foodie's guide to London, summer

A Foodie’s Guide To London, Summer ’23

Blink and it’s time already to pen this foodie’s most recent summer guide to visiting London.

When I first started this series (all the way back in 2016!), I did so for all my friends and family abroad, who’d look to me as on-demand source of recommendations when flocking to London over the summer. Nothing’s really changed since then, with the 2023 edit continuing to compile the city’s exploding mix of epicurean essentials – supplementing timeless favourites with the revelatory discovery of hidden gems and the thrill of dining at the haute new restaurants across town.

As always, I hope that this bucket list holds as much appeal for all those visiting in the coming months, as it does for Londoners alike! Bon Apetit.

A Foodie’s Guide To Visiting London, Summer ’23


Sometimes a knockabout atmosphere is just as compelling as competent cookery.

foodie guide London summer
Zephyr, Notting Hill

  • Zephyr: This Notting Hill darling feels like a delicious secret, only to be stumbled upon by the chic few in-the-know about the understatedly-elegant yet oh-so-vibey Greek restaurant and bar. The discreet decor is uplifted by colourful artworks and an eccentric mish-mash of highly-covetable glassware randomly assigned across the tables. While no two pieces of serve-ware are the same, each exquisite bowl or plate is united in its determination to deliver a modern interpretation of traditional Greek food, rich in flavour and texture. 100 Portobello Rd, London W11 2QD |
  • Gold: Another beguiling bolthole in Notting Hill, Gold manages to be both moody yet vibrant and is set across a seductive bar and garden room sheathed by greenery and plants. Yes, it’s sensationally sceney but delivers on the epicurean front too with an eclectic modern European menu. 95-97 Portobello Rd, W11 2QB |
  • Chiltern Firehouse: Housed in a former fire-station, this haute hotel from  André Balaz (the hotelier behind the legendary Chateau Marmont in LA) remains as terrifically trendy today as it did when it first opened back in 2014. Those in the know can be found languidly sipping rosé in the cosy courtyard terrace on a summer’s evening. For the record, weekend brunch in the courtyard is just as inviting too! 1 Chiltern St, W1U 7PA |
  • Bachannalia: Frankly speaking, any mention of the food is immaterial as if you’ve made a reservation here it’s likely for a number of different reasons. Resplendent in rippling stone, frescoed ceilings, toga-donning servers, an exuberant collection of art (dating back two thousand years) and bespoke Damien Hirst sculptures – Bachannalia is defining a new era of hedonistic consumption. The dramatic thrill of dining here aside, let’s be honest – you’re really here for a bathroom selfie! 1 Mount Street, W1K 3NA | 


London’s cafe culture, canvassed for the trendiest and most inviting stops for your next cuppa.

foodie guide summer London
Claridges ArtSpace

  • Claridges ArtSpace: It’s all about culture, community and of course, picture-perfect patisserie at this understated hideout from the grandest dame of London hotel. Art is an integral focus, with a contemporary art gallery downstairs and Sharpies, pencils and paper pads dotted around, should you wish to sketch over a cup of coffee! The search for the perfect crêpe ends here, with both sweet and savoury options, including a seafood cocktail pancake inspired by Claridges’ legendary lobsters. Brook St, London W1K 4HR |
  • Connaught Patisserie: Claridges’ sister hotel, The Connaught is also home to a swoon-worthy cafe, with aesthetic interiors playing with pops of pink. Under the direction of Chef Nicolas Rouzad, the pastries are as exquisite as you’d expect (our favourite being their take on the tiramisu tart!). On a warm summer’s day, you could always get your pastries to go and cross over to Mayfair’s most enchanting garden , nestled right across the street. The Connaught, Carlos Pl, London W1K 2AL |
  • Assouline: Described by its founders as “the first luxury brand on culture’ – the luxury bookstore has long since been a purveyor of publications as aesthetically-appealing as they are intellectually-galvanising, spanning art, fashion, architecture and design, photography and travel. The modish establishment also houses a handsome bar and cafe, making it a stylish bolthole to retreat to for chic coffees and cocktails. 196A Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9EY | | Discover more hidden gems in London , here.
Italian Bear Chocolate

