Want to know Londoners’ favourite places to eat? Discover local restaurants that those in the know want to keep a secret.
Wherever you live in London, find local food venues that are loved by foodies throughout the neighbourhood – from all-day dining hotspots and cosy gastropubs, to local Indian restaurants, Insta-worthy brunch faves and vegan eateries.
Some restaurants are currently only open for local takeaways and many require advanced booking. Make sure to check with the venue before your visit.
North London restaurants for locals
Gökyüzü in Harringay
Green Lanes has plenty of Turkish eateries, but Gökyüzü has made a name for itself over the past 20 years with recipes handed down from generation to generation. Get your chops around succulent kebabs, pide, lahmacun, mezes and salads, all washed down with Turkish tea.
Trullo in Highbury
One of the darlings of the trendy north London set, Trullo certainly punches above its pasta-induced weight. With moreish dishes such as the signature eight-hour pappardelle beef shin ragu and delicacies cooked on a charcoal grill, it’s the kind of local Italian we’d all love on our doorstep.
Casa Pastor in King's Cross
Casa Pastor is a bigger, bolder version of its south-of-the-river sibling El Pastor (itself a popular spot for locals near Borough Market). Tacos, tostadas and quesadillas reign here, using tortillas made from Mexican corn; while seafood specials and beef short-rib make for something a little different to your usual taqueria offering.
SpiceBox in Walthamstow
A local curry house with a difference, SpiceBox is 100% plant based and offers up vegan alternatives to classics, such as Jackfruit Jalfrezi, Chick’n Tikka and Shroom Keema. The former street food vendors also do takeaway, so if you fancy a night vegging out at home, grab a box to go. Currently open for takeaways only
East London restaurants for locals
Tayyabs in Whitechapel
The best lamb chops in the capital? The queue outside suggests so, as east Londoners and cross-towners wait eagerly for Tayyabs’ signature dishes. Founded in 1972, this Punjabi restaurant focuses on grilled meats and kebabs, but there are a host of vegetarian options too. Currently there's no need to queue, with bookings being taken.
E. Pellicci in Bethnal Green
A family-run cafe stretching back to 1900 (yes, you read that correctly), E. Pellicci has been feeding up Bethnal Green residents on classic comfort food for generations. Good old British fare such as all-day breakfasts, pies, “roast of the day” and apple crumble sit alongside homemade pasta dishes and tiramisu.
Oklava in Shoreditch
Shoreditch has become well stocked with on-point eateries, but modern Turkish eatery Oklava has cooked its way onto locals’ shortlists since it opened in 2015. Charcoal-grilled meats, sharing plates, crisp flatbreads straight from a dedicated pide oven and a buzzy atmosphere... all the ingredients for a laid-back catch-up with friends.
Deeney's in Leyton
Deeney’s has made Scottish street food a hit with its various pop-ups around London. Head to its Leyton HQ for breakfast and brunch, including the Haggis Macbeth toastie combining haggis, bacon and cheese; or the Vegan Fry including veggie haggis, tattie scones and halloumi. Currently open for takeaways only
Bright in Hackney
Possibly a little pricey as an everyday “let’s grab a bite after the pub” haunt, but perfect for a treat, Bright turns humble ingredients into almost-too-pretty-to-eat dishes that will make your Insta feed pop. From the same stable as nearby P. Franco and Peg – Hackney hipsters’ spots in their own right – this is the place to impress and be impressed.
South London restaurants for locals
Fish, Wings & Tings in Brixton
One of the many go-to places in locals’ dining hub Brixton Village, colourful Fish, Wings & Tings offers a taste of the Caribbean in buzzy south London. Find a cosy spot and tuck into fritters, rotis, curried mutton, jerk chicken and more, served with a dollop of the chef’s own hot sauce and a side helping of friendly chit chat.
Babur in Honor Oak
An Honor Oak fixture for more than 35 years, Babur serves up Indian dishes spanning the ages. Traditional options such as chicken tikka, thali and biryani are elevated, while adventurous options include venison hunter curry or masala raw jackfruit dosa. The bad news? The secret was out long ago as its regular presence in the Michelin guide confirms.
