It’s official: winter is here. We’ve seen a swift drop in temperature, pavements frosted over, and longer, languid evenings that call to be spent indoors. But if you’re anything like Team Appear Here, you like to spend your winter nights sampling hip-and-happening menus or devouring classic dishes with friends. But what are the top restaurants in London this winter, you ask?
Don’t worry, we’ve done the legwork for you. These top 10 restaurants — from Dalston to Deptford, Soho to Southwark — will keep your belly’s full and your spirit’s warm till spring.
1. Hackney Coterie, Dalston
Run by the team behind Lyon’s Seafood in Crouch End, their second venture, Hackney Coterie, saw them renovate and refurbish the old L’Entrepot space in Dalston. Inside what they call their ‘‘warehouse brasserie’, you’ll also find a deli, a bottle shop, and an intimate events space, along with the restaurant and wine bar. If you’re looking to spend the whole evening tasting deliciousness delivered by head chef, Giuseppe Pepe, their invigorating six-course set menu will not disappoint. (Expect options for meat-eaters, pescatarians and veggies).
2. Sharkbait & Swim, Deptford
Launched by Steve McClarty with Appear Here, Sharkbait & Swim, the mouth-watering seafood joint in a railway arch just outside Deptford train station, is an inspirational story of entrepreneurship. “South London has got a vibe to it I haven’t experienced anywhere else,” said Steve. Deptford is an up-and-coming area and was recently named as one of the 33 coolest streets in the world by TimeOut. The food? The array of delectable dishes to dine on range from the recent addition to the menu, cornish mussels, served with a warming masoor daal, samphire and fresh lime, to the impressive smoked haddock, that comes with sautéed spuds, cockles, samphire, sun-dried tomatoes and a goats cheese beurre blanc — yum.
3. Imad's Syrian Kitchen, Soho
You can’t truly appreciate this Soho spot, until you know Imad Alarnab’s story. A successful entrepreneur living in Syria, he had several popular restaurants, juice bars and cafes. But when the war happened, Imad and his family fled to the UK, leaving it all behind. When Unicef NEXTGeneration introduced the Appear Here team to Imad, we knew we had to help, and together we launched Imad's Syrian Kitchen in Soho. We highly recommend the Lamb Shaqaf — a traditional dish of grilled lamb skewers, marinated in sumac, olive and orange olive served with sweet potato. You can watch Imad’s story here.
4. The Holly Bush, Hampstead
You can’t get more British come winter, than whiling away the hours in a cosy and quaint local pub. The Holly Bush in London’s historic Hampstead neighbourhood is a charming centuries-old option that also serves up a seasonal fare. The menu includes the kind of hearty comfort food expected at a brewer, all of which are thoroughly enjoyed when consumed in the warm and welcoming surroundings of this Grade II listed building. Take note: it’s been voted one of the best places to get a Sunday roast in London.
5. Sager + Wilde, Hackney
If you’re looking to impress come date night, this is the spot to book. Run by Michael Sager and Charlotte Wilde — hence the name — this restaurant and bar take over a small yet intimate and romantic space on Hackney Road with an unpretentious yet chic ambience. You’ll discover small plates, charcuterie, cheeses and exceptional wine. The duo really did their homework.
6. Supa Ya Ramen, Peckham
Hot off its official opening at the end of last month, Chef Luke Findlay's cult supper club concept Supa Ya Ramen just launched its second location south of the river. First Findlay’s new-wave ramen bowls popped up in 2019 in East London, but it wasn’t long before he landed his first permanent spot on Kingsland Road in 2021. Fast forward a year later, Supa Ya Ramen’s Rye Lane, Peckham location, which takes over the former Taco Queen spot, is on every South Londoner’s lips. Don’t take our word for it: grab yourself a table after work and enjoy (as Findlay himself describes) the ‘traditionally inauthentic’ ramen.
7. Rita’s, Soho
Missy Flynn and Gabriel Pryce are the co-founders behind London’s legendary eatery Rita's, along with their cult sandwich shop Bodega Rita's. What originally launched in an ex-laundrette on Mare Street, Dalston in 2012 has settled in Soho, bringing its American-influenced cuisine to a much wider audience. Their long-standing fans can still expect the napkin-essential fried chicken, it’s just dressed up with more grown-up seasonal crudités and sides. Pro tip: book weeks ahead to avoid being left out in the bitter cold, watching the patrons merrily sip their way into the night.
8. The Tent (at the End of the Universe), Fitzrovia
If you’ve been looking to spice up an evening out with friends, we highly recommend booking a table at ex-Noma chef John Javier’s latest venture, interestingly named The Tent (at the End of the Universe) in Fitzrovia. Originally opening as a member’s-only restaurant, the eccentric, dimly lit space is decorated like a Bedouin tent with its low seating and dramatic draping. There are even tiny constellation-like lights on the ceiling to set the scene. Javier's menu offers an array of small Middle Eastern plates — deftly designed to be shared with friends.
9. Tatale, Southwark
A relaxed but undeniably cool pan-African restaurant in South London, Tatale is another recent launch in the city that deserves all the attention it’s been getting. Chef Akwasi Brenya-Mensa’s vision for Tatale, gives his popular supper club a permanent home in the all-new Africa Centre in Southwark. Each dish on the short-yet-sweet menu acts as an ode to his most tender Ghanaian childhood holiday memories.
10. The Tamil Prince, Islington
Located in a dog-friendly small former pub in residential Islington, head chef Prince Durairaj’s recent launch is a chilled yet charming new Indian-inspired spot that shouldn’t be missed. The small yet lively space features a well-stocked bar, making it ideal for both a post-work tipple and a vibrant, hearty meal. From crisp okra fries to spiced chicken lollipops, and grilled tiger prawns to delicately delicious channa bhatura — a show-stopping chickpea curry — there truly is something for every palette.
If you’re an F&B brand looking to open up shop, or an aspiring entrepreneur who’s always dreamed of launching your own foodie concept, browse our flexible and affordable spaces in London by getting started here.