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  • Isabella Mandich

Top 10 independent restaurants in London, according to actual Londoners.

65% of consumers today prefer local restaurants to chains.


London possesses an abundance of local, independent restaurants which characterise the city’s diverse culture and affinity for delicious, authentic food. Unfortunately, these eateries are often overshadowed by the big chains - Nando’s, Pret, Wagamama, Gail’s… We often turn to these establishments because they’re a safe bet. They're convenient and we know what to expect. 


But say you want to support local restaurants. You want to celebrate cultural diversity. You want the money you spend to be reinvested into your local economy. You get to know your community - your local barista or bartender. But you don’t know where to start. Well, you’ve come to the right place.


pastry selection at an independent bakery
Miel Bakery pastry selection

As uni students with a heartfelt passion for food and supporting local businesses, we created LocalMeal to make it easier than ever to discover London’s most precious independent restaurants, cafes, and bars – the ones you may have walked past hundreds of times but never thought of stepping into. (You can read about our full story here).


We’ve been blown away by the heartfelt response from our community of London locals who have already added more than 800 of their favourite local restaurants to the LocalMeal Beta App! That’s enough to support 2 new local spots, every day, for the next TWO YEARS. So, in honor of this heartwarming accomplishment, let’s dive into the top 10 most recommended local gems on our app thus far. 


*You’ll notice a slight skew towards Fitzrovia eateries (shoutout to our wonderful UCL student community 🫶)


 

Which local restaurants do Londoners love the most?


1. Foley's (Fitzrovia)


💰 Price: £25-40 per head

👩‍🍳 Cuisine: Asian-fusion

✨ Vibe: Cozy weeknight catchup

🤤 Standouts: Beef brisket curry, tamarind duck, bao buns, monkey king cocktail


Menu items at Foley's restaurant in London: duck, bao buns, sweet potato fries, and rice
Foley's tamarind duck, sweet potato fries, and bao buns

Foley’s warm and intimate atmosphere makes it perfect for, weirdly, almost any occasion: a date, work lunch, family dinner... We’ve been truly impressed by their creative cocktail selection and impeccable service. You can’t go wrong with your order, but if you ask us, the beef brisket curry and tamarind duck are next level.


🥳 Fun fact: Foley’s was our first ever Instagram post 2 years ago and remains a LocalMeal favourite to this day.


Find them on Google Maps or check out their website


2. Manteca (Shoreditch)


💰 Price: £25-£45 per head

👩‍🍳 Cuisine: Italian-inspired 

✨ Vibe: Relaxing date night

🤤 Standouts: House charcuterie, any of the hand-rolled pastas


Manteca duck and handmade pasta
Manteca carver duck and handmade pasta

Manteca is one of those restaurants with such high respect for their craft that they hand-make everything they can (hence their famous pasta dishes) and serve every possible bit of meat (hence the grilled beef liver on the menu). The wine and cocktail list is just as strong as their food, allowing for an all-around spectacular gastronomic experience. 


🥳 Fun fact: Manteca’s original location in Soho was formerly a Pizza Express - talk about an upgrade! 


Find them on Google Maps or check out their website


3. Kin Cafe (Fitzrovia) 


💰 Price: £10-25 per head

👩‍🍳 Cuisine: Vegetarian

✨ Vibe: Weekend reset meal

🤤 Standouts: Kin hash, vegan pancakes, toasts 


Kin avocado on toast w/ halloumi
Kin's avocado on toast w/ halloumi

Kin is uniquely positioned in that while, yes, it’s a vegetarian cafe focused around serving whole, healthy foods, it still manages to serve delicious, filling and satisfying meals!


🥳 Fun fact(s): Proceeds from Kin’s house wines go to the Born Free Foundation to help Animals in captivity. Their organic shade-grown coffee is hand picked by Mayni communities and proceeds help go toward stopping deforestation in their villages.


Find them on Google Maps or check out their website


4. Conchiglia (Fitzrovia)


💰 Price: £18-30 per head

👩‍🍳 Cuisine: Italian

✨ Vibe: Cozy family catchup 

🤤 Standouts: Vesuvio pizza, Aperol Spritz


Conchiglia rigatoni alla vodka and vesuvio pizza
Conchiglia rigatoni alla vodka and vesuvio pizza

Every single thing about Conchiglia screams comfort - from the decor, to the food, to the staff. It’s great for a celebration too! You can order a 1L Aperol spritz (to share or just for yourself 😉) - well worth your money! 


🥳 Fun fact: Conchiglia is the by-product of restaurant manager, Giovanni, and head chef, Suzan, who, after falling in love in London, decided to open a restaurant together.


Find them on Google Maps or check out their website


5. Roti King (Euston) 


💰 Price: £10-£20 per head

👩‍🍳 Cuisine: Malaysian

✨ Vibe: Casual group catchup

🤤 Standouts: Roti canai


Roti King roti canai
Roti King roti canai

Don’t be fooled by Roti King’s exterior. At first, the dark, underground basement may raise some questions. But its authentic food merits the queue of locals which often racks up out the door. With all menu items under a tenner, if this spot isn’t a bang for your buck in central London, we don’t know what is! 


🥳 Fun fact: Open for now over a decade, Roti King continues to make a name for itself - three stores, 2,500 roti served every day. 


