Best late-night restaurants in London

If you’re looking for a late dinner, then why not try out some of the best late-night restaurants in London? Come on, you can do better than a kebab and bad ketchup. If you’re not ready to go home yet, just pick from our selection of London’s best late-night restaurants. When it comes to restaurants open until late in London, you’ll find plenty of options right here. If you want to eat after-hours, then chomp your way through our list of restaurants open until late in London. 

Posted on 14 November 2017

Best late-night restaurants in London


Pizza East Portobello

Pizza East Portobello

The Notting Hill incarnation of Pizza East's Shoreditch warehouse is a much more intimate affair than the original. A pseudo-industrial vibe still underpins proceedings, but floor-to-ceiling butchers' tiles, shabby-chic wood panelling and two roaring wood-fired ovens lend a more rustic feel to the place. The menu references California as well as Naples (Caesar salad, mac and cheese), although firm, chewy pizzas take star billing – the version with veal meatballs, prosciutto and cream is pure indulgence. Elsewhere, bone-marrow bruschetta is another decadent touch, while those after something lighter should consider monkfish with broad beans and tomatoes. The oven also delivers beef lasagne and slow-cooked pork belly with lentils, and those looking for a sweet hit should plump for the salted chocolate caramel tart. Reasonably priced wines come by the carafe, while service is friendly – if sometimes overrun.

Pizza East Portobello

Hakkasan Mayfair

Hakkasan Mayfair

Putting on the style is second nature to this scintillating, seductive and downright intoxicating branch of the global Hakkasan chain – whether you’re flashing it in the pulsating nightclubby bar or playing it cool in the sleek ground-floor dining room. Either way, devotees of the house style are in heaven as they drool over “incredible east-meets-west platefuls” of steamed langoustines wrapped in glass vermicelli with chilli and garlic sauce, spicy lamb salad with peanut dressing (one of our favourites) or stir-fried Norfolk quail with winter chestnuts, basil and lemongrass – a dish that’s unique to Hakkasan Mayfair. “Divine dim sum” such as steamed har gau crowned with gold leaf, homemade pumpkin tofu or smoked beef ribs with jasmine tea crank up the thrill factor even further (especially at lunchtime), and the whole Michelin-starred shebang is fuelled by premium sakés, brilliantly chosen matching wines and ritzy cocktails (“unusual, but in a good way”). As you’d expect, staff are immaculately groomed – although they’re not here just for show (even if their attention sometimes wanders). Eating at Hakkasan Mayfair may be a wallet-emptying experience, but “you’ll feel like a billionaire for a few hours”. 

Hakkasan Mayfair

Brasserie Zédel

Brasserie Zédel

Proving that chain restaurants don’t have all the fun on Piccadilly Circus’s tourist highway, this archetypal brasserie provides Gallic staples at low prices in the glitzy surrounds of a cavernous former ballroom dripping with marble-clad charm. Start with a hefty bowl of soupe à l’oignon or a clutch of escargots slathered in parsley butter, ahead of baked trout with almonds, smoked pork belly or something more exotic such as spicy merguez sausage with couscous. Steaks are also perennially popular, from good-value haché with pepper sauce all the way up to a luxe rib-eye with Café de Paris sauce. The separate gluten-free menu’s “wonderful choice” gets a special mention, while over 30 selections from the all-French wine list are sold in five measures. Accusations of “unexciting” dishes are not unfounded but, for those who want a good French meal in the West End at a reasonable price, Zédel is hard to beat – especially when you factor in surefooted service and the festive atmosphere.

Brasserie Zédel

Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle

Although it’s only two floors above Sushisamba, and shares the same incredible views, Duck & Waffle has a noticeably more relaxed vibe compared to its Japanese-fusion neighbour – and with 24/7 opening as its trump card, it’s also a shoo-in for “active Londoners” living la vida loca. Food-wise, the “creative menu” plays fast and loose with the world larder, and the daring, innovative flavours are guaranteed to please (and challenge) the taste buds. Irresistible snacks of sweet/savoury bacon-wrapped dates and crispy polenta with Parmesan and truffle get things rolling, while goat meatballs in thyme broth or warm ox-cheek doughnuts with apricot jam maintain the gutsy theme – although “nothing beats the eponymous house speciality”, a mouth-watering pile-up of waffles, confit duck leg and a fried egg. If you make it to dessert, we recommend the rich salted caramel choux buns. Chatty, knowledgeable staff are also happy to advise on the ‘wham-bam’ cocktail list: “Worth every penny”, concludes one fan of Duck and Waffle.

