For a number of years, Middle Eastern and Lebanese restaurants in London were unfairly portrayed in the capital as just late-night kebabs devoured at 2am. In truth, Lebanese food has far more to offer than just a doner, as evidenced by our list of London's best Lebanese restaurants.
In more recent years, our eyes have been opened to the true nature of Lebanese cuisine. Great Lebanese food is a kaleidoscope of colours, flavours and textures. Spices - so readily available in the Levant - are employed often, but with a deftness that allows everything to sing in harmony. Dishes at their core are based around simple cooking of quality ingredients, and those flavours are lifted and embellished with spice, herbs, citrus and more to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Perhaps most important of all, sharing a meal is an important part of Lebanese culture, hence the considerable emphasis on hot and cold mezze dishes. Regardless of the quality of the restaurant you end up in, you're likely to have a much better time if you're with a group of friends or family, so you have license to order as many different things as possible!
If you're looking for Michelin star Lebanese restaurants in London, we're sad to say you're out of luck, though there are some dazzling London restaurants in the Michelin Guide which are clearly inspired by Lebanese food - check out the likes of Bubala, The Barbary, The Palomar and Honey & Co for example. Whether it’s in the well-heeled neighbourhoods of Belgravia and Kensington which welcome tourists looking for Middle Eastern restaurants during the summer season, or Lebanese restaurants in Central London for somewhere to eat after a shopping or theatre trip, there are many options to choose from in the city. We’ve made sure to include Lebanese restaurants suited to a range of tastes and budgets in our list, so there should be something for everyone. Once you’ve settled on where to visit, your biggest problem will be wondering how many baskets of bread are too many? In our humble opinion, there’s no such thing.
Best fine dining Lebanese restaurants in London
Though there are no Michelin starred Lebanese restaurants in London just yet, there are plenty that lean in a fine dining direction, particularly around Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Marylebone where you're never too far away from a good bowl of hummus or a heap of crispy kibbeh.
Noura, Belgravia and Mayfair
What: Whether you’re dining in the two-tiered Belgravia flagship or the basement of the seductive Mayfair offshoot, you’re sure to find something you like on Noura’s expansive menus, which champion sharing dishes. Feast on sharing platters filled with grilled meats, tabbouleh and hummus, or munch on a selection of hot and cold mezze – think spicy potatoes, Bulgarian cheese and bread topped with seasoned minced lamb.
Where: 16 Hobart Place, SW1W 0HH; 16 Curzon Street, W1J 5HP
Book now: Noura Belgravia; Noura Mayfair
What: LayaLina dives head first into the glitz of Knightsbridge - one could be forgiven for thinking that this sleek, blingy restaurant was a tad superficial, but the fantastic kebabs, stews and mezze really hold up. The menu veers away from tradition with more contemporary dishes, like sautéed sea bass fillet with lemon and saffron sauce, but things are all well executed. Head below deck for glitter balls, cocktails and belly dancing at LayaLina’s after-hours cocktail bar - LayaLina Privée.
Where: 2-3 Beauchamp Place, SW3 1NG
Book now: LayaLina
What: Plenty of Belgravia’s moneyed residents hail from the Middle East, so it’s no surprise that there are lots of Lebanese restaurants in the area. Ishbilia is a welcoming spot which benefits from a large outdoor terrace, and serves a menu of classics. Pick from chicken breast skewers or lamb cutlets which are cooked on a charcoal grill, or try your luck with one of the daily-changing specials. There’s also a decent wine list which is worth exploring.
Where: 9 William Street, SW1X 9HL
Book now: Ishbilia
Al Waha, Westbourne Grove
What: Open since the 90s, Al Waha boasts a welcoming and friendly atmosphere, serving up classic Lebanese dishes in a split-level dining room, which includes a mezzanine that is great for groups. A pocket-friendly wine list is matched with hot and cold mezze, followed by meat and fish options delivered in generous portions – our top picks include the hummus kawarmah, which arrives at the table topped with fried diced lamb and pine nuts.
Where: 75 Westbourne Grove, W2 4UL
Book now: Al Waha
What: Translating from Arabic as ‘treasure’, Kenza is a real trove of Middle Eastern décor, combining intricate tapestries and Moroccan lamps with colourful pillows and the occasional belly dancer. The basement cocktail lounge is the place to go for after-dinner drinks, but before you get there feast on the likes of lamb kibbeh, falafel and grilled halloumi served with figs in rose syrup.
Where: 10 Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YP
Book now: Kenza
Best casual Lebanese restaurants in London
If you're looking for something a little more casual and fancy-free, Lebanese will suit you very well indeed - order in a load of different hot and cold mezze and share them between your mates over a bottle of wine or three.
Eat Beirut, Parsons Green
What: Eat Beirut is an oasis of calm amidst the hum-drum of Fulham’s New Kings Road - perfect for a spot of dinner or just a coffee and a piece of baklava. If you’re after a Lebanese feast, the menu at Eat Beirut isn’t short of options - you’ll find delicious hot and cold mezze dishes as well as salads, soups, dumplings and mains off the grill, all perfectly executed.
Where: 177 New Kings Road, SW6 4SW
Book now: Eat Beirut
What: If you can hold your own amidst the many restaurants, grill houses and shisha bars of Paddington and Edgware Road, you must be doing something right. Massis is indeed standing out from the crowd, offering a vast array of authentic Lebanese dishes, served in tandem with a burgeoning Lebanese wine list. Throw in the very calming waterside location in Paddington Basin and it’s no wonder Massis is so popular.
