Best restaurants in Chelsea

Looking for a restaurant in Chelsea? We’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to, and compiled a handy list of the best. Whatever your budget or taste, SquareMeal is here to help, with a selection of the best restaurants for every occasion. Read on for our pick of the best restaurants in Chelsea.

Posted on 18 December 2018

Best restaurants in Chelsea


Kurobuta Chelsea

Kurobuta Chelsea

£50 - £79
Japanese

312 King's Road, London, SW3 5UH

Aussie chef/founder Scott Hallsworth has moved on, but Korobuta is still a good-fun local in SW3 – even if service is a bit wobbly and some of the original spark has gone. By and large, it’s business as usual, which means stripped-back interiors, a raucous rock soundtrack, racy cocktails and a menu touting everything from jazzed-up sushi and raw salads to robata BBQ and ‘significant others’ (miso-baked aubergine with candied walnuts). Nothing is taken too seriously, so graze your way through the in-your-face flavours of 'junk food Japan' (tako-yaki octopus doughnuts, Wagyu sliders or Korean short-rib tacos with chilli oil and avocado, perhaps). Under the heading 'something crunchy', there’s black pepper soft-shell crab tempura with wakame, while the robata-grilled pork belly in a satay-loaded steamed bun is an unctuous, nutty treat. Also expect a strong showing of maki rolls, nigiri and sashimi – all at friendly prices. The bar is a destination in its own right, with cocktails matching the mood: anyone for a Drunken Samurai with sparkling yuzu saké?

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Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

Over £80
British
French

68 Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4HP

“The top of Everest, the Roger Federer of fine dining” declares a fan of Gordon Ramsay’s three-Michelin-starred Chelsea flagship, adding that it’s “hands-down” the best place to eat in London. Former chef/patron Clare Smyth has moved on to open her own restaurant, Core in Notting Hill, but the kitchen is in safe hands under the stewardship of Matt Abé – a chef who has proved his worth as an alumnus of both Ramsay and Smyth. If proof were needed, consider the ever-delectable ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon (now enlivened with oxalis and sorrel), the pressed foie gras with green apple, turnips, watercress and smoked duck or roast pigeon pointed up with sweetcorn, lavender, honey and apricot. Vegetarians might be treated to gnocchi “as light as pillows of clouds”, while desserts are miracles of clarity and sweetness (a lemonade parfait with honey, bergamot and sheep’s milk yoghurt, for example). It’s all about consummate craftsmanship, combined with an acute eye for visual detailing. The dining room is cool and classy, with silky-smooth service to match, although it would be nothing without the gleeful attentions of genial overlord Jean-Claude Breton – a master orchestrator and a legend among maître d's. Like everything else at this gilded wow-inducing superstar, the staggeringly comprehensive wine list and the sommelier’s astute recommendations are “hard to beat”.

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Daphne

Daphne's

£50 - £79
Italian
£30 - £49

112 Draycott Avenue, SW3 3AE

A neighbourhood bolthole and gastronomic destination rolled into one, Daphne’s is the very personification of its Kensington clientele – handsome, refined and utterly assured. From the dark-pink marble bar with its green leather stools to the European modern art and baroque conservatory for private dining, this space resembles a tasteful and expensively clad Italian townhouse, complete with classic Jags and idling chauffeurs parked outside the concertina doors. The kitchen specialises in bold regional flavours: creamy burrata with intense cherry tomatoes and grilled focaccia; octopus carpaccio with crispy soft-shell crab; pappardelle with wild boar ragù; roast rump of lamb with caponata and salsa verde; seared slabs of tuna atop sweet peperonata. For dessert, the strawberry gelato is guaranteed to clear any rainclouds away. As you’d expect from Caprice Holdings, flawless and personable service is a given, while waiters “with a good sense of humour” take pleasure in steering drinkers through the exhaustive Italian wine list.

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La Famiglia

La Famiglia

£30 - £49
Italian
£30 - £49

7 Langton Street, London, SW10 0JL

As a “traditional, family-run Italian”, La Famiglia is a proud little vestige of Old Chelsea – a friendly, locals-orientated spot that has been trundling along for nearly 40 years. Blue-and-white tiled interiors channel the spirit of provincial Italy whatever the weather, while the sun-trap terrace is much sought after come summer. Over the decades, the kitchen has watched the culinary whims of the capital come and go, safely rooted in dishes from late founder Alvaro Maccioni’s beloved Tuscany – all ‘cooked the way mama taught us’. First-rate ingredients and Italian knowhow combine in regional classics such as pappa al pomodoro (bread and tomato soup), chopped chicken livers with capers and garlic on toast, rigatoni with Gorgonzola sauce, or roasted veal with Swiss chard. For dessert, the kitchen’s fresh fruit platter is a stunner, or you could try one of their creamy confections. Service gets strong reviews and the Italian wine list is fun to explore.