Duck & Waffle

Balans Soho Society

Balans Soho Society

The Balans brand’s hallmarks include a cosmopolitan vibe, a please-all menu and an all-day offering. Drop by for a full English, a mid-morning snack or a casual dinner along the lines of roast chicken with shiitake mushrooms, or Cornish crab linguine – the world is your larder here. If you’ve got room for dessert, you’ll be ordering from the likes of chocolate brownie cheesecake or warm doughnuts with fudge sauce and Chantilly cream. The drinks selection is just as wide-ranging as the food, from Martinis, Margaritas and house mixes, to a clutch of affordable, globe-trotting wines. With its decent prices, relaxed atmosphere and undemanding comfort food, Balans is in possession of a strong formula which is seeing it gradually spread across the capital.

Balans Soho Society

Hubbard & Bell

Hubbard & Bell

We love the vibe at this hipster hangout in The Hoxton, Holborn hotel, where the varied choice throughout the day ensures widespread appeal. Sit at long, wooden-topped tables for US-style breakfasts (smoked salmon bagel, sourdough pancakes with pineapple and brown butter) and weekend brunches; collapse on comfy sofas with an Origin coffee; meet mates at the bar for cocktails and snacks (plus DJ stints from Thursdays to Saturdays); or grab a cosy booth to make an evening (or afternoon) of it. The extensive menu stretches from raw and chilled dishes to smoked and grilled food, via salads, burgers and pasta, with the kitchen making good use of on-trend ingredients. Most plates can happily be shared. Highlights on a recent visit included punchy yellowtail ceviche with grapefruit and fiery jalapeño; smoky octopus in a rich sauce with chorizo, potato and capers; and agnolotti stuffed with ’nduja on a bed of creamy burrata and pea shoots – not to mention the addictive truffle fries and finger-lickin’ s’mores. The large space also includes various rooms for private hire: ‘library’, ‘living room’, ‘playroom’.

Hubbard & Bell

Balans Soho Society Café

Balans Soho Society Café

The Balans brand’s hallmarks include a cosmopolitan vibe, a please-all menu and an all-day offering (and, in this case, an all-night offering too). Drop by for a full English, a mid-morning snack or a casual dinner along the lines of roast chicken with shiitake mushrooms, or Cornish crab linguine – the world is your larder here. If you’ve got room for dessert, you’ll be ordering from the likes of chocolate brownie cheesecake or warm doughnuts with fudge sauce and Chantilly cream. The drinks selection is just as wide-ranging as the food, from Martinis, Margaritas and house mixes, to a clutch of affordable, globe-trotting wines. With its decent prices, relaxed atmosphere and undemanding comfort food, Balans is in possession of a strong formula which is seeing it gradually spread across the capital.

Balans Soho Society Café

VQ Chelsea

VQ Chelsea

The original USP of this ultra-modern round-the-clock diner (VQ, Vingt-Quatre, geddit?) was to serve food (and booze) 24/7 – although the Notting Hill and Euston branches call it a night in the early hours. Wherever you hole up, expect indulgence all the way, from buttermilk pancakes or eggs florentine (favourites from the all-day breakfast menu) to gargantuan lamb burgers, beer-battered fish & chips or super-sweet banoffee pie. It’s tricky to design a restaurant that feels right at any time of day, but the graphic lines and clean, minimalist feel of VQ’s outlets are on the money for both morning coffee and late-night liquor, backed by staff who are adept at shifting gear during busy periods. After more than two decades on the scene, VQ has earned its place as a neighbourhood go-to – you’ll find burned-out party girls and bright-eyed families breakfasting side by side at weekends.

