BEST FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS
Winner: 34 Mayfair
No matter how many times people ask on the group ‘what’s the best place for a special occasion?’ this is always mentioned in the responses. This beautiful, intimate restaurant, with a live pianist, white tablecloths and silver service, manages to be ‘fancy’ without being formal, special without being stuffy, lively without being loud. Perfect for meat eaters and fish lovers alike, and very much worth getting dressed up for.
RUNNER UP: Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden
BEST OLD FAVOURITE
Winner: Oslo Court, St John’s Wood
This much-loved institution brings home this award for the second year running. It is a place we return to time and again for multigeneration celebrations. The ‘time warp’ décor, menu and dessert trolley are unparalleled and make us feel as special and loved as if we’d gone to grandma’s for Friday night dinner.
RUNNER UP: Villa Bianca, Hampstead
Winner: Bob’s Café, Mill Hill
This bijou space in Mill Hill has only been open since May, but has already become a firm favourite with the locals and is everything a neighbourhood café should be. Breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner dishes are all tempting and tasty, served up with a warm, friendly smile. Dogs and children are welcome.
RUNNER UP: Ham, West Hampstead
BEST FOR COCKTAILS AND NIBBLES
Winner: The Swing, West Hampstead
Are you old enough to remember the 77 Mill Lane wine bar? It is now The Swing – an inviting and imaginative neighbourhood pan-Asian tapas experience with a delicious cocktail
menu, all around the £10 mark. Do check out the tuna tacos.
RUNNER UP: Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone
BEST ACROSS THE BORDER
Winner: Tom, Dick & Harry’s, Loughton
This stylish new all-day dining restaurant has signature dishes in the form of Nibbleinis – moreish, modern small plates – and more substantial plates from the charcoal oven with dishes such as chargrilled tuna with romesco, spring onion and almonds, 20 day-aged steak in a variety of cuts and the classic ‘Tom’s burger’. The build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, live music and the Sunday Roast Club all add to the popularity.
RUNNER UP: Green Owl Canteen, Loughton
BEST KOSHER RESTAURANT
Winner: Sami’s, Hendon
There’s been a slew of new kosher restaurants opening in recent months, but Sami’s in Hendon remains the firm favourite with its distinct note of 21st century Tel Aviv – modern and lively with gorgeous looking people, exciting menus and great food. Sami’s is a meat-lover’s maven, a shwarma-lover’s sanctum and a poultry-lover’s paradise.
RUNNER UP: Delicatessen, Hampstead
BEST GASTRO PUB
Winner: The Royal Oak, Bushey
This family- and dog-friendly gastro pub in the heart of Bushey serves the very best in British and global cuisine, paired with exceptional customer service. There is a great selection of wines, spirits and beers, a large garden and a beautiful dining room. Everything is made in-house, with fresh and seasonal ingredients influenced by executive chef Wayne’s travels around the world.
RUNNER UP: The Rising Sun, Mill Hill
BEST LOCAL RESTAURANT FOR TEA
Winner: Mabel’s Vintage Tea Rooms, Bushey
A delightfully old-fashioned tea room full of charm, serving fresh sandwiches and warm scones on beautiful bone china, plus cake stands full of gorgeous bites. Refillable tea and coffee is an added bonus.
RUNNER UP: St James, Bushey (this restaurant has just started doing afternoon tea midweek)
BEST FOR KIDS
Winner: Quartieri, Kilburn
You can tell yourself that pizza is for kids, but at this buzzy, warm, softly lit restaurant smelling of freshly-baked dough and truffle oil, you will absolutely be going for it yourself. There are classics such as margherita, and ‘different’ ones featuring things like black truffle salsa and pistachio pesto (not together, but you could probably ask!). There are pasta dishes, risottos, and a couple of salads, plus zucchini fries, bruschetta, arancini and more on the menu. Kids eat for just £1 before 7pm. Finish with the Straccetti Quartierella –sugar-coated doughnut pizza strips covered with creamy chocolate hazelnut sauce.
RUNNER UP: Tootoomoo, Whetstone/Crouch End/Highgate
BEST FOR SHARING
Winner: Fayre Share, Hackney
The sharing plates concept seems here to stay, but the truth of the matter is that no one actually likes sharing their food. At Fayre Share, every dish is available for one, two or four people, meaning that a table could all share the same dish, as they would at home. There’s an emphasis on British pies and other British favourites such as Arctic roll with jelly. G&Ts are served in teapots for sharing.
RUNNER UP: La Lluna, Muswell Hill
MOST ANTICIPATED NEW OPENING
Winner: Hudsons, Borehamwood
After resounding success in Whetstone and Mill Hill, this popular American-style brasserie will be bringing its exciting dishes (and the best onion loaf in town) to the former Delisserie unit in Borehamwood later this year.
RUNNER UP: Corbin & King’s new venture, St John’s Wood
THE BEST OF THE REST(AURANTS)
The Restaurant Club Facebook group has
more than 22,000 members with strong, informed opinions on restaurants all over the world, but mainly in London. If you want to know about new openings, local gems, where to go for a special occasion, a good place to take your mother-in-law, your kids, or even your dog, this is the group to join.
- 34 Mayfair
- Clos Maggiore
- Covent Garden
- Oslo Court
- St Johns Wood
- Villa Bianca
- Bob’s Café
- Mill Hill
- West Hampstead
- The Swing
- Chiltern Firehouse
- Tom Dick & Harry’s
- Green Owl Canteen
- The Royal Oak
- Mabel’s Vintage Tea Rooms
- Crouch End
- Fayre Share
- Corbin & King’s new venture