The most unusual and quirky restaurants in London

A roundup of London’s weird and wonderful restaurants, from pitch-black dining to cat cafes

Updated on • Written By Pete Dreyer

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The most unusual and quirky restaurants in London

We go on and on about how great London is as a food city - one of the best in the world, we reckon - but alongside all the great food, we probably don’t talk enough about the unusual dining experiences London has to offer. Going out and enjoying delicious food is one thing, but restaurants are also there to entertain and, sometimes, to allow us to revel in their unique quirks.


That could mean all sorts of things - you might enjoy a quirky gastropub that’s full of old bric-a-brac and historic memorabilia, or perhaps you want to grab a coffee and a slice of cake surrounded by cats. Whatever your desire, somewhere in London is willing to grant your wish and if you’ve ever found yourself searching for ‘unique places to eat near me,’ you’ve come to the right place.

London is packed full of unusual restaurants and quirky places to eat - all you have to do is find them. This list is home to all the capital’s weird and wonderful eating experiences, from dining in the dark, prison restaurants and kebab tasting menus to restaurants that employ full-time grape feeders and a restaurant where you literally pay to be verbally abused by staff.

If that all sounds a bit intense, perhaps click on over to our definitive list of London’s cool and trendy restaurants - cutting edge, pioneering restaurants that are leading the way in London’s restaurant scene.

But, if being fed grapes by a man in a toga is exactly what you’re after, scroll down and check out our list of all the quirky restaurants London has to offer.

Dear Jackie, Soho

Red vintage interiors

What: Nestled inside Broadwick Soho hotel, Dear Jackie is a dinner-only Italian restaurant specialising in unadulterated Italian opulence. The interiors are the main tell that this isn't your average restaurant, with red silk walls, retro pattered banquets and hand-painted ceramics covering every inch of wall space. What of the food? The kitchen is directed by head chef Harry Faddy who has created a decadent menu of luxurious classics. Think seabass crudo with fennel and blood orange, Genovese pasta with black truffle and parmesan, and Hereford beef with black garlic.
Where: 20 Broadwick Street, W1F 8HT
Book now: Dear Jackie

Duck & Waffle, City of London

Brunch plates and views of london

What: We’d argue that a 24-hour restaurant is pretty unusual. Throw in killer views and a signature dish that revolves around waffles and duck confit, and you have yourself a wild time in our books. High-rise restaurant Duck & Waffle is located on the 40th floor of 110 Bishopsgate where you can dine on everything from breakfast to a Sunday roast to late-night snacks from dawn until dusk.
Where: 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
Book now: Duck & Waffle

Park Row, Leicester Square

wacky plates at park row

What: Immerse yourself in DC’s fantastical universe at Park Row, an immersive venue in the heart of London where a series of iconic heroes and villains are brought to life. There are two dining experiences to choose from – either the Monarch Theatre or the Iceberg Lounge. The former is a gastronomic experience complete with floor-to-ceiling screens, 350-degree projection mapping and 10 theatrical courses, all of which revolve around richly detailed storytelling. While the Iceberg Lounge is a modern Japanese restaurant and bar that often plays host to live entertainment. Whichever you choose, guests are invited to step away from normality and into a world of superheroes and villains for a few hours. 
Where: 77 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9ZN
Book now: Monarch Theatre at Park Row, Iceberg Lounge at Park Row

Mr Fogg’s, Various London locations

Vintage interiors

What: Step inside the wondrous world of Mr Fogg’s, a string of quirky cocktail bars across London that revolve around the travels of Mr Fogg. Each bar is quirky and unique, from a Victorian-style tavern in the City of London to an old-style apothecary in Mayfair. Rest assured, each outlet promises to transport guests to a wonderfully eccentric world, complete with vintage interiors and a menu of barmy, botanical cocktails.
Where: Various London locations
Book now: Mr Fogg’s City Tavern, Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour, Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals, Mr Fogg’s Pawnbrokers and more

Bustronome, Embankment

bustronome upper deck

What: Aside from, perhaps, sailing down the Thames, the next best way to see the city is via bus. Bustronome combines fine dining and sightseeing, kitting out a double decker with kitchen and tables, and serving creative, seasonal menus as you whizz around the city taking in the sites. Head to the top deck for the best views, thanks to big windows and a glass roof.
Where: Coach bay 40B, Victoria Embankment, WC2N 6PB
Book now: Bustronome

Champor-Champor, London Bridge

dining room at Champor Champor

What: Champor Champor delivers creative Malaysian food with a side of incense-scented romance and tribal artefacts. There’s even a sole table for two hidden up on the mezzanine, which might just be London’s most unique date spot.
Where: 62-64 Weston Street, SE1 3QJ
Book now: Champor-Champor

Karen’s Diner, Islington

staff at Karen's Diner

What: Dare you visit Karen’s Diner? This immersive experience has been a huge hit in Australia and subsequently in other UK cities, going ultra-viral on social media for combining classic diner fare with purposely rude, obnoxious staff. Be prepared to have menus thrown at you, and whatever you do, don’t ask for the manager.
Where: 9 White Lion Street, N1 9PD
Book now: Karen’s Diner

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, Bethnal Green

cats at Lady Dinah's

What: Lady Dinah’s is an east London legend, fostering cats from nearby Scratching Post Cat Rescue and helping them find new homes. This cafe is their permanent home and you are merely a guest - you can buy an entry for 60 or 90 minutes, during which time you’re welcome to order food and drink (or afternoon tea) and play with the cats as much as you like.
Where: 152-154 Bethnal Green Road, E2 6DG
Book now: Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