VQ Chelsea

sketch: Gallery

sketch: Gallery

Nobody comes to Sketch for half measures, and that includes artist David Shrigley. No fewer than 239 of his new works are currently (but not permanently) displayed in The Gallery, which functions as a restaurant, exhibition space and – thanks to India Mahdavi’s design – the closest thing London has to a bubblegum bubble furnished with pink boudoir biscuits. Shrigley’s work also appears as specially designed tableware, which is artistically overlaid with über-chef Pierre Gagnaire’s riotous and reliably surprising take on brasserie food. A homage to Shrigley comes in the form of albacore tuna cream, rocket, pomegranate, and pulled farm-raised chicken with rosemary, whole roast Challans duck is offered in two elaborate services, and desserts feature an oh-so-British mint yoghurt and white chocolate croquant, green matcha tea meringue with coconut milk mousseline, or a selection of macaroons. The Shrigley/Gagnaire hook-up also makes for an extraordinary afternoon tea, served (of course) by men in boiler suits.

sketch: Gallery

Hakkasan Hanway Place

Hakkasan Hanway Place

“Wow, wow and wow!” exclaims a fan of Hakkasan, who reckons it’s definitely the “sexiest restaurant” he’s ever frequented. Certainly, there’s a “sultry charm” to this “sensual”, barely lit basement, with clubby VIP vibes, easy-on-the-eye staff and black-lacquered interiors making it “perfect for a hot date”. Kick off with Asian-inspired cocktails at the bar, then try definitive versions of takeaway classics and “impressive” ‘small eats’ such as jasmine tea-smoked ribs or “amazingly light” Shanghai dumplings boosted by chilli and vinegar. To follow, readers rave about the gigantic spicy prawns with asparagus, almonds, lily bulbs, spring onion and water chestnuts (“a riot of colourful tastes and textures”), but we’re hooked on the salt and pepper squid, the duck braised with truffle and the “riveting” crispy lamb salad with peanut dressing. No one escapes the top-end pricing, but readers agree that “you pay for what you get”. Multiple tasting menus can keep the bills in check, although the ambitious wine list might push them back up again. Either way, it’s “absolutely outstanding”.

Hakkasan Hanway Place

La Bodega Negra

La Bodega Negra

We’re going to call it: this is surely London’s only Mexican restaurant hidden behind the facade of a sex shop. Such exterior bawdiness is increasingly hard to come by in Soho, although Bodega Negra’s Stygian urban-chic interior and “great service” have much in common with current restaurant trends. The kitchen’s proclivity for supreme tacos has never been hotter, with fillings including soft-shell crab accompanied by a slathering of smoky chipotle crema, while tostadas feature a winning combo of Serrano ham and tuna. We suggest ordering a selection, plus salad or a piquant plate of ceviche – although those with bigger appetites should look to wood-grilled pork belly with mezcal and salsa or a whole sea bream, tender from the fire. Bodega’s party vibes and low-lit interior aren’t for everyone, but if Tequilas galore and 50ml shots of mezcal sound like a good time, this basement den from funky restaurateur Will Ricker (E&O et al) is for you.

La Bodega Negra

Bob Bob Ricard

Bob Bob Ricard

“That restaurant with the Champagne buttons” is more than just a gimmick, although ostentation is undoubtedly blingy Bob Bob Ricard’s primary selling point: “I feel like I’m in Gatsby’s dining room”, notes one fan. Luckily, the palpable sense of enjoyment lends warmth to the glitz and gold, which is everywhere you look. Cloistered royal blue booths explain why celebs enjoy hiding out here, as does a sumptuous menu of comfort food – think mighty beef Wellingtons and deep-filled, steaming pies. A new executive chef has introduced some lighter (but no less lavish) additions to the menu in the shape of, say, lemon sole stuffed with scallop mousse or lobster in a sparky Champagne sauce. The Sunday roast lunch stars prime USDA Black Angus beef, drizzled with truffle gravy, while the pricey wine list favours treats from the French regions. Service glides effortlessly, and although prices are reasonably high, it’s worth it for the fun you’ll have.