Find them on Google Maps or check out their website


6. Layla Bakery (Notting Hill) 


💰 Price: £5-£10 per head

👩‍🍳 Cuisine: Bakery

✨ Vibe: Sunny weekend pit stop 

🤤 Standouts: Sourdough, wild garlic swirl 


Layla Bakery; pastry selection; pain aux raisin
Layla Bakery pastry selection

Layla is a quintessential representation of London summer. With ample outdoor seating, and a bright, open interior, Layla lets its fragrant bread and pastries do the talking. Our ideal visit is on a sunny walk through Portobello and up the canal. In light of maintaining the freshest and highest quality ingredients, the pastry menu changes seasonally. 


🥳 Fun fact: The whole bakery is actually open to rent for parties! 


Find them on Google Maps or check out their website


7. Broken Eggs (Fitzrovia)


💰 Price: £20-£35 per head

👩‍🍳 Cuisine: Spanish

✨ Vibe: Home-cooked, living room feel

🤤 Standouts: Tortilla, pan con tomate, boquerones 


Broken Eggs' pan con tomate and boquerones

Ever since stepping into Broken Eggs for the first time, we were captivated by its homely warmth and attention to detail. They have proven that simplicity, paired high quality-ingredients goes a long way. Numerous Spanish friends have given us the green light for Broken Eggs, a testament to its authenticity. 


🥳 Fun fact: Broken Eggs was founded by brother-sister duo, Gabriel and Marta, who left their desk jobs to create an authentic dining experience that transports them back to their grandmother’s table. 


Find them on Google Maps or check out their website


8. Beigel Bake (Shoreditch)


💰 Price: £3-£6 per head

👩‍🍳 Cuisine: Bakery

✨ Vibe: Late night pit stop 

🤤 Standouts: Salt beef bageeellll! Or salmon and cream cheese.


Beigel Bake late night atmosphere
Beigel Bake late night atmosphere

Known as one of East London's most beloved establishments, Beigel Bake’s delicious bagels are from a family recipe passed down for generations. Everything sold is made fresh in the store daily, ensuring fresh goods for its entire 24 hours of being open daily. 


🥳 Fun fact: Established in 1976, Beigel Bake is still going strong, selling around 3,000 bagels every day! 


Find them on Google Maps or check out their website


9. Italia Uno (Fitzrovia)


💰 Price: £4-9 per head

👩‍🍳 Cuisine: Italian

✨ Vibe: Quick solo lunch

🤤 Standouts: Italian sandwiches (to-die-for mortadella) 


italian restaurant with outdoor seating
Italia Uno street view

With six TVs displaying Italian news and football, a constant gathering of delivery drivers and students hanging out outside, and a small kitchen counter where it all happens, Italia Uno embodies the local charm of Fitzrovia. The friendly owner, Felice, keeps his loyal customers coming back again and again. Perfect for a quick, affordable, authentic Italian lunch before heading back to your studies or work! 


🥳 Fun fact: Italia Uno has been around for a whooping 26 years. Let’s keep it going strong!


Find them on Google Maps.


10. Miel Bakery (Fitzrovia) 


💰 Price: £4-10 per head

👩‍🍳 Cuisine: Bakery

✨ Vibe: Main character weekend croissant

🤤 Standouts: Sourdough, pain au chocolat, pistachio swirl, chocolate-hazelnut swirl


Miel's chocolate hazelnut swirls

Miel is a hole-in-the-wall independent bakery right on Warren Street that has made a big name for itself thanks to its flavorful pastries made with precision, love, and locally-sourced ingredients. You can’t go wrong with any of the flaky, buttery, pastries (although the pistachio swirl has been a hit on social media). We’re also huge fans of the sourdough - buy it fresh and it'll just melt in your mouth! 


🥳 Fun fact: Pastry chef Shaheen Peerbhai doesn’t only view Miel as a bakery, but as an opportunity for teaching and community building, hosting baking workshops as well! 


Find them on Google Maps or check out their website.


It's a tie! 10. Ben Venuti (Pimlico)


💰 Price: £7-20 per head

👩‍🍳 Cuisine: Italian

✨ Vibe: Summer aperitivo 

🤤 Standouts: Charcuterie, parmigiana panini, anything with their pistachio cream


charcuterie board in london, aperitivo, italian food
Ben Venuti's charcuterie spread

The idea of aperitivo - grabbing a drink with a friend, nibbling on some cheese, with absolutely no rush to attend any obligations - may seem countercultural to many Londoners. But we stand by the fact that this city needs a place to wind down Italian-style, and Ben Venuti is the perfect place to do so. Their cute outdoor tables will become your go-to summer escape! You’ll also find a mini Italian market with fresh pasta and specialty Italian products you’ll want to take straight home. 


🥳 Fun fact: Besides their baked goods made fresh daily in their Wimbledon location, all products are imported straight from Italy, thus providing guests with the most authentic experience possible.


Find them on Google Maps or check out their website


 

It’s time to share your own local gems! 


Isn’t it sad when your go-to local spot closes because not enough people knew about it... Join our community so that this doesn’t happen ever again. Go ahead and add your local favourites to our app. You can download it right here! 💚


We’re excited to have you on our journey! ✨✨


Stay tuned and hungry, 


Isabella & Noah 

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