Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right The best restaurants in London’s Chinatown

Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.

Xu
Andy Parsons

The best restaurants in London’s Chinatown

Dine at the finest Chinese spots the London’s Chinatown has to offer (plus a few-non Chinese options, too)

By Time Out London Food & Drink
Advertising

January 2019: We’ve added Cantonese classic Four Seasons; Malaysian street food stalwart C&R Café; and Shu Xiang Ge, a vibey spot that specialises in bubbling Sichuan hotpots.

From Sichuanese to dim sum and beyond, there’s so much choice that it’s hard to know which one to plump for. But Time Out’s food reviewers have eaten at all of them – many times, over many years  – to produce this definitive list on the best places to eat in Chinatown, including traditional dim sum parlours, stalwart Chinese joints, eateries doing modern takes on classic Oriental cuisine and a few fine non-Chinese options (including – gasp! – Spanish tapas).

RECOMMENDED: Find more Chinese restaurants in London

Where to eat in Chinatown

BaoziInn Romilly Street

Restaurants Chinese Soho

It’s all about the buns at this basement Chinese street-food restaurant, a little sister to the Newport Court BaoziInn round the corner. The bao as they should be: soft and fluffy on the outside; deliciously warm, sweet and sticky on the inside. Take a date for pre-theatre beers and bao, and you’ll do very well here.

Venue says From the heart of Northern China to the heart of London; Our chefs are famed for the authenticity of their cooking! Discover Sohos favourite

Café TPT

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

Big menus are commonplace in Chinatown, but such a vast repertoire seems impossible from a galley the size of an origami boat. Still, TPT manages to deliver its pan-Chinese bonanza with commendable aplomb. Best bets are Cantonese staples such as succulent roast duck on rice, although we crave the Hong Kong-style ‘Tai pai tong hawker dishes’ too.

Advertising

Canton

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

It may be getting ragged round the edges, but this plainly furnished Chinatown veteran is once again on song – especially when it comes to its famed one-plate rice and noodle dishes piled high with juicy meats (roast duck, barbecued pork, soy chicken etc). Service is noticeably friendly and accommodating by Chinatown standards.

C&R Café

Restaurants Malaysian Chinatown
C&R slipped quietly into a Chinatown alley more than two decades ago, bringing with it a passion for Malaysian laksa: giant bowls of spicy coconutty broth packed with juicy prawns,thin rice vermicelli, puffy fish balls, the works. It also serves up umami-rich plates of char kway teow noodles, piled-high rice-based nasi goreng, buttery roti canai bread and the celebrated beef rendang. C&R's vibe is functional but contemporary, while staff are friendly but terrifyingly efficient.
Advertising

Dumplings’ Legend

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

Never tried xiao long bau? Sometimes called ‘soup dumplings’, these Shanghai beauties are steamed parcels containing both filling and broth ­­– so be sure to pop them in your mouth in one go. The classic pork version is our favourite, while dim sum fans will also like DL’s moreish fried turnip cake and quivering cheung fun.

Gerrard’s Corner

Restaurants Chinatown

Dumplings are the stars of the show at this unpretentious joint on the corner of Gerrard Street. Prawn and chive dumplings are plump and sweet, while their rich crabmeat cousins come with a scallop balanced on top. If you like your dim sum with a side of nostalgia, adorably retro Gerrard’s is for you.

Advertising

Imperial China

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

A small wooden bridge spanning an ornamental fish pond, warm wood panelling, kind lighting and a second floor offering a view of the dining room below set this Cantonese standby apart from its Chinatown rivals. The food is reliable, authentic and of decent quality – even if portions can seem rather miserly.

Jen Café

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

Although this green-painted café serves everything from buttered toast and barbecued pork to bubble teas, it’s the hand-wrapped dumplings that keep us coming back. The cheapest are the jiao zi (aka ‘Beijing dumplings’) – eight morsels filled to bursting with pork or vegetables for a fiver. You guessed it, they’re one of our go-to Chinatown snacks.

Advertising
le hanoi
le hanoi
Scott Chasserot

Le Hanoi

Restaurants Vietnamese Chinatown

Cheap and cheerful is an increasingly rare commodity in Chinatown, but this casual Vietnamese joint could change all that. We’ll forgive one rather bland pho, because some positively classy food is on offer here – from juicy prawn summer rolls and pork dumplings wrapped in betel leaves to an utterly zesty mango salad with crispy shrimps.   

