The Best Chinese Restaurants In London | Hole-In-The-Wall Spots To High-End Glitz
Luckily there’s no great walls between you and some top-notch Chinese food in London.
From dumpling specialists to tongue-numbing Sichuan spice, Chinatown stalwarts to itinerant pop up eateries, the city’s spoilt for choice. But if you’re only after the best Chinese restaurants in London, here they are…
Liu Xiaomian | Marylebone
Liu Xiaomian is a street food outfit specialising in the mouth-numbingly spicy cuisine of Chongqing. The two chefs behind it, Charlene Liu and Liu Qian, originally hail from the Sichuanese city and have transformed a pub basement into one of the best places for Chinese food in London, pouring their no-holds-barred spicy know-how into dishes like chickpea and minced pork noodles; braised beef; and chilli pig trotters. And don’t worry, there’s some very icy desserts to follow.
Details: The Jackalope, 43 Weymouth Mews, W1G 7EG | Book here
A. Wong | Pimlico
Andrew Wong didn’t particularly want to become a chef. He studied at both Oxford and LSE before it fell to him to take the reins of the family business – the longstanding Chinese restaurant Kym’s, on Wilton Road. A decade later, that restaurant is now Wong’s own double Michelin starred, critical praise-showered eatery. The showstopper cooking here is the result of Wong’s pilgrimage around China’s varied provinces, learning directly from local masters all the tips and tricks of regional specialities. The 10-course “Taste of China” tasting menu is a love letter to the country’s many influences, quirks and unique flavour pairings, and – while definitely a ‘special occasion’ meal – is cheaper than plane tickets, at least.
Details: 70 Wilton Road, SW1V 1DE | Book here
Nowhere does high-end Chinese dining quite like Hakkasan. Eminently successful, the Fitzrovia original is the first of 14 Hakkasans that have since cropped up around the world (though they’re not quite as ubiquitous as founder Alan Yau’s other venture, Wagamama). Hakkasan is a dazzling jewel of a restaurant – the atmosphere’s dark and vibey, the cocktails strong and the Cantonese dishes unparalleled in their delicacy. There’s a Taste of Hakkasan set menu (a reasonable £49), or if you want the full fine dining experience, head there in the evening for lobster har gau with caviar; the famous Peking duck; or smoked beef ribs with jasmine tea.
Details: 8 Hanway Place, W1T 1HD | Book here
Xi’an Impression | Highbury
An unpretentious local spot that’s one of the best value Chinese restaurants in London. Xi’an Impression is known for its biang biang noodles (Sichuan spicy, ribbon-thick, hand-pulled noods) and Xi’an beef burger with its slow-cooked, spice-infused, Silk Road-whispering meaty juices. The dishes are fiery, unctuous, and messy to eat. Roll your sleeves up, accept the inevitable sauce running down your chin, and throw any hopes of making a good impression on your date out the window. Xi’an Impression’s already got it covered.
Details: 117 Benwell Road, London, N7 7BW | No bookings
Tofu Vegan | Islington, Golders Green, Spitalfields
Ensuring that veggies don’t have to miss out on the joys of Chinese cooking, Tofu Vegan offers a sprawling menu of entirely plant-based dishes. They range from the vegetable-focussed to takes on meaty classics with (genuinely delicious) substitutes – and of course, the tofu here seriously hits the mark. Don’t skip it.
Details: 105 Upper Street, London N1 1QN | Book here
Noodle and Beer | Spitalfields
As restaurant names go, Noodle and Beer is a real time-saver, because it’s what you’re going to end up ordering too. It’s a regional Chinese restaurant that specialises in Sichuan & Chongqing cooking, throwing all of the area’s traditional herbs & spices into hot, nourishing bowls of noodles. Which, of course, you can wash down with some beer.
Details: 31 Bell Lane, Shoreditch, E1 7LA | Book here
Din Tai Fung | Covent Garden, Selfridges, Centre Point
One word: xiaolongbao, or three words… steamed soup dumplings, or three different words… scientifically optimised dumplings. But, no matter what kind of word association goes on inside your brain in regards to this legendary dumpling chain, it’s a global phenomenon for a reason: perfectly-packaged dumplings (in flavours like pork, crab and beef) that take 40 minutes to make, chicken soup on the side (highly necessary) and Taiwanese-inspired cocktails or bubble milk tea as your cleanser to finish.
Details: 5 Henrietta St, WC2E 8PS | Book here
Master Wei | Bloomsbury, Hammersmith
Having effortlessly sent Xi’an Impression into the hearts of Londoners, chef Guirong Wei continues to shine the spotlight on her native Shaanxi cooking with her first solo venture, Master Wei. The highlight here is, again, the biang biang noodles – lovely, chilli-slicked ribbons served with buttery smooth pak choi, textured morsels of pork, tomato and egg – but they should be savoured alongside a slew of other Xi’an street food classics, like the potsticker dumplings and rou jia mo flatbread-style burgers.