Bob Bob Ricard

Dirty Burger Vauxhall

Dirty Burger Vauxhall

Located under the arches in Vauxhall, this offshoot of Dirty Burger in Kentish Town brings exactly the same ethos to south London. ‘Queue up and sit down’ is the order of the day, and the brevity of the menu makes for speedy ordering: essentially it’s cheeseburgers (£5.50) with triple-cooked fries or onion rings in tempura batter (both £3), plus a trio of homemade milkshakes, beers and soft drinks to wash it all down. Dirty Burger’s patties aren’t the biggest around, but they are the real deal – made with prime beef supplied by the Ginger Pig butcher and slapped into a glazed brioche bun with pickles, salad and a mustardy mayonnaise. Early birds can also kick-start their day with a hefty breakfast of thick-cut bacon or sausage in a patty with a fried egg.

Dirty Burger Vauxhall

Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel

Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel

‘An English modernist brasserie’ was the brief for this super-stylish all-dayer at the Ace Hotel, and the guys from Universal Design Studio really nailed it: nerds will find much to fawn over and fondle here, from timber walls to Ercol Butterfly chairs and Castiglioni ‘Snoopy’ lamps. You can enter via the ‘secret entrance’ in the florists, but we suggest using the adjacent hotel lobby for a better appraisal of the scene. It’s invariably buzzing here, with a seemingly endless supply of beautiful creatives lured in by Hoi Polloi’s fashion-conscious offer. Breakfast brings chia-seed Bircher muesli, lunch sees soft-shell crab rolls and teatime means cute googly-eyed fancies. Dinner heralds a more ambitious repertoire, from pretty plates of blackened sea trout with macerated fennel, or dry-aged pork chop with broad beans, peas and wild mushrooms, to pistachio and raspberry Eton mess. Cocktail hour is never dull, and we’re pleased that service seems to be on the up.

Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel

Balans Soho Society Kensington

Balans Soho Society Kensington

The Balans brand’s hallmarks include a cosmopolitan vibe, a please-all menu and an all-day offering. Drop by for a full English, a mid-morning snack or a casual dinner along the lines of roast chicken with shiitake mushrooms, or Cornish crab linguine – the world is your larder here. If you’ve got room for dessert, you’ll be ordering from the likes of chocolate brownie cheesecake or warm doughnuts with fudge sauce and Chantilly cream. The drinks selection is just as wide-ranging as the food, from Martinis, Margaritas and house mixes, to a clutch of affordable, globe-trotting wines. With its decent prices, relaxed atmosphere and undemanding comfort food, Balans is in possession of a strong formula which is seeing it gradually spread across the capital.

Balans Soho Society Kensington

Chotto Matte

Chotto Matte

Modern and youthful, this champion of Nikkei cuisine (Japanese/Peruvian fusion) pulls out the stops in every department. Chotto Matte is a large two-floor venue: a neon-splashed nightclub of a restaurant where graffiti-covered walls are juxtaposed with low lighting and concrete pillars. The best thing we ate on an intermittently forgettable menu was a glowing sushi and sashimi platter, the delicately prepared flesh adorned with vibrant daubs of aji amarillo chilli. Every dish is presented with bravado; scorched gyoza parcels of pork, prawn and cassava are fanned out on a bright red and yellow bed of sweet potato and more amarillo. Pricey small portions make this an expensive prospect – we suggest one of the set-price sharing menus – and despite the peacock approach, some flavours fall flat. Stick to the barbecue and sushi elements, then raid the sprawling, inventive cocktail list. Chotto Matte’s sheer enthusiasm, as embodied by chefs Jordan Sclare and Michael Paul (‘The Nikkei Boys’), should ensure an entertaining night: after a more energetic alternative to Hakkasan? Look no further. 

