You don’t need a sharp suit or an expense account to eat out in the City. The restaurants in London’s Square Mile are a delight whether you’re on a budget or buttering up a banker, with plenty of cheaper dining options around Liverpool Street. From burgers and noodles to old-fashioned oysters and champagne – it’s all here. Dig in.
London's best restaurants in the City
Michelin-starred seafood cookery is the lure at this swanky City restaurant up on the seventh floor of the South Place Hotel. The food’s ultra-modern and impeccably crafted – a perfect fit for the dining room’s sophisticated vibe and gleaming monochrome interiors. Smooth-as-silk service is a bonus for the City’s expense-account crowd.
Venue says Join us this Autumn on our rooftop terrace and enjoy our partnership with Talisker, to bring a taste of the Isle of Skye to the City.
A City brunch spot with an American diner feel, Bad Egg comes courtesy of London’s bbq king Neil Rankin (Pitt Cue, Temper etc) – so expect smoky thrills and guilty pleasures galore, all driven by a rocking and rolling soundtrack. Don’t miss the pulled pork and kimchi hash or the ’nduja cheese fries. Manically popular.
One for the City’s early birds, this bright and breezy Antipodean café makes lots of friends from its pitch within Broadgate Circle. From huge savoury ‘power balls’ to sticky sweet ‘energy balls’, healthy fast food is the all-day deal. Shiny happy interiors, loud hip hop, tuned-in staff – you get the picture.
It’s almost too casual for the sharp-suited expense-account crowd, but this trendy take on a British chop house is still a cut above when it comes to deliciously crusted, smoky meats. Herb-flecked flatbreads are on hand to soak up the juices, while jazzy cocktails provide a boozy kick.
When only a filthy-good burger made with rare-breed dry-aged beef will do, Bleecker in Bloomberg Arcade comes up trumps for the City’s meat-mad hordes. The oozing bacon cheeseburger is a carnivore’s dream – especially when it’s loaded up with ketchup, mustard and a side of ‘angry fries’ drizzled in blue cheese and hot sauce.
It’s named after a Burgundian winegrower’s hut, but there’s nothing homespun about this French restaurant – an upscale haven for City slickers who like to do business over good food and wine. With backing from ace sommeliers Xavier Rousset and Gearoid Devaney, Cabotte is a dream ticket for oenophiles, while the food oozes well-heeled Gallic class.
Like a grand railway café within The Ned’s gargantuan indoor boulevards, this plush Parisian eatery is a très jolie hideaway and speedy refuelling point for local workers on the go. Sandwiches, quiches, omelettes and salads are its stock in trade – and there are wines too, if you need a quick sharpener.
Look for the queues and follow the trail of enticing aromas to find this dinky lunchtime-only Vietnamese canteen near Guildhall. The decor’s sparse, but prices are low and a cheery atmosphere prevails. Bowls of spiced pho, bánh mì, summer rolls and vermicelli salads fly out the door.
Promising low-key glamour in high-rise surroundings, City Social is one of super-chef Jason Atherton’s more conservative ventures – a Michelin-starred go-to for anyone wanting to impress or let off steam. The gorgeous, sexy space comes with show-stopping wraparound views (even from the loos) and a menu of please-all contemporary food.
Boasting big glass windows and one of the largest riverside terraces in London, this all-day venue cashes in on its location next to the tourist-rammed HMS Belfast and the Tower of London. Playing to the gallery, it pumps out small plates, pastas, pizzas, grills, superfood salads and calorific puds for camera-toting visitors.
A top pick in the City, Coq D’Argent is a heaven-sent package with a clutch of inducements including a verdant rooftop garden, a circular bar, brasserie and corporate styled restaurant – all with a pronounced French accent. A buzzy, good-looking destination for bankers and their clients.
With three open kitchens, multiple dining rooms and curtains sectioning off private tables, this EC2 offshoot of Mayfair’s Coya promises pisco-fuelled Peruvian entertainment for those with fat wallets. Expect big hits on small plates – ceviches, tacos, tiraditos and steaks, backed by thumping music, bright Incan-themed decor and hugely welcoming staff.
Venue says Join us for COYA Brunch every Saturday for a three-hour bottomless experience filled with delicious cocktails and signature COYA dishes.
Here are the numbers: 40 floors up with spectacular 360-degree views, open 24/7, 365 days a year. Whether you’re in for a post-clubbing breakfast or a full-throttle business dinner, D&W hits the target with decadent favourites ranging from spicy ox-cheek doughnuts with apricot jam to the salty-sweet signature ‘duck and waffle’.
