Our Favourite London Restaurants That Have Reopened
Features

28/07/20


Our Favourite London Restaurants That Have Reopened

London’s restaurants have started their comeback.

And we’re genuinely struggling to mask our excitement…

It’s a little different to what we’re used to, sure – but the people behind them are doing all they can to welcome you back with open arms (at a distance). Tables have been shuffled around, staff retrained, and streets pedestrianised in preparation for bringing the city back to life. Now, they just need you.

As for your part in it all? Well, they span from the obvious (like, say, not turning up with a fever) to the less so – like cancelling your table if you change your mind, so they can give it to someone else and stay afloat. And, for now, if you’re dining indoors, you can only meet up with one other household.

So without further ado: here’s our pick of excellent restaurants that have opened their doors again, and what to expect when you get in there.

 

A bit more ado: Dozens of fantastic restaurants are starting to reopen in London, but we can’t cover them all here – if one of your favourites is missing, or you’re staying local for now, please take a look at their websites. They’re all recovering from a difficult period and would love to see you.


CENTRAL LONDON

Brasserie Zédel | Piccadilly

Brasserie zedel open again

Unabashedly decadent (yet somehow also serving a steak prix fixe for just over a tenner), Brasserie Zédel is welcoming you back into its marble-clad, gold-leafed embrace. The live band are back in action, and you can even slip into the Bar Américain for a nightcap. Make a reservation
What’s different? Fresh linens on every table mean that you can rest easy, and they’re giving the restaurant a full deep clean every night. For your part, they’ll ask you to fill out contact details online for tracing, take your temperature (using a contactless scanner) and offer you hand gel on arrival. Also note there’s a £10 charge for no-shows.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6 online, or call up for 7+

The Oystermen | Covent Garden

reopened restaurants London

Matt Lovell and Rob Hampton started out by shucking oysters at weddings – before they thought up the perfect marriage of seafood and wine. Their Covent Garden restaurant doubled in size in 2018, meaning that they now have more than enough room to lavish you with mouthwatering oysters, crab thermidor and the like. Make a reservation
What’s different? They’ve halved the number of seats inside the restaurant to give everyone the space they need, and have made a few refurbishments to the space, like installing screens over the raw bar to keep things hygienic. What’s more, Henrietta Street has been pedestrianised for the summer – so you might score a table on the cobbles overlooking the market, with the sun on your face and a glass of fizz in your hand.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Gymkhana | Mayfair

london restaurants reopened

They say that when one door closes, another one opens. Sadly, the opposite was true for Gymkhana, who finally reopened their doors after a fire last summer only to have coronavirus come and force them shut again less than a month later. A glamorous top-to-bottom refurb and whole menu spruce made its relaunch one of February’s hottest tickets, and now you can finally get in there again and see for yourself. Make a reservation
What’s different? Well, providing you didn’t manage to swing by in those few short weeks, quite a lot. But beyond that, they’re taking all the usual precautions and are operating with reduced hours at first (Tuesday dinner, Wed-Sat lunch and dinner). You’ll be asked to sanitise your hands on arrival, and all the tables have been either spread out to allow 2m, or arranged facing back-to-back where that’s not possible. You’ll also be asked to give your details for tracing purposes if necessary.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? Yes | Max. booking size: You can book for up to 10, but you’ll all have to be part of 2 households/bubbles max.

Paradise | Soho

Hands down one of London’s hottest restaurants before lockdown, Paradise is back, and with a brand new summer menu. Guests can book to eat either inside or alfresco, tucking into the likes of blackened beef brisket with tamarind, cinnamon, and coconut floss; and banana leaf roasted mackerel with coriander, fennel, green chilli, and samphire. Washed down by a selection of signature cocktails, masterfully combining some of Sri Lanka’s most exciting herbs and spices.  A coconut and nutmeg colada? T’would be rude not to. Make a reservation.

