Check out South London’s top restaurants with SquareMeal’s excellent guide to the best restaurants in South London. There are so many great London areas that form part of South London that it’s only natural that the area boasts a fantastic portfolio of great restaurants. Just across the river from Chelsea and Fulham are Putney and Wandsworth, both affluent riverside areas where some of London’s finest restaurants can be found. Clapham with its beautiful common and village like centre; Wimbledon with its legendary tennis club and Richmond with its stunning park make South London an appealing destination.
With so many great districts to visit within South London, it is inevitable that there are also hundreds of great restaurants to choose from. Find the very best restaurants that South London has to offer with your SquareMeal guide to the top restaurants in South West London. Also take a look at restaurants in Putney, Wandsworth, Clapham; Wimbledon and Richmond.
Every one of the South London restaurants featured in SquareMeal’s list of London’s top South London restaurants have been tried and tested by food critics and our own customers so check out the reviews and book a table online with SquareMeal today. Each SquareMeal listing features an independent review, as well as reviews from diners, together with unique special offers such as free drinks and discounts.
£30 - £49
15 The Pavement, SW4 0HY
This unpretentious bar/bistro is already a busy squeeze, although a central Clapham location isn’t its only trump card. Open all day from breakfast onwards, it also has a 2am late licence at weekends, when cool brand lagers and cocktails such as wild fennel and apple Hendrick’s are what to drink. Wines include a distinguished Lebanese Château Musar as well as everyday Tempranillo from a selection called ‘sleek, charming and fleshy’ – a description that might equally apply to the well-scrubbed clientele. Chef/owner Robin Gill’s adventurous, intricately presented tapas-style plates deploy ingredients from The Dairy’s garden – so expect smoked cod with sorrel, slow-cooked beef rib with ‘burnt’ onions and bone marrow or plates of black radish, Pink Lady apple, curd and hemp seeds – plus nibbles such as chicken liver mousse with rhubarb at the bar. Don't forget to check out recent addition Counter Culture, replacing the deli next door.
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426 Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8LF
“The waiting is over!” proclaims one reader: after protracted delays, MasterChef winner Tim Anderson has finally launched his homage to the nanban tradition of Euro-influenced Japanese cuisine, using ingredients from Brixton Market. A one-page menu offers crowd-pleasing curries and burgers alongside ramen and gyoza. Our salad of steamed cavolo nero with crunchy garlic chips drenched in ponzu butter was a revelation, and Anderson’s take on horumon-yaki (twice-cooked pig’s tripe in a spicy miso sauce with perky vegetables) is a masterpiece, but we’d also suggest deep-fried ‘electric eel’ and mentaiko pasta – an on-trend Italian/Japanese fusion riff involving spaghetti in chilli-cured cod-roe sauce, topped with a slow-cooked onsen egg. Service is helpful, and the thoughtful drinks list includes saké, shochu and small-batch craft beers. Our only gripe concerns the rather spartan first-floor dining room – try to bag the prime window seat on the cosier ground floor.
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£30 - £49
418 Richmond Road, London, TW1 2EB
The choice of well-heeled locals for suppers and minor celebrations, A Cena continues to please. It’s an attractive space: all polished wood and white tablecloths. If possible, sit where the room mushrooms out behind the bar, as here the atmosphere is generally buzzing and the draughts have nowhere to go. The kitchen is perfectly competent at cooking the modish range of Italian dishes on the menu – start with a deep, rich Chianti-braised beef bruschetta, or a simple Parma ham and mascarpone risotto; move on to grilled sea bream with capers and lemon, or Gloucester Old Spot cutlet with baked aubergine and oregano. The standard may not cut the mustard in Knightsbridge, but it’s better than you might expect in the ‘burbs, and prices are kind: especially for the express lunch and dinner menus. There’s an interesting Italian wine list to match, and a barman versed in grown-up cocktails to boot.
