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London’s best Chinese restaurants

From delicate Cantonese cooking to fiery Sichuan delights and high-end banquet-style dishes – it’s all in our round-up of London’s best Chinese food

Din Tai Fung
Din Tai Fung
By Time Out London Food & Drink |
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January 2019: We’ve added Kym's (Andrew Wong’s new restaurant in the Bloomberg Arcade), the London flagship of cult international dumpling chain Din Tai Fung, the Mayfair outpost of high-class specialist Imperial Treasure, plus two hotpot hotspots: Shu Xiang Ge and Little Lamb.

Chopsticks at the ready! London’s Chinese food scene is a diverse beast. There’s Cantonese dim sum, fiery xinjiang hotpots, snazzed-up teahouse staples, fragrant Sichuan dishes and classic Beijing duck (and way, way more), at eateries both high end and super casual – including some of the city’s best spots and most sought after places for cheap eats (there are a few in Chinatown, too). They’re all included in our round-up of London’s best Chinese restaurants.

RECOMMENDED: Find more great restaurants for every occasion

The best Chinese restaurants in London

A Wong
Jessica Long
Restaurants, Chinese

A Wong

icon-location-pin Victoria

Forget gilded dragons, book-length menus and stir-fries by numbers, Andrew Wong’s pared-back Pimlico Chinese is a singular affair offering elevated cuisine at everyday prices. Preserved duck egg with marinated tofu, chill and soy is typical, as is poached razor clam with sea cucumber, vinegar tapioca and wind-dried sausage. Enjoy at your leisure.

BaoziInn020.jpg
© Rob Greig
Restaurants, Chinese

BaoziInn (Newport Court)

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Kitsch Communist Revolution decor meets northern Chinese street food tidied up for London at this lively joint on Newport Court (there’s a second, much more intimate off-shoot around the corner on Romilly Street, too). True to Sichuanese form, red is the predominant colour and chilli fire the overriding taste sensation: dan dan noodles, ‘smacked’ cucumber salad and crescent dumplings are all good. Yes, the food’s spicy, but it’s also deliciously cheap.

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Restaurants, Chinese

Barshu

icon-location-pin Soho

The original of a Sichuan gang that also includes Baozi Inn, Barshu is a refreshing change from Chinatown’s mostly Cantonese restaurants. Come here for prairie tripe, ‘fragrant and hot’ pig’s trotters, stir-fried chicken gizzards with pickled chilli and other fiery tongue-tinglers – just remember to have plenty of soothing tea on tap. 

Restaurants, Chinese

Café TPT

icon-location-pin Chinatown

At a glance, Café TPT’s menu looks longer than the complete musings of Confucius, with offerings from across mainland China and beyond. Best bets are Cantonese staples such as succulent roast duck on rice or garlicky prawn-stuffed tofu in a hot stone pot, although we crave the Hong Kong-style ‘Tai pai tong hawker dishes’ too.

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Restaurants, Taiwanese

Din Tai Fung

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

A world-famous Taiwanese restaurant with an outpost in Covent Garden, Din Tai Fung is known for its street food small plates and signature xiao long bao (soup dumplings). These delicate steamed parcels come served in bamboo baskets and filled with the likes of spicy pork, chilli crab and soft prawn. While you’re there, be sure to order the crispy prawn pancakes, and the wontons with black vinegar and chilli oil.

Restaurants, Chinese

Etles

icon-location-pin Walthamstow

Something a bit different, this family-run restaurant specialises in Uyghur cuisine – a fusion of Chinese, Middle Eastern and Persian influences developed by ethnic groups around the Silk Road. Traditional dishes such as ox tongue in chilli and vinegar or herb-marinated lamb hoof with peppers are great value – and a world away from sweet-and-sour.  

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Restaurants, Chinese

Four Seasons

icon-location-pin Chinatown

A famous purveyor of Cantonese roasted meats, long-serving Four Seasons still deals in the ‘golden trio’: crispy duck (a contender for London’s best), char siu (barbecued pork) and siew yoke (crispy pork belly). Everyone is here for plates of these chunky specialities on rice, although the 20-page menu is full of possibilities.  

Restaurants, Chinese

Gold Mine

icon-location-pin Queensway

It may look like a provincial function room, but this Chinese roast meat specialist attracts as many visitors from the Far East as it does local students. The must-orders are the duck and char sui (barbecued pork), which can be seen hanging in the open kitchen by the front window – although most dishes pass muster.

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Restaurants, Chinese

Hakkasan

icon-location-pin Fitzrovia

Launched back in 2001, this Michelin-starred Cantonese trendsetter remains a benchmark against which all high-end Chinese restaurants should be judged. It’s one for the big spenders, who lap up dazzling signature dishes such as roasted silver cod with champagne and honey or jasmine tea-smoked organic pork ribs. Sexy, moody and oh-so cool.  

