18 Amazing Restaurants In Kensington

Date post added: 31st May 2024

What are the different types of restaurants in Kensington?

London’s a world class cuisine capital where you can find everything from British pub grub to Persian, top-rated Italian fare to Lebanese mezze, and everything in between.

There’s no better place to sample fine food than Kensington. It’s all there for you in “the Royal Borough.” It’s one of the swishest residential neighbourhoods in London (along with Mayfair and its neighbours, Chelsea and Knightsbridge), but it’s also one of the most cosmopolitan. Over 50% of Kensington residents were born abroad. So, if you venture into this corner of West London, you can expect not only a generous portion of Michelin stars but also British Curry Award winners, funky gastropubs, European style cafes and so much more.

Here are the best restaurants in Kensington, picked by London Walks’ Kensington expert David Tucker. You can also listen to David’s podcast discussing his favourite Kensington restaurants.

What are some of the restaurants in Kensington, London?

1. Locanda Ottoemezzo, W8 5ET.

It’s named after Frederico Fellini’s 1963 cinematic masterpiece Otto e mezzo, meaning 8 ½. Stepping into Locanda Ottomezzo is a little like stepping into your own Italian movie. Vintage movie posters, cosy seating, and a true taste of Italy. Sister restaurant to the Ottoemezzo Café, Locanda Ottomezzo is one of the most authentic Italian restaurants in London. It’s a hidden gem, tucked away in the heart of Kensington. And, it’s one of David’s favourite dining experiences.

2. Launceston Place, W8 5RL.

For sophistication, high end fine dining and one of the best wine lists in London, try Launceston Place. It’s a Michelin starred gem situated in an elegant 19th century townhouse, close to Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace. The late Princess Diana was at her neighbourhood restaurant Launceston Place so often that they named a dish after her, the Soufflé Diana. Indulge in the tasting menu at lunch or dinner, with optional wine pairing for the ultimate in European cuisine. It was listed in the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the UK at the Estrella Dam National Restaurant Awards, 2023.

3. Chakra, W8 4LX.

The refined, exquisite Chakra at Holland is bursting with authentic Indian flavours, beautiful decor and an al-fresco terrace. Promising ‘food for the soul’ which is uplifting and positively affects your wellbeing, Chakra’s won multiple awards and rave reviews from its customers. Look out for its own spice made with tequila, chilli and lemonade, naan bread cooked to perfection, and according to David, a butter chicken and Goan prawn curry that you absolutely must try.

If you’re a fan of Indian food, also try Dishoom for Bombay comfort food in Kensington.

4. Como Garden, W8 5ED.

If you fancy Mediterranean flavours, this delightful restaurant delivers them in abundance. Como Garden takes the Spanish concept of tapas and gives it an Italian twist. They have delicious regional Italian dishes from all over the country. Italian small plates, handmade pasta, grilled/ fried/ marinated meat and seafood deliciousness. Oh and make sure you save room for the sublime desserts. Beautifully situated, just off the the High Street, at the top end of the magnificent Kensington Court conservation area, it’s a must-visit spot.

Also worth checking out is Jacuzzi on Kensington High Street for a taste of Italy complete with a mezzanine Tuscan-style terrace and incredible interiors (very insta-worthy).

5. Akira at Japan House, W8 5SA.

Authentic Japanese food beckons at Akira, situated on the first floor of Japan House, the cultural home of Japan in London. Based on Akira’s trinity of cooking principles; food, tableware and presentation, this Michelin starred restaurant is the place to experience a Japanese style afternoon tea with seasonal wagashi and sparkling sake. Watching the talented chefs cooking over robata flames (charcoal) is pure theatre.

Yashin Ocean House on Old Brompton Road is another amazing local Japanese restaurant.

6. The Scarsdale Tavern, W8 6HE.

What’s a ‘where to eat in Kensington’ guide without a proper British pub, and the Scarsdale in South Kensington is a belter. Located in Edwardes Square in all its late Georgian splendour, you can gaze upon the Scarsdale’s blinding good looks (it may well be the handsomest pub in London) or you can step inside for comfort food and ale on tap. We say comfort food, but it’s a bit more special than that sounds. Think Scotch Egg that’s elevated by a prawn and n’duja filling or a classic American cheeseburger with the addition of bacon jam and/or smashed avo.

7. The Ivy, W8 4SG.

As London restaurants go, the Ivy in West Street, central London, is one of the most famous. But the Ivy Kensington Brasserie, sitting neatly in Kensington High Street, has a charm all its own. From Monday to Friday, you can enjoy a two course menu for just £19.17 as 1917 was the year that The Ivy made its debut in London. If you’re going a la carte, you’ll find everything from shepherds pie and fish and chips to steak tartare and chicken Milanese. Then there are dream desserts to discover like Rum Baba, Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffles and The Ivy Chocolate Bombe. Pure decadence on a plate.

8. Korean Grill Kensington, SW7 4LH

It’s always a special occasion at the Korean Grill. Each table has an in-built grill and servers flip and cook the meat beside you. It’s pretty dramatic to watch. Traditional Japanese Wagyu beef is even more special when it’s grilled at your table. Their signature dish, King Kalbi is sublime – diamond cut beef short rib with their house Korean Grill Kensington sauce. Vegans may be put off by the abundance of meat surrounding them, but a vegan menu is available too.

