Excellent Chinese restaurants in London can be incredibly difficult to find, with many establishments offering only passable, pseudo-Asian dishes. However, more and more venues now propose finely and delicately assembled specialties, served to the highest standards – so much so that our previous list had to be updated. This is our new pick of the 10 best Chinese restaurants in London.
Bar Shu serves recipes typical of the Sichuan province of Southwest China. Sichuan cuisine is famous for its generous use of chillies and Sichuan pepper, and for a seemingly endless combination of flavors and produce. The restaurant interior is a visual aid for the food on show and paper lanterns hang throughout the restaurant, bestowing the dining room with warm light.
Royal China may be that dreaded phenomenon, a Chinese chain sprawled across London, but its Queensway branch is the original and has been cooking up superb dim sum for over 20 years. In 2012 the restaurant was completely renovated, and its new interior includes a gorgeous Chinese-inspired, hand painted mural.
With two London locations My Old Place – one near Liverpool Street and the other one in Bethnal Green – My Old Place sits not far from the heartland of Indian cuisine, Brick Lane. For survival in such strange territory, this simple Chinese dining establishment prepares an impressive list of authentic dishes that typify authentic, non-western Chinese restaurants. Some of the highlights include spicy oil with pig’s ear, duck’s tongue or chicken gizzard, pig’s tendon with spicy salt, or, for the less adventurous, sweet and sour spare ribs (the reserve of the ever-nervous). Although the atmosphere or service may not impress, the food more than makes up for it, with some arguing that the abrupt service is an integral part of the experience.
The Good Earth has been offering excellent Chinese food within stylish yet informal surroundings for over three decades. The Wandsworth Common branch has been designed to have a contemporary interior inspired by art deco, and sits somewhere between a traditional Chinese restaurant and Nuevo Shanghai chic.
Phoenix Palace serves more than 300 dishes across eight menus. A much-loved spot popular with locals, tourists and foodies, the authentic cuisine at Phoenix Palace is served against an elegant backdrop. Traditional artisan woodcarvings and antique Chinese furnishings are prevalent throughout, making for a refined atmosphere.
Plum Valley is a stand-out restaurant in the heart of London’s Chinatown. While it’s fair to say that many restaurants in Chinatown cater to the cheaper end of the market, Plum Valley is a fine dining establishment, serving the very best in Cantonese cuisine. The interior of the restaurant is decorated in a tasteful Shanghai chic style, with dark surfaces and chairs posited against the fine white porcelain that the food is served on.
Hakkasan in Mayfair is a Michelin starred hideaway that exhibits some of the world’s best oriental and Chinese cuisine. This Mayfair restaurant insists that guests dress smart-casual and its own interior décor is all about industrial chic. Dishes aren’t cheap, but with food this good that shouldn’t be a surprise.
Hunan London offers tapas-sized Chinese dishes, which are served in quick succession, to provide diners with a memorable dining experience. Diners simply tell the chef what food they do and do not eat, as well as how spicy they like their food to be.
Mr Chow is celebrated for serving great Chinese food in a family-style setting. Knightsbridge is host to the first-ever Mr Chow restaurant, which opened on Valentine’s day in 1968. The interior is all dark wood, tiled floors and low level lighting. As well as fine dining interpretations of typical Chinese dishes, both Mandarin and Cantonese, Mr Chow also offers a dining experience for guests.
Buried in the heart of Soho and only a stone’s throw away from Chinatown, Yauatcha is of a very different class to many of the establishments in the surrounding area. A light and breezy restaurant, Yauatcha allows guests to enjoy a gentle atmosphere as they dine on beautifully assembled Chinese main and dim sum dishes.