Hattie Lloyd 17/04/24

The Best South Kensington Restaurants

The Best Restaurants in Kensington

Kensington is one of London’s great cultural neighbourhoods.

Running along its northern edge is High Street Ken, a shopping boulevard bordering Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, Kyoto Garden, and the Royal Albert Hall.

Then you’ve got South Kensington, undeniably home to some of the best museums in London, boasting three of the city’s greatest repositories of artistic, scientific and cultural artefacts, painstakingly curated and collected for Londoners and visitors alike. Frankly, it would be a miracle if you didn’t work up an appetite here.

So in the spirit of this noble tradition, we’ve painstakingly curated and collected the greatest restaurants in Kensington, so that after finding some food for thought, you won’t be stuck for… well, actual food.

From seafood restaurants with hidden bars to Michelin-starred cuisine in one of the city’s most unusual buildings, Kensington’s dining scene is evolving more quickly than the specimens of the Natural History Museum. Here’s our pick of the bunch:

Jump to Restaurants near High Street Kensington


Wright Brothers South Kensington

wright brothers south kensington restaurant

Upstairs: a cosy, wood-panelled, Belle Epoque-styled seafood restaurant serving roast Dorset crab, grilled wild Argentinian prawns and house-cured smoked salmon. Downstairs: a moody, low-lit cocktail and oyster bar, serving oysters, cocktails, and oyster cocktails, in the case of their trio of bivalve-toting Bloody Maries.

Details: 56 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3DY Book here

Lina Stores

lina stores south kensington

London’s museum quarter has just gotten a new work of art. Lina Stores has expanded its growing brood of restaurants and delis across the city with an opening on Exhibition Road, marking its first restaurant in West London. Taking over a corner plot with a wrap-around terrace, Lina Stores South Kensington sports characteristically stylish interiors that marry mint green walls and glossy wood panelling with velvety banquettes and old news clippings and photos adorning the walls. Basically, it’s as close as you can get to 1950s Italy in South Kensington. And their fresh pasta-led menu will attest to that too…

Details: 15 Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2HE | Book here


Maggie Jones restaurant kensington

Margaux is named after a wine region in Bordeaux and serves plenty of old world wine in a very new environment.

Like a hidden bistro on a Parisian side street, the place oozes modern French class. It’s a small space hidden behind bi-fold doors and boasting industrial chic features including a burnished copper bar, matte chrome venting and warehouse-style glass panelling.

Expect dishes that show off the best of modern France. Smoked duck tartare; grilled veal rump; and of course Margaux’s beef bourguignon all feature. A lengthy (spoiler), French-heavy (double spoiler) wine list is on hand to guide you through your meal.

Details: 152 Old Brompton Road, SW5 0BE | Book here

Brother Marcus South Kensington

brother marcus south kensington

The sibling rivalry continues apace, now that Brother Marcus has opened its fourth restaurant in South Kensington. It’s a winner for brunch before an exhibition, with Eastern Mediterranean-inflected dishes like smoky shakshuka, eggs benny with a burnt butter sumac hollandaise, and kefir-fried chicken with kasundi jam. The mezze later in the day continue much in the same vein, and there’s a nifty little pre-theatre menu on weekdays if you’re dashing off to the Royal Albert Hall.

More time to linger? Leave the choice to Marcus and the chefs will send over a bespoke menu just for you; no decisions involved. Handy, considering the Kalamata Martinis are potent…

Details: 1-3 Pelham Street, London SW7 2ND | Book here

Tapas Brindisa

tapas brindisa kensington

The perfect place tapas the time between museums, Tapas Brindisa’s warmly lit restaurant has perfected all your typical Spanish dishes like salty Padrón peppers; anchovy toast with black olive tapenade; and clams in sofrito broth – as well as a few less typical ones, like the Irish ribeye in shiitake and brandy sauce. Naturally, there’s sangria, gin & tonics, and plenty of sherry to wash it all down with – in fact, better get the museums done first.

