Planning in London is a challenge. It’d be foolhardy to lament the sheer breadth of places to eat, drink and enjoy yourself out and about… but! An abundance of choice can lead to just as big an issue as no choice at all – and that can even be applied to sifting through all the places we’ve written about in our eight years of existence. Now comes the time to champion our favourite places with a physical seal of approval: through stickers, baby!
As a team of curious Londoners, we like to spend our time nosying around for the gems of the city, and each sticker should represent a spot that our team – streetwise as ever to the top spots in the city – cherishes.
If you’re out and about looking for a snack, a cocktail, or a plate of pasta and you see one of our new stickers, levitate towards the rectangle of recommendation, and waltz right through the doors. You have our undying assurance that you’ll be endorsing these places yourself within no time. Secret London-approved has just garnered a new meaning, and you’re coming along with us for a new journey. That is no secret.
- Bordelaise, Tooting: this gorgeously rustic French restaurant sources seasonal products to create their delectable dishes. Delightful food with an atmosphere to match – Bon Appetit, indeed.
- Fair Shot Café, Covent Garden: this central London café fights damning employment bias by hiring people with learning disabilities and helping them train within the hospitality sector. Bianca Tavella founded Fair Shot back in 2019, and the initiative helps those who may not otherwise have been given a chance find work. The sandwiches, coffees and pastries here are blooming tasty, too.
- La Mia Mamma, Chelsea and Notting Hill: tell us to find you an exuberant, lively meal out in London–where the energy levels are cranked up as high as the quality of food–and we’ll be escorting you straight here. You can stay here for hours; not just stuffing your face with delicious food, but having a boogie with the nonna chefs, who are known to start an impromptu song and dance while you eat.
- Mriya Neo Bistro, Kensington: following the Russian invasion on Ukraine, Yurii Kovryzhenko and his partner Olga Tsybytovska made the decision to stay in London after what was only intended to be a short trip. After raising relief funds for Ukraine through charity dinners, they opened Mriya, a markedly poignant, essential addition to London’s dining scene in the form of a restaurant that’s almost entirely staffed by Ukrainian people – many of whom are refugees – and serves up food of the highest quality.
- Luminary Bakery, Camden and Stoke Newington: an award-winning bakery, dedicated to supporting women faced with social and economic disadvantages. In addition to offering support to women, the bakery offers cracking cakes, scrummy sandwiches, and perfect pastries. Good for your conscience and your tastebuds.
- Makatcha, Camden: certainly one of the tastiest vendors in Camden Market; Makatcha serves up traditional rendang, Indonesian style and it’s unbelievably tasty.
- Bang Bang, Colindale: not your bog-standard food court here, people. What was once the old Oriental City site has turned into London’s largest Asian food hall, boasting 32,000 square feet of culinary adventure. There are far too many delicious outlets to name, but think dim sum, teas, roasted meats, rice and noodle dishes, and enough sushi to shake your chopsticks at.
- INO, Carnaby Street: an intimate restaurant that serves up modern Greek dishes and a plethora of Greek wines; a meal here is perfectly suited to both a mid-week pick me up and a leisurely weekend feast. Good food, good wine, and good vibes.
- Chin Chin, Camden: whether they’re serving up preposterously indulgent heartbreaker cakes for Valentine’s Day or gallons of rich hot chocolate, Chin Chin know the drill. If that drill is answering the prayers of sweet-toothed Londoners that go out in search for the the fulcrum of desserts in the Big Smoke, that is. Which it most definitely is.
- The Proof, Dalston: a mouth-wateringly delicious bakery that boasts a build-your-own profiterole bar with a selection of fillings, sauces, and toppings, and a cake shop selling by-the-slice, cupcakes and whole cakes to go. They also offer coffees, all-day dining, and a gifting retail area with hampers, cards, flowers, books and wines. It turns out that the proof really is in the pudding.
- Macellaio, Soho and Fitzrovia: one of our capitals most beloved Italian restaurants (and that really is saying something). Expect to find incredible Italian food which has been sourced with respect, prepared with love and expertly cooked. Bellissimo!
- Humble Crumble, Spitalfields: the crumble vendors who have made quite the name for themselves in London since launching in 2018, now have a permanent home for their crumbly delights. They’ve taken the humble dessert and elevated it into one of London’s most talked about sweet treats with their variety of traditional and iced crumbles which are all customisable and served with unlimited custard. Need we say more?
- Papo’s Bagels, Dalston: bringing a slice (or a bagel) of New York all the way to east London, Papo’s are serving quite possibly some of the most delicious bagels in town. They’re everything you’d want from a bagel shop with an extra helping of cream cheese on top.
- Tozi, Victoria: an Italian restaurant that transports diners from Victoria to Venice one mouthful at a time. Tozi means “group of friends” in Venetian slang, so grab your pals and take a seat for some of the most impressive Italian dishes you’ll find in London.