Hunan Chinese restaurant
Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness
Restaurants, Chinese

Hunan

icon-location-pin Chelsea

Visit this acclaimed but under-the-radar Chinese and you’ll be asked if there’s anything you can’t/won’t eat and what level of spice you like. After that, you’re in the kitchen’s hands as wave upon wave of progressively larger plates arrive, often with the distinctive taste of Hunanese regional cuisine. Not cheap, but worth it.

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Restaurants, Chinese

Imperial Treasure

icon-location-pin St James’s

One of only a handful of London restaurants dealing in refined Cantonese food, Imperial Treasure is a grand, high-ceilinged spot in Mayfair with classy service and even better barbecued duck (the delicious kind you’ll find hanging in the window in Chinatown). The prices border on blow-out, so order carefully. One for a special occasion.

Restaurants, Contemporary Asian

Hutong

icon-location-pin Borough and London Bridge

Like the original Hutong in Hong Kong, this London offshoot is a glitzy, high-end Chinese with magnificent views. It has the same northern Chinese menu, the same plate glass surrounds and the same ersatz Old Beijing decor. The only difference is in the spicing, which has been slightly dialled down for Western palates.

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Restaurants, Chinese

Jen Café

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Although this green-painted café calls itself a tea specialist, it’s the hand-wrapped dumplings that keep us coming back. The cheapest are the northern Chinese jiao zi (aka ‘Beijing dumplings’) – eight white sachets filled to bursting with pork or vegetables for a fiver. OK, we’ll come clean – they’re one of our go-to Chinatown snacks.

Restaurants, Chinese

Kym's

icon-location-pin Bank

Andrew Wong’s Bloomberg Arcade restaurant specialises in small plates of modern Chinese food (though there are larger plates too) and has great vibes and great service to boot. The street food dishes are a delight: don’t miss the trio of soft bao, served DIY-style with juicy lamb that’s been doused in warm cumin and a smooth sesame-and-peanut dip on the side.

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Little Lamb023.jpg
© Rob Greig
Restaurants, Chinese

Little Lamb

icon-location-pin Shaftesbury Avenue

This buzzy Chinese restaurant on the northern edge of Chinatown is a hotspot for hotpots. Choose your broth (they range from the healthy-sounding ‘herbal tonic’ all the way through to the ‘hot and numbing pot’, heady with the smell of Sichuan pepper), your raw ingredients (pork, beef, lamb, squid, fish balls) and get cooking at the table.

Restaurants, Chinese

Mama Lan

icon-location-pin Brixton

Inspired by the Beijing stall run by owner Ning Ma’s grandparents, deliciously ramshackle Mama Lan serves hearty northern-Chinese street food – in particular, dumplings. Brown-bottomed beef and pork pot-stickers fly out of the kitchen at an impressive rate, although veggie alternatives filled with wood-ear mushrooms and spinach are also good. ​

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food_min_jiang.jpg
© Tricia de Courcy Ling
Restaurants, Chinese

Min Jiang

icon-location-pin Kensington

We’re very fond of Min Jiang, not only for its superlative daytime views of Kensington Gardens, but also for its celebrated take on Beijing duck – a dish of two gigantic ritualistic servings that needs to be ordered in advance. Also expect Sichuan classics such as double-cooked pork belly with Chinese leeks.

London's best dumplings, My Neighbours the Dumplings
Andy Parsons
Restaurants, Chinese

My Neighbours the Dumplings

icon-location-pin Clapton

A former pop-up offering dim sum-style dining for local hipsters, MNTD’s watchword is definitely not ‘authenticity’. Still, the dumplings themselves are excellent, with handmade pastry and irreproachable fillings. We’re also fans of fusion riffs including the spicy peanut and celery salad, as well as the saké-based cocktails (great while you’re waiting for a table).

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Restaurants, Chinese

Park Chinois

icon-location-pin Mayfair

Another best-in-show contender from Alan Yau, this hugely atmospheric Mayfair rendezvous channels 1930s Shanghai with its slinky velvet-toned restaurant and jazz lounge. The PC carbonara – a Chinese take on the Italian classic that replaces pasta with udon noodles – is a must-order, as are the all-too-sinkable signature cocktails. Pricey, but perfect date territory.

Venue says Brunch Chinois, every Saturday from noon-4pm. Three-course set-lunch, welcome drink and half a bottle of Champagne for £58pp.

Pearl Liang013_credit Britta Jaschinski.jpg
© Britta Jaschinski
Restaurants, Chinese

Pearl Liang

icon-location-pin Paddington

Don’t let the traffic mayhem and less-than-lovely tower blocks around Paddington station put you off coming to Pearl Liang: its sophisticated, blossom-decorated dining room and moodily lit cocktail bar are real lookers. And the mainly Cantonese menu rarely disappoints – especially the choice of exquisite dim sum (visit during the day for the full selection).