  • Farm Girl Cafe: The original Insta-popular cafe, Farm Girl is synonymous with fresh , wholesome and holistic food inspired by Antipodean culture. Visit for rainbow-hued coffees (Rose Matcha or Lavender Latte anyone?); luscious Acai bowls and eggs cooked any which way you like them! Various locations |
  • Italian Bear Chocolate: The concept is relatively straightforward. You’re here for those devilishly-decadent cups of triple melted hot chocolate you’ve seen all over your Instagram feed. Yes, it tastes every bit as delicious as it looks, sounds and smells. 41 Broadwick Street, W1F 9QL 29 |
  • Knoops: A chocolate cafe championing every possible percentage of cocoa – from milk all the way up to 100% dark -Knoops is a must-visit this summer for its milkshakes and cold-chocolate. Various locations |


Pockets of London harbouring an eclectic mix of bars, cafes, eateries and other dining establishments.

foodie's guide London summer
Pantechnicon, London

  • Pantechnicon. A drinking and dining destination it’s own right, this grand redevelopment in Belgravia’s Motcomb Street has not one but several draws, starting with the Parisian import, Café Kitsuné for the trendiest coffees and French pastries married with Japanese influences. Then there’s Sachi, the debonair Japanese restaurant which has just opened an outdoor terrace in time for your al fresco sushi fix this summer, served with breezy cocktails of course. The sun-drenched Roof Garden is just as inviting – a botanical-filled brasserie as perfect for a languid lunch as for sundowner drinks and dinner. 19 Motcomb St, London SW1X 8LB |

  • Borough Market: Strolling past the artisanal stalls, storied cheesemakers and bakeries of Borough Market is a bit like wandering through a culinary curiosity shop. Let your senses direct you to the heady aromas drifting over from gargantuan pans heaving with anything and everything from seafood paella to truffle mushroom spelt risotto. Don’t leave without braving the crowds at Padella, for arguably the best pasta in the city – hand-rolled the very same day and draped in the richest of sauces, including Padella’s legendary Cacio e Pepe tossed together with pici (chewy heffalumpish strands of hand-rolled pasta). London SE1 9AL |
The Barbary
The Barbary, 16 Neal’s Yard, WC2H 9DP
  • Neal’s Yard: spinning off from Covent Garden, is the quirky network of inter-crossing streets known as Seven Dials, which cosset a unique mix of boutiques – from Miller Harris’ scintillating scents to the chic leather range of Nappa Dori. The colourful folds of Neal’s Yard are particularly enchanting, cosseting some of London’s most iconic restaurants and cafes, including St John’s Bakery for those stuffed doughnuts; Homeslice for colossal 20″ inch pizzas (more on which below); and of course, The Barbary – a diminutive restaurant suffused with big and bold flavours journeying along the Barbary Coast of North Africa towards Jerusalem. With just 24 stools snugly dotted along the open plan kitchen counter, the clattering high-octane setting plunges diners right into the heat of things as vivacious dishes are brought to life in a flurry of activity from live-baking to grilling and frying. The Barbary, 16 Neal’s Yard, WC2H 9DP | Explore counter dining in London, here.


Whether you’re braving a blind date or reigniting a romance, our pick of restaurants ideal for an intimate evening. 

foodie's guide summer London
Hakkasan Mayfair

  • Aubrey: The seductive new Japanese restaurant at The Mandarin Oriental, Knightsbridge has a number of different dining areas, each of which feels like an intimate living room with a unique and eccentric personality. There’s even an omakase cocktail bar tucked away at the back. The Aubrey takes its name from the dark and decadent illustrater , Aubrey Beardsley. The inspiration extends to a hard-bound cocktail menu complete with illustrations accompanying each intriguing libation! 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA |
  • The Palomar: The good folks at The Palomar indsputably know a thing or two about dishing out delicious small plates bursting with Middle-Eastern flavours. The cocktails here are potent, the atmosphere electric and the kubaneh (a hopelessly-pillowy Yemeni bread) impossible to resist, even for those who have long since sworn of carbs, especially when presented alongside a smattering of moreish dips. 34 Rupert St, W1D 6DN |
  • Hakkasan Mayfair: With restaurants around the world, Hakkasan is a name which needs no introduction. Its Mayfair-based outpost sets itself apart with a sultry allure that ebbs from day to night with effortless flair. The modern Cantonese menu caters remarkably well for vegetarians and vegans, with certain dishes (including a succulent take on mock chicken) the closest some might come to eating meat. Don’t be shy to ditch your usual glass of wine for the signature lychee and sake-infused Hakka; but to really up the ante, round off your evening with the contemporary dessert pairing (pearl-like caviar-style passionfruit) served with the most complex expression of cognac, Louis XIII. 17 Bruton St, W1J 6QB |


Venture off the beaten path and stumble upon the revelatory thrill of these delicious finds. 