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£30 - £49
44-48 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7UR
Replacing a branch of Belgo, Mommi is an altogether more exotic Clapham offering with its Japanese and South American sharing plates: a formula pioneered by Nobu. The large corner site comprises a bar – with high tables and bare bricks covered in colourful prints – and a restaurant with banquette-lined booths (great for groups). There’s also a robata grill and sushi counter where you can watch chefs in action. Raw-bar options include chirashi sushi, sashimi, tartare, tataki and ceviche at reasonable prices. Pretty plates arrive garnished with edible flowers, though we received poor cuts of fish that tended to be chewy. Only a sea bass and salmon ceviche stood out for its zesty dressing and fresh flavour. Hot dishes were more consistent, with top marks going to melt-in-the-mouth braised short-rib teriyaki with quinoa lime picante and spicy smoked paprika oil. Staff are friendly, though waits were long on a busy Friday. That said, Mommi’s ambitions stand out among Clapham’s identikit bars and pubs, and the feel-good factor is evident. DJs spin tunes at weekends, when two-for-one cocktails pack-in a party crowd. Try a Machu Pistachu with rye whiskey and pistachios. Appetising alternatives include an all-South American wine list and interesting craft beers.
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Petersham Nurseries Cafe
£50 - £79
Church Lane, off Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey, London, TW10 7AB
Give yourself time for lunch at the Nurseries. In our opinion it’s a kooky, lovely place, though getting there isn’t easy – driving is discouraged, public transport is slow, and once there, service, though gracious, can be ditzy. It has been years since Skye Gyngell moved on, and the kitchen has never scaled the same heights since. Still, with many ingredients sourced from the beautiful walled garden of Petersham House and a River Café-esque team in the kitchen, you can expect up-to-the-minute seasonal cooking.
Langoustine might be teamed with a colourful salad of dandelion, pistachio, fennel and nasturtiums, while ‘today’s game’ could appear with an autumnal assembly of horn of plenty, cavolo nero and polenta. Prices are high, yet this is a unique spot. If time or budget are important, try the tea room in the next-door glasshouse, which has great simple food at half the cost and without the wait.
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£30 - £49
94 Church Road, London, SW13 0DQ
Barnes locals who came here as teenagers with their parents now bring their own kids to this much-loved neighbourhood restaurant: the room may have changed its colours over the years and the kitchen has moved in different directions, but a happy, comfortable atmosphere still prevails – thanks to joint owners Rebecca Mascarenhas and multi-gonged Phil Howard. Menus change every session and the kitchen’s ambition is obvious: marinated octopus with burnt lemon and dots of dill-flecked squid-ink taramasalata makes an original and very moreish starter, while breast of guinea fowl sits indulgently on a luscious bed of sweet shallot purée with shimeji mushrooms. For afters, check out the peanut bar with banana ice cream. Old World labels dominate the wine list, with plenty by the glass and enough curiosities to keep the inquisitive oenophile happy. Set menus and simple Sunday suppers are the real bargains, although everything is terrific value.
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£30 - £49
27 Battersea Rise, London, SW11 1HG
“Can’t stop recommending it” exclaims a devotee of Battersea Rise’s casual French wine bar and restaurant. We concur: Soif is still streets ahead of the local competition. The daily menu doesn’t only base itself on Gallic soil – charcuterie features heavily, but Italian coppa is listed alongside rillettes and cornichons; Lindisfarne oysters are up there with Gorgonzola and burrata – though classic French-Mediterranean flavours are the mainstay. Whether you eat tapas-style (clams, chilli, garlic and lemon, say) or go for a more formal meal (Montbéliard sausage with choucroute and potatoes, followed by pannacotta), the cooking is invariably up to scratch. Staff are keen their customers enjoy themselves, and happily make recommendations from the huge and impressive list of organic and ‘natural’ terroir-led wines and French ciders. The split-level room decorated with French posters soon fills, but hard wooden chairs discourage lingering, so tables usually aren’t long in coming free.
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The Glasshouse Kew
£50 - £79
One michelin star
£30 - £49
14 Station Parade, Kew, TW9 3PZ
Light and airy, but with a simple elegance that comes from clever, careful design, this sibling of La Trompette and Chez Bruce is the go-to destination for Kew’s smart set. It also gives its siblings a run for their money when it comes to quality, presentation and service, though it’s easier to get a table here. The menu is a showcase for seasonal British ingredients cooked with proper knowhow and an eye to the future rather than the past. The menu changes often, but you might find rich indulgence in the shape of roast duck breast with foie gras parfait and baby beets or Welsh lamb with crispy sweetbreads alongside contemporary dishes with a lighter touch: salmon and sea bream carpaccio dressed with lime and chilli or a heavenly mix of plaice, chorizo and squid, with an umami hit from anchovy dressing. Service is “terrific” and the wine cellar is “serious, though not necessarily pricey”.