Venue says Join us after hours for new late night dishes, unique cocktails and perfect sunrise views everyday from 11:30PM - 5AM
Like its steak-based siblings in Mayfair and Canary Wharf, the well-upholstered EC2 branch of Russian-owned Goodman is aimed squarely at people who will pay top dollar for top beef. Peruse the tray of raw cuts before ordering, say, a 400g Yorkshire Ridings fillet or a USDA 150-day sirloin with sauces and sides.
A genuine home-style antidote to Brick Lane’s ‘bucket curries’, this tiny family-run outfit makes its mark with a 20-dish menu of regional small plates. There are star turns all the way here, from Chettinad pulled duck and porzhi okra fries to molten chocolate cake with masala chai custard. Explosive flavours, yes; explosive after-effects, no.
Gut-busting breakfasts, perfectly mixed cocktails and top-quality British beef are just three reasons why the City’s steak-crazy crowd pack into this clubby wood-panelled and leather-clad basement. Hawksmoor’s easy charms also have an irresistible dressed-down appeal. Similar thrills can be had at the chain’s Spitalfields branch.
For his latest venture, Spanish hotshot José Pizarro has taken the best bits from his two Bermondsey eateries (José Tapas Bar and Pizarro Restaurant) and reassembled them at Broadgate Circle. JP is slick and pacey, but it also has heart, and the food is everything we’ve come to expect from this hugely popular chef (jamón, gooey croquetas, sardines in tins, etcetera).
The second coming of Soho’s Koya, this Japanese arrival in Bloomberg Arcade is a no-brainer for breakfast (kippers, poached egg, butter rice and miso soup, anyone?), but also delivers a daily roster of udon noodles, donburi bowls and small plates. No bookings, but handy for a quick Nippon fill-up in the City.
L’Anima restaurant is no more, but its smart-casual café/deli offshoot is still in the business of dispensing snazzy Italian food in gorgeous rustic-slick surroundings. All-day opening means you can drop in for coffee and pizza, pick up a salad on the go, or settle in for some more tricksy regional cooking.
A full-on LA trip in the City, Malibu Kitchen promotes guilt-free ‘clean eating’ within the swish surrounds of The Ned hotel/club complex. The menu favours veggie and vegan over meat and fish, although there’s something for everyone – think vegetable and mango rolls with spicy nuts, poké bowls and zesty colourful salads.
Occupying a grand old bank building on Threadneedle Street, this popular black-and-white dining room is a shoo-in for old-school working lunches in the City. No fancy frills distract from the Brit-accented menu, which offers everything from beef and Guinness pie to smoked haddock and leek risotto. There’s plenty of champagne on ice, too.
Whether you’re here for business or pleasure, the panoramic vistas from this Thames-side restaurant are a huge plus point – although the food never plays second fiddle to the skyline. Cornish produce is given a refined modern workout on the menu, while West Country flavours also feature on the drinks list.
Geographically it’s more Shoreditch than Square Mile, but City types still consider Oklava as one of their own. All contemporary-chic and sleek designer furnishings, this Turkish joint is home to Selin Kiazim – a fusion chef who has gone back to her Turkish-Cypriot roots for a menu of bold small plates, including a kick-ass dish called lahmacun (a kind of Turkish pizza). Not your usual fare for grungy EC2.
It sounds a bit like ‘Carry On up the Coliseum’, but there’s a serious side to this restaurant inspired by the splendours of Ancient Rome. The decor is suitably imperial, the kitchen delivers banquet-sized portions of historically informed food (well, almost) and wines hail from former Roman territories. When in Rome (or EC3)…
There are some things you don’t tamper with, and the classic seafood bar is one of them. Welcome to this engaging City offer from the Wright Brothers, London’s uncrowned oyster kings. Bivalves top the bill, although the menu’s awash with gargantuan seafood platters and briny treats to go with a spiffing drinks list.
Forget Vito Corleone, this Don references the emblematic cloaked figure from Sandeman’s port merchants, who had their original cellar at this address. As an atmospheric City stalwart, the restaurant matches abstract art and a jaw-dropping 400-bin wine list with sophisticated Franco-European food from a chef with starry credentials.
There’s still lobster bisque and grilled dover sole for lunch at this blue-blooded City institution – a bastion of conservative values and deliciously conservative cooking, right down to the spotted dick or roes on toast for afters. Oysters, fish pie and smoked haddock with poached eggs are standouts from the piscine ‘bill of fare’.
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