Cool and trendy restaurants in London

Welcome to our essential list of the coolest hotspots in the capital to help you find one of London's trendiest restaurants

Updated on 07 October 2021

London is a hub of cool, cutting-edge restaurants. Our curated pick of the best trendy and cool restaurants in London is full to the brim with foodie hotspots where you're likely to spot a celebrity or two, as well as the who's who of the restaurant world.

If you want to eat out at the kinds of places that are serving the latest culinary trends or you're looking to find that dish that you've seen all over your Instagram feed, you're likely to spot it in this list. We’ve selected the coolest and most fashionable restaurants in London: venues in which you can feed your ego and your belly, as well as swoon in all the gourmet gossip.

The definition of a cool restaurant in London certainly changes depending on who you ask, so we’ve looked for a couple of things when narrowing down our search. Firstly, each of our trendy restaurants below have to have gorgeous interiors (you know the kind, the ones that make you want to go home and paint your living room in those exact tones or retile your bathroom with pink grout). These swoon-worthy fitouts are the calling card of many of London’s coolest restaurants, and we can’t help but fall for their charm. The second essential element of a cool restaurant – we think – is of course the menu. Does it throw up unusual choices? Does it use beautiful, seasonal ingredients? Has it got a twist on the typical three-course format, a chef’s choice only, perhaps? Whatever it is, we’ve hand-picked the best cool restaurants in London for their food first and foremost and their fashionable interiors as a close second.

Ready to take your street cred up a notch? Have a scroll and see which restaurant you want to book for an evening worth gloating about.

Circolo Popolare

Circolo Popolare

40-41 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1PB

The second London site from the Big Mamma hospitality group (following smash-hit Gloria in Shoreditch) is a massive Italian trattoria in Fitzrovia that boasts an outdoor terrace. The noteworthy interiors include bundles of twinkly lights and walls lined with 20,000 real spirit bottles. The food menu is as over-the-top as you’d expect from these guys, featuring metre-long pizzas and a 1L ice cream sundae which is topped with chocolate brownie, chunks of cookie and churros.

£30 - £49
Pizza
Italian
SquareMeal London Top 100
Amazonico

Amazonico

10 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, W1J 6AA

Amazonico London follows on from its successful Madrid sibling which has been known to host notable guests - from celebs to politicians. The interiors are jungle-themed and the menu is a mix of Asian, Mediterranean and Brazilian food. 

£50 - £79
Sushi
South American
International
Lucky and Joy

Lucky and Joy

95 Lower Clapton Road, Hackney, London, E5 0NP

With 80s interiors, this east London Chinese restaurant manages to carefully ride the fine line of retro, hitting the references just right so that nothing is too gimmicky. Interiors are stripped back and café-like, while dishes are moreish and satisfyingly savoury, with plenty of in-house pickling bringing plates to life. We loved the cold sesame noodles and the turnip cakes topped with a soft egg in a pool of Asian-influenced dressing.

Under £30
Chinese
Maya

Maya

The Hoxton, London, EC2A 4BH

A collaboration between Soho House and the Hoxton Hotel group, this rooftop Mexican restaurant is the lovechild of two much-lauded hospitality brands. Expect authentic Mexican dishes made with European ingredients, and a roaming guacamole cart.

£30 - £49
Mexican
Lino

Lino

90 Bartholomew Close , London, EC1A 7EB

While a former carpet and linoleum warehouse doesn’t sound like the most appealing of restaurant options, Lino has managed to make this space a truly tantalising proposition, filling its space with industrial-style lighting and dusty pink chairs. The menu features a succession of thoroughly modern dishes, including the likes of sauerkraut and cheddar croquettes with truffle mayonnaise and Middle White pork chop with courgette. Come dessert, the croissant bread and butter pudding is not to be missed.

Modern European
Seabird

Seabird

32-40 Blackfriars Road, Southwark, London, SE1 8PB

For all out wow-factor, Seabird in Southwark delivers on both views and food. The gorgeous rooftop space looks over London’s sweeping skyline, while the menu features fresh Portuguese-inspired plates. From the plancha expect grilled catch of the day, while smaller sharing serves include oozing prawn croquetas and colourful tomato salads. The cocktails here are taken just as seriously as the food, so don’t miss out on a lime and pineapple caipirinha.