Leong's Legends
Leong's Legends
Ed Marshall / Time Out

Leong’s Legend

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

Now condensed into one site, Leong’s Legend has morphed into a multi-ethnic melting pot. Yes, it still has a Taiwanese slant, but there’s also a sushi bar, a hotpot table and a mini-menu devoted to ‘poeken’ – think Japanese donburi meets on-trend poké. However, stick to the regional Chinese ‘starred’ dishes and you won’t go far wrong.

Advertising

Old Tree Daiwan Bee

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

North London’s Old Tree Bakery comes to Chinatown in the shape of this makeshift Taiwanese eatery. Ok, it’s not exactly luxurious, but there’s plenty of authentic stuff on offer. The homemade Taiwanese sausages, salt-and-pepper tofu, oyster omelette and noodles in richly spiced broth are all worth their modest price tags. Note: cash only, no loos.

Olle

Restaurants Korean Shaftesbury Avenue

Don’t be fooled by the dull decor and hotel lounge muzak: this Korean barbecue restaurant is the real deal, with ‘bulgogi’ and other meaty items grilled on hotplates built into each table. Fancy something raw? Try the classic yukhoe (Korea’s answer to steak tartare infused with fresh pear). Go on, make your own fun.

Advertising
100 best restaurants in london, palomar
100 best restaurants in london, palomar
© Helen Cathcart

The Palomar

Restaurants Israeli Chinatown
The West End’s most unlikely hot-ticket restaurant/bar is a rambunctious amalgam of pulse-quickening music, free-flowing drink and vibrantly flavoured food with a modern Israeli slant. Our favourite dish? Shakshukit – spicy mincemeat served in a swirl of tahini and yoghurt with laffa (flatbread). Sell your soul for a seat at the high-energy no-bookings bar.

Plum Valley

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown
It may look like a sleek, chic Hakkasan-style oasis in the centre of gaudy Chinatown, but Plum Valley’s prices are more budget than blowout. Moody lighting and pleather upholstery set the scene for a pleasing run though the Cantonese repertoire with a few modish touches, decent dim sum and the odd Thai or Malaysian intruder.
Advertising
3116567094_c1fdc4ffa1_o.jpg
3116567094_c1fdc4ffa1_o.jpg
© Jay Sim

Rasa Sayang

Restaurants Malaysian Chinatown

With its hawker (street) food and low prices, this bustling Straits café reminds us of hot and humid days spent in Penang. Choose the light ground floor rather than the dim basement for ambience, and expect a greatest-hits menu of satays, roti canai, noodles and composite plates such as nasi lemak. Drink bubble tea or teh tarik (‘pulled tea’).  

Shu Xiangge

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

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

Advertising

Tapas Brindisa (Rupert Street)

Restaurants Spanish Chinatown

Brindisa is synonymous with jamón and imported Spanish provisions, but this branch of the chain shines the spotlight on slow-roast meats, grilled and braised dishes. It’s hearty and self-consciously rustic, but the kitchen makes a good fist of things – even if it lacks some of that visceral, smoky flame-licking drama. Spanish wines fit the bill.

Viet Food

Restaurants Vietnamese Chinatown

Throwing down the Vietnamese gauntlet outside the entrance to Chinatown, this hip outfit puts a fashionable ultra-chic spin on things with its blend of traditional South-East Asian decor, industrial chic and throbbing dance music. The cooking’s pretty cool too, with a pick ‘n’ mix menu of stellar street food devised by ex-Hakkasan chef Jeff Tan.

Advertising
Xu
Xu
Andy Parsons

Xu

Restaurants Contemporary Asian Chinatown

From the crew behind bun sensation Bao, Xu’s mission is to plunder the treasures of Taiwanese cuisine and create hero dishes. Bow down to the lamb’s sweetbreads with fermented greens, marvel at the delicate cold collation of tomato and smoked eel – this is seriously smart cooking. Xu’s vintage looks, buzzy tea bar and reasonable prices are further clinchers.

Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising