Best Chinatown restaurants

It is a well established truth that If you are looking for an authentic taste of Chinese cuisine in London, you need to head to Chinatown in the centre of the capital, which is chock-full of excellent restaurants. Here you will find everything from minimalist, no-frills joints which allow the food to do the talking, all the way through to elegant eateries decked out in the opulent furnishings associated with the Chinese empire. To help you out, we have handpicked some of our favourites so you know where to go next time you find yourself in Soho, in need of some dim sum, hot pot or Peking duck

Updated on 13 January 2021

With so much choice packed into such a small area, how can you tell which are the best restaurants in Chinatown? Well, the hard way would be to spend your evenings traipsing up and down the West End streets between Shaftesbury Avenue and Leicester Square, trying every single restaurant that the area has to offer (which doesn’t sound like too arduous a task if we are honest).

If you don’t have time for that though, the far easier option would be to simply read this list, which takes in all of the best restaurants in Chinatown. Whether you are looking for a cheap and cheerful yet delicious bite, the best dim sum you can find in Soho or an all-out Chinese banquet with Peking duck and all the trimmings, our pick of the best Chinatown restaurants should have something that piques your interest.

Of course, the bulk of restaurants in our list of the best Chinatown restaurants serve up Chinese cuisine, but as London is a melting pot of cultures, we have snuck a few other delicious places in there which hail from the likes of Korea and Taiwan. Regardless of whether you are on the hunt for dim sum, hot pot or lavish Chinese-style feasting, our pick of the best restaurants in and around Chinatown should have what you are looking for.

Shu Xiangge

Shu Xiangge

10 Gerrard Street, London, W1D 5PW

Stretching itself across two floors, this classic Chinese joint seats more than 100 diners and is decked out with dark wood furnishings and wallpaper etched with traditional Chinese landscapes. The menu champions Hot Pot, which is cooked at the table in Sichuan-style 9-grid pots. There are more than 80 different ingredients to choose from, so you can build a Hot Pot personalised to you around the likes of ox tongue, rib eye and beef tendon.

£30 - £49
Chinese
Rasa Sayang

Rasa Sayang

5 Macclesfield Street, London, W1D 6AY

London’s West End isn’t exactly known for cheap eats, but this Malaysian cafe bucks the trend with its menu of street food and pocket-friendly prices. Split across two floors, diners can choose between the light-filled ground floor and slightly dingier basement level, while the menu here is a role call of popular Malaysian dishes, including roti canai, satays, noodles and signature dishes such as nasi lemak. Wash it all down with a pot of bubble tea.

Under £30
Malaysian
Singaporean
The Palomar

The Palomar

34 Rupert Street, Soho, London, W1D 6DN

Yes, a restaurant serving the ‘food of modern day Jerusalem’ is not exactly what springs to mind when you think of Chinatown, but The Palomar’s hot ticket dining room is found within the borders of Chinatown and is also a recipient of our coveted SquareMeal Gold Awards, so has more than earned its place in our list. Here, familiar Middle Eastern staples are reinvented by a team of passionate chefs. The atmosphere is electric too.

£30 - £49
Middle Eastern
International
SquareMeal London Top 100
Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour

Opium Cocktail & Dim Sum Parlour

15-16 Gerrard Street, London, London, W1D 6JE

This cocktail bar and dim sum parlour is themed around the Shanghai of the 1920s, so expect kitsch interiors and cocktails served in fun vessels. Opium is also home to three separate bars, serving signature cocktails such as a Lychee Martini and a Hong Kong Spring Punch. These are supplemented by steaming baskets of dim sum which can be filled with the likes of Cantonese barbecue pork buns or crab and samphire dumplings, among others.

£30 - £49
Bars
Dim Sum
BaoziInn-Romilly St

BaoziInn-Romilly St

24 Romilly Street, London, W1D 5AH

If you can’t get a table at BaoziInn Newport Court (which is right in the center of Chinatown), instead try this sibling site on Romilly Street, which is just a four minute walk from Chinatown. The basement dining room specialises in all things buns, which means you can expect to chow down on delicious baskets of steamed dumplings, alongside skewers, noodles and barbecue roasted meats. If you’re feeling brave, there’s a selection of sake too.

£30 - £49
Chinese
BaoziInn-Newport Ct

BaoziInn-Newport Ct

25 Newport Court, London, London, WC2H 7JS

Part of a mini chain which comprises a handful of sites, BaoziInn majors in the flavours of regional China, with each location offering something slightly different. At this Chinatown site, you’ll find dishes with a northern Chinese accent – think Sichuan spicy beef noodles for those with a high chilli tolerance, and barbecue pork ribs smeared with a sticky honey sauce for those who like their food a little milder. BaoziInn’s signature fluffy buns aren’t to be missed either.

Under £30
Chinese
Barshu Restaurant

Barshu Restaurant

28 Frith Street, London, W1D 5LF

Tailor-made for chilli lovers, BarShu contrasts its pared-back interiors with a stellar menu of Szechuan-style dishes that will blow your head off. Give your tongue a lashing with the likes of stir-fried duck tongues dressed with dried chilli and spicy boiled seabass, before cooling off with a mild soup and mango sorbet for dessert. Better suited to quick meals than lingering dinners, BarShu is a great starting point before moving on to Soho’s bar scene.  