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Colbert

Colbert

French

50-52 Sloane Square, SW1W 8AX

If ever there was a corner of London that embraced the quintessence of central Paris, it’s Sloane Square – which makes it a perfect home for Messrs Corbin and King’s homage to the Gallic brasserie. From the black-and-white floor to art-deco flourishes and cream walls emblazoned with film posters, this spot has been fastidiously designed to look as if it’s been around for a lifetime. There’s the odd concession to current tastes on the all-day menu (crushed avocado on sourdough toast, say), but this is really a place for lovers of dyed-in-the-wool bistro cooking, from garlicky escargots and steak tartare to veal viennoise, herb-crusted hake with béarnaise sauce and desserts such as rum baba. Waiters in suited aprons are expertly drilled in the art of dutiful hospitality, while the oak bar is perfect for soaking up a Cognac or two. “Great local restaurant, buzzing from breakfast to midnight, love it”, says one fan. We wouldn’t argue with that.

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Le Colombier

Le Colombier

£30 - £49
French
£50 - £79

145 Dovehouse Street, London, SW3 6LB

Immune to the latest whims of dining fashion, Didier Garnier's stately French stalwart glides along gracefully, taking huge pride in the trappings of classic Gallic hospitality – from dicky-bowed waiters to sliced white baguettes and artfully turned vegetables. It's no wonder that the old-school Chelsea brigade flock to the handsome cream-and-blue dining room and its sought-after terrace. The cooking is timeless and executed to perfection – from peerless, precisely spiced beef tartare to fruits de mer (we particularly enjoyed the unshelled brown shrimps with mayonnaise) and expertly cooked slabs of turbot with earthy mushrooms and buttered mangetout. Desserts such as crêpes Suzette and baba au rhum also need no translation. Pick from one of London's best French wine lists and unwind at your leisure – safe in the knowledge that you're in very capable hands.

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Medlar

Medlar

£50 - £79
Modern European

438 King's Road, London, SW10 0LJ

A lot of love goes into this charming neighbourhood restaurant: its elegant white and green decor still looks fresh, menus are updated regularly and service is always on point. That suggests dedication as well as strong heritage: the two chef/owners are graduates of Chez Bruce and have established a reputation for gutsy Euro-accented food built around an exceptionally well-priced set menu. To start, the signature crab raviolo is a fixture, although one reader highly recommends the duck-egg tart with sautéed duck hearts. Steaks are another mainstay, but much of the line-up changes seasonally: in autumn, you might begin with elaborate salad involving black figs, baby beetroot, Bayonne ham, goats’ curd, pickled onion and toasted hazelnuts, ahead of “delicious” rump of beef topped with snails or a richly flavoured pork fillet, served with pork cheek, boudin noir, wild mushrooms and pistou. Ask the enthusiastic sommelier for wine recommendations, and “request some Madeleines with your after-dinner coffee”.   

 

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The Botanist Sloane Square

The Botanist Sloane Square

£50 - £79
Modern European

7 Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8EE

Tom and Ed Martin’s Botanist has been rocking Sloane Square since 2008, so its recent Russell Sage refurb seems rather timely – note the vibrant paintings of parrots and elephants that now provide a backdrop to the restaurant’s leather banquettes and snug upholstered booths. The adjoining art-deco bar buzzes throughout the day, while adjustable glass screens shield diners from the lively after-work crowd. A versatile all-day menu kicks off with breakfast (perhaps a full English or ricotta pancakes with bacon and berries), ahead of an international line-up spanning everything from tuna tartare with avocado, radish and macadamia nuts or succulent scallops partnered by crisp Serrano ham and burnt cauliflower purée to veal schnitzel, chicken with wild mushrooms and polenta, spinach tortellini and fish dishes such as cod with chorizo and bean stew. There are also steaks and a Longhorn burger from the grill, while imaginative salads keep the veggies happy. With pre-theatre suppers, weekend brunch, a sensible wine list and exceptionally friendly staff, The Botanist is in fine form for its tenth anniversary in spring 2018. 