- Mexican Seoul, Mile End: after dominating the street food scene over the past few years, this mind-blowing Mexican-Korean fusion restaurant has permanently set up shop in east London and is serving up super fresh, super tasty and super creative dishes. What’s not to love?
- Pizza Union, various London locations: these pizza joints serve up mind-bogglingly cheap pizza with a side of frozen cocktails. Pizza prices start as low as £5.95 and, let’s face it, you really can’t beat a deliciously thin and crispy pizza that doesn’t break the bank, right?
- Lina Stores, various London locations: the delicious deli and restaurant chain have recently opened their sixth location (and their first south of the river) in Clapham. Gorgeous, green interiors and authentically fresh and flavoursome dishes – which even got the seal of approval from our resident (quarter) Italian, might I add. Not bad, hey?
- Hankki, Chinatown: a fairly new addition to Chinatown but already making quite the name for itself. Delectably creative Korean dishes and homemade soju at a reasonable price (especially if you take advantage of their affordable lunchtime deal).
- Fish Game, Canary Wharf: this one does what it says on the tin: a love letter to British fish and game, with ultra-seasonal, sustainable British ingredients, cooked simply over charcoal at the signature grill. Sounds pretty fin-tastic to us.
- Apothecary East, Shoreditch: a stylish restaurant-bar serving Japanese-inspired dishes on a quiet back-street of Shoreditch. A modern (yet incredibly inviting) restaurant that was loved by every single member of the Secret London team and that in itself is the highest of praise.
- Epicurus, Camden: a traditional American diner with a modern, Middle-Eastern twist. The likes of smash burgers, ribs, hot dogs and more get a full make-over and are “[repainted] with spices, flavours, and ingenuity”.
- Fazenda, Liverpool Street: a South American grill and Rodizio concept, offering a special à la carte menu alongside the traditional Rodizio experience. With 170 covers, three private dining rooms, a mezzanine lounge, and al-fresco tables to boot, the table-side carving experience truly reaches another level. You are invited to “experience the Pampas”.
- The Laundry, Brixton: once an Edwardian laundry house (hey, it’s in the name), today, it is a Kiwi-run bar-bistro open daily, serving casual all day fare, banging brunches, and on Sundays, roast dinners. All to the very highest standard, might we add.
- Napoli on the Road, Chiswick: fresh slices of delicious pizza – only from Europe’s best pizza chef – no biggie. They’re renowned for putting their truly unique twist on the much-loved dish and the ever-changing menu focuses on seasonality, ensuring that only the freshest ingredients are used. Yum!
- Japes, Soho: you’ve heard of New York-style pizza and Chicago deep-dish; but have you heard of London-style pizza? Well, you have now. Japes has just created London’s very own signature style pizza and let us tell you: it’s delicious.
- Bun & Sum, Bow: elite LA-style smash burgers that have been making waves on London’s burger scene. Let’s just say: we are well-and-truly converted.
- Bread Ahead, various London locations: when it comes to delicious baked goods, Bread Ahead is leading the pack. Londoners literally queue round the block for a taste of their crème brûlée doughnuts – and we’re not even ashamed to admit that we are queuing right there with them.
- The Farrier, Camden: another Camden stalwart comes in the form of a old Secret London local, The Farrier Pub. It’s not your typical boozer; when you walk in you’ll be greeted by a wall of wine bottles, which are available to buy. Their food is up there with some of the finest pub grub in London too.
- Bookbar, Finsbury Park: this cosy spot is an essential hangout for lovers of literature in London. With books tucked into every corner, a recommendation wall on a blackboard to help you pick out your next read in their downstairs cellar, great coffee and “generously poured” wine; it’s safe to say this place is widely recommended on all fronts by the Secret London team.
- The Lock Tavern, Camden: this is another of Secret London’s former local watering holes. In addition to the wonderful drinks they serve, the Lock Tavern offers a roomy beer garden, a sunny roof terrace upstairs, juicy burgers from the kitchen, and a wonderful variety of live music.
- Cavita, Marylebone: a truly gorgeous restaurant, inspired by Mexican plazas. Oh, and it’s home to the world’s first Paloma fountain. Need we say more?
- Flippers Roller Boogie Palace, White City: set your inner child free at West London’s skating hub. Skaters can show off their tricks on the rinks before tucking into curated cocktails, wagyu smash burgers, Nashville hot chicken sandwiches and loaded fries. Round up your pals and let the good times roll.
- Tufting London, Nine Elms: this one’s for the craft lovers out there. Whether you’re looking for some mindful me-time, an activity to do with your friends or an outside-of-the-box date idea; rug tufting could be just the thing you’re after. With talented experts on hand to help you make the rug of your dreams, no experience is required; just a good old can-do attitude.
- IFLY, Greenwich: indoor skydiving has finally arrived in London Town at none other than the legendary O2 Arena. A complete adrenaline rush and so much fun, with instructors that make you feel completely at ease. If you’ve ever wanted to dip your toe into the thrilling world of skydiving but don’t want to leave the big smoke, then you know exactly where to head!