Szechuan
Chinese
Leong

Leong's Legends

4 Macclesfield Street, London, W1D 6AX

Wondering where this restaurant gets its name from? Well Leong isn’t actually a person, but instead refers to Mount Liang, a location from the ‘Water Margin’ story which is one of China’s most loved literary tales. Inside the restaurant, you’ll find a wood-panelled dining room and a menu with a distinctly Taiwanese slant; think the likes of beef noodle soup, soup dumplings and the Taiwanese staple of steamed buns filled with delicious slow-cooked pork belly.

£30 - £49
Chinese
Shuang Shuang

Shuang Shuang

64 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6LU

Conveyor belts in restaurants normally feature sushi, but at Shuang Shuang you’ll find a rotating track filled with hotpots. If you’re unfamiliar with this Chinese dining staple, the helpful menu offers explanations of each component, with top orders including fried tofu, pork and prawn balls and marinated mutton. Try not to get carried away with the novelty of the conveyor as prices can add up, but superb service will soften the blow of the bill.

£30 - £49
Chinese
Olle

Olle

86-88 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6NH

DIY barbecue restaurants can divide diners, but for those who are fans of cooking their own meal, this Korean site is a great shout. Here, barbecue grills are built into the tables, allowing guests to cook the likes of Wagyu ribeye steak and pork belly. There are some off-the-grill delights to enjoy too, such as dumplings, while a range of Korean beers and wines are on hand to wash it all down.

Korean
Baiwei

Baiwei

8 Little Newport Street, London, London, WC2H 7JJ

Part of the group that operates BaoziInn and Bar Shu, Baiwei is an intimate Chinese café that pulls in big crowds. If you like to challenge your taste buds with some serious spice, Baiwei is the place for you – turn up the heat with dishes such as spicy pig’s ear salad and granny’s stewed beef with sweet potato noodles. Service can be a little cold at times, but the delicious menu will warm you up.  

Under £30
Chinese
Joy King Lau

Joy King Lau

3 Leicester Street, London, WC2 7BL

Spread across three floors and a well-established favourite with Soho thronging crowds, Joy King Lau is a fantastic dim sum spot, serving dishes that are unfussy, inexpensive and truly delicious. Stop by here to fill up on roast pork buns, filled dumplings, sesame prawn toast and fried chicken’s feet, while those looking to go beyond dim sum can order from a range of hot soups or meat dishes, such as chicken sprinkled with cashew nuts.  

£30 - £49
Chinese
Shanghai Modern

Shanghai Modern

12 Newport Place, London, WC2H 7JP

Its name may nod to the contemporary, but Shanghai Modern is a Chinese restaurant like they used to make them. Big draws here include being able to see the excellent xiao long bao being prepared in the window and a tick-box paper menu, while friendly service and pleasingly large portions are further plus points. Want our advice? Try the Shanghai fried noodles topped with shredded pork and the sticky stir-fried aubergine – you won’t be disappointed.

£30 - £49
Chinese
Dumplings Legend

Dumplings Legend

15-16 Gerrard Street, Soho, London, W1D 6JE

This Chinatown café with minimalist white interiors makes a big claim with its bold name, and it delivers for the most part. We’ve found that the evening menu can be a bit hit and miss, but come here at lunchtime and you won’t be disappointed. The restaurant reportedly makes 8,000 fresh dumplings each day and you can find them on the menu in the form of pork dumplings with crab roe and xiao long bao.

£30 - £49
Chinese
JinLi Chinatown

JinLi Chinatown

16 Newport Place, London, London, WC2H 7PR

This restaurant is a sibling to the JinLi site on nearby Leicester Street. Here, you’ll enjoy a resolutely traditional Chinatown experience, including the infamously brusque service. Nonetheless, the menu is intriguing and includes lots of appetisers that don’t often appear on London menus – think spicy pig’s foot or pork lung. If you’re not in the mood to experiment, you should be satisfied with the more conventional likes of kung po prawns and salt and pepper squid.  

Szechuan
Chinese
Plum Valley

Plum Valley

20 Gerrard Street, Soho, London, W1D 6JQ

Although Chinese cuisine is the name of the game here, Plum Valley also allows itself to be occasionally inspired by Malaysia and Singapore. The à la carte features sweet and sour chicken and Vietnamese pork belly, but the dim sum offering is where the real fun is – think a deep-fried seaweed roll and fried turnip cakes lashed with XO sauce. Wash down your food with Chinese tea, before rounding things off with chilled mango pudding.

£30 - £49
Chinese
Xu

Xu

30 Rupert Street, Covent Garden, London, W1D 6DL

Not content with making Londoners obsessed with fluffy steamed buns, the team behind Bao have now bought more of Taiwan’s staple dishes to the capital, and unlike at Bao, you can book tables here. On the menu, expect to find the likes of char siu ibérico pork and sweetbreads served with fermented greens. It’s a handsome space too, inspired by 1920s Shanghai and chic enough to make you forget you’re in the middle of Soho.

£50 - £79
Taiwanese
Viet Food

Viet Food

34-36 Wardour Street, London, W1D 6QT

Found in a three storey building in a corner of Chinatown, is this Vietnamese street food joint which has won legions of fans. The restaurant is the brainchild of ex-Hakkasan chef Jeff Tan, who turns out a selection of casual dishes, such as hearty pho, buns filled with the likes of lemongrass pork, and egg fried rice topped with beef and spring onion. The cocktail lounge is also a great place to enjoy post-prandial drinks.  

£30 - £49
Vietnamese

If you love this selection then don't miss our pick of the best Chinese restaurants in London.