Where: 9 Sheldon Square, W2 6HY
Book now: Massis
Beit el Zaytoun, Harlesden
What: Lebanese entrepreneur Ayman Assi founded Beit el Zaytoun in 2017 - with a goal to create a small Lebanese heaven in London. Authentic menus combined with beautiful outdoor scenery, great music and a warm ambiance make this restaurant unmissable. Dishes include traditional chicken shawarma and shish taouk or groups can take advantage of the choice of mixed grills designed for sharing.
Where? 15-17 Barretts Green Road, NW10 7AE
Book now: Beit el Zaytoun
What: Mira has a lot going for it - it’s a short, leisurely stroll from Warren Street station, and the restaurant itself is beautifully decorated with solid wood tables, Middle Eastern rugs and a lovely open front that allows a stream of light into the room. That’s before we get into the food - a bevy of meats off the charcoal grill, and all your favourite hot and cold mezze dishes. Lovely stuff.
Where: 110 Whitfield Street, W1T 5ED
Book now: Mira
O Gourmet Libanais, Battersea
What: Dinner at O Gourmet Libanais is all about the huge oven at the centre of the kitchen, which turns out a dizzying array of fresh, warm breads and pastries, from arayes topped with lamb mince and pine nuts to baked halloumi pastries and zaatar manakeesh. The quiet location near Wandsworth Bridge is a bonus too.
Where: Juniper Drive, SW18 1GY
Book now: O Gourmet Libanais
What: A natty location on Gray’s Inn Road makes this an easier visit than some of London’s more far-flung Lebanese spots, but Chamisse isn’t just a convenient backup - a menu of authentic Lebanese cooking covers all the favourites and the kibbeh and sambousik are particularly delicious.
Where: 55 Grays Inn Road, WC1X 8PP
Book now: Chamisse
Al Jabal Bakery, Park Royal
What: Park Royal is home to a host of great Lebanese joints, but Al Jabal is the place we always find ourselves popping into for falafel and kibbeh. Al Jabal does some other mixed rice plates and such too, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the breads and pastries, especially at just £3 for a zaatar manakeesh.
Where: Unit F01 Acton Business Centre, NW10 6TD
Book now: Al-Jabal Bakery
Orjowan, Earl's Court
What: Differing from many other Lebanese joints in the capital, Orjowan not only offers up a restaurant, but also a basement karaoke lounge for some after-dinner entertainment. Before you warm up your vocals though, you can line your stomach with a selection of hot and cold meze, followed by chicken shawarma or roasted lamb shank. Round off your meal with traditional desserts such as baklava and Lebanese rice pudding.
Where: 6 Kenway Road Earls Court, SW5 0RR
Book now: Orjowan
Meza, Tooting Bec
What: As its name suggests, Meza specialises in mezze, otherwise known as dynamic Lebanese small plates to share. Head here to chow down on the likes of labneh, tabbouleh and hummus, alongside hot dishes such as calamari, sautéed prawns and cheese-filled pastry parcels. It’s no surprise that the fish dishes impress here, as founder Hikmat Antippa kick-started his culinary career at legendary seafood restaurant J Sheekey in Covent Garden.
Where: 34 Trinity Road, SW17 7RE
Book now: Meza
What: Fairuz has been going strong since the late eighties and has a solid reputation with locals and regulars for straightforward, delicious Lebanese cooking. There’s a real sense of comfort and reassurance at Fairuz, delivered both by warm service and reasonable prices. The menu is laden with herb-specked salads and rice dishes, charred meats and an excellent line of desserts. Marylebone isn’t exactly short of Middle Eastern restaurants but Fairuz is definitely among the best.
Where: 3 Blandford Street, W1U 3DA
Book now: Fairuz
Arabica Bar & Kitchen, Borough
What: Arabica sits beneath a railway arch in Borough Market, with the room occasionally trembling as trains go by overheard. The food and infectiously fun atmosphere make up for any noise though, as does the wide-ranging menu of Middle Eastern fare. Top shouts from the line-up include the hummus with spiced lamb and the grilled halloumi, while other dishes tap into modern dining trends, such as the mushroom and truffle flatbread.
Where: 3 Rochester Walk, SE1 9AF
Book now: Arabica
Yalla Yalla, Fitzrovia and Soho
What: There are two Yalla Yallas in London, with the first finding its home in an intimate venue in Soho's Green's Court, and the second in a much larger space in Fitzrovia. Both restaurants do a good lunchtime trade when takeaway wraps are the stars of the show, but come back later in the day for larger plates such as spiced aubergine moussaka or roasted seabass. The Middle Eastern influence stretches to the cocktail list too, which includes a Turkish Delight Martini.
Where: 12 Winsley Street, W1W 8HQ; 1 Green’s Court, W1F 0HA
Book now: Yalla Yalla Green Court, Yalla Yalla Fitzrovia
Hiba Express, Holborn
What: Hiba Express could be easily missed on this stretch of High Holborn, but you can’t escape the stream of people heading in every weekday lunchtime, hungry for Hiba’s incredible shawarma wraps. There’s loads of other delicious food on the menu too, and Hiba now has outposts in Walthamstow (Mini Hiba) and Bloomsbury (Hiba Street). ‘Hiba’ means ‘lovely surprise’ in Arabic, and Hiba Express certainly is that.
Where: 113 High Holborn, WC1V 6JQ
Book now: Hiba Express
Lebanese cuisine is well matched to sharing, so why not check out our pick of the best buffet restaurants in London. Or broaden the search spectrum a little bit and take in the best Middle Eastern restaurants in London too, which includes Jerusalem-inspired trio The Barbary, The Barbary Next Door, and The Palomar, plus Iranian grillhouse Berenjak.