Start perfecting your chopstick skills, because there’s never been a better time to opt for a Chinese option in London. We’ve painstakingly selected twelve Chinese restaurants that we think you should visit too – and trust us, it was no easy feat! Plus, with Lunar New Year coming up on the first of February, we recommend you go forth and celebrate in style by gorging yourself silly. It would be rude not to! Here’s a rundown of twelve of the best Chinese restaurants to chow down at in London Town:
1. Hunan (Pimlico)
Hunan in Pimlico is a London dining experience pretty much unlike any other. Upon arrival diners are asked just two questions – 1. Do you have any special dietary requirements? 2. How spicy do you like your food? – and with that, the meal begins, cloaked in a shroud of mystery. Expect a chef’s tasting menu with an added element of surprise, with endless, excellent, tapas-sized portions of food that are perfect for sharing – or for fighting over (you choose). The result is truly unforgettable. Sample dishes include wild mussels with Thai basil and Chinese rice wine or monkfish in yellow miso soup – but to say any more would be too much of a spoiler. You’ll have to head down to Pimlico and find out for yourself!
51 Pimlico Road, Belgravia, SW1W 8NE. The nearest stations are Sloane Square and Pimlico.
2. Hakkasan Hanway Place (Fitzrovia)
Another strong contender on this list of the best Chinese restaurants in London, Hakkasan Hanway Place is all about the atmosphere, so if you’re looking for somewhere high-end to bring a date, then this is the place to go. Founded in 2001, this famous spot was designed to celebrate Chinese cuisine through traditional techniques, the finest ingredients and a contemporary flair by their in-house chefs. It shows, as they’ve been awarded a coveted Michelin-star. Dishes rustled up here include wok-fried wild sea bass, black truffle roasted duck and stir-fried baby broccoli with crispy seaweed, pine nuts and preserved olives – don’t tell us you’re not salivating just reading about all of that! A ‘Year of the Tiger’ menu is also available until February 13 to celebrate the Lunar New Year – what better way to spend a special occasion we say?!
8 Hanway Place, London, W1T 1HD. The nearest station is Tottenham Court Road.
3. Yauatcha (Soho and The City)
This modern Chinese restaurant – on both Broadwick Street and on Broadgate Circle near Liverpool Street – is slickly-designed and eagerly staffed. It’s a really great option for all-day dim sum year round, and their ‘Year of the Tiger’ Lunar New Year menu (on ’til February 15) is pretty darn special, featuring Chilean sea bass dim sum and crab with pineapple rice and yam beans. There are plenty of veggie and vegan options on offer too, and the golden fortune prawns are pretty much to die for if we say so ourselves. Plus, it’s not just about the food – they’ve got a whole host of booze on tap, and cocktails include gingerbread espresso martinis, mango mules and golden spice warmers – a gorgeous mix of Hennessy VSOP, akashi-Tai sake, samurai black tea, cinnamon, ginger, lemon, orange and angostura bitters. The perfect spot to go before heading out in Soho or Shoreditch perhaps?
You’ll find Yauatcha at 15-17 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 0DL and at Broadgate Circle, London, EC2M 2QS. The closest stations are Piccadilly Circus and Liverpool Street.
4. Bun House and Wun’s Tea Room and Bar (Chinatown and Soho)
This one is unique because it’s two different places in one. At their branch close to Chinatown, you’ll find the Bun House itself, with a counter full of wicker baskets gently steaming away. This is the place to grab a takeaway pillowy soft bun, stuffed with pork, lamb, beef, chicken, vegetable or custard (for those with a sweet tooth), and go for a wander. Plus, at just £2.80 each and £10 for four, they’re a real steal. If you’re more in the mood for a sit-down affair however, head to Wun’s Tea Room on Greek Street, a moody restaurant-come-cocktail den. Inspired by local Cantonese spots in 1960s Hong Kong, this atmospheric spot offers up dishes including hand-dived scallops with glass noodles, tiger herb salad with pink mizuna and black bean stir-fry. They’ve also got a whole host of too-easy-to-drink cocktails on tap – whiskey sour anyone?
You’ll find Bun House at 26-27 Lisle Street, London, WC2H 7BA and Wun’s Tea Room and Bar at 23 Greek Street, London, W1D 4DZ. The nearest stations are Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road.
5. Wong Kei (Chinatown)
This multi-level spot right on the edge of London’s Chinatown was once described as ‘the rudest restaurant in town’, but the service has improved somewhat since then, we like to think. All of the shouting and noise is kind of forgiven as the food here is super yummy and well-priced to boot too. The extensive menu can be rather daunting, but skip to the back of it for some seriously hearty dishes that’ll leave you pretty much rolling out of the restaurant a few kilos heavier. They also give you free tea – so who’s really complaining? We recommend opting for a bowl of warming beef brisket ho-fun – a hearty, warming soup laced with chunks of tender beef. It’s pretty much like a hug in a bowl, and for this reason alone, Wong Kei deserves a spot on this list of the best Chinese restaurants in London.
41-43 Wardour Street, Chinatown, W1D 6PY. The nearest station is Leicester Square.