Sparrow in Lewisham
Husband and wife team Terry Blake and Yohini Nandakumar combine British, south Asian and European flavours in an eclectic seasonal menu scrawled on a blackboard each day. Sparrow may conjure up images of a small bird, but the flavours are massive at this Lewisham hangout and it’s quickly become a locals’ favourite.
Kudu in Peckham
Bucking the trend of meat-filled menus, Kudu takes a more refined take on South African cuisine. Order a bunch of sharing plates, a few cocktails and some bread with saliva-inducing bacon or seaweed butter and you’re in for a lunch or dinner to remember with your besties. Weekend brunches are also popular with the Peckham locals.
Mi Cocina es Tuya in Crystal Palace
For South America read south London: Crystal Palace to be precise. Mi Cocina es Tuya, which translates as “My kitchen is yours” brings home-spun Venezuelan dishes to the capital. Nibble on crunchy empanadas or try the national dish pabellón criollo, a mix of rice, black beans, plantain and shredded meat.
West London restaurants for locals
Santa Maria in Ealing
The original pizzeria of this small-scale group, Santa Maria’s Ealing restaurant has Londoners flocking across town for its Neapolitan-style pizzas. The techniques and ingredients are exactly the same as used in Naples, including being cooked in Italian-imported wood-fired pizza ovens – it doesn’t get much more authentic than that! Currently open for bookings at The Red Lion in Ealing
Petersham Nurseries Café and Tearoom in Richmond
Nestled among a picture-perfect garden nursery and meadows bordering the Thames, Petersham Nurseries is a great spot for a relaxed meal with friends or family. Pick from upscale, seasonal dishes from the classy Café or go more low key with coffee, cakes and salads from the Teahouse.
Harwood Arms in Fulham
Fulham’s lucky residents have a Michelin-starred gastropub as their “local”. But far from being stuffy, Harwood Arms is a great place for a relaxed lunch or dinner. Come on Sundays for its roast or pick from the daily menu which champions British produce. Reopening on 30 August
Maggie Jones's in Kensington
Quirky, mysterious and full of charm, Maggie Jones’s offers something a little different to Kensington’s highbrow eateries. A true hidden gem just off Kensington High Street, it’s been going for more than 40 years and offers British brasserie-style food among knick-knacks and candlelit booths.
The Shed in Notting Hill
The Gladwin brothers may have expanded their rustic farm-to-fork restaurant group to include Rabbit in Chelsea and Nutbourne in Battersea, but The Shed was the original and remains their flagship. Enjoy small sharing plates mixing produce from their farm in Sussex with wild and foraged ingredients; and choose from wines made at the family’s Nutbourne vineyard.
Central London restaurants for locals
Barrafina in Covent Garden
Barrafina is so popular with locals it has them clocking off early from work to join the queue (it usually has a no-bookings policy). However, post-lockdown, it's now taking bookings. Enjoy authentic Spanish tapas from tortillas to octopus, regional specials such as suckling pig, and Spanish sherries and wines at the marble-topped bar. Reopening on 30 July
Lina Stores in Soho
The calming green tiles of Lina Stores set the tone for this laid-back restaurant on Greek Street in Soho. Step inside for a true taste of Italy, or grab one of its outdoor tables, before selecting from reasonably priced antipasti, homemade pasta and classic Italian desserts. If you want something to take home, pop into its delicatessen on nearby Brewer Street.
Clipstone in Fitzrovia
Breakfast brioche, fine-tuned sourdough, budget-friendly set lunch, afternoon coffee, laid-back dinners… Clipstone has nailed the neighbourhood restaurant vibe. Since opening in 2016, the small eatery perched on the corner of Clipstone Street and Bolsover Street has quickly become a regular mingling point for locals and West End workers.
Honey & Co. in Bloomsbury
Let the wafting aromas of freshly baked bread or slow-roasting lamb guide you to Honey & Co.. Championing home-style Middle Eastern food, such as falafel, flavour-packed salads, stews and sticky desserts, this Bloomsbury eatery may be small in size but it’s big in reputation among locals.
The Quality Chop House in Farringdon
Open for more than 150 years, The Quality Chop House stays true to its roots as a place for top-notch meat. With its own butchery next-door, this Farringdon institution mixes the old and the new, with Grade-II listed benches, vintage tableware and a contemporary menu full of British produce.
If you’re searching for more “local restaurants near me”, download the Visit London app to discover what’s on your doorstep.