Hey there, food lovers! Ready to tantalize your taste buds while exploring the bustling streets of London? If you’re on the hunt for top-notch spots to quell your hunger cravings during the day, look no further. This guide has got you covered with all the options you need, from delectable Portuguese pastries to a true taste of Thai fare. From trendy Fitzrovia to lively Shoreditch, we’ve scoured the city to bring you a thrilling lineup for the best places for lunch in London that won’t disappoint. So come prepared with your cutlery because it’s time to dig into the ultimate lunch restaurants in London!
Best Places for Lunch in London
In the midst of Shoreditch’s colorful street art scene, Manteca stands out with its understated, greige exterior. However, upon entering, prepare to be immersed in the lively atmosphere of one of London’s most popular Italian restaurants. While they do offer vegetarian options, Manteca truly shines with its meat dishes. As a whole-animal establishment complete with in-house butchery and salumeria, every part of the animal is utilized in their delicious homemade offerings.
This is certainly not a place for vegans, as evidenced by the display of hanging meats as you descend the stairs. These meats are sliced to order at the central bar, where you can start your meal with delectable wild-farmed focaccia and melt-in-your-mouth house charcuterie. The small plates feature pork and beef meatballs, melon and prosciutto crudo, and ‘nduja steamed mussels, while lighter options such as homemade ricotta with courgettes and a herby pea salad are available before diving into the pasta course – all made from scratch of course.
Over the past five years, Tomos Parry has achieved great success with Brat. He earned two Michelin stars at the Shoreditch location and expanded to a second outpost at Climpson’s Arch, all while promoting open-fire cooking. Now, his latest venture, Mountain, aims to reach new heights with a sprawling Soho restaurant that is perfect for leisurely lunches.
Similar to its predecessor, this place is all about large, family-style dishes of charred meats and seafood. Think hearty portions of steak or a succulent lobster caldereta paired with a luscious sauce that begs to be sopped up with crusty bread. Before diving into those, start off with some smaller bites like the spicy sobrasada sausage or delicate raw prawns served on grilled bread spread with fresh cheese.
Experience a tantalizing West African-inspired tasting menu in the heart of Fitzrovia, featuring over ten delicious courses crafted by executive chef Ayo Adeyemi. Since taking over the kitchen in September 2022, Chef Adeyemi has seamlessly made his mark on the menu.
This relaxed and breezy room exudes elegance without the extra hassle – no finicky or overly complicated dishes are served here. Instead, expect an array of bold and inventive flavors inspired by traditional family recipes and influences from Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal.
The only option available is the tasting menu, but you won’t regret it. You can anticipate chunks of lobster tail, scotch bonnet soup, and incredibly flavorful jollof rice.
While many restaurants in Soho have come and gone, Rita’s has solidified its place as a modern classic. Despite the closure of neighboring establishments, Rita’s has managed to maintain the excitement of its initial opening and remains a highly sought-after dining destination week after week. This is largely thanks to their thoughtfully curated menu, featuring creative dishes that strike the perfect balance between indulgence and restraint.
The offerings include tempting options such as tear and-share garlic bread, as well as the mouthwatering combination of Gilda and martini. For heartier appetites, there are expertly prepared seafood dishes and flavorful pork chops to satisfy. Ultimately, the real appeal of Rita’s lies in its lively atmosphere, where guests can instantly feel at ease and ready to let loose. This vibrant energy is not limited to evenings alone – even their lunch service carries the same magical vibe that makes Rita’s so beloved.
5. A Wong
Despite the intense competition among Chinatown restaurants, Andrew Wong’s two Michelin-starred Chinese restaurants are top contenders for the best dim sum in London. During lunchtime, guests are encouraged to try 8-10 selections from the extensive 21-item menu, including baozi, crispy prawn rolls, duck yolk custard buns, flaky abalone tarts, wagyu tarts, and Chinese pot sticker dumplings. If the variety seems overwhelming, you can opt for a personalized selection curated by the chef.
Experience the magic of Chef Meedu Saad’s rustic Thai cuisine as it is prepared over open flame and hot coals. Be sure to secure a front-row seat at the counter, where you can witness the skilled assembly of dishes like the cumin-dusted aged lamb skewers (a staple of our visits). The menu is short but ever-changing, featuring thoughtfully sourced ingredients such as fresh Cornish seafood and locally grown Thai and Chinese herbs. Don’t miss out on the turmeric-infused red mullet or the raw langoustines with hints of mint and Kaffir lime.
7. Quo Vadis
The newly renovated dining area of Dean Street’s esteemed restaurant now showcases one of the most charming chefs in the world. Jeremy Lee has crafted a menu worth savoring, with a focus on fresh ingredients and mouthwatering desserts that are always served generously with custard.
Experience the best of Soho with its unforgettable ambiance and exceptional British cuisine. Immerse yourself in its high-end bohemian atmosphere while people-watching for a truly authentic London dining experience.
Pies are what Lee is truly passionate about. Get whichever filling is available, and add a smoked eel sandwich as well.
Gymkhana is an upscale Indian restaurant drawing inspiration from the exclusive gymkhana clubs where fine dining, drinking, and socializing are the norm. After temporarily closing its doors in 2019 due to a fire incident, fans can now rejoice as the restaurant has made a comeback, better than ever. Their menu boasts a variety of refined Indian dishes, all presented in an elegant setting.
Whether you desire a relaxed dish of rigatoni with a view of the RA or a taste of Napoli pizza on Redchurch Street, Cecconi’s never disappoints. Its founder, Enzo Cecconi, once the youngest manager at Cipriani in Venice, established the first London location in 1978. Today, this Venetian celebrity hotspot can be found around the globe, from New York to Istanbul.
Entering the earthy, textured interiors of Kol is like stepping into another world. With clay cups, linen curtains, and sultry dark wood, it transports you to Mexico through the buttoned-up streets of Marylebone. The chefs in the open kitchen are efficient at whipping up either five or seven courses while friendly wait staff members quickly bring them to your table.
The menu is modern and innovative, requiring a speedy operation to keep up with the typically packed restaurant by 1 pm. Those subscribed to the newsletter get first access to table reservations. You must try the mole – a sauce made from 25 different ingredients, including rattlesnake chili (don’t worry, no snakes were harmed) and purple carrot jerky – it will blow your mind. And don’t miss out on the beautifully presented enoki and crab chalupa that is almost too pretty to eat. Kol’s vibrant atmosphere and unique energy will reignite your passion for life or at least for lunching once again.