What’s different? They’ve reduced the capacity inside, and introduced tables outside as part of the Soho Summer Street Festival. Guests will also be asked to sanitise their hands on entry, with additional sanitiser and wipes available around the restaurant.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

 

Manteca | Soho

Manteca was the lovechild of fresh-pasta-obsessive chef Chris Leach (formerly head honch at Kitty Fischer’s) and meat & charcuterie maestro David Carter (founder of Smokestak, no less) and it was every bit as delicious as it sounds.  So it’s a good thing that it’s back. You can thankfully still get hold of some freshly hand-rolled pasta, a helping of fire-scorched cuts, or even a blend of both – their ox cheek pappardelle is *ridiculously* good. Make a reservation.

What’s different? They’ve removed the bar seating and reduced capacity by 40% to keep everything socially distanced. And they’re taking part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, too.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

 

J Sheekey | Leicester Square

J Sheekey open again

A London institution, Sheekey’s is known for its decadent seafood dishes, the glamorous champagne and oyster bar, and scrupulous use of sanitising hand gel. Ok, the last one’s a relatively new addition, but if you want to celebrate a special occasion in hygienic style, this is your spot. Make a reservation
What’s different? They’ll take your temperature on arrival, and ask you to spritz up with handgel. You’ll also find a dispenser on your table for additional top-ups later. For their part, they’ll be disinfecting all tables, chairs and menus after use – or you can look it up on your phone.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: Their booking system allows for up to 8, but as usual that can only comprise two households or bubbles.

Quo Vadis | Soho

Quo Vadis open again

The nonagenarian Queen of Dean Street is looking all the perkier for a little break; she’s back in full force with all sorts of seasonal delights on the menu. Head chef Jeremy Lee is playing merry havoc in the kitchens with marinated chickens, volcanically-grown tomatoes and pissaladieres, which are exactly as naughty as they sound. Reserve a table
What’s different? Tables have been duly pushed back and you can expect a slightly reduced menu so that the team can keep distanced in the kitchens. Plus, you’ll have your temperature taken with a sort of futuristic ray gun when you arrive, which is kinda fun.
Al fresco seating? Yes, but for walk-ins only | Private dining rooms? Yes | Max. booking size: 5

Randall & Aubin | Soho

Randall & Aubin reopened

With their lustrous tiled surfaces and steely raw bars, seafood restaurants have always been pretty wipe-clean. Randall & Aubin just happens to be pretty damn beautiful, too – with sleek marble tabletops, antique chandeliers and (naturally) a disco ball. Of course the real show’s on the plate, where you’ll find hand-picked crabs, gigantic prawns from the Mediterranean, and meat from the Queen’s butcher. Make a reservation
What’s different? You won’t be elbow to elbow with fellow diners as in days of yore, but the staff are doing everything they can to keep the atmosphere lively. Plus, they’ve spilled out onto the pedestrianised Brewer Street to create a little astroturfed dining terrace for the first time in their 24 year history.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining room? No | Max. booking size: 6

Blacklock | Soho

Blacklock soho open again

Soho’s low-lit den of chops, steaks and £5 cocktails is back open – and they’ve gone the whole hog in polishing up the place for you. As in, have literally created their own sign language kind of whole hog. If you’ve been craving a little beef rump – or indeed pig’s head on toast with gravy – they are very much ready to serve. Make a reservation
What’s different? There’s now a one-way system in place in the restaurant, and you won’t be able to hang around in the bar area. But you can now make bookings for dinner, even if it’s just for two – now that’s what’s up.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Portland | Marylebone

Portland open again

Portland has a real refined air to it – not just because of the elegant (but not insanely priced) Modern European dishes gracing the plates, or the fantastic wine list (which includes a few bottles that aren’t available anywhere else in the world), but because they’re quite literally refining the air with a hospital-grade HyperHEPA filtration system. Make a reservation
What’s different? Hopefully you won’t notice too much of a change in atmosphere – but as part of their bid to make everyone feel comfortable and at home, they’re offering a ‘contact-free’ dining option where nothing on your table (except for dishes coming from the kitchen) will be touched by anyone but you while you’re there.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? Yes | Max. booking size: 6