£50 - £79
Modern European
Fish
Kiln

Kiln

58 Brewer Street, Soho, London, W1F 9TL

The clue is in the name at this buzzy Soho joint. Kiln is a tiny Thai spot which is full of fire – fiery dishes that is. Designed for lovers of seriously spicy food, Kiln serves up creations such as glass noodles topped with Tamworth pork belly and brown crab meat. Want more heat? Pad out your meal with the tongue tingling likes of an aged lamb and cumin skewer, or perhaps a fried monkfish curry.   

£30 - £49
Thai
SquareMeal London Top 100
Nutshell

Nutshell

30 St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4EJ

Clashing pistachio green with pale rose pink, Nutshell is a stylish spot that offers respite from Covent Garden’s big-name chains. Sharing Iranian plates are the order of the day, washed down with nuanced cocktails.

£30 - £49
Persian
Middle Eastern
Gloria

Gloria

54-56 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3QR

Zany, silly and tonnes of fun, Gloria burst on to London’s restaurant scene in early 2019 and has already achieved a cult following. The antithesis to any doom and gloom surrounding today’s turbulent restaurant industry, Gloria revels in campy excess and it does so brilliantly. Head here to indulge in pasta served in a wheel of pecorino cheese and a lemon pie that’s topped with so much meringue, it’s the size of most diners’ heads.

£30 - £49
Italian
SquareMeal London Top 100
Aquavit

Aquavit

1 Carlton Street, Piccadilly Circus, London, SW1Y 4QQ

The Scandinavians basically invented cool, so it’s not surprising Aquavit has stood the test of time. Here you’ll find hearty meatballs and mash, all kinds of iterations of crayfish and the most heavenly smoked cods roe butter to go with your bread.

£50 - £79
Scandinavian
MiMi Mei Fair

MiMi Mei Fair

55 Curzon Street , London, W1J 8PG

Bringing together lavish 1920s interiors with high-end Chinese Food, MiMi Mei Fair has been an instant hit on London’s scene. Don’t miss the roast duck that’s carved tableside and there’s a secret basement bar too.

£50 - £79
Chinese
Peg

Peg

120 Morning Lane, London, London, E9 6LH

Painfully cool Peg is the kind of trendy London restaurant that all others aspire to be more like. Found in the spiritual home of cool - Hackney - this restaurant is all stripped back, industrial interiors and no-frills food. This pared back aesthetic doesn’t mean it doesn’t deliver on a culinary level though, the Japanese menu focuses on fermenting, pickling and grilling for a stand-out selection of salty, sour and smoky plates.

£30 - £49
Japanese
Wine Bars
Hoppers Soho

Hoppers Soho

49 Frith Street, Soho, London, W1D 4SG

The original Hoppers (there’s a second in St Christopher’s Place) may no longer be the newest kid in town, but it’s still popular as ever. The intimate space is a revelation of flavour, with the best dish being the eponymous hopper: a bowl-shaped pancake made from rice which boasts a gooey egg at its centre. There’s plenty more to tempt you though, including the now-famous mutton rolls, while Hoppers’ low prices make it a must-try.

£30 - £49
Indian
Brat

Brat

64 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch, London, E1 6JJ

With a wood grill at its centre, this Michelin starred restaurant by Tomos Parry has shirked the usual trappings of fine dining, trading starched linens for a more utilitarian approach. The stripped back interiors let the food do all the talking – like the Basque-style turbot.

£50 - £79
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Freak Scene

Freak Scene

54 Frith Street, London, W1D 4SL

If a popup is popular enough to justify an evolution into its own restaurant space, you know you’re guaranteed a bit of cool factor. Counter seating centres around the kitchen which produces fun plates of Kurobuta (the street food pre-cursor to this chapter) founder Scott Hallsworth’s greatest hits, with his signature twist on Asian flavours the mainstay here. Expect sashimi ‘pizza’ and black cod tacos for fair prices, and an indie playlist to top things off.

£50 - £79
Hide Above

Hide Above

85 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London, W1J 7NB

Michelin starred cooking is always going to be cool, and chef Ollie Dabbous has managed to reinvent the wheel to take things up another level. You can expect intricate, playful presentation, well-versed staff and luxuriously minimal interiors.

Over £80
British
One Michelin star
SquareMeal London Top 100
Isabel

Isabel

26 Albemarle Street , Mayfair, London, W1S 4HY

Isabel is home to a dining room which could have been ripped straight from Architectural Digest, so it’s no surprise that the restaurant is loved by London’s fashion crowd. Glossy interiors to soak in include shiny monochrome tables and a striking brass disc studded ceiling, while the menu is a selection of high-protein and low-carb dishes. High prices come as standard in this postcode, but when it comes to cool-factor, Isabel is priceless.

