Best restaurants in Fitzrovia
Discover our favourite places to eat in this high-end pocket of central London, from glamorous dining rooms to great-value mezze joints
Looking for Fitzrovia restaurants? Here are our favourite restaurants in Fitzrovia. Check out our ideas for eating and drink in Fitzrovia, from Charlotte Street to Wells Street and beyond…
Akoko, Berners Street — for West African dishes
Executive chef Ayo Adeyemi’s tasting menu is rooted in tradition but sharply executed with great imaginative flair. Dishes may include tatale (Ghanaian plantain pancakes) with cashew cream and caviar, or moi-moi (a steamed pudding of puréed black-eyed beans with onions, peppers and stock) served with the Afro-Brazilian seafood and coconut milk sauce, vatapá. Tasting menu £120; akoko.co.uk
Cin Cin, Foley Street — for casual Italian using the best of British ingredients
The specials board captured our attention immediately: crudo with orange, fennel rabbit cacciatore, green olive and soft polenta; bigoli with anchovy, lemon, chilli and focaccia crumb; lemon meringue pie, blood orange sorbet. Cin Cin’s menu uses the best of British ingredients such as Blythburgh pork and south coast crab, Italian style, along with twists on classics including gnocchi cacio e pepe with Trombetta courgettes, burrata with truffled prosciutto and a Marinda tomato salad with lambrusco marinade that’s a must-order. Start with a glass of Franciacorta (Italy’s answer to champagne and a step up from prosecco) or the house negroni featuring Australian Regal red vermouth and rhubarb bitters, a nod to the owner’s Sydney heritage. Decor is relaxed and there are plenty of outdoor tables in this buzzy part of Fitzrovia, not far from Oxford Street. cincin.co.uk
Lisboeta, Charlotte Street — for authentic Portuguese plates
Lisbon-born Nuno Mendes’s latest culinary venture is Lisboeta, which means ‘a person from Lisbon’. Nuno is famous for his ground-breaking restaurant Viajante, and Lisboeta is a return to his roots where an all-day snack menu is a homage to ‘salgados’ (salty, savoury snacks) and ‘petiscos’ (little plates of this or that) culture. Both are most commonly eaten in the late afternoon accompanied by a cold beer or glass of vinho verde. Other dishes are served family-style as they would be in the tascas of Portugal. lisboeta.co.uk
RAI, Windmill Street — for modern Japanese dishes
Previously Hot Stone, RAI is an elegant venue offering the same pared-back decor — wood panels, green tiling and a beautiful traditional mural — with chef Padam Raj Rai remaining at the helm. He makes his passionate presence known at each service when he comes out to greet diners in an enthusiastic flurry. Only the menu has had a makeover, now a set 10-course omakase tasting experience with the option of supplementary sushi and wagyu courses, showcasing exquisite ingredients of the highest quality; sweet amaebi prawns and hand-picked Maldon rock oysters are dressed with caviar; tiny cubes of homemade tofu are doused in 10-year-old soy sauce; and vibrant wasabi is hand-grated at the table. Presentation is stunning, with a sashimi trio balanced on a bespoke, hand-carved driftwood platter. Flavour combinations are playful and inspired, for example hand-dived Orkney scallops with British parsnips, and Scottish smoked salmon tartare served in a yuzu miso alongside slices of British pear then coated in a blanket of 60-month aged parmesan. Choose the sake and wine pairing and you'll be treated to Baron de Marck champagne, (known for its tiny bubbles), a delicately tart umeshu plum sake, and a light and sweet Daiginjo sake. rairestaurant.com
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BAO, Windmill Street – for Taiwanese buns
BAO Fitzrovia – the second site from the Taiwanese restaurant family – specialises in ping paan platters (a selection of grilled meats and vegetables) and its namesake steamed buns.
Split over three floors and with a minimal vibe, it’s much more spacious (and bookable) than the original site, with an open kitchen in the basement, a U-shaped wooden dining bar complete with green leather stools on the ground, and an in-house bakery on the first.