The Wolseley | Piccadilly

wolseley restaurant open again

The palatial Wolseley wants for nothing – especially not space. Inspired by the ‘grand cafés’ of Vienna, it’s a spectacular monochrome brasserie serving up European dishes from morning till night (stopping off for afternoon tea in between). Make a reservation
What’s different? You’ll be asked to log in to their wifi on arrival to enter your details for test & trace purposes. They’ll also take your temperature with a contactless scanner, and encourage you to make use of the hand sanitiser. Other than that, the place is big enough to feel nicely spread out, and you’ll be served by just one member of staff.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? Yes | Max. booking size: 6

Hide | Piccadilly

Hide restaurants reopened

Ollie Dabbous’ Michelin-starred restaurant is the perfect place to commemorate five months’ worth of birthdays, anniversaries and successful DIY projects that have gone hitherto uncelebrated. Make a reservation
What’s different? Spread over three storeys, it’s safe to say you’ll have plenty of room to yourself. They’re also operating over reduced hours for now.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? Yes | Max. booking size: 6

Sabor | Mayfair

sabor restaurants open again london

Heddon Street’s Michelin-starred tapas spot has had a little makeover upstairs, and quite a big makeover on the menu, with new dishes like oxtail sandwich & mustard aioli, and pan-fried calf’s liver with roasted fennel joining the party. Make a reservation
What’s different? Things are a little more spaced out than usual, and there’s a whole new look upstairs – but they’re still holding the counter seating back for walk-ins, making it a handy spot for when you’re in town and haven’t booked something days in advance.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 4

Ikoyi | St. James’s

Ikoyi London restaurants open again

This Michelin-starred gem fusing the flavours of West Africa with British ingredients was an instant winner when it opened in 2018. And now that they’re back, owners Iré Hassan-Odukale and Jeremy Chan have rustled up a comfort-driven menu packed with fried chicken, smoky rice bowls and freshly-baked cookies. Make a reservation
What’s different? All the safety measures are in place here, without them losing any of their usual warmth and conviviality.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Noble Rot | Bloomsbury

Noble rot reopening

There was excitement afoot at the start of the year when Noble Rot announced a second restaurant opening in Soho. But for now, we’re just happy to see the original back in action. The walk-in wine bar’s still on hiatus, but you can book a table in the dining room and settle in for lovely European-styled dishes like seared ray with caper butter, braised rabbit leg and coco beans, and burrata with datterini tomatoes. Oh, and you know, blisteringly good wines. Make a reservation
What’s different? They’re serving dinner in two sittings; 6pm-8pm and 8pm-close (so if you’re settling in to a real feast, you’ll probably want the more leisurely second slot). There’ll be hand sanitiser available and staff will be modelling the latest PPE fashions.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Fallow | Mayfair

fallow open again

The two friends behind Fallow met on the veg section at Dinner, and after sold-out residencies at Crispin’s and Carousel, were just about to open their hugely anticipated four-month residency at 10 Heddon Street. But a week after opening, lockdown hit. Now, their doors are finally back open, giving you a chance to try out their smoked beef ribs, venison tartare and lemon peel pudding. Make a reservation
What’s different? Expect liberal amounts of hand sanitiser and plenty of room.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 8

NORTH LONDON

Barrafina | King’s Cross & Soho

Barrafina Kings Cross reopened

Queue enthusiasts will be distraught to hear that Barrafina’s infamous snaking lines are gone for the time being, as they switch to taking reservations for the first time ever. Everyone else, on the other hand, will be delighted. Make a reservation
What’s different? Well, as the restaurant that specialises in counter dining, they’ve understandably had to make a couple of changes. They’re taking away some of the stool seating to give everyone space (and to make sure nobody could be remotely tempted into joining you). They’ll also be using the private dining room in King’s Cross to seat tables of bigger groups (3-6 people), and they’ll be checking your temperature on arrival. Finally, the menu’s been trimmed a bit to allow chefs to keep their distance from each other – but you’ll still have daily specials to choose from, too.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? Not at the moment | Max. booking size? Up to 4 at the counter, or 4-6 at the tables.