Chotto Matte

Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Although it was lightly refurbished in early 2017, even regulars would be hard pressed to notice any changes to Bar Boulud’s wood and beige interiors. The design might be restrained, but the combination of super-flattering lighting, friendly staff and chattering diners makes this one of the capital’s buzziest dining rooms. New York-based French chef Daniel Boulud may be a big name in global gastronomy but he’s very much in casual mode here, offering up the sort of Gallic classics that are many people’s idea of the perfect meal out. Starters of seared prawns and Burgundy snails are festooned with enough garlic to ward off a vampire, while lemon sole with grenobloise butter followed by a sweet slice of gateau basque and crème anglaise prove that this kitchen knows how to finish a dish with a fabulous sauce. “Although it’s high end, it isn't snobby at all” say readers, so you can also pop in for a luscious croque madame with fries or one of the “mouth-watering” inch-thick BB burgers – not what you might expect from a dining room in the Mandarin Oriental. All in all, the “best fun” you can have in Knightsbridge.

Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

MEATliquor W1

MEATliquor W1

PERMANENTLY CLOSING FEBRUARY 2019 “Reliably crowded, dark and loud”, Meatliquor’s burger-led swagger has taken it far beyond niche – there’s even a cookbook now. But although you can scoff its iconic patties in several ‘Meat’ outlets these days, the original bunker is still a place of pilgrimage for devotees who don’t mind the queues and consider the tagline ‘come hungry, leave wobbly’ a welcome challenge. The menu’s core appeal is in the purist butter-grilled cheeseburger, mustardy double-decker Dead Hippie, house chilli dogs and extravagantly pimped sides (fried pickles, chilli cheese fries and the like) – while specials feature the Garbage Plate (fries topped with a patty, cheese, onions and gravy) and chargilled prawns – not forgetting the Game Over cocktail, a combination of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, Pisang Ambon and absinthe, which is so strong it’s limited to two per diner. You want ‘dirty’ food and drink? You got it.

MEATliquor W1

Pizza East Shoreditch

Pizza East Shoreditch

Always jam-packed, the brilliant Shoreditch branch of the Pizza East mini chain continues to deliver the goods. Funky, ‘attentive’ staff whizz round the outsized, wood-heavy dining room, delivering fine pizzas with full-flavoured toppings such as San Daniele ham with mozzarella, porcini and pecorino or guanciale (pork cheek) with burrata and cipollini onions, while pizza-phobes can seek solace in big boards of charcuterie, osso bucco or sea bass with borlotti beans and peppers. Starters are a step up from your typical pizza joint, too, whether it’s a plate of fritto misto or a bowl of chicken livers on polenta with a spicy calabrese sauce. The Italian-leaning wine list does the job, with plenty of choice under £30. Afterwards, head downstairs to the aptly named Concrete bar for thumping beats – and even a spot of ‘musical bingo’.

Pizza East Shoreditch

El Camion

El Camion

Punters out late can live la vida loca at this dippy cocktail pit attached to El Camion’s Mexican grill. Choose from more than 300 class-act Tequilas, served with homemade sangrita (salt and lime is for Philistines), plus a savvy selection of mighty mescals. The Pink Chihuahua’s margaritas and daiquiris have plenty of bite – hardly surprising, given that the head honcho here is Dick Bradsell, the man who masterminded London’s ascent to cocktail capital of the world with help from protégés such as Tony Conigliaro. If Tequila isn’t to your taste, try fruity cachaça-based batidas or any off-menu fix you fancy – not forgetting bottles of cerveza served Mexican-style with spices. The low-rent decor is nothing to write home about, but when the DJ cranks up the party after midnight, this kooky kennel is top dog.

El Camion

Pizza East Kentish Town

Pizza East Kentish Town

Occupying the premises formerly occupied by a branch of the Grand Union bar chain, this two-pronged behemoth accommodates Pizza East as well as an offshoot of the Chicken Shop – with separate entrances for both. It’s the third branch of a group that also has outlets in Shoreditch and Notting Hill, so expect bold, rustic-industrial design and line-up of firm, chewy pizzas topped with proper ingredients: try the indulgent version with veal meatballs, prosciutto and cream or cotto (salame) with potatoes and Scamorza cheese. Elsewhere, the menu runs all the way from wild boar with polenta and salsa verde to specialities from the wood-fired oven – perhaps mac ‘n’ cheese, salt-baked salmon or chicken with prunes and almonds. Those looking for a sweet hit could plump for the salted chocolate caramel tart, while drinkers should appreciate the choice of reasonably priced Italian wines by the carafe.

Pizza East Kentish Town