London's Most Beautiful Restaurants

London's Most Beautiful Restaurants
Norma

London's not short of a good-looking dinner spot, and we've rounded up the hottest of the hot. Feast your eyes on these dazzlers.

Things change fast in a time of coronavirus — check the restaurant's websites and social media for the most up to date opening plans.

Norma — Fitzrovia

A Fitzrovia townhouse that's done a very literal glow-up, Ben Tish's new restaurant is a golden-lit, burnished-metal dream of a date night spot. Moorish tiling, velvet booths and curved archways — along with some amazing aubergine-tomato-citrus-salty cheese smells curling through the air — make this place maybe the nearest thing you can get in a London winter to a Sicilian summer evening. Read our review here.  

Norma, 8 Charlotte Street, W1T 2LS

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Archipelago — Goodge Street

They're more famed for the menu than the decor at Archipelago, but the interior's exotic in its own right — eat your insect salad or cured snake meat amid a wealth of red silk, gold ornaments, palm trees and peacock feathers. The mishmash of styles and unmatching furnishings (just about) keep all the velvet, silks, and the fact you're probably seated in a gilded throne from tipping over into full-on kitsch. Big ancient Persian imperial-war-tent vibes.

Archipelago, 53, Cleveland Street, W1T 4JJ

Clos Maggiore — Leicester Square

This French favourite's seen its fair share of proposals. Though the restaurant itself is nice enough — all warm lighting and oil paintings — it's the conservatory that hopeful suitors are going to be aiming for; trellises groaning with flowers over the ceiling and archways.

Clos Maggiore, 33, King Street, WC2E 8JD

Cafe Van Gogh — Oval

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Much to love about this south London not-for-profit. Not least the remit, which has them channeling all their revenue back into community projects. Likewise the food, with hearty, soul-warming all-vegan cooking at ridiculously low prices. Honestly. Like, comedy double-take low for this food. But on top of that, it's a beauty — walls scattered with chaotically hung Van Gogh prints, and a massive Starry Nights-inspired ceiling mural arching above your seats.

Cafe Van Gogh, 88 Brixton Road, SW9 6BE. Closes at 9pm most evenings and isn't open on Monday.

Circolo Popolare — Fitzrovia

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Like Gloria, Circolo Popolare's low-irony, high-fun sister in Shoreditch, the second London restaurant from Big Mamma Group's bringing a lot of Seventies razzledazzle to Fitzrovia. Strewn with fairy lights and trailing plants, sundaes and flaming cocktails, this is a rowdy house-party of a restaurant that sounds like Too Much, but for a chaotic good time is just about perfect.

Circolo Popolare, 40-41 Rathbone Place, W1T 1HX.

Brasserie Zédel — Piccadilly Circus

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Hard to beat Zédel for relaxed lavishness. The huge dining room's a grand brasserie beauty — all high ceilings, gilded marble columns, and towering mirrors, with live (loud) jazz most evenings. Feels a bit rowdy despite the distancing measures, intimate despite the rowdiness, and utterly escapist despite being in the middle of zone 1.

There's a surprisingly beautifully-priced menu of French classics to go with the beautiful art deco interior — a prix fixe menu with two (great) courses for £11, and carafes of equally great house wine at reasonable prices.

Brasserie Zédel, 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED.

L'oscar Restaurant at L'oscar London — Holborn

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Once upon a time this was a Baptist church. These days L'oscar, now an opulent, jewel-toned peacock of a hotel, lends itself more to debauchery than saintliness. Mirrors, butterflies and golden birds sprout from every available surface; the main room's a sea of dark purple swag curtains and velvet armchairs with the occasional gleaming patch of marble or gilding.

L'oscar, 2-6 Southampton Row, WC1B 4AA

Crocker's Folly — St John's Wood

It's alright, this gastropub, isn't it? You know, if you're into that whole spectacularly ornate, Grade II listed building thing. If you're into somewhere the chandelier light bounces off the high windows and gilded mirrors, and turns to a dull glow on the dark wood of the walls and the heavy leather furnishings, you could do worse than this pocket of splendour, a few streets away from Lord's cricket ground.

Crocker's Folly, 24, Aberdeen Place, NW8 8JR

Campania — Columbia Road

Relatively hard to find, even harder to leave after — in contrast with some of the places we've covered here, this small Italian restaurant is less about grandeur, and more about slightly faded, shabby loveliness. Down a narrow Bethnal Green side street, it's beautiful inside and out in an unassuming, faded wood, bare bulbs and candlelit glow sort of way.

Campania, 23, Ezra Street, E2 7RH

Victory Mansion — Stoke Newington

Victory Mansion's beautiful like your cool friend's living room's beautiful — just about within reach, if only you started being good at collecting interesting objets d'art and scraps of palm-fronded wallpaper. Or started investing in art deco lacquer and dark wood and dark green leather furnishings. You'd also have to get great at making dystopian-themed cocktails and incredible bar snacks. So, so much easier to just accept you're not going to do any of that and start going to Victory Mansion instead.

Victory Mansion, 18, Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7PL

Last Updated 23 June 2021