Pots filled with chopsticks and pencils are the only implements you'll need, with an order-form menu to tick your way through. Dishes are made to share, so go for around three small plates, four buns and a side between two. Kernels of XO sweetcorn are roasted in a heady beef butter for an umami kick, while sesame-coated fried chicken chop mingles with sweet soy-cured egg yolk and hot sauce.
Buns are made using a mixture of tangzhou starter – a Japanese technique that produces the pillowy texture – and milk before being steamed and filled with beef short rib, battered cod, or, the classic braised pork with a dusting of peanut powder.
It doesn't stop at savoury, with glossy deep-fried baos stuffed with Horlicks ice cream for pudding.
An Asian spin is put on the cocktail list, from an old fashioned made with jasmine tea to sour-plum tea grog. Sake has a section of its own, with creamy Ancient Mountain and fruity Tatenokawa 50 Stream both featured, and, for those going booze-free, there are homemade seasonal sodas and hot- and cold oolong brews to choose between.
Honey and Smoke, Great Portland Street – for Middle Eastern mezze
Honey and Smoke, the younger sister to nearby Honey and Co. brings the flavours and flair of Jerusalem grill houses to Fitzrovia.
There’s a cool yet casual vibe, with rough plaster walls, teal-blue tiles, pops of primary colour and shelves lined with tubs of tahini. Upstairs there’s a slick five-seater bar, while downstairs, the open kitchen is the focus.
Go with a group to make the most of the seasonal sharing menu. Scoop velvety smooth hummus onto diddy triangles of fluffy pitta and break open feta fritters (with just the right balance of farmyard-funk) to reveal a sweet pea centre. Labneh arrives thick and creamy with a sweet tang, decorated with charred asparagus tips and a smidgen of olive oil.
After a mezze feast, tuck into grilled meats, fish and veggies. Slow-cooked lamb falls effortlessly from the bone with a side of gently-roasted plums and jewel-like dried rose petals.
Saffron-marinated chicken thighs have a kick of heat, while scorched orange segments burst with smoky sweetness. Don't fill up on, but be sure to try the mounds of buttery, almond-flecked basmati rice.
Honey and Co.’s signature cheesecake has made its way over to the dessert menu, the crunchy kadaif noodle base topped with a dollop of whipped feta, a drizzle of honey and fresh mint.
A regularly changing wine list matches the season, with a few bottles from the Middle East making an appearance, from a light Palestinian cremisan to herby maia red from Israel. If you want a booze-free option, the refreshing orange blossom iced tea has a gentle sweetness.
Barrica, Goodge Street – for tapas
Try authentic Spanish cooking and excellent sherries at this lively tapas bar on Goodge Street. Interiors are reminiscent of the real deal in Spain, with black- and white-tiled floors, dressers filled with Spanish wines and oils, and bold prints of flamenco shoes on bright yellow walls. Sit at the marble-topped counter for a gin and tonic served Spanish style in a copa de balon (choose one of the Spanish varieties including aromatic, citrussy Rives, orange blossom-infused Larios and herbaceous Gin Mare). The sherry list is also impressive – try the complex Emilio Hidalgo ‘La Panesa’ fino for smooth, lemony, toasty notes, or silky, steely El Maestro Sierra amontillado.
Order a selection of tapas that arrive at staggered intervals on small, blue-rimmed plates. Croquetas made with oloroso sherry have a smoky edge, velvety Jerusalem artichoke dip packs in plenty of umami flavour, and charred padrón peppers come slicked in olive oil and dusted with sea salt flakes. Larger dishes include an impressive octopus tentacle served simply beside earthy choricero pepper-laced olive oil mash, and plump hasselback chorizo with saffron pickled cabbage. Ox cheek is a highlight, falling apart into a sweet, rich PX-spiked sauce with springy shiitake mushrooms. For pud, dip crisp teardrop-shaped churros into a warm chocolate sauce.
Ampéli, Charlotte Street – for Greek wine
Greek wine is undergoing a vibrant renaissance as forward-thinking producers champion native grapes, producing acclaimed wines increasingly sought after by in-the-know oenophiles.
