Planque
Photograph: Planque

London restaurant reviews

The newest restaurants, reviewed by our critics

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Our ultimate goal is to connect you directly with your city’s best chefs, bartenders and makers. Let us sift through the hype and shine a spotlight on must-try destinations that might not be on your radar just yet. Join us as we set out to rediscover our cities together – one meal at a time. 

Catch up with the reviews you may have missed. Updated regularly, this is our archive of 'recent reviews'. For the bang-up-to-date ‘current reviews’, check out the pages for either restaurants or bars.

Latest London restaurant reviews

  • Spanish
  • Finsbury Park
  • price 2 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

It’s 10 minutes before the shutters at Spanish-styled fish bar Tollington’s come up for evening service, and already the kind of crowd who could just as easily be found smoking rollies at the RA summer party have gathered in the hope of grasping a much-desired walk-in ledge.  Tollington’s is the latest opening from the folk who first popped up as burger boys Four Legs at The Compton Arms. In 2021 they launched The Plimsoll, a hype-y gastro reworking of an old Irish boozer popular for twenty-something gorp-core blokes and Brat summer girlies, and now they’re bringing the coolest of cool kids to the equally trendy Tollington’s. Sassy smoked eel omelette, complete with a sultry yolk-y ooze, is the belle of the underwater ball But don’t let that put you off. With all the talk of Hackney reaching its final form and becoming just another Clapham, it’s surely time for North London to shine. Tollington’s has subsumed what was once a Finsbury Park fish and chip shop, and created something that still looks exactly like a Finsbury Park fish and chip shop, with its tiled floors, old school pine counters, and original sign intact. Which actually makes it feel more like a backstreet San Sebastian pintxos bar than any fancy refit ever could. There are tables in the back room, but the party seems to be in the perching room-only front bar, where wrinkly Canary Islands-style spuds sit in the glass units that used to be home to battered sausages, and the fridges are stacked with bottles of effe

  • Grills
  • Mayfair
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

A fancy-pants resto-jewel buried within London’s (arguably) fanciest hotel, Connaught Grill is a must visit for anyone who hangs around Mayfair and doesn’t mind dropping a few hundy quid on a good meal. If that describes you: hello Mr or Ms nought-point-one percent! Please step this way. Straddled across the corner of Adam’s Row and Carlos Place, like a classical dandy, sprawled across a velvet chaise longue, the Connaught is class incarnate. The hotel’s surprisingly intimate marble and dark-wood interior contains all sorts of historic, deliriously glamorous spots like the cocktail bar (frequently voted as one of the best in the world), the restaurant (three Michelin stars, don’t worry about it), and even a Lynchian speakeasy called the Red Room. The Grill, which was recently refurbished, has a load of mid-century credentials of its own. Ian Flemming ate steaks there. In the 1970s The New York Times said it served ‘the finest meal in the British Isles’. Serious business, then. Like a classical dandy, sprawled across a velvet chaise longue, the Connaught is class incarnate Decor-wise, the Grill’s got its own thing going on. Witness the zen-adjacent decor, which is (pleasantly) at odds with the hotel’s grandeur, its Japanese-flavoured ambience, supplied by lots of rosewood and screens between tables. It doesn’t scream ‘fun’. But this is the Connaught. There is no screaming of any kind. The food, like the room, is immaculate. It also looks expensive. Take the bread; brioche pad

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  • Gastropubs
  • Maida Vale
  • price 3 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

What looks like a pub and sounds like a pub, but isn’t really a pub?  The Hero might have many hallmarks of a proper British boozer (beer on tap, a slightly eerie painted sign swinging in the breeze, The Clash creaking out of the speakers) but you couldn’t just come here for just a pint. There are no stools at the bar, for starters. On a sunny Friday lunchtime everyone here is ordering food and most of them are drinking wine.  It’s a savoury version of a chocolate lava cake, oozing ogleshield out of pastry that is essentially, nothing but crust What The Hero is though, is a great restaurant. And a beautiful one at that, with peachy plaster walls, stripped wooden floors, and a moneyed cottagecore aesthetic that give it the same aspirational energy as an extremely scrollable listing on The Modern House.  The latest opening from the team behind the ever-so-swanky and similarly pub-not-pub outings The Pelican in Notting Hill and The Bull in Charlbury, The Hero used to be the slightly more long-winded The Hero of Maida and before that, The Truscott Arms, and so on and so on all the way back to the 1870s, when it was built as the grand Victiorian lodging known as the Shirland Hotel. Which is to say that change is inevitable, authenticity is but a construct and we should just sit back and enjoy the cod cheeks.  Which we do, and enthusiastically. There are sizable snacks of sticky lamb ribs and a toastie bursting with dense ogleshield and a tart Branston-esque pickle. Better still i

  • Mediterranean
  • Soho
  • price 3 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

