18 best quirky London restaurants

Explore the most unusual places to eat in London from Michelin-starred eateries to a restaurant based in a prison.

Book a spot at one of these fun restaurants in London. Known for its diverse dining scene, there's no shortage of quirky restaurants to choose from in the capital.

Many restaurants have reopened for outdoor dining only, with indoor dining due to be available from 17 May, following the easing of coronavirus restrictions. Be aware that some restaurants listed may still be closed after this date.

1. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Settle down for a quirky culinary experience at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, a two Michelin-starred restaurant that's consistently voted one of the best restaurants in the world. The celebrity chef taps into Britain's rich culinary history with unusual results, such as the signature Meat Fruit starter, where chicken parfait is served in the guise of a clementine. Book Dinner by Heston Blumenthal now

2. Trader Vic's

Descend into a tropical getaway in Mayfair as you escape into a world of South Sea dining, at Trader Vic's. Start with traditional finger food, pick up a salad or a soup, and for main opt for a Trader Vic favourite such as black bean pork or a whole lobster. Book Trader Vic's now

3. Sketch

Sketch turns eating and drinking into a whole new experience, boasting several venues at its base near Regent Street that are among the best restaurants in London. The hardest part is choosing between the three Michelin-starred Lecture Room; the woodland-themed lunch venue, Glade; the brasserie-style Gallery; and The Parlour, an eccentric patisserie, restaurant and bar. Book Sketch now

4. Inamo

This Asian fusion restaurant in Covent Garden boasts a pioneering interactive ordering system projected onto the table, making it one of the coolest restaurants in London. At Inamo, you can place orders via a 3D menu, choose from a selection of virtual tablecloths, find out about the local neighbourhood and even order a taxi home, all from the comfort of your seat. Book Inamo now

5. Circus

Nibble on pan-Asian cuisine in the futuristic dining room at Circus, created by British designer Tom Dixon. Glamorous eating and drinking is not all that occurs at this Covent Garden restaurant, as dinner is combined with various surprise cabaret and circus acts who parade across the tables. Book Circus now

6. Archipelago

Golden Buddhas, dwarf palm trees and giant peacock feathers give Archipelago's interior a quirky feel, but it's the menu "staples" such as crocodile, kangaroo, and ostrich that really makes this one of the most unusual places to eat in London. This Fitzrovia restaurant certainly reaches out to intrepid diners with options such as python carpaccio, and jerk alpaca. Book Archipelago now

7. The Piano Works

Tuck into steaks, ribs and sliders as you listen to live music requested by you and the rest of the audience in a Victorian warehouse, at The Piano Works in Farringdon. Part live jukebox, part restaurant, this music-lovers’ favourite will have you singing long into the night.

8. Rainforest Cafe

Take your children to the Rainforest Cafe, one of the most fun restaurants in London. Kids go wild experiencing the sounds of waterfalls, lightning and rain, as they spot animals and real tropical fish. Close to Piccadilly Circus and the West End's many theatres, shops and attractions, this family restaurant offers a two-course kids menu and activity packs.

9. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. 

Based on hit film Forrest Gump, this southern American eatery near Piccadilly Circus is themed on the movie's main characters and Alabama location. It’s all about the shrimp at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., with lots of crustacean creations; but there’s plenty for all the family to enjoy, from grilled steaks and salads to jambalaya.

10. Mari Vanna

If you’ve ever pondered what it would be like to wine (or vodka) and dine at Grandma’s house in old Russia, then Knightsbridge's Mari Vanna London will answer all your desires. A remarkably authentic slice of Soviet era cuisine and comradery, spanning everything from caviar to cabbage rolls.

11. Beach Blanket Babylon

Dining at Notting Hill's Beach Blanket Babylon is like stepping between a Georgian English manor house and a French chateau. If the vintage furnishings, imposing statues and all-round extraordinary decor don't inspire awe at this celebrity hotspot, the seasonal, modern European food will.

12. Sarastro

A London restaurant that is anything but quiet, Sarastro is "the show after the show" thanks to the musical entertainment played out live among the smiling diners. The drama continues on your plate at this venue near Covent Garden, with Turkish and Mediterranean flavours to entertain your taste buds.

13. Bel Canto

Mix arias with appetisers at Bel Canto. This opera-themed restaurant near Hyde Park serves up French fine dining with a difference: it’s delivered by waiters singing opera classics. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the music – don’t worry, you’ll not have to sing for your supper.

14. Shaka Zulu

Get a taste of South Africa at Shaka Zulu, a lively restaurant, bar and nightclub in Camden. Boards full of exotic grilled meats, unusual cocktails, lavish decor, and infectious toe-tapping music makes this Camden Market two-storey venue a good option for a memorable night out.

15. Dans le Noir?

At Dans le Noir? restaurant in Clerkenwell, your dining experience takes place in complete darkness. Served by blind and visually impaired waiters, the meal challenges your sense of taste and smell and the surprise menu encourages you to educate your palate.

16. Brunswick House

The worlds of contemporary and traditional Britain come together at this top London restaurant, in Vauxhall. Brunswick House Cafe's regularly changing menu is inspired by local produce, and the furniture and interior design is all up for sale. 

18. The Clink Restaurant

Eat within the walls of a prison at The Clink Restaurant based at HMP Brixton. Many of the ingredients are sourced from prison farms around the country, while everything is cooked and served by the prisoners as they train for careers in hospitality after their release. Not only does this unique dining experience help with rehabilitation, the food is excellent and of good value too.