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The Ivy Chelsea Garden

The Ivy Chelsea Garden

£30 - £49
Modern European

197 King's Road, London, SW3 5ED

Richard Caring doesn’t do things by half. Not content with moving his burgeoning Ivy brand to the King’s Road, he has duly bagged one of the best sites around, taking over a vast Edwardian building near the fire station. Caring’s eye for opulence has given the cavernous space real character, from the stately, panelled front room to the verdant Orangery and an “amazing”’ manicured garden that’s perfect for “lazing on a sunny afternoon”. The kitchen delivers “great” renditions of the Ivy’s trademark “cosy but sophisticated classics”: a Brit take on carpaccio charged with horseradish and mustard cream; crispy duck salad with five-spice dressing; the iconic shepherd’s pie loaded with slow-cooked lamb shoulder, plus desserts such as blackberry sundae. Juices and healthier salads please Chelsea’s fashionistas, breakfast brings in the early birds, and the set menu is “surprisingly economical”. We’re pleased that service seems to have smoothed out after a few early blips.

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Elystan Street

Elystan Street

£50 - £79
Modern European
One michelin star

43 Elystan Street, London, SW3 3NT

“Phil Howard strikes gold with this stylish Chelsea gem” declares an admirer of Elystan Street – a slick yet informal affair untroubled by amuse-bouches, tasting menus and tablecloths. Having sold The Square after 25 years of critical acclaim, Howard decided to postpone retirement and return to the stove, where he is now delivering uncomplicated yet highly sophisticated food full of “clever and subtle flavours”. Expect out-and-out indulgence from, say, golden-roasted veal sweetbreads with a rich veal sauce and an autumn ‘slaw’, or grouse breasts cooked blushing pink with little croquettes of leg meat, root vegetables and elderberry sauce. Lighter options might bring mackerel rillettes with Porthilly oyster and dressed Poole prawns, while pasta is a forte – think a fat raviolo of scallop and langoustine in a delicate foaming bisque. After that, bitter chocolate mousse with milk ice cream and salted caramel sauce is the must-order pud. Prices are hardly kind (mind you, this is high-living Chelsea), but the dining room is a dream – all towering windows, polished wood and clean lines. With smart staff who get the low-fuss approach just right and a wine list that ticks all the boxes, this is the “perfect all-round package”.

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Kutir

Kutir

Indian

10 Lincoln Street, SW3 2TS

Number 10 Lincoln Street is an address with an impressive pedigree for Indian restaurants. Its previous resident was chef Vineet Bhatia’s Michelin-starred Rasoi; now it’s home to this first solo restaurant from chef-patron Rohit Ghai, who trails a comet’s tail of starry Indian establishments behind him, having been head chef at Gymkhana and launched Jamavar and Bombay Bustle.

‘Kutir’ means ‘a small cottage in the middle of nowhere’ in Sanskrit and while the location on a side street near Sloane Square is hardly off the beaten track, it does feel homely, although this being Chelsea, it’s the sort of home that World of Interiors might splash on its cover. Diners must ring a doorbell (or rap the silver elephant door knocker) to gain admittance to a series of dining rooms tricked out with Zoffany wallpaper and fragranced with a rose-scented diffuser.

It’s an entrancing setting for modern Indian cooking that beguiles with spicing that is delicate and distinct. Take the 24-hour lamb rogan josh, involving lamb shoulder slow-cooked for a whole day at 90C and spooned with a glossy brown sauce made from the bones, and served alongside a cigar-shaped samosa of lamb’s offal rolled inside the thinnest, crispest pastry. Nose-to-tail eating doesn’t get any more refined. 

Roast duck breast, meanwhile, comes with a cashew sauce as creamy as anything you’d find in French cuisine, although it’s not all so sophisticated: lamb chops are as primal a thrill as you’ll eat anywhere, but it’s typical of Ghai’s thoughtful approach that the palate-refreshing dish of sprouts on the side demands equal attention. Vegetarians, meanwhile, are well served by inspired combinations such as soft paneer offset by the crunch of sweetcorn. 

Diners who find much modern Indian cooking too dainty are unlikely to be won over by the likes of a pair of perfectly cooked scallops presented on a silver banana leaf, and still less, perhaps, by the series of ‘Expeditions’ tasting menus with matching wines. And while prices are not outlandish for the quality of cooking or location, Kutir is unlikely to become a home-from-home for all but the most well-heeled of Chelsea locals. But for anyone interested to see how one of London’s foremost chefs is evolving the Indian repertoire with individuality and ambition, 10 Lincoln Street remains an address to remember.