You’ve been here before. Almost.  With a clientele which would be perfect for a Love Island spin-off featuring exclusively people with ‘entrepreneur’ in their bios and a healthy amount of exposed pipework, The Counter is what those in the know would probably call ‘trendy’. Its dim lights, small plate selection, and strategically chipped brick feature wall put it on the verge of parodically hip, but a glance at its menu and a quick chat with any member of its team reveal it to be much more down to Earth than some of its equally Instagrammable peers. If you close your eyes you can almost feel the Istanbuli breeze flowing through your hair The sense of deja-vu you feel may not be coming solely from its open-plan bar though. Chef Kemal Demirasal’s first UK venture, opened up two years ago in Notting Hill to much success. Originally from Turkey, he’s taken much of the charm of the original joint (as well as its most popular recipes and excellent cocktails) and transported it to Kingly Street – and combined it with a series of fresh ideas and a lot of seafood. Fresh is definitely the operative word. The cocktails are infused with real fruit. The tomatoes have been imported from Turkey. There’s sort-of-caviar sprinkled on avocado-topped fish. If you close your eyes and just bite, you can almost feel the Istanbuli breeze flowing through your hair. A series of enthusiastic staff members recommended a variety of dishes to us. Some, like the tomato salad or prawns, were familiar classi

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  • Greek
  • Borough
  • price 2 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Blessedly, the tyranny of the no-bookings London restaurant has dimmed. Five years ago you couldn’t move for walk-ins-only joints (hello Bao and Barrafina) with queues stretching down the streets of Soho as far as the eye could see. But bookings have been back, baby, for a while – however, so too is the dreaded weeks-long wait for a table at the hottest of hot spots. Think you’ll get a last minute four-top at Mambow? Are you quite sane? It’s refreshing then, to find a place you can simply stroll up to and sit down immediately-ish– or, at the very least, after an indulgent wait while perched on an al fresco ledge with a basil daiquiri or frosty fro-marg in hand.  Was it like a miniature Hawaiian pizza with ideas above its station? Yes. Was it sensational? Truly No-bookings Agora actually happens to be located below one of those oh-god-it’s-going-to-be-a-month-before-we-can-get-a-table places; the great, Greek-ish Oma, to which we recently gave a thumping five star review. Agora is run by the same man, Manteca mastermind David Carter, whose Midas touch shows no sign of fading. He’s here tonight, dashing between upstairs and downstairs as if he’s starring in a 1990s sitcom scene about someone on two simultaneous dates. Such flagrant two-timing is totally acceptable when the food is this bloody good. Dishes at Agora also take their jumping off point from Greece, but while upstairs is more fish-focussed and island-inspired, downstairs pays tribute to the rustic street food of Ath

  • British
  • Old Street
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

The Clove Club means different things to different people. Opened in 2013, it quickly became proof that Michelin star restaurants weren’t all resigned to a Mayfair or Chelsea postcode (The Clove Club’s first star came in 2014, their second in 2022). To others, it was the final boss in Shoreditch’s decades-long journey to gentrification, and confirmation that rent in east London would never be affordable ever again.  What you’ll find a decade or so later is a place that wears its numerous accolades lightly, with none of the bluff and bluster of other highfalutin establishments. First, there’s the restaurant itself, tucked into a couple of demure, high-ceilinged rooms in the old Shoreditch Town Hall. Built in a time when municipal spaces were created with as much pride as a Hampstead mansion, this Grade II listed building boasts elegantly turned ceiling roses, parquet floors and big, airy windows, as well as one of the most memorable restrooms in London (an ornate Victorian loo that’s anything but bog-standard). It is nice without being flashy, cosy without being cramped.  A soft nugget of pine-salt dusted buttermilk fried chicken is served in a leafy wreath, like some kind of pagan KFC Longstanding master of ceremonies is Isaac McHale, The Clove Club’s Orkney-born chef-patron, who seems to have Forrest Gump-ed himself into the kitchen of every brilliant restaurant of the past 20 years. He started at Glasgow’s Stravaigin, before a five-year stint at The Ledbury and a stage at

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  • Contemporary European
  • Holloway
  • price 2 of 4
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Half Cut Market
Half Cut Market

What makes a perfect wine bar? Well there’s the wine, for starters. Lots of it. The classics and the stuff you want to take photos of. Then there’s the vibe of the place; cosy, dimly lit, but fun enough to laugh obnoxiously loudly and not get looks. The music mustn’t be too loud (I don’t like to shout) but definitely not too quiet either. The food should come out on little plates at random times so I feel like I’m in Spain.  Half Cut Market, found in that no man’s land between Holloway, Kentish Town and King’s Cross (I’d probably say it’s in Cally Road, if one can be ‘in’ Cally Road), is a perfect wine bar. It’s a bit of a nothingy strip of shops, so Half Cut was welcomed with open arms when it launched in 2021, then got even more love after appointing Jack Newton as head chef and becoming one of the best restaurants in the area. It knows its target market; young and cool, with knowledgeable staff, good tunes, a wine rack labelled with multicoloured fridge magnet letters (‘zippy whites,’ ‘weird whites,’ oranges and more), as well as tables outside for that final glass of chilled red and a ciggie.  The focaccia here reigns supreme, so mighty soft I want to curl it around me and sleep for three days Every small plates spot worth its dough in London will start you off with focaccia, but the focaccia here reigns supreme, so mighty soft I want to curl it around me and tuck it under my chin and sleep for three days, or possibly slap my dinner companion round the face with it to he