Trullo | Highbury

Trullo open again

If there was ever a time that demanded copious amounts of cacio e pepe, silky ribbons of pappardelle with beef shin ragù, garlic-slathered bruschetta with Scottish girolles and chilled zabaglione with summer berries, it’s now. And Trullo are here to serve. Make a reservation
What’s different? Expect spaced-out tables, staff in masks and one-use menus (later recycled) – but most importantly, pop into their new shop next door, where you can scoop up deli bits and bobs, fresh bakes and meals to rustle up at home later.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: Up to 5

Coal Office | King’s Cross

Coal Office back open

Coal Office has fired up again, and with a few modifications, the team are back to doing what they do best – wooing your tastebuds with dishes like baked bone marrow shawarma, kohlrabi carpaccio with hazelnut and truffle, and aubergine and brown butter ravioli. Make a reservation
What’s different? A little more space, a lot more masks. And their ‘Food Hub’ grocery store is still going, so you can pick up some lovely fresh ingredients (and a flagon of cocktail) while you’re there.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Jolene | Stoke Newington

Jolene open now London

Stoke Newington’s suave industrial-rustic bakery and restaurant is back open, touting coffees and pastries to go by day, and welcoming diners back into the fold for dinner – the menu for which still changes daily. Make a reservation
What’s different? Those communal tables have been thinned out a bit, and there’s no dining in during the day – but beyond that, it’s essentially business as usual.
Al fresco seating? Only for coffees/pastries | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 5

Perilla | Stoke Newington

Perilla open again

Jolene’s warm, pared-back neighbour elevates seasonal British ingredients for a relaxed fine dining-style experience. And when we say elevate, we mean the ‘smoked langoustine taramasalata, mussel-stuffed bream and seaweed doughnut’ kind of elevate. Make a reservation
What’s different? The tables have all been spaced out and they’re wiping everything down methodically – but the gentle, easy-going atmosphere persists.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Chuku’s | Tottenham

Chuku's reopened restaurants London

Another spot that had barely cut the rope before the lockdown hit, Chuku’s is a neighbourhood spot run by siblings Emeka and Ifeyinwa. Their specialty? Delicious Nigerian small plates with a chilled-out atmosphere. Make a reservation
What’s different? They’re on it – staff are in PPE both in the dining room and the kitchens, and there’s clear dividers between tables.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Parrillan | King’s Cross

Parrillan open now

Well, the good news about this terrace restaurant from the Barrafina team is that you already know the chef. In fact, they’re a member of your household – because you’ll be rustling up their impeccably sourced ingredients (Spanish meats, seafood and veg) on your very own tabletop grill. Make a reservation
What’s different? Very little, given that its outside – they’re not filling all tables, though, and they’ll want to check your temperature on arrival.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

 

EAST LONDON

Quality Chop House | Farringdon

Quality Chop House restaurants open again

QCH are letting you get your chops back round some quality after lockdown – the menu pays homage to the restaurant’s 151 year history with stunning takes on traditional dishes like Mangalitza black pudding with peach ketchup, Parmesan hash with smoked cod’s roe, Highland sirloin with confit potatoes and plum & pistachio tart. Make a reservation
What’s different? They’re expanding occasionally into their private dining room upstairs to make room for larger groups, so you get a peek in there. They’ve also fitted the dining rooms with HEPA air filters so you can breathe easy.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? Yes | Max. booking size: 6, or up to 16 in the PDR as long as you’re only from two households.

Bistrotheque | Bethnal Green

Bistrotheque London restaurants open now

Opening tentatively for now, Bethnal Green’s achingly cool bistro is back for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as weekend brunch (feat. ivory-tickling by Xavier). Make a reservation
What’s different? They’ve more than halved the number of tables in the dining room, and are running a slimmed-down menu with reduced staff to allow everyone to keep their distance. They’ll ask you to sanitise your hands when you get there, and to observe their one-way system around the restaurant.
Al fresco seating? Yes (and it’s new!) | Private dining rooms? Yes | Max. booking size: Up to 10, as long as you’re only from two households.

