Looking for a restaurant in Chelsea? Having ditched its white-tablecloth vibe of recent years thanks to a swathe of exciting new openings, SW3 is back in the dining spotlight. Whether you’re after a sushi-filled bottomless brunch, steaming bowls of fresh pasta or a vegan brunch and a matcha latte, rest assured there’s something for everyone in this foodie enclave.
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Serving up classic Italian fare for more than 50 years, La Famiglia is a London institution. Food is made from the freshest, finest produce – even the olive oil, into which you can dunk your warm focaccia with your antipasti, is made from the family’s olive groves in Italy. Expect Italian classics done well; deep-fried artichokes, wild boar pappardelle, creamy burrata and osso bucco are just some of the highlights. Be sure to save room for the epic dessert trolley, laden with homemade cannoli, tiramisu and other Italian delicacies.
The decor at this Chelsea spot may be understated, but the food is anything but. One of the area’s best-kept gourmet secrets, Medlar serves up seasonal, French-inspired dishes with a twist. The brainchild of two Chez Bruce alumni, the pedigree is evident – expect everything from tagliatelle with braised oxtail and chestnuts to a rump of Belted Galloway with gently cooked snails. Just save room for pudding; the almond granita with blood peach sorbet is a real palate cleanser. Those with a sweeter tooth will appreciate the likes of honeycomb ice cream and made-to-order tarte tatin.
La Poule au Pot, London | Courtesy of Poule au Pot
For classic French fare, look no further than La Poule au Pot, nestled in a prime position between Belgravia and Pimlico. Since opening in 1964, this foodie favourite has been enchanting guests with its traditional, rustic fare, and the dimly lit nooks and candlelit tables add to the charm. Expect classic bistro dishes like escargots, goose cassoulet and bouillabaisse. In the warmer months, soak up the atmosphere on the outdoor terrace.
Inspired by the bold flavours of Peru but made with the freshest produce delivered daily from the (slightly more local) Cornish coastline, Chicama has a strong seafood focus. Indeed, the entire menu is free from meat and celebrates ingredients native to Peru. The vibe is sharing dishes, and the laid-back, neighbourhood atmosphere makes this Chelsea spot perfect for catching up with friends. Cocktail fans will appreciate what’s on offer here – try a traditional pisco sour or brave the Spicy, a zesty blend of tequila, chilli liqueur, agave syrup and lemon.
Nestled on the picture-perfect Pavilion Road is Granger & Co., the latest branch of Bill Granger’s eponymous cafés known for its Aussie-Asian fusion menu. Brunch is the highlight here. Head down early on the weekend to beat the queues (there’s a strict no reservations policy), and be rewarded with the likes of ricotta hotcakes, courgette and halloumi fritters, and fresh fruit bowls laden with vegan granola and coconut yoghurt. Come night-time, the cocktails also pull in the Asian influences and come highly recommended.
If you find yourself flagging in the middle of a Sloane Square shopping spree, head to Polpo in Duke of York Square, which serves up an all-day menu of Venetian-inspired small plates. Order an Aperol Spritz and watch the world go by as you graze on nduja arancini, spinach and parmesan pizzette (complete with a fried egg), and spicy pork and fennel meatballs. The outdoor seating area makes this a perfect al fresco spot for the summer months.
You’ll need to get in The Five Fields early with a reservation, but the food, which champions British produce and seasonality, is worth the bother. Tucked just off Sloane Square, this is an intimate spot that boasts stellar service and is ideal for a special occasion (note it’s only open for dinner). Dishes on the daily-changing menu feature a variety of seafood, meat and vegetables, the latter all sourced from the owners’ herb garden in East Sussex. The cocktail list is inventive, and wines stretch from Kent to Japan.