  • Grills
  • Shoreditch
  • price 3 of 4
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

When you think of a Shoreditch restaurant, TT is the kind of place that comes to mind; all stark wood and exposed brick, with a roof terrace featuring decor that isn’t a far cry from nearby Shoreditch House (think hanging bamboo lampshades, loadsa plants and rattan furniture). The ‘ditch might not be as cool as it once was, with tech bros and finance workers encroaching on its graffitied streets, but it’s still packed full of creative directors, plucky advertising interns and streetwear designers. TT is the kind of place where execs and hipsters can exist in harmony, and both have a nice time doing it. On a midweek evening in spring the place was packed with fashionable couples, after-work friends and preppy young professionals. Formerly known as TT Liquor, a bar with regular guest chef residencies, they’ve recently upped the food offering to become a full-blown restaurant. In the kitchen is ex-Oren head chef Sam Lone – he’s curated a menu of small and big woodfired dishes. Given that TT used to be a straight up cocktail bar, drinks were fabulous. The Violet Tendencies was floral, delicate and a mystical shade of blue. Its polar opposite, but equally delicious, was the sultry Lucifer; a rich concoction of bourbon and chocolate bitters. A mature drink.  Chargrilled aubergine was sweet, smokey and wonderfully gooey On the food front, things were a bit hit and miss. Let’s start with the good. An impressively big and pillowy focaccia was a serious statement dish, thanks to its l

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  • Holland Park
  • price 3 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

You’ll find Julie’s at the very nexus of the Richard Curtis/Paddington axis of twee, where the smell of wisteria is so pungent it’s as if Jo Malone herself has piped it in. Opened on a residential Holland Park street in 1969 by Julie Hodgess, an interior designer who kitted out stores for high-end hippy fashion house Biba, her restaurant set the template for bohemian west London with stained glass, expensive antiques and fabrics bold enough to make your grandma blush. Over the next few decades Julie’s attracted grizzled rockers and glossy It girls alike. It was the kind of place where you imagine Patsy and Eddie from Ab Fab would get slaughtered on Bolly, while real life celebs of the Tina Turner, Princess Diana, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Kate Moss ilk were regulars. Owen Kenworthy's menu at Julie’s straddles the line between bistro staples and cheffy flair, with no room for passing fads The latest incarnation of Julie’s doubles down on the fabulous interiors, with fresh chintz, chicly mismatched furnishings and staff in Laura Ashley-esque outfits complete with frilled necklines. Back in the day, Julie’s was known more for a good time than a good feed, but new owner Tara MacBain is doing her best to change all that with help from chef patron Owen Kenworthy. After proving himself at both Brawn and The Pelican, his menu at Julie’s straddles the line between bistro staples and cheffy flair, with no room for passing fads. Burrata is banned. Avocado has been 86’d. Take for

  • Bakeries
  • Herne Hill
  • price 1 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

‘Look at us,’ exclaims a woman in the 50-strong line trailing down Dulwich Road at 9.45am on a Sunday morning. ‘We used to queue for clubs and now we’re queuing for bakeries!’ Such is the way of modern London, where the sesh has, for many, been replaced by a got-to-have-it pastry that offers as much of a serotonin boost as anything that might happen post-midnight at Fabric. Bunhead Bakery is the bricks and mortar debut for Bunhead Bakes, a pandemic-born organic and sourdough-specific food market favourite from self-taught baker Sara Assad-Manning. After serving up seriously sticky buns for the past few years across south London, she’s finally found a forever home in a sweet little storefront opposite Brockwell Park and, if the queues are anything to go by, isn’t far off ‘local legend’ status. One bun is inspired by the Palestinian pudding knafeh, drenched with syrup and studded with wisps of shredded phyllo and rose petals. Simply gorgeous Assad-Manning’s Palestinian heritage is key to what makes her food so important. Of course, there are the buns; lovely, sticky hunks of sweet bread, from pink-glazed rose and cardamom swirls to a juicy baklava-esque take on proceedings and an OG cinnamon offering, as well as one inspired by the Palestinian pudding knafeh, drenched with syrup and studded with wisps of shredded phyllo and rose petals. Simply gorgeous. There are savoury options too, a ‘salty’ bun stuffed with zingy za’atar and crumbles of feta or a vegan-friendly musakhan with

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