Details: 7-9 Exhibition Road, SW7 2HE | Book here


Ceru South Kensington Restaurants

A warmly lit, spice-scented love letter to Levantine cuisine, serving dishes like honey-spiced chicken wing; zucchini and feta fritters; roasted aubergines with chermoula; and lamb shoulder slow-roasted for five hours in twelve different spices. There’s a selection of striking Levantine wines to wash it all down with, and if you head there for brunch, you’ll find three types of baked eggs to pick from.

Details: 7–9 Bute Street, London SW7 3EY | Book here


eve kensington restaurant

Isobel Stanley

Nestled within walking distance of Cromwell Road’s famed cluster of museums, EVE is like a well-dressed socialite with an address to match. They’ve packed a lot into one place here, with a restaurant, a cocktail bar, a cafe, and even a co-working space too, all in one very pretty package. The décor is Art Deco meets bohemian, a marriage of emerald lime-washed walls, gold and white floor tiles, and a hem of perimeter plants skirting the ceiling. And the food? It all comes courtesy of a menu designed by chef Talia Prince (Le Gavroche, The Fat Duck) who’s supplying the likes of ras el hanout lamb with baba ganoush, hearty fattoush salads, and zhoug-spiced stone bass with smoked tomato chickpeas.

Details: 202-220 Cromwell Road, SW5 0SW | Book here

Elystan Street

Elystan Street South Kensington Restaurants

Only Phil Howard could launch one of London’s most successful restaurants (The Square), run it for 25 years, and hold 2 Michelin Stars there for 17… and still feel like he had “unfinished business” with the London food scene. Luckily, the finishing off of said business takes the form of Elystan Street, a beautiful, subdued Chelsea spot that’s won itself another Michelin Star for the refined, harmonious combinations of seasonal British ingredients.

Details: 43 Elystan Street, SW3 3NT Book here

Claude Bosi at Bibendum

Claude Bosi Bibendum South Kensington Restaurants

For years, Bibendum was trapped in the nightmarish cycle of serving food inside a building covered with Michelin branding… without a Michelin star. Enter French chef Claude Bosi, who promptly won the place a spot on the coveted list – with a debut ranking of 2 stars – within the year. Downstairs is a more laid-back seafood bar, while upstairs takes on more of the typical fine-dining feel you’d expect.

Details: 81 Fulham Road, SW3 6RD Book now


Maria G’s

Maria G's

Maris G’s comes to us from Robin Gill’s ever-expanding stable of first-rate restaurants (which now includes places like Sorella and Darby’s), and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Once you’ve found it – and finding it is not an easy task – you’ll be treated to a parade of regional Italian dishes, moving from the south of the boot in summer to the northern portion in winter.

Some of the standouts at the opening included anchovies wrapped in a parcel of sage leaves & fried to make delicate little fritti; a ravishing plate of La Latteria stracciatella served with stonefruit, soft herbs, and olive oil; and slices of succulent lamb rump with goat curd, chilli, and mint. But the winner? Is the mackerel bolognese with squid ink linguine and a heap of crunchy pangrattato…

Details: Coe House, 2-4 Warwick Ln, W14 8FN | Book here



There’s no hot tub here. We’ll just get that one out of the way early. But misleading name aside, the rest of the The Big Mamma Group’s (Gloria, Ave Mario, Circolo Popolare) flamboyant, ridiculously-fun and slightly (okay, very) over-the-top Italian restaurant delivers on all fronts. It’s housed in a huge old bank – now overgrown with trees, plants, red banquettes and about a million other loud design touches – where you can eat pasta from a giant wheel of pecorino cheese, and chocolate fondue that’s been made with half a kilo of Grand Cru Dark Valrhona. 

Details: 92 Kensington High St, W8 4SH | Book here

Maggie Jones (temporarily closed due to fire damage)

Maggie Jones

On entering Maggie Jones, you’ll probably feel a little lost. You swore you were just off Kensington High Street, but now you’re in a rustic farmhouse on the Garonne River in the vineyards of the Bordeaux region.

