10 Cozy London Dining Spots


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Fireside dining at Luca. (Image courtesy Luca.)

Planning a winter holiday in England’s exciting capital city? We’ve got inspiring ideas for cozy London dining spots, ideal for warming up with delicious food, cheery drinks and intimate surrounds. Get into the festive spirit with 10 of our top tips, then retreat to your inviting London Perfect holiday apartment nearby.

Beautiful Italian dining in London at Luca. (Image courtesy Luca.)

Luca

With its warm wood and vintage brick-lined interiors, come-hither banquettes and fireside terrace, Italian restaurant Luca in Clerkenwell is one of the best cozy London dining spots. Hanging plants and soft candlelight add to the romantic, wintry vibe, the ideal backdrop for tucking into delicious Italian food starring seasonal local ingredients. Produce hails from around the British Isles, including scallops from Orkney, lamb from the Hebrides and turbot from Cornwall. Book a table in the main restaurant or intimate private dining rooms, or perch at the marble counter or grab a booth at Luca Bar, where you can sip on a Negroni and share salumi, pasta and parmesan fries. 88 St John Street, Clerkenwell, EC1 116

 

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Gold

A stylish neighborhood restaurant in the heart of Notting Hill, Gold serves lovely Modern European food with four compact floors of sociable spaces. Attracting media types and locals, its informal menu celebrates generous seasonal produce, with tempting share plates, charcuterie and cheese. Dishes are cooked over fire or slightly charred, such as wood-roasted chicken with nduja, tomatoes, Palma ham and toast, perfect for warming up on winter days. There’s also an attic terrace for sunnier weather. Natural wine and minimal cocktails encourage quaffing in the chic but welcoming dining rooms. 95-97 Portobello Road, Notting Hill W11

 

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Colbert

Inspired by the great boulevard cafés of Paris, Colbert is an all-day French brasserie on Sloane Square. Classic and smart with waistcoated staff, it’s still cozy with intimate tables inside or seats outside with throw rugs. Red leather banquettes, vintage French film posters and old black-and-white photos add to its charms, backdropped by Art Nouveau decor. Warming bistro dishes span onion soup, croque monsieur, steak frites and crêpes, or try the prix-fixe two- or three-course menus. This long-time favorite is conveniently placed if you’re seeing a play at the Royal Court Theatre next door. 50-52 Sloane Square, Chelsea, SW1

Cozy dining at Orasay. (Photo by Alexander Baxter courtesy Orasay.)

Orasay

One of our favorite cozy dining spots in London, Orasay offers the fresh flavors of Scotland’s Western Isles in Notting Hill. This small, elegant restaurant is a warm cocoon of wood, white and tan. The contemporary menu focuses on seasonal fish and seafood, inspired by Orasay, the Scottish island in the Outer Hebrides where chef-owner Jackson Boxer holidayed as a child. Tasty dishes might include brown shrimp and lemon butter tagliolini or fried haddock bun with tartare sauce and sriracha mayonnaise. It’s open for lunch and dinner on select days, with an oyster happy hour from 5pm to 6.30pm. 31 Kensington Park Road, W11

 

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Six Portland Road

Elevated Modern European eats meet natural wines at this small, relaxed restaurant tucked away off Holland Park Avenue. With just 36 seats and a tiny bar, Six Portland Road deserves its place on our list of cozy London dining spots. Populated by the fooderati, it’s practically the neighborhood canteen for Notting Hill’s well-heeled set. Swing by for dinner, served daily, with an evolving menu (think Dover sole with beurre noisette and capers). For lunch order à la carte or enjoy a three-course set menu. The Sunday roasts are great. Save room for indulgent puddings. 6 Portland Road, Holland Park, W11

Mildreds

When you fancy a vegan treat, head to Mildreds, a cozy warren of rooms set over several floors of an 18th-century townhouse in buzzy Soho. One of London’s original vegetarian restaurants, it’s popular for lunch or dinner, with delicious, internationally inspired dishes such as Sri Lankan coconut and sweet potato curry, shiitake tempeh noodles and fennel sausage and mash. Plant-based Southern fried Nashville hot chick’n with slaw and pickles should please the kids. The original Soho branch is handy for exploring this vibrant, central neighborhood’s hip shops, bars and cafés. 45 Lexington Street, Soho, W1

Cacciari’s

Appealing Italian restaurant Cacciari’s, in South Kensington, is delightfully handy for the V&A and Natural History Museum. Pop in for a drink or to savor the menu. Pastas and sauces are made fresh in-house each day, with quality produce imported directly from Italy. Italian region Emilia Romagna and its foodie town Bologna are key influences, so why not try the signature tagliatelle Bolognese? Warm brick walls and bright Italian travel prints add to the upbeat vibe in this beautifully designed restaurant. 82 Old Brompton Road, SW7; branches include 349 Portobello Road, W10

 

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The Cow

An iconic West London destination for Guinness and oysters, The Cow whips up cozy Anglo-Irish gastropub fare with Northern European influences. Attracting a devoted following, classic dishes include a pint of prawns, fish stew, sausages and mash with onion gravy, and a deluxe seafood platter. Founded in 1995 in Notting Hill, the restaurant’s saloon bar and dining rooms are run by renowned chef Tom Conran. Daubed with cow art and murals, this beloved venue has long been a magnet for a convivial mix of local people and celebrities, with David Beckham and Tom Cruise counted among past visitors. 89 Westbourne Park Road, W2

 

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Gloria

A gloriously glam yet cozy Italian in East London’s Shoreditch, Gloria teams sociable booths with fun furnishings. Staff shake up cocktails behind the marble bars, while comfy cushions, stripy banquettes, ceramic plates on walls and indoor trees add pops of color to the two-floor space. This all-day trattoria channels Seventies Capri, with a menu of classic Italian dishes, from oven-fired Neapolitan pizza to meaty Bolognese della Nonna pasta. Desserts and gelato bring the fun, with a wide selection of wines and retro cocktails. There’s even breakfast at weekends. 54-56 Great Eastern Street, EC2

 

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Cottons

For a taste of the tropical Caribbean in Notting Hill, make for Cottons. Boasting colorful interiors, spicy food and fruity drinks, it’s one of the most joyfully cozy London dining spots. Down a few daiquiris while waiting for authentic West Indian favorites like jerk chicken, curried mutton, saltfish fritters and callaloo, accompanied by sweet reggae music. With more than 370 types of rum and bottomless brunches at weekends, Cottons creates a carnival atmosphere all year long. 157–159 Notting Hill Gate, W11

 

Looking for more dining tips for London? Each one of our London vacation rentals includes a guide to the best local restaurants. You can also enjoy our 10 Bucket List London Restaurants and the Top Terraces: Sun-kissed Outdoor Dining in London guides.

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