£30 - £49
International
Kricket Soho

Kricket Soho

12 Denman Street, Soho, London, W1D 7HH

Having graduated from a shipping container in Pop Brixton to a restaurant, Indian small plates joint Kricket now boasts three locations across London. The Soho site serves up signature dishes such as the fiery Keralan-fried chicken which is dusted with pepper. It’s a great spot for veggies too though, with meat-free dishes including crispy okra fries and crunchy Bhel puris which explode in the mouth, bursting forth with a swirl of tamarind stickiness.

£30 - £49
Indian
SquareMeal London Top 100
Pachamama Marylebone

Pachamama Marylebone

18 Thayer Street, London, W1U 3JY

It’s not every day you come across a Peruvian restaurant (unless of course you happen to be in said country), so Pachamama is kind of cool before you’ve even stepped through the door. With a pisco bar and party atmosphere thanks to regular DJ slots, this is the place to come for brunch with a group of friends looking to have a good time. There’s also a Shoreditch restaurant, for East London dwellers.

£30 - £49
Peruvian
MNKY HSE

MNKY HSE

10 Dover Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 4LQ

Despite its jarring, vowel-phobic name, we promise that it’s worth following through on a visit to MNKYHSE. This Mayfair celeb-magnet is one of those rare venues that manages to balance style with substance, so while all of the usual crowd-baiting tricks are here (think Insta-friendly interiors and fun presentation), the restaurant’s kitchen backs this up with some very tasty food. Top shouts include the lamb shoulder taco, and meltingly-soft strips of Japanese wagyu beef.

£50 - £79
South American
Bars
Padella

Padella

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

Arguably one of London’s most famous no-bookings restaurants, securing a table at Padella is notoriously difficult. It’s worth the queue though, as once you’re inside you can delight in the restaurant's perfect, simple menu of six pasta dishes with some antipasti to boot. After munching on burrata and sourdough bread, you can move on to the pastas, with the cacio e pepe being the dish that we find ourselves coming back to over and over again.

£30 - £49
Italian
SquareMeal London Top 100
Native at Browns

Native at Browns

39 Brook Street, London, W1K 4JE

The fashion set have officially earmarked Native as cool, and who are we to argue with that accolade? The gorgeous, ‘grammable interiors make the perfect setting for seasonal sharing plates, and there’s a terrace too.

£30 - £49
British
Rochelle Canteen

Rochelle Canteen

16 Playground Gardens , Shoreditch, London, E2 7FA

Rochelle Canteen has transcended the trends and has been a favourite of ‘those in the know’ since it opened in 2004, remaining cool over since. The secret here is uncomplicated cooking and clean, vibrant flavours.

Under £30
Modern European
Hakkasan Hanway Place

Hakkasan Hanway Place

8 Hanway Place, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1HD

You’ve probably seen someone on your Instagram posting a #CoupleGoals picture from Hakkasan and it’s easy to see why – this is the perfect spot for a hot date. Sleek interiors and impossibly good looking staff all add to Hakkasan’s exclusive vibe, while the outward bravado is backed up by a menu of Cantonese classics, including the signature Peking duck which is served with 30g of caviar. A hefty bill is inevitable, but it’s worth it.

£50 - £79
Chinese
One Michelin star
Ave Mario

Ave Mario

15 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8QG

Sibling site to Gloria and Circolo Popolare, Ave Mario is a fun, fast-paced Italian restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden. Expect plenty of photo opportunities and a menu of pizza, pasta and sharing plates. 

£30 - £49
Pizza
Italian
Smokestak

Smokestak

35 Sclater Street, London, E1 6LB

Taking industrial-chic to a new level, this dark and dingy Shoreditch restaurant is a no-frills affair. The food however, is very much on the indulgent side with the menu consisting of barbecue sharing plates (be prepared for your clothes to stink of smoke). Must-orders include the crispy fried pig’s tails and the brisket bun with pickled red chilli, while the sticky toffee pudding topped with smoky burnt butter ice cream provides an appropriately decadent finish.

£30 - £49
North American
Barbecue
Temper Soho

Temper Soho

25 Broadwick Street, Soho, London, W1F 0DF

Lively barbecue joint Temper took London's restaurant scene by storm when it first opened back in 2016. It's since gone on to open two more sites (one in the City and one in Covent Garden), but the Soho original still has our heart. Head here to feast on grilled meats served on flatbread that soaks up the juices, as well as tacos with unconventional fillings. Thirsty? An Irn Bru based cocktail will sort you out.  