Rochelle Canteen | Shoreditch

Rochelle canteen restaurants open now

For a blissful, secluded meal in the sunshine, you couldn’t hope for better than Rochelle Canteen, a surprisingly bucolic spot lovingly crafted out of a former bike shed in the grounds of an old Victorian school. Make a reservation
What’s different? They’re not taking walk-ins currently, and they’re only seating guests outside – though that has the useful effect of making things feel pretty normal.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

St John | Smithfield & Spitalfields

St John restaurants reopening

For the last 26 years St John has been championing nose-to-tail dining, and now they’re back to ply you with bone marrow toast, pigeon with radishes, and freshly baked madeleines. Their food is offal. You’ll love it. Make a reservation
What’s different? You can bid farewell to these long communal tables for now, but the restaurants are now a lively mix of smaller, spaced out tables. Staff are all in PPE, and they’re following rigorous cleaning regimes.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 4 online, or you can call them on 020 7251 0848

Moro | Clerkenwell

In ye olden days, people flocked to Clerkenwell to make use of the healing waters. Now they flock to make use of the healing beetroot manti at Spanish-Moorish spot Moro. Make a reservation
What’s different? They’ve stripped back the number of tables, so it’ll feel a little roomier than usual. And of course, they’re spritzing everything liberally between sittings and will give you a spotlessly clean menu.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Brat | Shoreditch & Hackney

Brat restaurant open again

Named after the turbot (“the best fish in the world” according to head chef-founder Tomos Parry), Brat is a cosy, welcoming dining room where the loveliest dishes of seafood, meat and greens are served up alongside top-notch wines. Make a reservation
What’s different? They’ve totally reshuffled the seating plan to seat fewer guests with more space between, with screens available on request. And just for this summer, they’re also running a courtyard pop up in Hackney at Climpson’s Arch – more info here.
Al fresco seating? Only at the pop-up | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Som Saa | Spitalfields

Som Saa back open

The Som Saa team made their London debut at Climpson’s Arch back in 2014 – and the buzz over their permanent restaurant opening in Spitalfields still hasn’t really died down. And if you’re wondering why, try the beef massaman curry. Then you’ll get it. Make a reservation
What’s different? They’ve taken out 20% of the tables, making sure there’s at least a metre between each one and popping up screens between any that aren’t. Staff are all in masks, and wipe down tables and surfaces like door handles at regular intervals. Plus, you can access menus via QR codes on your phone.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Bubala | Spitalfields

Bubala reopened restaurants

Mouthwateringly delicious dishes from across the Middle East, served alongside refreshing, aromatic cocktails and hand-picked independent wines. Oh, and it’s all – entirely coincidentally – vegetarian. Make a reservation
What’s different? Given their petite size, Bubala has installed screens between tables to keep everyone protected, but thanks to some judicious use of candlelight, the atmosphere’s barely any different. They’re also serving a set menu only for now – but trust us, you’ll want everything on it. Please note there is a £20 fee for no-shows.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? Yes | Max. booking size: 7+

Gloria | Shoreditch

Gloria restaurants open again

Drop everything. Shoreditch’s rambunctious, insanely popular, nigh impossible-to-get-into restaurant… is taking bookings. Make a reservation
What’s different? Well, you’ll be able to sit down without giving your legs a three hour queuing workout first. Beyond that, there’ll be a lot more space, and a lot more hand gel.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? Not for now | Max. booking size: 6

Lahpet | Shoreditch

lahpet reopened London

Stepping into Shoreditch’s inviting Burmese restaurant is just about the closest you can get to a hug from a stranger right now. Steaming bowls of mohinga (catfish chowder), coconut noodles with chicken and fried bream dusted with peanuts deliver comfort food when it’s most needed. Make a reservation (some walk-in spots available)
What’s different? Thanks to its booth seating, Lahpet was already pretty well adapted in terms of layout – but naturally, they’ll be following all the usual precautions too.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Anglo | Farringdon

anglo restaurant open London

Settle in for a gastronomic journey across space, time, and seven courses. Making use of ingredients from London rooftop honey to 400 year-old Tudor beer butter, Anglo’s tasting menus are a joy to behold – and on Tuesday & Wednesday evenings, you can be the first to try their off-menu dishes in development. Make a reservation
What’s different? Not too much that feels noticeable – but rest assured they’re on it. Please note there’s a £50pp no-show fee.
Al fresco dining? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 5