  • Hunan: Expect the unexpected at this Pimlico-based restaurant that has its roots in the Hunan region of China. There is no menu to choose from here. Simply flag any dietary restrictions up-front and sit back as Chef Peng’s team pushes out a parade of perfectly-apportioned plates, uniting mind and palate in delighted surprise. 51 Pimlico Rd, SW1W 8NE |
  • Titu: Billing itself as a gyoza bar, Titu feels like a pocket of secret Mayfair in the heart of storied Shepherd Market. With seating for just fifteen, this cosy space is enlivened by a pastel palette and vibrant dishes that encapsulate the concept of Asian fusion cuisine. 1A Shepherd St, Mayfair, W1J 7HJ |
  • Bubala: The boisterous beauty of Israeli food takes shape in an ensemble of dishes so emboldened with flavours, that most diners might not realise that the menu just happens to be entirely vegetarian! 15 Poland St, London W1F 8QE |


There’s no trade-off at these family-friendly restaurants, which are as fun for the little ones as they are lively enough for you to return to with your grown-up gang.

foodie's guide summer london
Granger & Co

  • Christopher’s:  Counted amongst London’s best American restaurants, weekend brunch at Christopher’s is something of an institutional affair, replete with all the classics from eggs any which way you like them to a Lobster Mac N’ Cheese. Of course, you’re really here for the Chocolate Brioche French Toast. You’ve never had anything  quite like it before!  18 Wellington St, WC2E 7DD |
  • Granger: Australian restaurateur Bill Granger knows a thing or few about serving up sun-drenched dishes that all but transport you beyond the grey walls of London’s gloomy weather. Brunch here is a daily affair, incomplete without at least two servings of Granger’s fabled ricotta hotcakes. Various locations |
  • Lina Stores: In the midst of London’s tepid high street chain restaurants, Lina Stores’ minty-hued pasta bars stand out as a dining option that is both reliably delicious and reasonably-priced. Don’t forget to stop by their deli counter after to stock up on high-grade Italian ingredients for your pantry. Various locations |
  • Afternoon Tea At The Lanesborough: There are few traditions more timeless than afternoon tea , especially when served in the dazzling grandeur of The Lanesborough Grill. Inspired by Queen Charlotte, their new tea menu is elevated by dainty treats that take their cue from characters and the theme of the new Netflix show that has captured our imagination. Don’t miss the vibrant cocktails flecked with gold for a regal start to the proceedings ! Hyde Park Corner, London SW1X 7TA |


Rounding off this foodie’s guide to summer in London is a mix of old classics


A Wong: Savour every mouthful at this two Michelin starred restaurant renowned for immaculate dim sum and its contemporary take on cathartic Chinese cooking. 70 Wilton Rd, Pimlico SW1V 1DE |

Bao: Simple no-frills dining is often where the unabashed joy of eating reveals itself; and this certain feels true of the minimalist Taiwanese dumpling house Bao. A short and concise menu divides itself into xiao chi snacks and small plates, freshly-folded dumplings and pillowy pockets of bao, cocooning a collection of lustworthy filings. Various locations |

Homeslice: The laidback charm of this rustic fuss-free pizzeria is elevated by superlative thin-dough 20” pizzas. The ginormous shape lends itself to a “half and half” option if your party is having a difficult time choosing between all the enticing toppings on offer. You could also opt for pizza by the slice if you’re more keen on a small yet substantive bite on the go. Various locations | | Read a pizza lover’s guide to London, here.

Gloria: Entering this jaunty trattoria in Shoreditch is not unlike being transported to 1970’s Capri. More-is-more and nothing is too over-the-top in this maximalist setting where your pasta is cooked in a giant wheel of cheese and the Incomparable Lemon Pie arrives with a towering 5’9-inch layer of meringue. 54-56 Great Eastern St, EC2A 3QR | | Read the full review, here.

North Audley Cantine Mayfair:  Loosely channeling contemporary French bistro cuisine, the menu at NAC (as it is more fondly known) is speckled with the likes of miso-flamed aubergine and a truffle burger, with a dedicated brunch menu on the weekends. It would be criminal not to order the crushed milk chocolate cookies for afters, a dessert that is as Instagrammable as it is craveable, not least for the swoop of Frosties-studded soft serve served on top. 41 N Audley St, W1K 6ZP  |

foodie's guide summer London

Certain excerpts from this editorial are adapted from the author‘s previous article for Live Mint Lounge, accessible here.

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