The Best and Coolest London Restaurants in 2023: Culinary Gems for Every Foodie
In 2023, the city boasts an impressive array of innovative, stylish, and delicious restaurants.
In 2023, the city boasts an impressive array of innovative, stylish, and delicious restaurants.
As we continue to explore the world through our taste buds, it’s no surprise that the culinary scene keeps evolving to satisfy our cravings. London, a city known for its rich history and diverse culture, has always been a haven for food enthusiasts. In 2023, the city boasts an impressive array of innovative, stylish, and delicious restaurants. Here are our top picks, starting with the incredible Zephyr Notting Hill.
100 Portobello Road, W11 2QD
This new drinking establishment located on Portobello Road offers more than just a late-night spot, as it also features a Greek-influenced casual dining menu that focuses on sustainability and seasonality. The menu boasts an array of delectable dishes such as fresh carpaccio of seabass with lemon-oil dashi and bottarga, otoro toast with cream and black caviar, and whole smoked aubergine with citrus yogurt and dukkah.
Before diving into the main courses, it is essential to start with the bread basket and a couple of dips. The smoky aubergine with roasted sesame and kaffir lime-spiked taramasalata are both excellent options. The larger dishes are divided by their origins – land, sea, and soil – and feature a range of delectable options, including seabass carpaccio, wild red prawns with sundried tomato, baked butter beans with feta and olives, spiced lamb cutlets, and whole grilled sea bass for sharing.
Sharing five or six dishes between two people is sufficient to satisfy your appetite, leaving you feeling exceptionally well-fed. However, be sure to leave room for the loukoumades, which are bite-sized Greek donuts served with a coffee dulce de leche dipping sauce. The combination is a perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors, offering the ideal ending to a delectable meal.
After satisfying your palate, head to the secretive basement bar to explore the 10 distinctive cocktails on the menu. Alternatively, the same area is perfect for enjoying a pre-dinner aperitif. During the summer months, patrons can enjoy their meals outside at the tables set up on the front patio.
383 King’s Rd, London SW10 0LP
Chicama, situated on an unremarkable corner of Kings Road, draws inspiration from Chicama beach in northern Peru for its decor. The restaurant boasts an abundance of salvaged wood, vintage mirrors, and shell pink tiles. The dining area is separated from the open kitchen by a photogenic pastel marble counter. Though the tables may be somewhat cramped, the lively ambiance and exceptionally polite and enthusiastic staff more than compensate. To kick off dinner, patrons are served a round of Pisco sours, followed by delectable ‘popped-corn’ monkfish cheeks that are deep-fried to a crunchy, greaseless perfection, akin to exceptionally good scampi. The fish’s meaty flavor is complemented harmoniously by the accompanying mayonnaise infused with ají Amarillo.
The tapioca marshmallows may seem like an odd concoction, but they’re surprisingly delicious in reality. These savory cubes lack eggs or sugar, but have a texture that’s reminiscent of traditional marshmallows. They’re deep-fried and infused with parmesan flavor, along with a hint of chili. Another standout fish dish is the sashimi-grade tuna, which is executed in a Japanese-style. The thickly sliced raw fish is served with creamy avocado puree, jalapeno, and a dash of lime juice. Crispy leek ribbons provide additional textural depth to the dish.
As expected, ceviche is one of the highlights of Chicama’s seafood-focused menu. The sea bream version features raw fish diced into small pieces, with a clean taste that’s contrasted by sweet candied beetroot, pomegranate seeds, and charred cucumber. The accompanying tiger’s milk has a fair amount of acidity from the lime juice, but lacks depth.
123a Clarendon Road, W11 4JG
Located on Notting Hill’s renowned Clarendon Road, this restaurant-cum-member’s club has quickly become the go-to destination for the celebrity crowd. The establishment features a wood-decked space that offers a sophisticated menu of surf and turf dishes with an Argentinean flair. Its high-profile guests include the likes of Natalie Massenet, Victoria Beckham, Eugenie Niarchos, and Eva Longoria, to name a few, as well as fashion industry insiders such as Roger Vivier, Camille Seydoux, Zac Posen, and Sabine Getty.
Designed by the renowned restaurateur Juan Santa Cruz, who already has three Ritzy restaurants in Buenos Aires – Aldo’s, Isabel, and the original Casa Cruz – this hotspot is the ultimate place for wining, dining, and partying all under one roof. Its second-floor smoking patio provides a perfect space for mingling, doing business, and rubbing shoulders with fashion editors, designers, and starlets.
Located discreetly behind a striking copper door, this establishment features a metallic theme that runs throughout the space. Adorned with copper and mahogany-streaked walls, an oval-shaped bar, emerald banquettes, and oil table lamps, the venue exudes a chic and sophisticated atmosphere.
The space even has its own signature fragrance, which combines the scents of vetiver and French rose. The intimate vibe is further enhanced by the soundtrack, which transitions from Brazilian Bossa Nova to rock and roll as the night progresses. But the food is equally impressive, featuring signature dishes like humitas, a delicious Chilean appetizer made with spiced corn.
46 Golborne Rd, London W10 5PR
The establishment follows the typical concept of sharing plates, and the staff suggests selecting six or seven dishes for two people to share. The first dish we try is the crispy chicken skin with preserved lemon and nori emulsion. The three tiny slivers of golden, crispy skin offer an explosion of flavors that are both salty and citrussy.
For dips, we are served whipped feta, olive harissa, and charred courgette with tahini, accompanied by grilled flatbreads. The courgette dip stands out with its unique and delectable taste. It’s reminiscent of baba ganoush with its smoky undertones, yet it has a creamy texture due to the addition of tahini, resulting in an entirely new flavor profile.