Inspired by the modern wine-led restaurants of Athens – founder Jenny Pagoni was born there – sleekly outfitted Ampéli (think pistachio banquettes, wooden floors and regularly changing artwork set over three compact floors) taps into this with an exciting wine list (curated by Greek Master of Wine Yiannis Karakasis) that deep dives into indigenous varietals and styles, from new-wave retsinas to mineral assyrtiko and fruity, earthy xinomavro. Fans of rare, obscure grapes will love the ethereal 2018 Lyrarakis daphni – with its herbal bay leaf notes – and even the house white, a 2018 Semeli Feast moschofilero, is a floral winner (and a steal at just £5.50 a glass).
Accompanying this is a menu of Greek and Eastern Mediterranean sharing dishes by head chef Oren Goldfeld (Nopi, Brother Marcus) – must orders include finely made manti filled with naboulsi cheese in a silky yogurt sauce; crispy, caramelised grilled lamb chops with garlicky skordalia, and poppy seed loukoumades (bite-sized doughnuts) drizzled with Greek mountain tea syrup.
Circolo Popolare, Rathbone Place – for a group dinner
This extravagant Italian trattoria (the second London outpost from Big Mamma group) is ideal for a fun group dinner – it’s buzzy, loud and seemingly the place to be (booking is essential, unless you want to brave the walk-in queue that snakes round the block). The interiors set the tone – lights twist into foliage hanging from the ceilings, walls are jam-packed with colourful memorabilia (photo frames, ceramic plates, candelabras) and shelves groan with every liquor imaginable – there are tens of thousands of bottles.
Kick things off with the Big Mamma cocktail, a refreshing vodka, lime and ginger ale concoction served in a mermaid-painted glass, or one of the restaurant’s takes on Italian aperitifs and spritzes – we loved the Spritz Veneziano with herbaceous Plymouth thyme gin, prosecco, blood orange bitters and a gobstopper-sized olive for good measure. There are also sharing cocktails served in giant strawberry ceramics and champagne buckets.
The food is centred around produce from Sicily – share a huge burrata with pesto or deep-fried courgette flowers to start. Mains are ideal for groups, too, with carbonara served in a pecorino wheel and silk handkerchief pasta covered in Tuscan pork ragu and aubergines, both meant for two. Tongue-in-cheek-named pizzas include I Wanna Nduja (San Marzano tomato and smoked mozzarella with subtle heat from ’nduja, spicy sausage and chilli), Elizabeth Regina topped with Sicilian herbs, prosciutto and ricotta cream, and vegetarian Emrata Burrata with creamy burrata heart, almonds, capers and olives. For dessert there’s a hefty 5.9-inch-high slice of lemon meringue pie, or creamy, boozy tiramisu spooned straight from the dish.
Kiss the Hippo
The second branch of this sleek coffee shop (see our brunch guide for info on the original spot in Richmond) offers breakfast and brunch classics alongside top-notch coffee. Expect plenty of niche brews, from Ugandan nitro cold brew and a fresh, bright option from Yemen to their classic George Street blend with notes of blackberry, caramel and chocolate.
Dishes include vegan options such as avocado on toast with toasted seeds and chilli flakes, and scrambled tofu with red pepper and herbs on toast. An indulgent eggs benedict is served in an Insta-worthy croissant bun, while mushrooms on toast is slathered in black olive tapenade and shaved Italian cheese.
Al Dente, Goodge Street – for pasta
This neighbourhood glass-fronted pasta spot is a casual affair, with simple black and white walls, a reggaeton soundtrack and a fridge packed with colourful San Pellegrino cans. In front of the small open kitchen, creations from the on-site pasta lab are laid out in all shapes and sizes to take away, from twirly fusilli to ribbed tubes of maccheroni and filled tortelli.