Bunga Bunga, Covent Garden

dining room at bunga bunga

What: If you think you’re ready to get down like former Italian Prime Minister and living waxwork Silvio Berlusconi, get yourself down to Bunga Bunga for an evening of all-singing, all-dancing cabaret. The restaurant is accessed through an Italian laundrette, policed by Bunga Bunga’s amici, before diners are treated to dinner and a show. If we know Silvio, you can expect a late night. Or head to the ground floor BarBunga, for classic Italian aperitivo including Negronis and Aperol Spritz'. 
Where: 167 Drury Lane, WC2B 5PG
Book now: Bunga Bunga

Bodega Negra, Soho

moody dining room at Bodega Negra

What: Surely London’s only Mexican restaurant hidden under a sex shop, Bodega Negra marries two Soho eras nicely, combining stylish food and crotchless pants. If you don’t mind braving the Stygian decor, the food is actually pretty good, marrying excellent tacos, tostadas and the like with some innovative fillings, plus a huge list of tequilas and mezcals.
Where: 9 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JF
Book now: Bodega Negra

Gremio de Brixton, Brixton

grilled prawn tapas Gremio de Brixton

What: Hidden away in the sprawling, brick-vaulted crypt of St Matthews Church in Brixton, this tapas joint hosts live music, live football and more, all to the tune of some excellent Iberian small plates and wines. Gremio has really livened up an otherwise chilly space, but there’s still a tiny Catholic shrine in one corner.
Where: The Crypt, St Matthews Church, SW2 1JF
Book now: Gremio de Brixton

Kebab Queen, Covent Garden

counter dining at Kebab Queen

What: Shuffle down into the basement of Maison Bab in Covent Garden, through the faux frontage of the kebab shop, and you’ll find yourself in the world’s only kebab tasting menu restaurant (probably). The food is pretty sensational, and innovative too, with guests eating directly with their hands from the heated countertop (clean freaks relax, it’s all anti-bacterial and wiped down between each course).
Where: 4 Mercer Walk, WC2H 9FA
Book now: Kebab Queen

Dans Le Noir, Clerkenwell

fish dish at Dans le Noir

What: Gastronomic guinea pigs eat in total darkness at Dans Le Noir, aided by waiters with walkie-talkies and presumably, military-grade night vision gear. In keeping with the mystery, guests choose between four different ‘surprise’ menus (including a vegetarian version), but are left to guess exactly what’s on the plate in front of them. The darkness is intended to heighten the sense of taste, which may or may not be of benefit.
Where: 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0DU
Book now: Dans Le Noir

Bacchanalia, Mayfair

dining room at Bacchanalia

What: The ever-so-shiny zirconium in Richard Caring’s crown, Bacchanalia is a tribute to the debaucherous Roman pleasure god Bacchus. Toga-draped hosts escort you to your table underneath gargantuan statues of winged horses, before revisiting to feed you grapes, should you be so lucky. From the jewel-encrusted bar to the operatic toilet music, there was clearly no holding back at this planning meeting.
Where: 1 Mount Street, W1K 3NA
Book now: Bacchanalia

Ave Mario, Covent Garden

colourful dining room at Ave Mario

What: We decided to only let one Big Mamma restaurant on this list, and the honour went to Ave Mario, though frankly they could all qualify. The rainbow lights around the toilets and absolutely barmy interiors swung it, not to mention the 60cm drum of ice cream that gets carved tableside.
Where: 15 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8QG
Book now: Ave Mario

Bob Bob Ricard, Soho

Champagne button at Bob Bob Ricard

What: Famously blingy and caviar-strewn Bob Bob Ricard makes the list for the Gatsby-esque dining room, as well as for being ‘that restaurant with the Champagne button.’ Head to the second City location for all the same fun with Savile Row-suited wide boys.
Where: 1 Upper James Street, W1F 9DF
Book now: Bob Bob Ricard

Caravel, Islington

barge dining at Caravel

What: Scoff your way through a menu of classic British cooking, courtesy of Fin and Lorcan Spiteri and Poppy - their beautiful Regent’s Canal grain barge. The simple and charming dining room is one of London’s most romantic - Fin handles the excellent cocktails whilst Lorcan is busy in the tiny kitchen at the back of the boat.
Where: 172 Shepherdess Walk, N1 7JL
Book now: Caravel

The Clink at Brixton Prison, Brixton

Brixton Prison The Clink restaurant

What: Following similar restaurants at HMP Cardiff and High Down in Surrey, the Clink charity runs this restaurant at Brixton prison, which trains inmates in hospitality with support from local businesses. Yes, that means you’re eating food cooked by chefs who are being detained at His Majesty’s pleasure.
Where: HMP Brixton, Jebb Avenue, SW2 5XF
Book now: The Clink at Brixton Prison

Brunswick House, Vauxhall

chandeliers at Brunswick House

What: Be prepared for your guests to side eye you as they round the grimly urban Vauxhall gyratory and spot this Georgian brick townhouse. If you can get them inside, all will be well - this Carollian dreamscape is packed full of wacky knickknacks, antique furniture and gaudy chandeliers. With Jackson Boxer looking after the menus, the food is predictably fantastic.
Where: 30 Wandsworth Road, SW8 2LG
Book now: Brunswick House

We have plenty more quirky to offer you, from London’s most unique private dining rooms to the most unusual and quirky venues to hire in London. Or you can find more quirky restaurants in our full restaurant catalogue for London.

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