Details: 13 Cosmo Place, WC1N 3AP | Book here
Perched hundreds of metres above the rest of the city on the 33rd floor of the Shard, Hutong is one of the more glamorous Chinese restaurants in London; filled with red lanterns, dramatic mood lighting and a wishing tree. You can have high hopes for the meal, too – it’ll set you back a fair sum but if you’re splashing out, the table-side Peking duck carving, Champagne-soaked shrimp dumplings and Shandong shredded chicken in butterfly buns is the way to go.
Details: Level 33, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY | Book here
Tarim Uyghur Restaurant | Clerkenwell
Uyghur cooking has a fantastic flag bearer in this restaurant on Theobalds Road. The chefs are all diploma-holders in the specifics of Uyghur and Turkish cuisine, but rustle up dishes with all the warmth of a home-cooked meal. Tuck into the likes of vermicelli salad dressed with a potent combination of sugar, salt and vinegar; platters of charred, unctuous lamb skewers; and flaky samsa (minced lamb encased in pastry). There’s enough to explore here to merit multiple visits – if you can get a table, that is.
Details: 35 Theobalds Rd, London WC1X 8SP | Book on 02036 206 859
Dr Noodle | Lewisham
If springy, fire-slicked noodles is the only thing that’ll hit the spot, book yourself an appointment with Dr. Noodle (or rather, turn up and hope for the best). This family-run, simply attired BYOB Lewisham eatery has garnered a cult following in a matter of months for its great value dishes and fistfuls of flavour. Noodles may be the main draw, but order the jianbing (crepes) while you’re there – a classic street stall breakfast in China that seems to work at any time of day in London.
Details: 187 Lewisham Way, London, SE4 1UY | No bookings
Murger Han | Euston, Mayfair, The City, Elephant & Castle
Murger Han’s rapid proliferation of restaurants across London is proof of its indomitable knack for roujiamo – considered the world’s oldest ‘hamburger’, originating over two millennia ago. This one-time soldier’s snack is brilliantly executed here: thick slices of murger bread sandwiching tenderly simmered meat. But if you have time to spare, don’t miss out on the claypot biang biang noodles.
Details: Across London | Book here
Hunan | Belgravia
Indecisive types, this one’s for you. Step into this elegant family-run institution and let your cares ebb away: chef Sam Wong will send a stream of dishes your way until you’re full. Some hail from the eponymous Hunan – double-cooked pork, spicy aubergine and the like – but there are many further-flung influences here, not least the native Taiwan of the proprietor, Mr. Peng. His son Michael, meanwhile, has personally put together the wine list, with decent pricing (for the area, at least), and half-bottle measures.
Details: 51 Pimlico Road, London SW1W 8NE | Book here
My Neighbours The Dumplings | Clapton, Victoria Park
The original MNTD proved so popular that a second branch of their dumpling-focussed eatery was only a matter of time. The Clapton flagship and My Neighbours The Dumplings Victoria Park are now two of London’s best dim sum restaurants. You’ll find potstickers, crispy prawn wonton, scallop & spinach and pork & prawn siu mai alongside traditional sides like smacked cucumber, a couple of Japanese-influenced skewers, and a two-page sake menu.
Details: 178-180 Victoria Park Road, E9 7HD | 165 Lower Clapton Road, E5 8EQ | Book here
Lucky & Joy | Clapton
Lucky & Joy is swathed in a colourfully tongue-in-cheek aesthetic of purple, green, and blue fluoro-style spot lighting, as well as a flatscreen TV purely playing pictures of animals, just to give it that gloriously kitschy edge. And the food? Is about 50% vegetarian, and 100% straight-up delicious…
Details: 95 Lower Clapton Road, E5 0NP | Book here
Mao Chow’s vegan Chinese dishes were an instant hit – so much so, that it’s now closed, moved round the corner, and reopened as the much larger Facing Heaven. Now, they can accommodate almost twice as many people chowing down on their spicy dan dan noodles, veg and fennel dumplings, Chongqing-style cauliflower and smacked cucumber with garlic – which, ironically, is a breath of fresh air.
Details: 1a Bayford Street, Hackney, E8 3SE | Book here
Unsurprisingly, home to some of the best Chinese restaurants in London. Buckle in for a feast of dim sum or an all-you-can-eat buffet, or go on a food crawl. Gerrard Street (and the little alleys spinning off it) is home to long-standing specialists in Peking duck, xiaolongbao, hotpot and Cantonese classics – as well as a couple of Chinese bakeries serving tasty buns to go. Dumplings Legend, Leong’s Legend and Four Seasons are popular classics, but you can check out our full Chinatown Guide here.
CLOSED TEMPORARILY: Silk Road | Camberwell
Amidst London’s preponderance of Cantonese restaurants comes something completely different. Silk Road takes its culinary influences from Guandong’s polar opposite, Xinjiang (over on the northwestern side of China, bordering Mongolia and Kazakhstan). This region was (spoiler!) at the nexus of the Silk Road trading routes back in the day, and its unique, flavourful cuisine can be hard to track down in London. Silk Road does it justice: chicken gizzards are stir-fried with cumin and chilli; ox tripe, kidneys and lamb fat shish are grilled over charcoal; and Xinjiang’s signature dish is perfectly executed, with on-the-bone chicken floating in a broth singing with green chilli. It’s currently closed while they relocate; watch this space for its return.
Details: 49 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR
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