Best restaurants in South London

It wouldn’t be misleading to say that South London has taken quite its share of criticisms in its time, with some Londoners famously claiming not to be able to bear straying across the Thames from the safety of central and the north. This, we think, is somewhat unfair and unfounded. South London has a worldly charm about it that we love, something the well-heeled neighbourhoods of the west can’t hope to compete with and it’s this all-welcome and anything-goes attitude that has shaped and shifted its restaurant scene. The best restaurants in South London have no one-size-fits-all shape to them, rather being a wonderful collection of the world’s food offerings.

Updated on 20 January 2020

From the small pop-up places in Pop Brixton to the bustling Borough Market, we’d go as far as to say this line-up of South London restaurants should be revered as somewhat of a foodie pilgrimage. As with all of our best lists, which round up the crème de la crème of the restaurant scene in various areas, our selection of the best restaurants in South London bridges brilliant Michelin star style spots with more accessible eateries that bring brilliant food to the fore, with attractive pricing. We’re not concerned so much with big names and blingy interiors but with whether or not it’s a spot we’d recommend to friends and family, somewhere we’d happily urge people to spend their hard-earned cash on a meal that feels every bit worth it.

Whether you fancy some of the capital’s best pasta at Padella, a full performance from the team at Story or a low-key Indian sharing feast from Kricket, the best restaurants in South London shall provide. Below is our pick of the places we’ve eaten at across Borough and Brixton, and everywhere in between. We’d love to know if you think we’ve missed anywhere out, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Kricket Brixton

Kricket Brixton

41-43 Atlantic Road, London, SW9 3JS

Now a London mini chain, Brixton is Kricket’s original home. The restaurant’s small plates never fail to hit the mark, thanks to an Anglo-Indian menu of things like Keralan fried chicken with curry leaf mayo.
£30 - £49
Indian
Legare

Legare

Cardamom Building , Tower Bridge, London, SE1 2YR

Legare is the brainchild of a former Trullo chef and an ex-Barrafina manager. In other words, this is a slick operation. Expect uncomplicated carefully curated plates of Italian-inspired dishes which let high quality ingredients do the talking.
Under £30
Italian
Trivet

Trivet

36 Snowsfields, Bermondsey, London, SE1 3SU

Headed up by two The Fat Duck alumni, this recent addition to the London dining scene has been going down a storm. Precise, subtly inventive cooking and a unique wine list help to keep Trivet busy.
£50 - £79
Modern European
The Dairy

The Dairy

15 The Pavement, London, SW4 0HY

Next door to Counter Culture, The Dairy offers up a more generously-sized dining room and majors in modern European sharing plates. The bill can add up here, but the set lunches represent great value comparatively.
£30 - £49
International
Paladar

Paladar

4-5 London Road, Elephant and Castle, London, SE1 6JZ

Elephant and Castle might get a hard time when it comes to its foodie scene, but Paladar goes some way to silence the naysayers. Expect South American sharing plates and save room for the churros.
£30 - £49
South American
Bars
Sorella

Sorella

148 Clapham Manor Street , London, SW4 6BX

Proving Clapham to be a serious dining destination, Sorella is a neighbourhood Italian that is smart enough to be a special occasion venue. The competent team here work to turn out plates of crowd pleasers.
£30 - £49
Italian
Nanban

Nanban

426 Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8LF

MasterChef winner Tim Anderson’s obsession with Japanese cooking saw him win the coveted trophy, and shortly afterwards open this restaurant dedicated to painstakingly made bowls of ramen created from scratch, cocktails and snacky small plates.
Under £30
Japanese
Loyal Tavern

Loyal Tavern

171-173 Bermondsey Street, Bermondsey, London, SE1 3UW

A cosy pub with a dynamic menu might seem like an unlikely find in London Bridge, but here it is with Chef Tom Cenc (ex-Duck & Waffle) at the helm turning out playful plates in a relaxed setting.
£30 - £49
Modern European
Darby