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£30 - £49
40 Abbeville Road, London, SW4 9NG
With its daily specials written on rolls of brown paper, a bar adorned with homemade preserves, and pegs on the walls for hanging your coat – Bistro Union evokes the make-do-and-mend Britain of yore. Much of the menu produced by Adam Byatt’s team harks back to a time when food was primarily for comfort, reassurance and high-calorie fuel: there’s a breakfast fry-up, fish pie and toad in the hole for lunch, and rhubarb fool for pudding. Nevertheless, you’ll also find more interesting dishes that have left the nursery (and school dinners) behind. Try the grilled squid with parsley salad, served with a punch-packing aïoli; and finish off with a blackcurrant and almond tart (in essence, a very fine version of a Bakewell). Drinks include a couple of British sparklers, craft beers and ciders, but fear not: the wine list makes it easy to escape Blighty should you wish.
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£30 - £49
5-7 Voltaire Road, London, SW4 6DQ
Serving up a little slice of stylish West End-dom, Tsunami brings pizzazz to this less-than-chic backwater off Clapham High Street. The bar is a cool hangout with great cocktails, while the restaurant’s Japanese-western hybrid cooking is good enough to attract smart young locals with their friends, their dates and their parents. Expect good sushi (there’s a bi-monthly sushi rolling school here, for those who want to learn to make their own) and a few Japanese classics such as deep-fried tofu with grated daikon in dashi broth. Much of the menu, however, steers away from the old school, giving a gentle nod to the East – roast pork belly with green beans, for instance, made piquant with piri-piri hoi sin; or rib-eye with exotic mushrooms and truffle sauce. There’s a decent wine list and plenty of saké, and while the à la carte isn’t prohibitively expensive, the set lunch is ridiculously cheap.
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£30 - £49
2 Station Parade, Balham High Road, London, SW12 9AZ
A perennial favourite of Square Meal readers, Lamberts is praised for its seasonal British food, decent prices and exceptional staff. We’re great fans too, only adding that the room itself with its deep-red walls, sinkable banquettes and sense of calm, makes a very comfortable setting that lends itself to romantic and special dinners. Owner Joe Lambert’s uncompromising attitude to decent independent local suppliers, to buying British and to all things green is enormously refreshing and makes for guilt-free celebrations. The menu – ordered into ‘field’, ‘sea’ and ‘farm’ – has widespread appeal: from perfectly pink lamb with a pungent minty crust to a delicate sea bream served with broccoli and toasted almonds. Puddings such as lemon curd, brown sugar meringue and shortbread show there’s plenty of room for indulgence. The drinks list also celebrates Blighty, with Meantime ales, Aspall cider and English fizz – as well as natural wines from around the world.
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The White Onion
£50 - £79
67 High Street, Wimbledon Village, London, SW19 5EE
Fans of The French Table will be pleased to hear that Eric Guignard is overseeing the daily menu at this très jolie neighbourhood joint among the boutiques of Wimbledon Village. Formerly The Lawn Bistro, a bright makeover has created a warm and welcoming interior, with friendly service to match. The good looks don’t stop with the varied artworks on the wall either, as beautifully presented plates showcase an assured touch in the kitchen from head chef Frédéric Duval. To start, punchy roast Périgord goat's cheese came wrapped in thin slivers of ventrêche bacon, with sweet figs to balance the saltiness and a delicate lavender foam that managed not to overpower the dish. Tempura prawns and plaice boasted super-light batter, paired with classic sauce gribiche. Mains kept up the good work; notably sweetly caramelised pork belly with a wickedly piggy croustillant of pork belly, ham hock and smoked tomatoes. The wine list contains many well priced gems to match – we love exploring the ‘unusual suspects’ section – while oozing cheese from La Fromagerie and decadent desserts such as melting-middle chocolate moelleux give you plenty of reasons to linger. Set lunch menus at the weekend are a real steal for food of this quality; book well ahead for the tennis championship fortnight.
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