£30 - £49
South American
Barbecue
SquareMeal London Top 100
Bao Soho

Bao Soho

53 Lexington Street, London, W1F 9AS

Known for the queues that form outside its door nightly, a visit to Bao is practically a rite of passage for Londoners. The signature fluffy bao buns here are filled with the likes of confit pork belly, fried chicken or lamb shoulder. Although the baos are the main attraction, the sides put on a good show too, with the likes of sweet potato chips with plum pickle ketchup and Taiwanese fried chicken hard to resist.

Under £30
Taiwanese
Chinese
Fare Bar + Canteen

Fare Bar + Canteen

11 Old Street, London, EC1V 9HL

Found on Old Street, this two-floor space features oh-so-charming rustic interiors including foliage hanging from the walls and a candle-lit dining room. The menu is more sophisticated than the laidback feel of Fare suggests – it changes often, but dishes we loved on our visit included an indulgent duck pappardelle with black truffle and parmesan, and the range of sourdough pizzas. To round off your meal, you can enjoy a selection of classic ice cream flavours from Hackney Gelato.

Modern European
sketch: Gallery

sketch: Gallery

9 Conduit Street, London, London, W1S 2XG

We won’t lie to you, going to The Gallery at Sketch isn’t about the food. This central-London spot is all about the pink dining room. The service is theatrical while the toilets aren’t to be missed for a photo op.

Over £80
Modern European
British
Afternoon tea
Westerns Laundry

Westerns Laundry

34 Drayton Park, London, N5 1PB

Achingly cool Westerns Laundry comes from the same people who own hit bakery Jolene. Stripped back interiors and a candlelit courtyard draw a trendy north London crowd who lap up the seafood sharing plates.

£30 - £49
British
Fish
BiBi

BiBi

42 North Audley Street, London, W1K 6ZR

Gorgeous interiors, a bustling open kitchen, and a menu of unusual but additive Indian plates inspired by the chef’s childhood makes this a winner. For Mayfair it’s surprisingly lowkey, and the service is top-class too.

£50 - £79
Indian
Hicce

Hicce

102 Stable Street, King's Cross, London, N1C 4DQ

Former Murano head chef and Great British Menu finalist Pip Lacey is the woman behind this casual restaurant in the mightily popular Coal Drops Yard development. Hicce focuses on wood-fired cooking, serving up plates which have been grilled, steamed and smoked. Some of our favourites come from the ‘hot sticks’ section (skewered meat or fish), such as the chicken thigh with spicy shiso and crispy chicken skin or the yellow fin tuna with miso mustard.

International
Bombay Bustle

Bombay Bustle

29 Maddox Street, London, W1S 2PA

Mayfair’s streets overflow with fine-dining Indian restaurants, so Bombay Bustle’s slightly more casual take on things is a welcome addition to W1. The restaurant is inspired by dabbawalas (an Indian lunch delivery service) and majors in street food and chaat – expect to snack on the likes of a scrambled egg and truffle naan, before moving on to a Keralan fish curry or a lamb biryani. Sunday brunch meanwhile is all about samosas, dosas and Mimosas.

£30 - £49
Indian
Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle

110 Bishopsgate, City of London, London, EC2N 4AY

It may sit just two floors above flashy Sushisamba, but the vibe at Duck & Waffle is far more relaxed (although it still boasts the same enviable views). Open 24/7, Duck & Waffle deals in upmarket comfort food, which means you can enjoy the likes of bacon-wrapped dates, a warm savoury doughnut filled with ox cheek, and of course, the eponymous dish, which sees waffles topped with confit duck leg and a glossy-yolked fried egg.

£50 - £79
International
SquareMeal London Top 100
Berenjak

Berenjak

27 Romilly Street, London, London, W1D 5AL

Any restaurant that the JKS Group touches (Gymkhana, Hoppers, etc.) turns to gold, so it’s no surprise then that Berenjak already has a clutch of in-the-know fans. Serving affordable small plates and majoring in kebabs, Berenjak has a few showstoppers on the menu that beg to be devoured – just take the kabab torki, which reinvents kebab and chips as a mixed meat shawarma resting on fries that have been drizzled with homemade chilli and garlic sauce.

£30 - £49
Persian
Middle Eastern
The Garden Café Lambeth

The Garden Café Lambeth

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

We’re almost hesitant to include The Garden Café on our list. You see, part of its charm is the illusion that this is a cool restaurant that flies slightly under the radar. The minimalist dining room looks onto a pretty courtyard oasis and the small plates are undeniably delicious.