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Restaurants, Chinese

Phoenix Palace

icon-location-pin Marylebone

Decked out in lavish Oriental style, Phoenix Palace is a favourite of international businessmen, but its easy-going bustle also suits local families who crowd round circular tables for the excellent weekend dim sum (reservations are a must unless you fancy queueing). Dinner is a blast during Chinese New Year.

Restaurants, Chinese

Royal China

icon-location-pin Bayswater

A stalwart of London’s dim sum scene, Royal China’s original Queensway branch serves up some of the best nibbles in town, from fried turnip cakes to steamed crab and spinach steamed dumplings. The full Cantonese menu is also primed to please in the gilded splendour of RC’s black-and-gold lacquered dining room.

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Restaurants, Contemporary Asian

Royal China Club

icon-location-pin Baker Street

As the exclusive clubby name suggests, this premier link in the Royal China chain has an air of quiet five-star elegance, right down to the faint tinkling of a piano. The kitchen turns out consummate Cantonese cooking, using prized ingredients at every opportunity, while polished staff make everyone feel like a visiting dignitary.

Restaurants, Chinese

Shikumen

icon-location-pin Shepherd’s Bush

The owners doubled their bets when they launched Shikumen, opening branches in Ealing as well as here in Shepherd’s Bush. Food-wise, top marks go to the exquisitely crafted dim sum (from signature xiao long bao to sophisticated scallop siu mai topped with tobiko), while the dining room reflects the comfort and class of its hotel setting.

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Restaurants, Chinese

Shuang Shuang

icon-location-pin Shaftesbury Avenue

A hotpot hotspot offering a fun, modern twist on things, with diners encouraged to pick ingredients from a conveyor belt. Here’s the drill: choose your flavour-packed broth, add a dipping sauce, then cherry-pick anything from marbled Japanese beef or ‘luncheon meat’ to cuttlefish buns from the kaiten that snakes around the gleaming white-and-steel space.

Venue says Latest of our hot pot signature series with Somsaa collaboration. Kiao tiew ruea, or simply pork boat noodle. £10.50 for the set menu.

Restaurants, Chinese

Shu Xiang Ge

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Smack-bang on Chinatown’s Gerrard Street, this Sichuan spot has a space built into every wooden table for bubbling hotpots. If you’re a fan of face-numbingly spicy food and cooking your own meat at the table, head here to feast on adventurous ingredients like brains and beef aorta. Less adventurous ingredients like fish balls are available, too, but be warned: this place doesn’t pander to Western palates.

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Restaurants, Chinese

The Sichuan

icon-location-pin Moorgate

With its karaoke room and laminated picture menu, this fiery Sichuan joint is old school – although its food has real depth and complexity. The chef’s fish special comes with a Scoville-scale sucker-punch, but don’t ignore the dan-dan noodles or pork dumplings bobbing in soupy red chilli sauce. Portions are generous, so share with friends who aren’t faint-hearted.

Silk Road
Rob Greig Time Out
Restaurants, Chinese

Silk Road

icon-location-pin Camberwell

A pioneer of regional Chinese cuisine in London, this Camberwell cutie puts the focus on dishes from the north-west frontier province of Xinjiang. The flavours can be fiery, although they’re tempered with a plethora of spices – a legacy from the namesake Silk Road that was used to transport treasures between the East and West. 

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Restaurants, Chinese

Xi’an Impression

icon-location-pin Highbury

Chef Wei Guirong’s no-frills restaurant by the Emirates Stadium peddles street food from her birthplace, Xi’an (home to the Terracotta Army). Her cooking is marked by rich combinations of spices and soft hand-pulled noodles – although hardcore fans come for her stonking Xi’an pork burger.

Restaurants, Contemporary Asian

Xu

icon-location-pin Chinatown

We don’t want to get pernickety, but – strictly speaking – this restaurant from the crew behind Bao is Taiwanese. Still, who cares when the kitchen can deliver hero dishes such as lamb’s sweetbreads with fermented greens or a delicate cold collation of tomato and smoked eel. Xu’s vintage looks, buzzy tea bar and reasonable prices are further clinchers.

Venue says XU's new brunch menu comes with free-flowing Perrier-Jouët Champagne, for just £25 extra per person! Available Saturdays and Sundays!

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Restaurants, Chinese

Yauatcha

icon-location-pin Soho

There’s substance behind the style at this Soho stalwart, which mixes high-concept design with day-and-night dim sum – think sticky-sweet venison puffs, umami-filled foie gras taro croquettes and lobster dumplings with tobiko caviar. With exotic teas, bigger plates, premium sakés and patisserie treats also on offer, it’s easy to see why Michelin came a-calling.

Restaurants, Chinese

Tian Fu

icon-location-pin Shepherd’s Bush

There’s no shortage of budget chop suey joints in She Bu, but this is a proper Chinese restaurant serving more than the usual takeaway scoff. Sichuan cuisine (including a tongue-numbing mala hotpot ‘buffet’) is the draw, backed by gentler items such as Hunan-style red-braised pork belly. Fans of blood tofu and chicken stomach are in for a treat here.

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