Next on the menu are smoked Jersey Royals with borlotti beans, fava bean miso, and Parmesan, which may seem like an unusual combination at first but offers a delightful earthy and smoky flavor. The dish named simply “monkfish and sweetcorn” may not sound overly exciting on the menu, but it turns out to be the standout dish for us. The crushed blackened sweetcorn pairs perfectly with the silky smooth monkfish, resulting in a harmonious blend of texture and flavor.
Each new dish that arrives at the table is a testament to the chef’s innovation and creativity, and we find ourselves spending a considerable amount of time identifying the various flavors and expressing our enthusiasm. For dessert, we indulge in the peach, lemon granita, and verbena tea, a light and refreshing option that serves as a perfect palate cleanser. The clever combination of flavors leaves us feeling as if we are on the brink of identifying a particular taste, yet it remains elusive, adding an element of mystery and intrigue that highlights the chef’s exceptional talent and creativity.
13-15 Marylebone Ln, London W1U 2NE
Lina Stores made its debut on Brewer Street in 1944, quickly becoming a beloved Soho institution that supplied Italian meats, cheeses, and deli products to the locals in the W1 area. Seventy-five years later, they expanded their offerings to include a restaurant on nearby Greek Street, where they continue to serve fresh, homemade pasta and hearty Italian family favorites to a loyal clientele.
Their newest location on Marylebone Lane is their fifth establishment, boasting an impressive corner site with windows on all sides and the signature green and white striped awnings. The restaurant exudes a distinctly European ambiance, featuring stylish Art Deco lighting, bentwood chairs, and a bustling brasserie vibe that adds to its charm.
To begin our meal, we start with delicious cherry bellinis and appetizers of fried artichokes and burrata with courgette, both of which are outstanding. For our main course, we opt for the renowned pasta, selecting the linguine with crab and black pepper. We are advised that the dish is served at 65 degrees, so it won’t be piping hot. The pasta dish is delectable, with a generous amount of black pepper and succulent, sweet crab meat expertly incorporated throughout.
Continuing with our seafood-centric meal, we indulge in the Casarecce alla Calabrese, featuring small pasta discs with prawns, chili, and tomato that are truly outstanding. Accompanied by a green salad bursting with freshness and a delicious dressing, this dish satisfies our cravings for something light and flavorful. Although we are tempted by the grilled prawns from the Secondi menu, we are already too full to continue our meal. However, we cannot resist sampling the desserts, and the chocolate mousse with salted caramel is as delectable as expected.
The Zuppa Inglese, a rich and creamy Italian trifle dish loaded with berries, is equally indulgent. As we begin to feel defeated by the meal’s abundance, a kind waiter appears with shot glasses of iced digestifs, providing the perfect revitalization we needed. We raise a glass to Lina Stores’ continuing expansion and success.
42 N Audley St, London W1K 6ZP
Drawing inspiration from the multicultural spectrum of Indian cuisine, BiBi’s menu reflects the vast experience of Head Chef Chet Sharma, who has spent years cooking and sourcing ingredients for some of the UK’s most prestigious Michelin-starred restaurants. This new restaurant prides itself on offering a menu that changes almost daily, driven by the best market produce available. The filling chaat and grill dishes are primarily served on small plates, each presenting a playful interpretation of well-known classics.
The exceptional table service and ornate yet intimate decor distinguish BiBi from other high-end restaurants. As you peruse the menu, you’ll find a map of India that details the precise origin of all the spices used in the dishes. In addition, the menu features a list of both classic and Indian-inspired cocktails to choose from, ensuring that the dining experience is a truly immersive one.
As the first and only restaurant of its kind and a debut for Chef Chet Sharma, BiBi is not to be missed and is undoubtedly one of the hottest new restaurants in London. Conveniently located near Oxford Circus, it is definitely worth a visit.
49 Maddox St, London W1S 2PQ
Manthan is another Indian-inspired restaurant that offers not only a standard menu but also an Experience menu, which includes a selection of complimentary signature dishes designed to be shared among your party, along with a wine pairing and traditional desserts. The name “Manthan” means “learn through reflection,” and this establishment was created by Executive Chef Rohit Ghai, following the success of his previous sister restaurants, Gymkhana and Jamavar.
The menu at Manthan emphasizes sharing plates, cocktails, and mocktails inspired by the seven oceans of the world, drawing from Chef Ghai’s childhood in Madhya Pradesh and his extensive experience in some of London’s best Indian restaurants. The food consists of contemporary twists on classic dishes, with over half of the menu being vegetarian-friendly. Some of the standout dishes include the Sarson chicken chop with mustard, kachumber salad, and mint chutney, goat shami kebab in bone marrow sauce, and Ghati masala prawns with peanut, sesame seed, and fresh coconut.
The menu also features a modern take on the popular street food ram ladoo (mong daal fritters) with mooli, yellow lentil, and pomegranate, as well as Pyaz khachori (onions, mix bean sprouts, and sweet & sour saunth chutney) and a Burford Brown egg curry with paratha. For those who appreciate contemporary Indian cuisine, Manthan is undoubtedly worth a visit and should not be missed.
London’s culinary scene is ever-evolving, and 2023 has proven to be an exceptional year for the city’s dining options. From innovative Greek-influenced cuisine at Zephyr Notting Hill to the stunning views and flavors at Duck & Waffle, these are the top restaurants that every food lover should experience. No matter your taste, there is a culinary adventure waiting for you in London.