Under £30
KOL

KOL

9 Seymour Street, London, W1H 7BA

Part theatrical experience, part restaurant, KOL is Marylebone’s latest Mexican restaurant. Watch as the chefs cook over grills in the centre of the room and enjoy innovative twists on classic cooking, like langoustine tacos.

£50 - £79
Mexican
No.11 Pimlico Road

No.11 Pimlico Road

11 Pimlico Road, London, SW1W 8NA

If you find yourself in Spencer Matthew’s neck of the woods, you could do worse than pulling up a seat in No11 Pimlico Road. This cool Chelsea restaurant has pretty-as-a-picture interiors perfect for snapping, and serves a broad menu of cult pub classics like sharing platters, moules frites, burgers, steaks and ice creams. Kids are welcome during the day  too, if you’re looking for somewhere to take the whole gang.

£30 - £49
Modern European
Gunpowder Spitalfields

Gunpowder Spitalfields

11 White's Row, London, E1 7NF

Occupying a tiny site right behind Spitalfields Market, Gunpowder is a small but mighty restaurant, turning out stellar Indian-inspired small plates. It’s a frenetic, buzzy space and the dishes pack a real punch – expect the likes of a spicy venison and vermicelli ‘doughnut’, and a Keralan beef pepper fry. If you prefer the safety of booking ahead (The Spitalfields location is walk-ins only), make a reservation at Gunpowder’s glossy, larger sibling site in Tower Bridge.

£30 - £49
Indian
Hackney Coterie

Hackney Coterie

230B Dalston Lane, Dalston, London, E8 1LA

Hipster hangout Hackney Coterie deals in thoughtful, curious plates that steer clear of obvious crowd-pleasers. The kitchen’s dedication to low-waste cooking results in complimentary kimchi-salted potato skin snacks and the sweet service is stand-out.

£30 - £49
International
Bubala

Bubala

65 Commerical Street , Shoreditch, London, E1 6BD

Achingly hip veggie restaurant Bubala find its home in Shoreditch, naturally. Even carnivores won’t miss the meat with plates this good on offer: think potato ladkes with garlic sauce or thick slices of fried aubergine doused in zhoug. Stripped back interiors hold space for only 30 diners, so eating here very much feels like you’re among others ‘in the know’ who have sought out a relaxed restaurant with a firm focus on the food.

£30 - £49
Middle Eastern
Vegetarian
Bob Bob Ricard

Bob Bob Ricard

1 Upper James Street, London, W1F 9DF

Okay, Bob Bob Ricard isn’t exactly new anymore but those ‘push for Champagne’ buttons have timeless appeal. Offset the bubbles with something from the long list of comfort food classics – like a beef Wellington.

£50 - £79
International
Sushisamba City

Sushisamba City

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate (38-39th floor), City of London, London, EC2N 4AY

London’s first Sushisamba (there’s now a sibling site in Covent Garden) is best known for its stunning vistas, 38 floors above the City’s bustling streets. The blended menu of Peruvian, Brazilian and Japanese dishes is just as enticing though, boasting the likes of wagyu gyoza, and kobe ribeye from a robata grill. The restaurant is also home to one of London’s best desserts – a rich chocolate and banana cake served with vanilla rum ice cream. 

£50 - £79
South American
Japanese
SquareMeal London Top 100
Flor

Flor

1 Bedale Street, Borough, London, SE1 9AL

From the people behind Michelin starred Lyles comes Flor - a wine bar, bakery and restaurant in Borough Market. Settle in upstairs for great views of the street below and ask for recommendations – the team here know their stuff.  

£30 - £49
Modern European
Wine Bars
SquareMeal London Top 100
Blacklock Soho

Blacklock Soho

The Basement, 24 Great Windmill Street, Soho, London, W1D 7LG

It was once nigh on impossible to nab a table here (with Sunday lunches particularly popular), but Blacklock has since expanded to three locations. Blacklock’s speciality is its ‘all in’ option, which sees guests served a pile-up of charcoal-grilled pork, beef and lamb chops, resting on doughy flatbread which absorbs the meat juices. It’s worth checking out the drinks selection too though – there aren’t many places in London where you’ll find cocktails for a fiver.

£30 - £49
British
Crispin

Crispin

Pavilion, White’s Row, City of London, London, E1 7NF

Taking their grub seriously, the team at Crispin are constantly working to evolve their menu. The ‘one of everything’ gives you a little taste of all the kitchen’s favourite dishes – like the potato-topped toast with anchovies and green sauce.

International

If you like your cool experiences with a side of celebrity, cast your eye over our pick of the best London restaurants for star-spotting