Pidgin | Dalston

Pidgin open again

A little bird tells us this Dalston favourite is open for business again, serving up inventive four-course tasting menus that change every week. Make a reservation
What’s different? Their already intimate 28 seats have been reduced to 16, meaning you’ll have plenty of space to yourself. They’re also operating ‘contact-free’ service, so they won’t be pouring wine or water for you, or refolding your napkins. Everything else is getting cleaned every 30 minutes or before and after direct use, and the staff will set tables in face masks and gloves. For your part, you’ll be asked to wear a mask when using the bathroom, and you might need to sit for a while to allow guests to leave at staggered timings. Please note there’s a £20pp no-show fee.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 4

Smokestak | Shoreditch

Smokestak open again outdoor seating

Assuming you don’t have a beast of a charcoal grill sitting at home, with wood-smoked meats cooking overnight, it’s fair to say you’ve probably missed Smokestak. And they’ve missed you, so they’re introducing an all-BBQ menu alongside draught pints, slushies and soft-serve – with a four-dish set menu that’ll be available for £10 with the Eat Out to Help Out scheme (from August, Mon-Wed). Make a reservation
What’s different? A fair bit – they’ve stripped out the counter and communal seating to take capacity down to 70%. They’ve opened up the full terrace though (with 60 seats), and as much as possible will be contactless – with QR code menus and online contact forms to fill out. There’s a £25pp no-show fee, too.
Al fresco dining? Lots | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

 

SOUTH LONDON

Padella | London Bridge & Shoreditch

Padella reopened booking

Padella Shoreditch

Just the thought of Padella’s doors opening again would be enough right now. But to throw in al fresco seating both at their Shoreditch branch and in London Bridge (under the covers of Borough Market) and a virtual queueing system using the WalkUp app is almost too much. Better have a sit down. And some gnocchi.
What’s different? Signage, sanitiser and social distancing.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? No | Max. party size: 6

Gunpowder | Tower Bridge

Gunpowder London reopening

The follow-up to the glorious Spitalfields original has space for twice the number of diners – meaning that now it has er, space for the original number of diners. But while it’s shed some tables, it’s kept all the good stuff – mainly the hedgehog-shaped venison and vermicelli donut, tandoori-spiced baby chicken and rum pudding. Make a reservation
What’s different? They’ve extended the outdoor terrace to seat 20, and there’s a lot more room indoors. Rest assured they’ll be keeping things sparklingly clean, too.
Al fresco seating? Yes (Tower Bridge branch only) | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

 

Larry’s | Peckham

Larry's Peckham

Larry’s opened their doors a matter of days before the whole country went into full lock-down, coming up against what will undoubtedly go down as one of the toughest times for London restaurants, bars, and events in history. (Let alone having just launched). Fortunately we were lucky enough to sneak in just before they closed – to tuck in to a couple of their NY-deli inspired plates, all as delicious as one would expect from the same talented team behind both Salon and Levan. Therefore we can’t help but feel excited that they’re back open again. Both because it means that they can finally have the launch party they deserve, but also that we can try out dinner: the likes of crispy pig’s head bun, with sauerkraut and nduja; or XO moules; washed down by a short selection of delicious, biodynamic wines. Make a reservation
What’s different? reduced table numbers and only one server working at one time. Plus additional cleaning of course.
Al fresco seating?  No | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size:  6

Hawksmoor | Borough, Seven Dials & Spitalfields

Hawksmoor Borough Market

London’s inimitable temples to steak are starting to reopen their doors, with other branches to follow gradually (Piccadilly, 30th July; Guildhall, 1st September; Knightsbridge 3rd September). And in an especially nice move, they’ve brought their classic 300g rump steaks and chips down to £20, meaning you can net the whole sweet shebang for a tenner with the Eat Out to Help Out scheme (Mon-Wed throughout August). Make a reservation
What’s different? They’ve brought in specialist cleaners and health & safety officers to come in behind the scenes like pixies and make all sorts of changes in the kitchens and to staff rotas. In the dining rooms, they’ve tried to change as little as possible to give you a sense of normality – but they actively encourage any requests you might have, like disposable napkins or menus.
Al fresco seating? No | Private dining rooms? Not available for now | Max. booking size: 10