It’s two-storey labyrinth of rooms that groan under the weight of cosy country style bric-a-brac: a harmony of mismatched heavy wooden furniture, wagon wheels, rocking horses, lavender-filled baskets and wax-covered wine bottles.  

It’s no surprise that the food is equally charming and comforting. Onion soup; asparagus with hollandaise; sea bream with fennel, and saffron sauce; stuffed, roasted chicken; and calf’s liver with bacon and onion are all available from the no-frills menu.

Magnums of house wine are plonked on the table and you’re charged for what you drink. Parfait. 

Details: 6 Old Court Place, Kensington Church Street, W8 4PL | More info here

The Holland

the holland

J W Howard Photography

You’ll find The Holland sitting on a corner of a quiet side road off High Street Ken, where it’s taken up the bones of the old Princess Victoria, a pub that’s been on the site since at least 1890 (in fact, since there was an actual Queen Victoria). But all good things must come to an end – in some cases because they’ve gone and become even better things: because now the venue has been taken over by talented chef-owner Max de Nahlikl.

Here, he’s given the place more than just a new name. The two-floor joint has been given a nice new lick of paint, and the wooden floorboards have been polished to a soft sheen. But the most impressive change? Is definitely the menu. de Nahlikl has done an absolutely stellar job here, amping up the food offering from what was fairly standard pub fare, to being listed in the Michelin Guide…

Details: 25 Earls Court Rd, W8 6EB | Book here

Dishoom Kensington

Dishoom Kensington restaurant

Inspired by the Irani cafés of old Bombay, Dishoom is now part of the brickwork in London’s restaurant culture.

Although there are now seven branches in London alone, each is different – and the Kensington restaurant pays homage to the golden age of Indian jazz and 1940’s Bombay. Aptly stationed in the art deco Barkers Building on Kensington High Street, it leans into the period with sleekly curving lines; dark, intimate booths; and stunning art deco lighting fixtures which all fuse together to make a space that’s very easy on the eye.

The sure-fire menu remains the same.

Two words – bacon naan. 

Details: Barkers Building, 4 Derry Street, W8 5HR | Book here (dinner walk-in only)

The Ivy Brasserie

Ivy Kensington Brasserie

The Ivy brand has grown into an institution.

The Kensington branch of the famous Covent Garden brasserie has all the class and style of the original: it wears the bottle green, dark wood and golden trim like a proud younger sibling, but also has some features of its own – patterned floor tiling, splashes of mustard yellow, and a large outdoor area give it its own personality.

The menu reads like, well, an offshoot-of-The-Ivy-in-Kensington: marinated yellowfin tuna; roast pumpkin tortellini; and crispy duck salad are amongst the starters, while turbot on the bone; miso black cod; and a ribeye steak are all offered up as mains.

And – don’t shout it – it’s not as expensive, and you’ll definitely be able to get a booking.

Details: 96 Kensington High Street, W8 4SG | Book here

Yashin Sushi

yashin sushi kensington

Yashin Sushi was opened in 2010 by Yasuhiro Mineno, who’s since gone on to open the highly popular Sushi Kamon in Arcade Food Hall.

The interior is as precise as the chefs’ approach to sushi, but somewhat more modern than traditional – dark parquet flooring and dark wooden bar stools act as a counterpoint to the white, panelled walls and the bottle green tiling that adorns the 12 seat counter top bar.

A neon sign that reads “Without Soy Sauce” says all that you need to know about the philosophy of the food here. The level of detail the chefs put into their kaiseki menu (the Japanese culinary art of preparing multiple intricate, seasonal dishes) includes their refusal to serve soy sauce unless you ask for it, based on the fact that they have already brushed the fish with it and don’t want the delicate balance of flavours to be compromised. Unless you’re cool with that.

Try the one by one menu – considered the ultimate sushi experience – where they serve you one piece at a time to ensure everything is the right temperature.

Details: 1A Argyll Road, W8 7DB


Ticked off South Kensington’s museums? Time to visit the more unusual museums in London