From new openings to old friends, London’s dining scene is as exciting as ever. While we do love cooking at home, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t also love eating out at a restaurant and enjoying both the food and ambience of dining out.

Full of both trusty chain restaurants and independent spots, perhaps you’ll know some of the restaurants listed here – or maybe there’ll be some hidden gems you’ll be sure to add to your list. While most of us are seasoned brunch-ers in this city, there are a variety of cuisines that are certainly underrated and well-deserving of a shout-out here.

So if you’re looking for a new restaurant or two to add to your list for 2024 – or if you are happy to be reassured that some old friends are still solid favourites, continue reading for your food fix below.

Best restaurants to book in London

Tandis, Finchley Road

Try Iranian cuisine in London at Tandis Persian Restaurant

One that might not be on your radar but certainly should is Tandis. Previously located in Haverstock Hill, the restaurant moved to Finchley Road some five years ago now – but we’re here to tell you that the same great taste remains. While it may not be as well known as other Persian restaurants more centrally-located, this is our Persian food editor’s family favourite and we’re here to guide you through the best dishes to order, should you (and you should) make your own reservation soon.

All Persian meals must start off with tearing the flatbread (usually lavash, taftoon) and scooping up thick lashings of the creamy mast-o musir (yoghurt dip with shallots). Other starters we’d recommend include the traditional tahdig (crispy rice from the rice cooker or bottom of the pan) topped with either gormeh sabzi (Persian lamb and herb stew) or gheymeh (lamb and split pea stew). If it’s your first time dining here – or at any Persian restaurant – kebab is the main event. You can choose from koobideh (minced lamb), barg (lamb fillet), jujeh (chicken) or shishlik (lamb chops) – all accompanied by saffron rice, a grilled tomato and salad.

However, if you’re a seasoned Persian diner – or just fancy trying something different – the khoreshts (stews) and rice dishes are so delicious and not to be missed. There’s plenty to choose from – but top dishes include fesenjan (pomegranate and walnut chicken stew) and zereshk polo (rice with barberries and braised chicken). Oh, and every Persian meal finishes with black tea and baklava – enjoy.

Umu, Mayfair

Umu restaurant in Mayfair has already been our Japanese highlight of 2024

Might we have just found our favourite Japanese restaurant in London? We’re ashamed to say it isn’t even a new opening, as Umu has been tucked away in a quiet corner of Mayfair for 20 years – but we’re certainly glad this hidden gem is on our radar now. From its discreet entrance to its elegantly simple dining room, Umu offers diners a Kyoto kaiseki experience, paired with impeccable service.

The Michelin starred spot immediately instigated a sense of calm as soon as you walked through the door – while the recommended sake (a light, floral style) went down a treat as we sipped alongside the first course of turbot carpaccio, as well as sea bass, lobster, chutoro (fatty tuna), scallop and yellowtail (my personal favourite) sashimi. Everything had a distinct freshness to it, with the accompanying soy sauce simply enhancing the existing flavour – as opposed to point blank adding it or even (this has happened at a few restaurants) masking the original taste of the fish.

The tempura selection was fantastic – with both lobster and mushroom proving both fish lovers and vegetarians would have an equally enjoyable experience at Umu – while the grilled turbot was plated up so simply but was so satisfying to both the tastebuds and the tummy. The star of the show? The nigiri selection was flawless. Both the toro topped with padron pepper and red mullet with bottarga excelled, while the langoustine and scallop gunkan varieties were also fantastic. The soy sauce, with lemon and lime juice and chives, was a great addition, too.

Those with a sweet tooth can round the meal off with the Mayfair Garden dessert; Japanese seasonal tiramisu with matcha green tea and a pourable Ginjo sake (my kind of pudding, this), as well as other seasonal sweet treats available.

Marlowe, Shoreditch

new restaurant london montcalm east marlowe
Marlowe is the new restaurant in the Montcalm East hotel

New to the Montcalm East hotel by Old Street station is Marlowe. Inspired by legendary playwright, Christopher Marlowe, the restaurant pays homage to the vibrant history and diversity of the city. The bar staff make a mean amaretto sour cocktail which is great for sipping as you peruse the menu. The cured trout with pickled cucumber and ham hock and chicken terrine with cranberry relish both make great starters – both packed with good flavour.

For the main course, the slow cooked pork belly with baby gem, tomato and brioche was a standout – although we’d prefer either a less sweet tomato sauce or adding more of a fiery kick – and while the beef cheek and bone marrow flatbread was tasty, we wouldn’t personally class it as a flatbread (as is phrased on the menu). For desserts, opt for the pavlova which was the perfect sweet treat to finish – and make sure you sit by the window for some satisfactory London traffic-watching.

Hithe + Seek, Bankside

hithe seek hannah crosbie small plates wine pairings menu london
Catch Hannah Crosbie x Hithe + Seek until 2nd March

Stylish bar and kitchen Hithe + Seek has joined forces with wine conoisseur Hannah Crosbie for this limited edition menu of small plates and pairings. Available Tuesday to Saturday until 2nd Mach, the menu features six tasting-menu sharing plates, accompanied by matching wines. For just £99, this also includes a fruity aperitf cocktail with which to kick things off.

