There’s nothing worse than waiting for food.
But if you’re hoping to dine at one of London’s top restaurants you’re likely to find yourself doing just that. Many of the capital’s most popular destinations now operate a ‘no reservations’ policy, meaning queues can lead out of the door and down the street. Once you’ve tried the food, though, you’ll understand why people are happy to wait. These are the London restaurants worth queuing for, even if it’s raining.
Soho’s famous tapas bar serves a la carte menus, developed by Executive Head Chef Nieves Barragán Mohacho, with authentic regional dishes from around Spain. The tiny restaurant almost always has a queue for seats at its open kitchen, with guests enjoying Pimientos de Padrón and Spanish wines as they wait.
This Borough Market pasta restaurant is never without a long queue of hungry diners, eager to try the hand rolled pasta with sauces and fillings inspired by owners Tim and Jordan’s trips to Italy. And don’t just take our word for it – Padella was named “Worth the Queue 2016” at the Evening Standard Restaurant Awards.
Indian restaurant Kricket was first founded in a tiny 20-seat shipping container in Brixton. Now, it’s a modern memoir of its owners’ time spent in Mumbai and one of the main food offerings at POP Brixton. There’s only room for 20 though, so be prepared to wait. It’s worth it.
A Soho restaurant serving dishes inspired by Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, Hoppers is smart and stylish, mixing old and new flavours. The roast bone marrow, egg hopper and string hoppers are the dishes worth queuing for here.
Borough Market is home to this taqueria, where tacos and tortillas are made from scratch every day. Run by the Hart Brothers and Crispin Somerville, this restaurant brings the flavours of Mexico City to the heart of London. Enjoy a frozen Margarita while you queue, then head to your table for drop in for tacos, tostadas, quesadillas and aguachiles aplenty.
The brainchild of acclaimed chef Ross Shonhan, Bone Daddies is the London home of the flavours Ross is passionate about. Bone Daddies puts a unique twist on traditional Japanese favourites. Tuck into complex, great tasting bowls of ramen to a soundtrack of old school rock.
This chops-only restaurant launched in a Soho basement in 2015. Blacklock was founded by three veterans of the Hawksmoor steakhouse group, so expect top quality meat, pressed onto the grill using antique irons. Go “all in” and get the lamb, pork and beef short rib, all piled high on fluffy flatbread.
Situated in the heart of London’s Theatreland, The Palomar serves the food of modern day Jerusalem. Dishes are influenced by the rich cultures of Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant. Join the queue and you’ll see why The Palmoar has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for the past three years running.
Born in Xi’an, the city famous for its Terracotta Warriors, Chef Wei is an expert in Shan Xi Cuisine. This Holloway Road restaurant serves the best of Shan Xi’s authentic street food. We recommend the hand-pulled noodles – definitely worth waiting for.
This Waterloo pub is one of London’s top gastropubs, with a frequently changing menu of unusual, terrific dishes. Tuck into a Sunday roast of Dexter beef rump, boulangère potatoes, cavolo nero and horseradish and you’ll understand why people are more than happy to wait for a table.
A slick former street food operation, Bao is the place to go for Taiwanese cuisine. Londoners are more than happy to wait for these fluffy white steamed buns, filled with braised pork and peanut powder, or bao burger baps wrapped around soy-milk-marinated chicken.
The Thai barbecue restaurant from the man who brought us Smoking Goat, Kiln takes roadside cooking to the next level. The restaurant itself has a dive bar vibe, with diners treated to a view into the kiln itself. Dishes bring the flavours of rural Thailand to London – the mackerel curry is a must try.
Meat Liquor now has several London outposts, but the original is where you need to head. Prepare for filthy, delicious food and some of the best burgers in town. Don’t leave without trying the Dead Hippie, that’s our tip.
Breddos started out as a makeshift taco shack in a car park in Hackney back in 2011. Now the Clerkenwell tacquiera is renowned as one of London’s finest, with dishes combining great British produce with the flavours of hundreds of roadside taquerias and restaurants throughout America and Mexico.
Flat Iron’s signature steaks have been drawing big crowds since it first opened. Unbelievably, the steak costs just a tenner. Wait for your table at the subterranean cocktail bar and before you know it you’ll be savouring a mouth-watering Flat Iron steak with dripping cooked chips, creamed spinach and all the extras.
This is the pizzeria everyone’s talking about. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele has been in Naples since 1870 and Italians call it “the sacred temple of pizza”. The Naples favourite arrived in Stoke Newington in February 2017 and there are queues down the street for the satisfying pizzas made famous in the film Eat Pray Love.
Have we missed any of your favourite places off? What do you think are the London restaurants worth the queue?