Darby's

3 Viaduct Gardens, Vauxhall, London, SW11 7AY

Irish chef Robin Gill opened Darby’s near the new American Embassy following successes with his other ventures – The Dairy and Sorella in Clapham. The results are an all-day setup with a bakery, butchery and bar.
£50 - £79
British
SquareMeal London Top 100
Padella Borough

Padella Borough

6 Southwark Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 1TQ

No guide to the best restaurants in South London would be complete without mentioning Padella, the pasta place with a cult following. Don’t miss the cacio a pepe signature before tucking into something more adventurous.
£30 - £49
Italian
SquareMeal London Top 100
Tsunami

Tsunami

5-7 Voltaire Road, London, SW4 6DQ

Don’t let the slightly run-down exteriors of this Clapham Japanese spot put you off, the kitchen turns out stylish clean-cut plates. Don’t miss the spicy miso, and the sushi is worth a special mention too.
£30 - £49
Sushi
Japanese
Counter Culture

Counter Culture

15 The Pavement, London, SW4 0HY

Counter Culture’s rotation of resident chefs sets it apart from the rest of Clapham’s restaurants, while giving you repeat excuses to visit. The space has room for just 14 diners and maintains a rustic, deli vibe.
£30 - £49
Modern European
The Garden Café Lambeth

The Garden Café Lambeth

Lambeth Garden Museum, 5 Lambeth Palace Road, London, SE1 7LB

The description of a museum café is too pedestrian for this calming oasis found at the centre of the lush garden museum. Enjoy the bright white dining room while picking between delicious, daily-changing menu items.
Under £30
Restaurant Story

Restaurant Story

199 Tooley Street, London Bridge, London, SE1 2JX

It’s hard to recall a modern restaurant having more hype around it than Story. Feast on Tom Sellers’ innovative dishes, like his infamous beef dipping candle, which melts as it burns and accompanies fresh bread.
Over £80
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Salon

Salon

18 Market Row, London, SW9 8LD

Salon is one of Brixton’s best restaurant. Chef and owner Nick Balfe is passionate about the produce he uses, and it shows on his plates. Local beer, clever cocktails and a solid weekend brunch complete things.
£30 - £49
Modern European
Trinity

Trinity

4 The Polygon, Clapham, London, SW4 0JG

Dining at Trinity comes with all the bells and whistles of a Michelin meal – from a delightful amuse bouche to petit fours. Rich, decadent combinations take centre stage for a meal that’s all about indulgence.
£50 - £79
Modern European
One Michelin star
Pizarro

Pizarro

194 Bermondsey Street, Bermondsey, London, SE1 3TQ

José Pizarro’s lively Spanish spot on Bermondsey Street churns out plates that champion clean, classic flavours. Chicken livers on toast are a must, as is the catch of the day, grilled on the plancha.
£50 - £79
Spanish
Brunswick House

Brunswick House

30 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall Cross, Vauxhall, London, SW8 2LG

Vauxhall isn’t renowned for its culinary contributions to the capital, but Brunswick House fights the good fight. The juxtaposition of this mansion house sitting on the roundabout is reason enough to visit and solid cooking seals the deal.
£30 - £49
British
Coal Rooms

Coal Rooms

11a Station Way, London, SE15 4RX

Housed in an old ticket office, the setting for this internationally influenced restaurant might be historic but the food certainly isn’t. Expect hipster-certified serves with a menu you might need a translator for.
Under £30
International
José

José

104 Bermondsey Street, Bermondsey, London, SE1 3UB

London has no shortage of tapas bars, but this is one of the city’s best. Masterminded by celebrity chef José Pizarro, this Spanish spot in South London delivers bold, hearty flavours in dainty serve sizes.
£30 - £49
Tapas
Spanish

Looking for something a little more specific? You might like our guide to the best restaurants in London Bridge...