Offering lots of pretty darn delectable food options, all the saucy (and soupy) dumplings you could want and some Chinese supermarkets to inspire you at home, London’s Chinatown is full to the brim with foodie wonders and delights so get yourselves down there. It’s the closest thing we’re getting right now to a return trip to China given their continued lockdowns, so you may as well navigate it knowing where you’re going, right?
Here are the best restaurants to try when you’re exploring London’s Chinatown:
We included this place in our list of great cheap eats in the capital, and rightly so. If you’re looking for one of the best Katsu curries you’re likely to have in London, then this really is the place to go. What’s better is that a huge plate of the stuff with tasty sticky rice and salad will only set you back around £7.60. Other dishes include noodle soup with Japanese marinated beef and grilled salted salmon in a bento box. Be sure to get there early though as there’s nearly always a queue out the door.
11 Wardour Street, Soho, W1D 6PG. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
This Tokyo-inspired gem is one of the best spots in London’s Chinatown in which to indulge in some lip-smackingly good street food. The star of the show here is the yakitori chicken, and there are over 20 different varieties of it on offer – all cooked on a charcoal-powered robatayaki grill. Make your way upstairs and you’ll be greeted by a traditional izakaya-style setting, and downstairs in the basement there is a lively bar with a DJ booth, Japanese street art and a whole array of innovative local craft beers.
22 Wardour Street, W1D 6QQ. Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
3. Dumplings’ Legend
If you haven’t tried a Chinese Xiaolongbao, what are you doing with your life? These gorgeous soupy dumplings are notoriously hard to eat but once you get over the piping hot soup, they’re pretty damn delicious. There’s an impressive 47 varieties of dim sum to choose from here and nine types of dumpling, so if you’re new to the delightful world of dumplings then this is definitely the place to educate yourself.
15-16 Gerrard Street, W1D 6JE. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
4. Wong Kei
It was once described as “the rudest restaurant in London”, but the service here has improved somewhat. All of the shouting and noise is kind of forgiven as the food here is super yummy and well-priced to boot too. The 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. They also give you free tea so who’s really complaining? We recommend opting for a bowl of warming beef brisket ho-fun – this hearty soup is laced with chunks of tender beef so it’s pretty much like a warming hug in a bowl.
41-43 Wardour Street, W1D 6PY. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
5. Four Seasons
If there’s one thing you’ll see a lot of in London’s Chinatown, it’ll be roast duck hanging temptingly in the windows. Four Seasons 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 in the capital. No wonder then that this was billed as the ‘best roast duck in the world‘ according to the Financial Times.
12 Gerrard Street, W1D 5PR. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
6. Olle Barbecue
This cherished spot is all about the barbecue food, and the star of the show is – of course – their lovely cuts of meat. From Wagyu beef to tantalisingly-tasty seafood, you’ll only find the best here, and it’s a whole lot of fun sizzling it all up on your very own tabletop stove. Other dishes available here include their traditional Korean stew – a hearty dish cooked in a piping-hot clay pot. Wash all of this down with ice-cold lagers and lashings of succulent sauces and you’ve got a culinary night to remember on your hands.
86-88 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 5AY. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
7. Joy King Lau
Classic Cantonese dishes are the main staple of this legendary establishment, which has three floors and a daily dim sum menu. 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 is famous for its seafood, and signature dishes include the crab with ginger and spring onions, steamed prawn Cheung Fun and a whole sea bass with a special blend of 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 treat.
3 Leicester Street, WC2H 7BL. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
8. Bun House
This laid-back, relaxed spot is a throwback to 1960’s Hong Kong, serving up some of the city’s best steamed bao buns in a colonially-decorated interior. The buns here are fluffy and delicious, and flavours include curried fish ball buns, pork belly pig buns and slightly more out there choices such as brioche-style pineapple buns. You can opt to dine inside or get your own takeaway buns to go if you’re in a rush.
26-27 Lisle Street, WC2H 7BA. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
Located on Leicester Street, this beloved spot is all about the Sichuan-style cuisine, with favourite dishes including grilled fish in chilli oil, king prawns in spices and griddle dishes of duck tongue. A slightly more unusual offering is the spicy Sichuan-marinated rabbit – a regional delicacy originating from Chengdu. Post-dinner, get your singalong on in one of the authentic KTV karaoke rooms which are available for hire.
4 Leicester Street, WC2H 7BL. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
10. Café TPT
This cosy spot on Wardour Street brings all the flavours of authentic Chinese and Malaysian street food to Chinatown. Expect lots of tasty street-food style dishes like Bak Kut Teh – a Malaysian meaty broth – and ‘hawker’ dishes which will take you all the way to the bustling streets of Hong Kong. The seafood is also great, and they’ve got some refreshing bubble tea here too.
