating, but portions are generous – go for a summer lunch, sit on the terrace and live it large like an A-lister.
Popular with students and aficionados of south Indian vegetarian cuisine, Sagar has gained renown for its keenly priced homely cooking, with four outlets now running across the capital. The King Street original is an attractive, smart-looking venue serving a please-all regional menu spanning everything from steamed idli dumplings and bhel puris to dosas galore, uthapams (lentil ‘pizzas’) and assorted veggie curries.
West London is something of a desert for Vietnamese food, but this unfailingly welcoming spot near Ravenscourt Park more than makes amends. Pho is a treat here, with a strong stock and all the power of traditional flavours and herbs. Top marks for the crisp vegetarian spring rolls, the flavoursome soft-shell crab and the slow-cooked pork with quail’s eggs. Reliably good all round.
A welcome blast of subcontinental warmth on Hammersmith’s frenetic main drag, Shilpa quietly goes about its business, delivering south Indian and Keralan cooking at surprisingly low prices. The food regularly outshines the unassuming surroundings as the kitchen knocks out mouthwatering meat curries, deftly spiced fish dishes and plenty for veggies too. Dining here is also a bargain, especially at lunchtime.
In a parade of shops near Ravenscourt Park, this friendly neighbourhood Japanese won’t win any prizes for sparkle or pizazz, but locals come here for the food, especially the flame-cooked skewers from the robata grill. Cheap sets and tapas-style combos are the way to go, and there’s plenty for fans of raw fish too (check out the range of nigiri, temaki and sashimi).
Claudio Vescovo and Gianluca D'Angelo caused a stir when they opened Zia Lucia in Holloway, and now they’re bringing their pizza magic to west London. Like the original, their Brook Green outpost is a family-friendly joint with the emphasis firmly on delectable wood-fired beauties. Choose from four 48-hour fermented doughs (nutty wholemeal, vegetable charcoal, gluten-free etc) and pick from a host of classic and new toppings.
A local hub for Hammersmith’s Somali families, this oddball basement restaurant feels a bit like a community centre, complete with workaday furniture, polystyrene cups and an easy-clean tiled floor. Much of the menu reflects Somalia’s historic links to Italian east Africa, so pasta sits alongside soft Somali bread, spicy stews and the like (don’t be fazed by the strange dish names). No alcohol on the premises.
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