As the weather turns colder, you may be after comfort and warmth, and not just from food and drink, but from roaring fires, candlelight and snug atmospheres. Whether you’re cosying up with a hot date or settling in with family and friends, these are the cosy London restaurants to visit that will keep you warm.
Restaurant, French, Mediterranean, $$$
Often lauded as the most romantic restaurant in London thanks to that blossom-filled conservatory, things get turned up another notch at Clos Maggiore in the winter with candlelight and a roaring fire. Provencal food like shoulder of Loire Valley rabbit, oven roasted chicken stuffed with snails, poached pear with tonka bean syrup, and a vast wine cellar will keep you feeling warm all evening long.
Restaurant, French, $$$
Le Garrick is popular choice for a pre- or post-theatre bite thanks to its West End location, with actors and producers amongst the clientele. The restaurant has recently celebrated its 30th birthday, so it’s had a fresh lick of paint, but the candlelit alcoves in the intimate downstairs bar and dining room are still the cosiest spots in the place to enjoy their regional French classics.
Gastropub, Pub Grub, $$$
This Islington gastropub is renowned for its beautiful wisteria covered garden but there’s actually a lot to tempt you inside too. The Georgian interior has been well restored, complete with wood-panelled walls and roaring fires. As well as a great selection of beers, ciders and ales, The Albion also serves up plenty of hearty pub classics to keep you going in the cold weather.
Gordon's Wine Bar
Wine Bar, Tapas, $$$
As you can probably gather from the name, Gordon’s is best known for its wine. In fact, as it was established in 1890 it has the distinction of being the oldest wine bar in the capital, and they’ve tried to keep things as traditional as possible. Naturally the wine list is extensive and varied, with port, sherry and Madeira available directly from the casks, and is complemented by their menu of cheese, charcuterie, pies and tapas. Grab a seat in one of the candlelit alcoves down in the cellar and work your way through a bottle or two.
Beach Blanket Babylon
Restaurant, European, $$$
Thanks to its previous incarnation as a Georgian house, the Notting Hill outpost of Beach Blanket Babylon is full of places to cosy up in, from the grotto-like crypt to the drawing room complete with its own fireplace, and with Rococo décor throughout, it’s super decadent too. They shake up a mean cocktail at BBB but it’s also the kind of place you want to linger over a bowl of seafood linguine.
Bar, Indian, $$$
The Rosewood Hotel already has a great winter warmer of a restaurant in the shape of Holborn Dining Room and chef Calum Franklin’s famous pies but with Scarfes Bar it’s got somewhere even cosier. Adorned with the work of artist Gerald Scarfe, the bar has a strong drawing room vibe with a big fire and lots of velvet armchairs to sink into. With potions inspired by the likes of Mary Poppins, Monty Python and the Rolling Stones, and a spice-laden menu of murgh malai chicken sliders and gunpowder scampi, you’ll have trouble finding a reason to leave.
Restaurant, European, $$$
Unfussy, traditional food – dressed crab, roast grouse with bread sauce, pear and sherry trifle and so on – served with wonderful wine is what they’ve been doing at Andrew Edmunds since 1986. You very much know the standard you’re going to get at this cosy Soho spot and that’s in part what makes a meal here so comforting. The size of the restaurant, set over two floors of an 18th-century townhouse, and the resulting intimate atmosphere is what completes the experience.
Gastropub, Contemporary, Jerk, $$$
You’ll have no trouble feeling snug and warm at this gastropub on the edge of Clapham Common, especially if you’re nestled into one of the alcoves come dinner time. There’s a strong selection of craft beer and wines from small producers keep you watered whilst the food menu, which encompasses everything from jerk wings to Tanzanian style sea bass to tandoori Barnsley chop, will keep you fed.
Restaurant, Swiss, $$$
It’s hard to find a foodstuff that’s more wintery and more warming then fondue, and for the real deal Swiss stuff there’s no better place to than St Moritz. Open since 1974, St Moritz is London’s oldest Swiss restaurant and they serve a range of fondues as well as other hearty dishes like raclette, bratwurst wth rosti and spatzli. You may be far away from the slopes in Soho but you can still enjoy a bit of après-ski.
Thomas's Cafe at Burberry
Cafe, Restaurant, British, $$$
Burberry has taken their flagship store on Regent Street to another level with the addition of Thomas’s Café. Decked out like a very stylish country home, the café is a welcoming refuge, whether you need to take a break from hitting the shops or just want to warm up in front of the hearth with soup, shepherd’s pie or hot buttered crumpets from the Aga. You can even pick up some Burberry pieces, like cashmere blankets, that are exclusive to Thomas’s to keep you feeling cosy all the way home.