21 Wardour Street, W1D 6PN. Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
11. Gerrard’s Corner
Located on the corner of Gerrard Street and Wardour Street, this beloved spot is a firm favourite among Londoners. The menu here offers up quality Cantonese dishes and melt-in-your-mouth dim sum, which can all be washed down with a selection of drinks originating from Hong Kong, including silky bubble tea, honey citron tea and kumquat lemon juice. Their set meals include a whole lobster cooked in ginger and spring onions, and succulent roast duck is also on the menu.
30 Wardour Street, W1D 6QW. Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
Or why not head to these Chinatown supermarkets and takeaway spots for more delicious dishes?
12. Loon Fung Chinese Supermarket
If you’re looking for a new marinade or just some general inspiration on how to jazz up your homemade Chinese cuisine, this gargantuan Chinese supermarket will do the trick. Open since 1965, they have everything from noodles to fresh fish, meats, vegetables, frozen dumplings and lots of impressive snacks that’ll practically guarantee you’re the most popular person in the office.
42-44 Gerrard Street, W1D 5QG. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
13. Bubble Wrap
If you’ve ever been to London’s Chinatown and seen a massive queue forming, it’s more than likely for Bubble Wrap. They come in those well-known red cones for easy eating and look pretty impressive for the old ‘gram. Get yours and fill it with all sorts like chunks of Cadbury chocolate, Oreos, gelato and if you’re trying to be slightly more healthy, some fresh chopped fruit and additional sauce.
24 Wardour Street, W1D 6QJ. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
14. Good Friend
This humble fried chicken shop is set to change everything you thought you knew about takeaway chicken. This Taiwanese night market staple is the main premise behind Good Friend and won’t make you feel like a ball of grease afterwards. Opt for some of their popcorn chicken pieces that are cooked fresh in front of you and doused in seasonings of your choice – go for the chilli, lemon and salt for a real mix of flavours that’ll probably have you wanting to order another bag. Winner winner, chicken dinner.
14 Little Newport Street, WC2H 7JJ. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
15. Chinatown Bakery
If you’re looking for fluffy Chinese baked goods and some of the yummiest pillows of cake, this is the place for you. The smells of the bakery will be enough to tempt you in but their Taiyaki machine – which makes those adorable filled pastry fish – will surely have you gawking through the window in awe then proceeding to order multiple bags of these little lovelies. There’s even pork floss rolls for those days when baked goods and meat are all you need. You heard us, pork floss rolls… yum yum.
7 Newport Place, WC2H 7JR. Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
If you’re looking for a place to refuel and glug down some milk tea, then you’ve surely heard of Chatime. They’re at the forefront of the iced drink and bubble tea game and offer lots of liquid treats such as mango frappés, matcha tea lattes and chocolate mousses. We’ve spent many an afternoon pondering all the options on this extensive menu but you can’t go wrong with a Chatime milk tea after all the inevitable feasting you’ve been doing in London’s Chinatown.
4 Gerrard Street, W1D 5PE. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
This compact takeaway café is the spot to come in London’s Chinatown for bubble tea with a side of fluffy soufflé dessert. Originating from Japan, these delectable treats are similar in style to pancakes and you can choose to have them drizzled in chocolate, ice cream or a tasty red matcha bean sauce. Green tea and fruit-filled yoghurt smoothies are also on the menu if you’re looking on being a tad healthier.
108 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 5EH. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
18. SeeWoo Supermarket
When London’s Chinatown was in its infancy all the way back in 1975, SeeWoo first opened its doors. Ever since, it has been instrumental in helping to shape and develop the area, and has supplied its wares to a huge variety of London’s Chinese restaurants over the years. Nowadays it is a sprawling supermarket that occupies four different units, selling everything you can imagine from China and the wider Far East. Come for a browse but don’t be surprised if you end up staying for longer than you anticipated!
18-20 Lisle Street, WC2H 7BA. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
Mamasons are heavily influenced by their Filipino heritage, which means that their flavours are slightly more out there than just your regular chocolate, vanilla or strawberry. Flavours here include Filipino lime, black coconut, cheese and Filipino purple yams, and the jewel in this spot’s crown is the ‘bilog’ – an award-winning desert which consists of a traditional milk bun which is packed full of delicious ice cream, lightly toasted and liberally sprinkled with icing sugar.
32 Newport Court, WC2H 7PQ. Nearest station is Leicester Square.
Looking for a drink instead? Here’s our pick of where to grab a drink in London’s Chinatown
20. The Blue Posts
Tucked away down a quaint alleyway off Chinatown’s Rupert Street, this three-floor drinking den has been a favourite haunt of locals since 1739. Housed in a Grade II-listed house, each floor offers something different here. The pub itself is on the ground-floor level and serves up a whole host of IPAs, ciders, craft beers and real ales. The top tier of the pub has been revamped as a fashionable wine bar, whereas the old beer cellar has been converted into a tiny ten-seater restaurant serving up an ever-evolving range of eclectic dishes.
28 Rupert Street, W1D 6DJ. Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus.
So there you have it – a roundup of the best foodie spots to explore in London’s Chinatown. So get yourself into Central and eat and drink to your heart’s content!