6. Silk Road (Camberwell)
This unassuming spot is one of South East London’s best-kept secrets. It’s fairly small and simple – decked out in long wooden tables – but the food here is to die for (and yes this author is biased as a one-time resident of Camberwell). The menu is refreshingly short and offers up a whole host of offerings from Xinjiang – the vast north-western frontier province of China once traversed by the ancient Silk Road trade route. As a result, the food served here is a melting pot of cultures, with Mongol, Muslim and central Asian influences tied in to the more traditional Chinese fare. Signature dishes include sliced belly pork with chili, Szechuan pepper oil and garlic and boneless red snapper kebabs with chilli and cumin. But the real star of the show here is the ‘Big Plate Chicken’ – a succulent stew with chicken, potatoes, anise-and-chilli broth and belt noodles.
49 Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5 8TR. The nearest stations are Loughborough Junction or Denmark Hill.
7. Joy King Lau (Chinatown)
Classic Cantonese dishes are the main staple of this legendary establishment, which has three floors and a dim sum menu which changes on a daily basis. Its specials menu is written only in Chinese, so if you’re not down with the lingo, you may just throw up a few surprises when you order! This authentic spot – proudly adding its hat to the ring to being one of the best Chinese restaurants in London – is famous for its melt-in-the-mouth seafood. Signature dishes include the crab with ginger and spring onions, steamed prawn Cheung Fun and a whole sea bass infused with a special blend of yummy spices. Of course, roast duck features heavily on the menu, and if it’s a cold day, the steaming clay pot dishes will warm you up a right treat.
3 Leicester Street, Chinatown, WC2H 7BL. The nearest station is Leicester Square.
8. MamaLan (Brixton, Clapham Common and Canary Wharf)
This cute little family-run spot began its journey as a supper club back in 2010, before it swung open its doors as a full-fledged Chinese restaurant in Brixton Village. It’s now expanded to both Clapham Common and Canary Wharf, and has an ethos of rustling up real ‘feel-good street food’ with a large dollop of friendly service. Since opening over ten years ago, the owners have been innovating with a whole host of unique ingredients and creating new and exciting recipes. The result is some of the best noodle soups, bao buns, stir fries and rice dishes south of the river. They also sell their famous bubble tea and a range of award-winning sauces.
You can find MamaLan at Unit 18 Brixton Village Coldharbour Lane London SW9 8PR, 8 The Pavement Clapham Common London SW4 OHY and at Kiosk 4, Reuters Plaza, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AJ. The nearest stations are Brixton, Clapham Common and Canary Wharf.
9. Little Lamb (Shaftesbury Avenue)
Big bowls of hearty, bubbling stock are what Little Lamb is most well known for – and boy, does it do that well. With a low-key, café-style atmosphere and friendly staff, this cosy spot is perfect during the colder months when you can warm yourself up with a piping-hot traditional Chinese hot pot. First, you choose your desired choice of hot pot – at Little Lamb you’ve got a choice of four different types or you can combine flavours. Then, you choose exactly what to pimp your pot with. The more ingredients – the better. There are plenty of options available, from cuttlefish and squid to fresh tofu and wafer-thin pork slices. The piece de resistance? The lashings of sauces you can add – our pick would be the sha cha sauce – a mixture of chilli, soya bean oil, shallots and garlic.
72 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6NA. The nearest station is Leicester Square.
10. Four Seasons (Chinatown)
If there’s one thing you’ll see a lot of in London’s Chinatown, it’ll be succulent roast duck adorning the windows. Let’s face it… you’ll also probably smell it all down the length of Gerrard Street. The Four Seasons restaurant is famous for it and rightly so – order a quarter per person for a substantial offering and of course, go off the bone. It’s less hassle and means you’ll get more time spent chowing down on some of the best roast duck you’ll get anywhere in the capital. It’s so good in fact that it was once billed as the ‘best roast duck in the world’ by the Financial Times. No wonder then that we had to include this one on this roundup of the best Chinese restaurants in London.
12 Gerrard Street, London, W1D 5PR. The nearest station is Leicester Square.
11. Etles (Walthamstow)
This cherished spot is a real Walthamstow institution and a real contender for being top of the pile for this roundup of the best Chinese restaurants in London. The food here is absolutely fab and is rustled up by lovely chef-owners Mukaddes Yadikar and her husband Ablikim Rahman – both Uyghurs from Yili near China’s border with Kazakhstan. The result is an eclectic mix of unique dishes – from northern China’s dumplings and noodles to shish kebabs, pilaf rice and more from the Middle East. It’s also BYOB (and you can’t argue with that) and the service is always given with a smile. A real London gem we say.
235 Hoe street, London, E17 9PP. The nearest station is Walthamstow Central.
12. Imperial Treasure (Charing Cross)
To roundup this list of the best Chinese restaurants in London, we’ve gone for a real fine-dining experience. Imperial Treasure is part of a group of twenty restaurants which have won over 50 prestigious awards – including numerous Michelin-stars we’ll have you know – and their London branch serves up delectable dim sum and Peking duck as specialties. They do set menus which you can pair with wines, their dim sum changes daily and they also have some fantastic cocktails to boot in their in-house bar. What’s not to love? The ‘Illegal Bird’ – a concoction of mezcal, Campari, orange sherbert, chilli, lime and ginger beer – is well worth a try.
9 Waterloo Place, St James’s, London, SW1Y 4BE. The nearest stations are Piccadilly Circus and Charing Cross.