9. Ffiona’s, W8 4BA.

One of Kensington’s most important streets is Kensington Church Street, connecting Kensington to bohemian Notting Hill, and it’s here that you’ll find Ffiona’s. Their brunch is the stuff of legends, from a full English to French toast and fluffy buttermilk pancakes. For dinner, the house speciality is the chicken Kiev, a free-range chicken breast stuffed with garlic butter and served on a pink peppercorn sauce. True to their ethos of being “inclusive not exclusive”, they offer plenty of dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan options too.

10. Churchill Arms Pub, W8 7LN.

Another Kensington Church Street diamond is the Churchill Arms Pub, known in London as much for its exterior festooned with flowers and hanging baskets – or Christmas trees and lights in December – as for its interior packed with WW2 memorabilia. It’s said that Winston Churchill’s grandparents frequented this pub, and Churchill’s legacy is very much on display at the Churchill Arms. As for the food, it’s Thai that’s on the menu here, from Pad Siew noodles to Kaeng Par curry.

11. Min Jiang, W8 4PT.

When Babylon at The Roof Gardens in Kensington closed its doors in 2018, many mourned its loss, not least for the stunning London skyline views. But fear not, occupying the 10th floor of the Royal Gardens Hotel, Chinese restaurant Min Jiang has some of the best views in Kensington, looking out over Kensington Gardens and London beyond. They’re known for their divine wood-fired Beijing duck, prepared to an ancient Chinese recipe and presented in two servings, with both à la carte and dim sum menus.

12. Alexandrie, W8 4BX.

Egyptian cuisine with French, Italian and Greek influences awaits at Alexandrie, blending traditional flavours from Egypt with more modern recipes too. For a real treat, go for the traditional six-course tasting menu with red lentil soup, oven-baked okra with lamb, slow-roasted lamb shank and baklava or the modern alternative, featuring Mediterranean ratatouille, ethical foie parfait, sea bass and mango parfait.

13. The Builder’s Arms, W8 5BJ.

This friendly pub is the perfect place to gather together with friends, and four-legged friends, to share good times and good food. A pub classic – the handmade Scotch Egg is the mark of home-cooked British pub food! On the lunch menu, the rosemary and garlic camembert baked in sourdough is perfect for sharing. Traditional British food like chicken, leek and smoked ham hock pie or pan roasted cod shares the menu with more modern dishes like a vegan plant burger or miso chicken skewers.

14. Il Portico, W8 6NA.

Kensington High Street is where you’ll find many of Kensington’s best eateries, like Italian, Il Portico, said to be London’s oldest family-run restaurant. Taste the fruits of over six decades and four generations of experience. Get stuck into Italian inspired antipasti, tapas, pasta like the handmade gnocchi with gorgonzola, nutmeg and walnuts, and risotto complete with wild mushrooms and the obligatory parmigiano.

15. Montparnasse Café, W8 5ET.

Located in Thackeray Street, and styled on a traditional French café, this is the place to sit awhile at a pavement table with a croissant, coffee or a patisserie style treat. Dog friendly, the in house boulangerie makes the Montparnasse Café a winner for a lunchtime baguette or slice of homemade quiche. French street food at its best.

16. Kitchen W8, W8 6AH.

A Michelin starred eaterie in Kensington that achieves the relaxed neighbourhood vibe thanks to its tucked-away location and modern European style food, which is on show in abundance in the three course set menu for £34.50. Get ready for delights like BBQ Norfolk asparagus with glazed chicken wings, poached fillet of smoked haddock with Cornish mussels, and passionfruit and elderflower parfait.

17. Grato, W8 5EP.

A short stroll from the Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park, and close to Gloucester Road, Grato in Kensington Square is a dog-friendly restaurant serving fresh, seasonal Italian fare. The prices, pretty reasonable for Kensington, are rather refreshing too! Choose to dine al fresco overlooking the oldest garden square in Kensington, upstairs in the beautiful eating quarter or downstairs in the private dining room (an excellent space for parties).

18. Cheneston’s at the Milestone Hotel, W8 5DL.

Taking its name for the Anglo-Saxon name for Kensington, Cheneston’s is within the 5-star Milestone Hotel opposite Kensington Palace. The building itself is a tour de force – dating back to 1883 it’s the frontispiece of the most beautiful “Conservation Area” in London (it’s got a brilliant cameo role on David’s Kensington Walk). Sophistication and elegance are the bywords at Cheneston’s. The decadent and award-winning Royal Afternoon Tea is an exceptional experience. The dining is all about fine, contemporary British cuisine. Don’t miss the smoked salmon platter from London’s oldest smokery in the east end.

If Kensington’s on your must-visit list, check out the Royal Kensington Walk, guided by David or Adam. Starting at 2pm on a Thursday and Saturday, they’re an ideal after brunch/lunch stroll or pre-dinner walk.

David Tucker

David Tucker

David – the Seigneur of this favoured realm – broods over words, breeds enthusiasms and is “unmanageable.”* He’s a balterer, literary historian, university lecturer, journalist, logophile and lifelong thanatophobe. For good measure, he’s the doyen of London guides.

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Pippa Jackson

Pippa Jackson

Pippa is a word nerd and content aficionado with a background of working in TV on both sides of the globe. She loves to discover and share the diverse and wonderful stories of her much-loved London. When she’s not writing blogs and articles, you’ll find her walking beside the Thames or even paddleboarding on it (in the finest of conditions only!) or enjoying a coffee in the sunshine with a good book.

Read all articles by Pippa Jackson