Bao | Borough

Bao open again

If you’re ready for Bao’s buns, then they’re ready to seat yours. The Taiwanese street food spot is opening in Borough first, with a covered terrace area opening to make up for the reduced seating indoors. Make a reservation
What’s different? As charmingly rendered in their signature 8-bit style here, they’ve thinned out the seating to fit the 1m+ rule and will only set the table after you’ve ordered. Plus, the staff wear masks and there are sanitising stations around the restaurant.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? Not for now | Max. booking size: 6

Seabird | Blackfriars

Seabird restaurants reopened

Ugh. You’re going to have a real job convincing anyone to join you on this festoon-lit rooftop terrace for frozen cocktails and oysters overlooking the city. Make a reservation
What’s different? Fewer tables, more sanitiser, and the same views.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

Flat Iron | London Bridge & Spitalfields

Flat Iron London Bridge open again

Flat Iron needs no introduction. But if it had one, it would probably be something like: ‘£12 steaks, accompanied by all the trimmings (creamed spinach, beef dripping chips, aubergine parmigiana), wine, and an indecent salted caramel soft serve, in the kind of warm, buzzy surroundings that transport you instantly to an offbeat Brooklyn steakhouse’. Make a reservation
What’s different? No. 1: reservations! No. 2: distanced tables! No. 3: Staff in cool space visor things!
Al fresco seating? Some at Spitalfields | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: Up to 12

WEST LONDON

Joy | Kensal Green

Joy restaurant opening

Can’t fault the naming on this one – it’s a pop up led by Stevie Parle, the chef behind some of the city’s best restaurants (Craft London, Pastaio, Palatino and so on). He’s returning to the site of his original eatery, Dock Kitchen, and hosting all sorts of fun on the terrace overlooking the canal. There’ll be a honey stand, an aperitivo and rosé bar, a produce stall and a restaurant, FLORA, surrounded by hundreds of dahlias. Make a reservation
What’s different? Well, it’s totally new. And tucking into T-bones and twice-cooked chocolate cake in what is essentially a meadow is pretty different.
Al fresco seating? Yes, for 70 | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 10

Dishoom | Kensington, Shoreditch, King’s Cross & Carnaby Street

Dishoom reopening restaurants

Dishoom don’t just serve incredible Indian dishes in jaw-dropping surroundings that look like a film set in 1930s Bombay. They’ve also somehow managed to keep everyone’s jobs safe through all this, and they’re now ready and waiting to welcome you back. Make a reservation
What’s different? Lots behind the scenes, but what you’ll notice most is the signage guiding you around dos & don’ts, and the spread-out tables (some with screens). You probably won’t notice the increased air circulation rate, or the UV light air-cleansing technology. Unless you’re a bee.
Al fresco seating? Yes – at King’s Cross & Shoreditch | Private dining rooms? No | Max. booking size: 6

The River Café | Hammersmith

River cafe best restaurants open London

You might not be flying to Tuscany this year, but you can get pretty close to it with a leisurely lunch outside at The River Café, slurping down chilli-dusted calamari, risotto with clams and zucchini flowers, poached veal shin with pancetta and a glug of very good wine. Make a reservation
What’s different? The tables are spaced out, inside and out, and staff will all be in masks. It’s worth knowing that their seating times are a bit longer than most (2 hrs for tables of 2-4, 2.5 hours for 6). Be prepared to sanitise your hands and have your temperature taken when you get there.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? Yes, seating up to 10 | Max. booking size: 6

Chicama | Chelsea

Chicama reopened restaurants

Coastal Peruvian flavours latch onto fresh seafood, delivered daily, at Pachamama’s elegant Chelsea sibling. And if you’re hankering after a summer cocktail, their Pisco Sour would like a word. Make a reservation
What’s different? The doors are open, the tables are spaced out, and there’s plenty of hand sanitiser… on hand.
Al fresco seating? Yes | Private dining rooms? Yes | Max. booking size: 5

 




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