Eating your food at a table is so passé. These days, the hottest seats in London are at the counter.  Not only will you get a bird’s eye view of the rest of the restaurant, you’ll probably leave on BFF terms with the chefs and servers – we gave our waitress at Robin Gill’s Counter Culture (below) a big hug when we left. Prime people-watching and the most personal service in the joint: what’s not to love?

Words: Ben McCormack

Counter Culture south west London restaurant bar

And because you’ll get up close and personal with the person sitting next to you without the weirdness of staring at them over a table, counter dining is brilliant for those early dates before you’re ready to go full-on flowers and candlelight.

Counters also won’t make you feel like a lemon if you’re eating on your own. You can chat to your heart’s content with the staff on the other side of the counter, or vanish into the anonymity of sitting shoulder to shoulder immersed in your food.  So pull up a stool at one of our best restaurants in London for counter dining.

Chiltern Firehouse London restaurant steak tartare pine nuts chipotle spices Nuno Mendes

And if you want to make sure you’re got a ringside seat for the action in the kitchen, check out our list of the best chef’s counters in London, including Nuno Mendes at celebrity favourite Chiltern Firehouse (above), where you’ll see your food being prepared before it’s slapped down in front of you: pure kitchen theatre.

This article was published 4 May 2017