Themed around stages of love – or romantic encounters, should we say – this menu featured a variety of dishes, with excellent wines. Our favourites included the ‘Catfish’ which was, in fact, torched king oyster mushroom ‘scallops’ with oyster leaf and parsip purée, paired with a fresh but mellow Taittinger Nocturne Sec NV – while the ‘My-Type-On-Paper’ (langoustine and smoked cheese risotto with citrus bisque foam) was the ultimate decadent comfort dish and the New Zealand Pinot Gris was our favourite wine of the evening. The chilli and mango mousse, hidden in a dark chocolate sphere was perfectly seductive as ‘The Ex’ to end the meal – we would definiely deliberate going back to that one, to be fair.

Vavasour, Pinot Gris; Awatere Valley, New Zealand

Lusin, Mayfair

Have you tried Armenian food? Another lesser-known cuisine of the Middle Eastern region, Lusin is actually the first Armenian restaurant to arrive in Mayfair’s hotspot of fine dining restaurants. The restaurant itself is as beautiful as you’d expect – and the menu is packed full of traditional dishes. Lusin’s signature aubergine rolls are stuffed with walnut and whipped cheese – and make for a great starter – as does the hummus topped with cubes of wagyu beef.

Also not to be missed are the kibbeh and sujuc (Armenian sausage) rolls. The restaurant’s specialties include a deliciously slow braised lamb shank, served with rice, the classic meat-stuffed manti and the signature dish: the cherry lamb kebab. While Lusin’s famous rose-flavoured ice cream with candy floss is popular across social media, we were more taken with the honey cake, which features layers of honey biscuits and cream and served with actual honey comb.

Fish Game, Wood Wharf

fish game roberto costa london restaurant macellaio rc

A charcoal grill restaurant, Fish Game prides itself on serving up a menu full of sustainable British ingredients, with a particular focus on game and fish. Founder Roberto Costa is known for his mouthwatering steak restaurant, Macellaio RC, so while we were increasingly tempted by the charcoaled beef ribeye, we wanted to try alternative dishes, that the new restaurant was more known for.

Starting things off with the chargrilled squid, with fermented chilli and fried cavolo nero – this was a dish we could have eaten on repeat, all night.Packed full of flavour, it set a very high standard from the get-go. The chilli lime-marinated, chargrilled octopus and bone marrow with butter chilli sauce was rich was delicious, nonetheless, and the steak tartare was not only tasty but made at the table, providing a little bit of dinner theatre, for those who enjoy it. The sweet and sour mallard was the perfect blend of flavours but the star of the show had to be the grilled Cornish monkfish, served simply with rosemary, lime and Maldon salt – and it was perfection.

Caravan, Covent Garden

An oldie but a goodie, Caravan is the OG brunch spot in London. With its renowned dishes remaining on the menu – such as the jalapeno cornbread with chorizo, it’s clear why this is a restaurant that has withstood the test of time. It’s latest location is in the heart of Covent Garden – and this spacious spot proves its popularity, as it is constantly packed full of brunchers.

The fried rice bowl with greens, a fried egg, kimchi mayonnaise, sambal, crispy shallots, peanuts and coriander was elevated with additional crispy tofu and halloumi – and the hazelnut chocolate and poached strawberry french toast with candied hazelnut was a delicious sweet treat with which to finish. The buttermilk fried chicken could have potentially done with a scallion pancake, rather than a classic one – but was delicious, nonetheless – and we experimented with hard juices by adding mezcal to our green juice. 10/10 would recommend.

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, Shoreditch (and other locations)

sticks sushi london shoreditch restaurant
Sticks ‘n’ Sushi has opened its latest London location, in Shoreditch

What was once a boutique-style restaurant in London has now grown to a huge chain that appears to be in every corner of the city – but we’re glad to report that quantity hasn’t compromised the quality at Sticks ‘n’ Sushi. The Shoreditch location features the same menu as the other restaurants so veterans can expect the same famous ebi bites (tempua shrimp), grilled edamame, sushi selection and yakitori sticks. Not to be missed are the scallop ceviche, scallops in kataifi batter with trout roe and the seared nigiris (not everywhere does these).

Sushi-wise, if you’re not opting for the mini maki maki (which includes highlight rolls such as the tuna, avocado and tempura shrimp Hells Kitchen and the seared salmon and snow pea Shake Aioli), there’s a miso marinated black cod futomaki and spicy tuna roll that never disappoint, either. Don’t forget to leave room for the sticks, with top choices including the beef with herb butter, miso marinated black cod, cheese wrapped in bacon, grilled shrimp and much more. If you’re worried about not fitting in dessert, don’t worry – Sticks ‘n’ Sushi follows Japanese protocol, where just a small sweet treat is necessary to finish the meal.

El Rancho de Lalo, Brixton

Get your Colombian food fix a El Rancho De Lalo restaurant

Brixton is home to El Rancho De Lalo – a Colombian restaurant which offers up canteen-style food. A family-run restaurant, there’s certainly a laidback and authentic ambience to this eatery. The chicharon (crispy cubes of pork belly) and the empanadas stole the show out of the starters – particularly when dipped in some tangy salsa – while the mains featured a variety of grilled meats, with our personal favourite being the whole grilled fish. We’ll be heading back on weekends, when a more extensive menu is served.


Always looking for exciting opportunities to travel, eat fabulous food, and enjoy the fashionable-side of life, Amira writes with passion, enthusiasm and genuine interest.

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