Food image: Stuart Milne

Interior image: Tim Atkins

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Bluebird

Bluebird

£50 - £79
International
£50 - £79

350 King's Road, London, SW3 5UU

With a plum Chelsea location and plenty of space on the street-level terrace and first-floor restaurant, Bluebird keeps it simple to woo the King’s Road set with a please-all menu of globe-spanning flavours, lighter bites at the adjacent Bluebird Café and a large horseshoe bar. Following a refurbishment in autumn 2016, the sprawling dining room is a mishmash of styles – patterned fabrics and blue and brown leather ­­– beneath rusty-red girders and a large skylight. Diners share a collection of smaller options, or go for a traditional three-course meal. Our salad of crispy duck was piled with chewy nuggets of flesh and drizzled with a well-matched maple dressing, but a hefty Galician steak for two was too chewy and fatty for the price. Overall prices are reasonable and pescatarians are particularly well catered for. The staff are on-point and swift, while only the pickiest oenophile will struggle to find a wine on the lengthy list. 

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Yashin Ocean House

Yashin Ocean House

£30 - £49
Japanese
Fish

117-119 Old Brompton Road, London, SW7 3RN

The brains behind Yashin Ocean House have achieved a remarkable feat, turning a site no restaurateur could previously get to work into one of London’s smarter and more imaginative purveyors of creative Japanese seafood. Dishes seem to get better year on year, and the only thing more commendable than the kitchen’s constant invention is the dedication to using all parts of the fish. Pan-fried cod cheeks in a sweet-and-sour chilli amazu sauce is a dish of blissful beauty, but honourable mentions should also go to the citrusy marinated grouper served in a bowl of Himalayan salt (so you can season it yourself), the perky chilli-laced octopus ceviche, the chargrilled eel and the exquisite sushi – our meltingly tender fatty tuna came topped with truffle shavings and perfectly pre-lacquered with soy. All of this theatre takes place in a high-ceilinged, handsome space built around a turquoise bar and manned by an army of knowledgeable, eager staff.

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Rabbit

Rabbit

£30 - £49
British

172 Kings Road, London, SW3 4UP

Having found fame with The Shed in Palace Gardens Terrace, the three brothers behind Rabbit deserve real plaudits for launching such a unique, characterful and youthful offshoot. From the liberal use of rough-cut timber to the odd pair of antlers, the style is emphatically country-meets-city, while the kitchen is set up to get the best from ample produce arriving from the family’s Sussex farm. Start with a ‘mouthful’ of confit rabbit and chervil on crispbread, then move on to sharing plates of seasonal ingredients imbued with flashes of cheffy creativity: big dollops of broad bean hummus studded with shards of brittle lemon-and-ale crisp; seared ox liver with rainbow chard and a punchy peppercorn sauce; a pork chop with fennel salsa, nasturtium leaves and crackling dust. For dessert, we recommend the chunks of honeycomb on mascarpone with tarragon sugar. To drink, try a seasonal cocktail or a vintage from the family’s own Sussex vineyard.

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Eight Over Eight

Eight Over Eight

392 King's Road, London, SW3 5UZ

“Buzzy”, “busy”, “exciting”’ – 14 years in and Eight Over Eight still wears the crown as the epicentre of grown-up “party” fun on the King’s Road. The Zen-like black and white interiors, oriental screens and fluted lampshades have remained timeless, with chopstick holders and napkin dispensers keeping everything the right side of informal. Tables fill up quickly with “the usual pretty people”, all lured by the prospect of some celeb spotting and a super-friendly menu of “excellent” pan-Asian classics. From spare ribs with black bean sauce and yellowtail sashimi with citrus dressing to Malaysian lamb curry and the in-demand black cod with sweet miso, you’ll struggle to find a dud dish. Even the crispy banoffee spring rolls are a good shout. The streetside bar is equally popular thanks to its roster of top-notch Asian-themed cocktails, with the Pomegranate Margarita scoring particularly highly. Service is “quick” and the “friendly and chatty” staff keep the mood upbeat.

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Hans’ Bar & Grill - Pavilion Road

Hans’ Bar & Grill - Pavilion Road

£30 - £49
Modern European

164 Pavilion Road, London, SW1X 0BP

A glamorous all-day affair that’s completely at home in this chic corner of Chelsea, Hans’ links the five-star 11 Cadogan Gardens hotel with Pavilion Road. Smartly dressed staff lead you to the stylish dining room, a calming oasis where plants hang from the ceiling and white marble tabletops are paired with comfy pea-green chairs.

Similar refinement is evident in the concise menu of smart European dishes: six starters, five mains and meats from the grill. We began with snacks, including crispy peppered squid served with a tangy citrus aïoli, before starters of pleasingly fresh Brixham crab prettily decorated with juicy chunks of apple (looks are important here). To follow, main-course steaks or poached salmon are worth considering, but we opted for an artistically presented plate of ricotta and truffle gnocchi: a surprisingly light, fluffy dish made tastier with the subtle addition of spinach. Another choice, pimped-up Wagyu beefburger, arrived sandwiched between a brioche bun and layered with Emmental and pancetta. Desserts include a crumbly, slightly bitter orange cake served with a scoop of almond sorbet, and the notable drinks list contains almost 200 wines together with plenty of classic cocktails.

