Londoners and tourists alike love a good meal in a place that offers both delicious food and tempting design. London is an exceptional place to dine out, with the high pulse of the city providing the perfect backdrop to conversation. We have put together a list of the most well-designed London restaurants to showcase the best of where to feast your eyes, as well as your stomach.
Restaurant, Diner, Indian, $$$
Dishoom is reminiscent of 1930s Bombay, from vintage family photographs on the walls to the Permit Room serving prohibition cocktails. The beauty of this restaurant, unlike its Covent Garden cousin, is its slight dishevelment, distancing itself from the polished looks so common to restaurants in London. The connection between London and Bombay is well reflected as the colonial feel of the vintage furniture and the brass metal plates makes it as though Bombay’s locals could walk in any minute to escape the heat of the city over a game of chess. Food here is delicious and unlike any other Indian cuisine you can find in London, with dishes combining India’s rich cooking heritage with the electricity of Shoreditch.
Sketch is far away from your normal restaurant; it is actually an immersive art gallery offering an absolutely exquisite dining experience. The interior of the place is a state of art, reflected through the actual art pieces and the different moods that each separately designed room conveys. A pink tearoom known as ‘the Gallery’, where tea is served in designer cups, also serves as David Shrigley’s gallery. ‘The Lecture Room & Library’ designed by Gahban O’Keefe offers a two-Michelin-starred restaurant space with beige and red Dali reminiscent patterns. ‘The Parlour’ is a daily lounge area great for lunch or tea with exceptionally comfortable Louis XV chairs and sofas. A bar named ‘The Glade’ is a fairytale-enchanted forest with woodland wallpaper and wooden seating that feels like sitting on a veranda in the 19th century (with delicious cocktails served on demand). Another large room with pop-up futuristic wallpaper takes your breath away, right before you lose track of time and space in the round egg shaped bathrooms (that also speak to you). Sounds unreal? They also have a crazy domed ceiling bar where the bartender’s position in the centre of the room looks like something out of Star Trek.
This place is a great find – a branch from Denmark, Sticks’n’Sushi offers a fusion of Danish-Japanese food. The heart and soul of this establishment is the friendly staff, willing to patiently chat you through the genres of the menu. Their ‘sushi with a Nordic touch’ menu requires a specific environment that the Covent Garden restaurant establishes perfectly. As your food arrives on a stone plaque with the sticks and the sushi in perfect harmony, the dimmed lights and sleek cut tables transform into a stage. The brick walls and the wooden minimalistic furniture give the customer a high dining experience for a reasonable price. The creative cocktails are seriously good, served in imaginative glasses.
Ethos is a self-service restaurant serving vegan food on marble tables. As you eat your sustainable, meat-free food, you find yourself in a state of harmony, a feeling created by the real birch trees reaching out onto the beautifully lit ceiling. The champagne served in saucers, together with the minimalistic blues and whites of the leather and marble interior, turn this self-service experience into a fancy dinner out or a casual lunch meeting (with all of that in mind, you can also take this buffet away with you in smart little boxes). The full-length windows, kind staff and affordable prices make Ethos extremely welcoming.
Beast produces high-quality Norwegian red king crab and hand selected Nebraskan beef in a minimalistic Nordic environment. The interior has to match up to the level of effort put into the sourcing of their produce and simply delicious food – and it certainly does. Candle lighting hangs above long wooden tables, accompanied by wooden carved benches, making this restaurant a masterpiece of a creation. Additionally, the guaranteed freshness of their food is right in front of you in tanks and refrigerators, allowing you to see exactly what you’re eating.
Located within the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, this Zaha Hadid designed restaurant is a visit to the future of culinary design. The glass walls allow diners to dwell over the surrounding gardens, and the flowing membrane roof supported by columns injects natural lighting onto the gastronomic experience on your plate. The Magazine is a perfect example of modern restaurant architecture at its best.
This is a restaurant focusing on chicken and beef dishes that manages to transform simplicity into something special, with the help of art and interior design. The landmark of the restaurant is Damien Hirst’s ‘Cock and Bull’ formaldehyde work in the middle of the restaurant – part of Hirst’s ‘Natural History’ series in which he famously preserved animals. This piece was designed specifically for Tramshed. The restaurant is located within a disused warehouse, with the majority of the inner structure left untouched.
This northern Chinese restaurant located on the 33rd level of the Shard is worth going to even just for the view. Luckily, the food and interior of Hutong match its spectacular panorama sights over the London Eye and Tower Bridge. Apart from the struggle to get a reservation, this place is worth the expense, especially for a romantic dinner. The combination of wood and Chinese lanterns gives a different type of glamour to the place, plus something often missing from usual expensive dining venues – charm.
Brasserie, Cafe, Deli, Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Bar, European, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
This huge brasserie in Holborn serves locally sourced British food with a touch of something different. The interior is meant to look like a busy diner, something that the antique mirrors and red leather turn into a luxurious reality. The antique copper-topped bars make coming here for a drink before dinner a must.