After a starter of fresh tomato cubes on toasted focaccia doused in Sicilian olive oil, tuck into an array of handmade pasta dishes. Spaghettoni coated in a silky, yolk-yellow sauce jewelled with salty guanciale (complete with melty fat) and pecorino cheese makes a top-notch carbonara, while large tubes of paccheri soak up a sweet tomato sauce of finely minced beef and vegetables. Vegetarian options include the peppery punch of cacio e pepe tossed through chewy worms of tonnarelli (thicker spaghetti), and ravioli parcels filled with pumpkin and ricotta adorned with crispy sage. Simple desserts are well executed, with ricotta-filled housemade cannoli, and thick folds of mascarpone layered with boozy sponge in a Kilner jar tiramisu.
The wine list showcases producers from across Italy – floral Umbrian San Giovanni, rich Puglian primitivo, and soft, smooth chianti from Tuscany.
Rovi, Wells Street – for veg-centric dishes
The latest opening in the Ottolenghi canon, Rovi’s a restaurant with vegetables, fermentation (read our guide to fermenting here) and fire at its heart.
As is the trend, there are small and large plates available at lunch and dinner with veg punching way above their weight.
Corn ribs have already become an Instagram star, taking inspiration from a Momofuku dish – the corn quartered, deep-fried, glazed in apricot sauce, baked then dusted with chipotle sauce. It’s as ridiculously good as it sounds – sweet, sticky, smoky and spicy. Hot tomatoes (roasted yellow and red cherry tomatoes) with cold yogurt, herbs and bags of dark urfa chilli displays a simple but masterful grasp of what feels good in the mouth.
There’s plenty more that’s great on the menu – including crumpet lobster toast (think posh prawn toast) with kumquat and chilli sauce – but you won’t go far wrong sticking with the veg.
Flesh and Buns, Berners Street – for Nikkei cuisine
Nikkei cuisine and on-demand pisco sours define the vibe at Flesh & Buns’s newest site.
While Flesh & Buns’s trademark bao buns still make an appearance, the menu focusses on nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese fusion) cuisine – from tiger prawn toban with aji amarillo (a Peruvian chilli), ponzu butter and shiso, to fish and seafood tiraditos (a cross between Peruvian ceviche and Japanese sashimi). There’s also new dishes created using Ross’s new wood smoker – including chilli miso brisket and bath chap with butternut squash kimchi.
Portions are generous. Korean-fried chicken wings come slathered in a fiery, tangy sauce while smoked pork ribs are two huge, succulent bronzed slabs glazed in aji amarillo honey. A ceviche of sea bass with cherry tomato, pickled kumquat and rocoto tiger’s milk (the citrussy curing marinade in a ceviche) is delicate and spicy all at once.
Clipstone, Clipstone Street – for date night
Clipstone is on a corner of Clipstone Street in Fitzrovia and is the sister to nearby (and Michelin-starred) Portland, a modern-European dining room set up by restaurateurs Will Lander and Daniel Morgenthau with chef Merlin Labron-Johnson.
Both restaurants pride themselves on high-quality cooking, wine and service, but Clipstone is more casual – here, you can have freshly made sourdough flatbreads from a pizza oven, left-over from the Italian restaurant that was here before it.
There are larger plates including homemade ravioli of hay-baked carrot and ricotta with brown butter and hazelnuts and a tempting array of desserts – lemon sheep’s milk ice cream, for example, and the ultimate Paris-Brest (a Parisian bistro classic). Drinks-wise, there are several wines on tap and, for something soft, homemade sodas (including yuzu-ade) and watermelon iced tea. It’s all set in a warm, elegantly designed space – expect reclaimed stone, natural linens and outdoor seating.
Ethos, Eastcastle Street – for vegetarian food
A strictly vegetarian, affordable dining restaurant just minutes from Oxford Street with a self-service, pay-by-weight concept.
It’s an attractive buffet – hot and cold food is on separate podiums, and it’s far more colourful than your average vegetarian spread. In fact, aside from coconut-y sweetcorn fritters and sweet potato fries (both of which would have been better if piping hot), nothing was beige. All the cold salads were well-seasoned and interesting – cauliflower triumphs in a creamy tahini dressing; green apple and paper-thin fennel is wonderfully fresh; butternut squash has those gloriously crisp, caramelised edges in a feta and spinach salad; and baba ganoush is earthy, rich and smooth.