With a well-executed (if slightly predictable) menu and lavish surrounds, Hans’ is well-suited to its moneyed clientele – from Chelsea’s bright young things to mature ladies who lunch. If dinner seems too big a commitment, try the breakfast where freshly-baked pastries and an English breakfast are among the enticements. 

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Claude Bosi at Bibendum

Claude Bosi at Bibendum

French
Two michelin stars
£50 - £79

Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6RD

The latest iteration of iconic Michelin House unites two legends of the London restaurant scene: Bibendum’s co-founder Sir Terence Conran and chef Claude Bosi (formerly of two-Michelin-starred Hibiscus). Here in Chelsea, Bosi’s cooking is a little more relaxed, although the style is definitely more Hibiscus than Bibendum – witness clever amuse-bouches of pissaladière fashioned into lifelike ‘olives’ or eggshells filled with mushroom duxelles, coconut foam and curry powder. However, you’ll also encounter whopping stalks of intensely flavoured green and white asparagus, chicken that tastes of a life well lived and, best of all, a Staub pan brimming with chunky, funky tripe and cuttlefish gratin, plus hefty slices of pig’s ear and ham cake on the side: simple dishes elevated to the sublime by a kitchen versed in skilful technique. Prices are as unremittingly high as ever, although a set lunch and Sunday roasts are an attempt to make this special-occasion destination work for locals as well. But Bibendum’s food is only half the story: few dining rooms in London give such unremitting life-affirming pleasure, especially when the light is streaming through those famous stained-glass depictions of the Michelin man.         

 

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Chicama

Chicama

£50 - £79
Peruvian

383 King's Road, London, SW10 0LP

The team behind Marylebone’s hit South American joint, Pachamama, have headed to Chelsea to open this seafood-led take on their popular Peruvian-style cooking. Chicama is a modern space – copper-pipe and rough-wood clad, and boosted by pulsating energy from the frenetic open kitchen. The South American-inspired wines and cocktails match perfectly with the neighbourhood’s Sloaney drinking culture, and we loved our rhubarb-flavoured Pisco and Champagne Spritz brushed in cinnamon spices. The meat-free menu is based on the daily catch from Cornish day-boats, souped-up by coastal Peruvian flavours. Sharing plates arrive when ready, loaded with South American spice and zing: witness a decent salmon ceviche, drenched in a zesty coconut milk, with mango and red quinoa. Other hits include thin slivers of tuna on a creamy jalapeño and avocado sauce, topped with crunchy fried leeks, and the star of the show – soft, gooey cubes of crispy-coated tapioca marshmallow. As at Pachamama, the charcoal-fired Josper grill forms a big part of the appeal. Barbecue fans should bag a ringside seat to watch the never-ending roster of fish hit the coals. We chose a John Dory, which came expertly grilled, filleted and full of flame-licked flavour, alongside a smoky ají panca salsa. For dessert, the sweet-potato tart might sound like a strange choice, but think of it as a particularly sweet pumpkin pie and you won’t be far off. Blessed with a gorgeous terrace off the King’s Road, and proficient South American service, Chicama is already attracting Sloaney locals in numbers – and rightly so.

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The Five Fields

The Five Fields

£50 - £79
British
One michelin star

8-9 Blacklands Terrace, London, SW3 2SP

“Still on the up and up” confirms a regular visitor to Five Fields – an elegant but homely neighbourhood restaurant that “really does feel very special”. Muted grey and beige colour schemes set a soothing tone in the bijou dining room, although all eyes are on the gloriously fresh-flavoured food coming out of chef/proprietor Taylor Bonnyman’s kitchen. Much depends on seasonal pickings from the owner’s Sussex garden – floral tributes and herbal embellishments that make an impact in dishes as diverse as Lindisfarne oyster with green herbs, sea lettuce and radish or a disarmingly simple ‘late summer’ plate of tomato, pea and watermelon. Bonnyman’s sense of adventure and his culinary intelligence also show in unexpected pairings such as beef with peanut, broccoli and tamarind or red grouse overlaid with the contrasting flavours and textures of carrot, yoghurt and cucumber. To finish, ‘chocolate, sesame and smoke’ sounds darkly dramatic, but there’s fruity freshness too – as in Charentais melon with orange flower blossom, raspberry and praline. Staff are gracious, genuine and accommodating – a real boon when it comes to picking from the comprehensive 500-bin wine list. “Surprising and charming in equal measure” says a fan – a verdict we’re happy to endorse.

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