The List

People often ask “where should I go?”, or “what’s the best restaurant in London?”.

Really, they should also provide details of: who and how many people they’re eating with; what the budget is; what kind of eating experience they enjoy and are after; where in London they’re looking; what cuisine they’re craving; whether it’s a lunch or dinner; if it’s a special occasion or a casual night out with friends … you get the idea.

The Rocket & Squash Guides will build up over time, and cover a wide range of areas, cooking and eating styles. In the meantime, here’s my list of favourites (in no particular order). Hot right now, classic institutions, or, quite simply, near to where I live. Maybe you’ll like them too?

Unapologetically, they’re not linked or explained — Google them for background. And for a bit more rhyme, reason and order, keep your eyes on the Guides section.


Informal, off the cuff and/or spontaneous eats

  • Bleecker St Burger
  • Bao Fitzrovia
  • Koya (Soho or Bloomsburg)
  • Santa Maria Pizza
  • Theo’s Pizza
  • Roti King
  • Master Wei
  • Towpath
  • Padella
  • Kanada Ya
  • Xi’an Impression
  • Monty’s Deli
  • Blacklock
  • Jen Cafe
  • Bodega Rita’s
  • Visions Canteen
  • Jolene (brunch or lunch)
  • Morito Hackney Road
  • The bar at St John (devilled kidneys, rarebit, Eccles and Lancashire)

No particular occasion, but a proper meal

  • Black Axe Mangal
  • Lyle’s (at lunchtime)
  • The Quality Chop House
  • Smoking Goat
  • Kiln
  • Som Saa
  • Smokestak
  • Ducksoup
  • Clipstone
  • P. Franco
  • Peg
  • Leroy
  • St John Bread and Wine
  • Honey & Co.
  • The Marksman
  • Cora Pearl
  • José
  • Brawn (keeping the wine spend low)
  • Morito Hackney Road
  • 40 Maltby Street
  • Salon
  • Levan
  • Noble Rot (and a glass of house)
  • Darjeeling Express
  • Jolene (dinner)
  • Westerns Laundry

Treat, special occasion, or someone else is paying

  • Lyle’s (in the evening)
  • Ikoyi
  • Brat
  • Brawn (going big on wine)
  • The Clove Club
  • Portland
  • Noble Rot (with all the wine)
  • The Laughing Heart (going big on wine)
  • Barrafina (Drury Lane, Adelaide St, Frith St, Coal Drops Yard)
  • Sabor
  • Pidgin
  • Bright
  • A Wong
  • St Leonards
  • The Ledbury
  • Gymkhana
  • Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs
  • Sushi Tetsu
  • XU


NB. The above are all restaurants I’ve been and will go back to, so can personally recommend. There may well be other good’ns out there (treat wise, Elystan Street and Bosi at Bibendum, for example). Feel free to nudge me in their direction.