Desserts are almost exclusively cake-based, and, unusually, the best are those that completely omit dairy. We’ve always loved the vegan, gluten-free peanut butter chocolate bombs – rich, decadent truffles dusted in coconut.
The Ninth, Charlotte Street – for contemporary French cuisine
Located in the heart of Fitzrovia, The Ninth unsurprisingly is the ninth venue on Jun Tanaka’s illustrious C.V, and his first solo venture, delivering simple yet refined sharing dishes.
Seasonal produce takes centre stage on an a la carte menu, which is split into eight sections. Built around cured, pickled and brined specialities, like the zesty razor clam ceviche, Tanaka layers flavours in an exquisite, delicate style, enabling each ingredient to shine.
Start your meal off with a choice of snacks including the mouth-watering oxtail croquettes and the Monacan speciality, barbajuans; ravioli parcels filled with lightly fried Swiss chard, pine nuts and feta.
The succulent salted beef cheeks arrive in a deeply flavoured oxtail consommé and are perfectly complemented by smoky, charred cabbage which lifts the rich, earthy flavours to another level.
Berner's Tavern, Berners Street – for afternoon tea
Berner's Tavern's glamorous dining room boasts high ceilings, opulent chandeliers, artwork lining the walls and comfy pink seats to accompany dark wooden tables.
Traditional afternoon tea is served with a selection of classic and alternative teas: darjeeling (smoky and smooth); green tea (light and delicate); and earl grey (strong yet floral). Berners Tavern afternoon tea is served without champagne at £39.50 pp, though you can opt for a glass of NV Ruinart Reims Champagne France Brut ‘R’ for £17.50.
Sandwiches include soft salmon topped with crisp thin curls of cucumber, miniature baguettes filled with chicken and meaty mushrooms, and creamy goat’s cheese and apple multi-seed scones. Scones proper are warm and fluffy with lightly golden shiny tops.
The sweet course delights, including rhubarb and ginger macarons, raspberry mousse with a delicate addition of pink peppercorns, and decadent dark chocolate tart with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a citrussy yuzu curd.
Mere, Charlotte Street – for and elegant dinner
Mere, in Fitzrovia, pronounced ‘Mary’, is the first restaurant from MasterChef judge Monica Galetti and her sommelier husband David. Head chef Renée Miller delivers a menu that features six options per course, all dependant on market availability – try scallop with black curry, basmati, lime, kumquat and puffed rice for starters; a main of roast squab breast with confit leg pastilla, cauliflower and rhubarb; and blood orange mousse with yogurt sorbet, lemon confit and grapefruit for dessert.
An extensive wine list includes both new and old world options, as well as reserve vintages. The ground level bar area features an Indian granite-topped bar edged in zinc, while the restaurant itself is decorated primarily in blues, greys and deep yellows, with dark oak flooring and mirrored glass wall panelling. As you enter the bar area there’s a signature showpiece created by English artist Warren Kerley made from hundreds of metal champagne cork tops.
Homeslice, Wells Street – for pizza
Homeslice’s Fitzrovia residence is all about exposed brick walls, low hipster lighting and carafes of organic natural wine.
Huge 20-inch pizzas, served by the slice or on wooden peels almost as big as the table, stand well apart from your standard go-to Italian comfort food. There’s no ham and pineapple in sight (although the humble Margherita does get a look in). Instead, ox tail with horseradish and sorrel cream; aubergine, harissa and cauliflower cheese; and wild venison with kale, reign supreme.
Homeslice pizzas are quite floury and you won’t get any drip from the sauce or satisfying pull-apart stringy cheese action. But when it comes to the venison, you don’t need any of that. The contrast between the cured, spicy meat and sweet caramelised onions is pleasing. And the red wine base, through strong, isn’t overpoweringly tomatoey.
Words by Ellie Edwards, Alex Crossley, Charlotte Morgan, Laura Rowe, Jordan Kelly-Linden, Hannah Guinness, Nicki Smith
Photographs by Patricia Niven and BAO
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