The Ultimate Guide to Westminster Restaurants

Introduction

If you’re looking to indulge in some of the most established eateries in central London, Westminster restaurants are the bread and butter. For foodies alike, it’s one of the most exciting neighbourhoods in the capital to satisfy your hobby. And that’s not an exaggeration.

For starters, restaurants in Westminster offer a diverse range of cuisines; easily catering to the fussiest of food palettes. For your main course, chow-down on excellence with dishes prepared by the world’s top chefs.

And if you stick around for dessert, it’s likely that you’ll leave with a full belly and a five-star review. In short, there is something for everyone. Whether its pizza, pasta or quail breast with Pontefract liquorice glaze, discover a dining experience like no other.

We’re inviting you to find out exactly what Westminster has to offer. As you tuck into this gourmet guide, here’s a taster of what you can expect to read:

  • A quick guide to Westminster.
  • The best restaurants in Westminster
  • A selection of the best restaurants off-the-beaten-track.
  • Dolphin Square's top Westminster restaurant picks.
  • Our final thoughts.

A quick guide to Westminster

If you’re new to London, allow us to get you up to speed. Westminster is the bustling government area near Buckingham Palace that lies on the north banks of the River Thames. It was established as a borough in 1965 and is now the site of some of the finest and most historically important buildings in England.


If you’re a resident of Dolphin Square, Westminster is a short walk, east direction, along the River Thames. Alternatively, you can access Westminster from Pimlico by crossing Vauxhall Bridge Road. Use this map to find your bearings.

Map

If you arrive in London and emerge from Westminster station, you’re smack-bang in the middle of British culture and heritage. 

Over the road is the Houses of Parliament, where, for better or worse, politicians decide the direction of our country. Big Ben looms large above Parliament, proudly announcing the time as it has done for over 150 years.

Then, just up the road, you’ll find Downing Street, home to our Prime Minister. Big iron gates and beefy security prevent you from knocking on, but if you stand and watch you’ll usually see the comings-and-goings of government figures, journalists, and foreign emissaries.

Westminster Abbey is nearby, too. This has been a mainstay in English history for over a thousand years - truly remarkable, and truly humbling to visit.

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The best restaurants in Westminster

There are tons of places to grab a bite to eat. From street vendors selling quick snacks, right through to Michelin-star restaurants owned by the world’s top chefs.

Here are our favourite restaurants in and around Westminster.

1. Mio

58 Great Peter St

£

Pizza, pasta, and wine. If there’s any better combination, we don’t want to know about it.

This unassuming eatery prides itself on delicious pizza, authentic pasta, and all the other trappings of a memorable Italian-inspired meal.

Rocking a perfect five-star rating on TripAdvisor, Mio caters to all tastes. Meat lovers will be sated by various forms of Italian sausage, while the vegans amongst you can enjoy specially-created recipes to meet your requirements.

2. Vincent Rooms

76 Vincent Square

££

If you’re a foodie, Vincent Rooms needs to be on your radar. All the food here is cooked by highly-trained students, meaning it’s the perfect place to spot up-and-coming talent. And what’s more, income from the restaurant goes back into the culinary school, so you’re investing directly in their future.

The Escoffier room - named after famous chef Auguste Escoffier - offers a different tasting menu each week, where the creativity and competence of catering students is put to the test.

The Brasserie offers a more traditional dining experience, and the menu boasts many ingredients that are smoked on-site.

The Vincent Rooms offer dining experiences to suit any palette.

3. Regency

17-19 Regency Street

£

This greasy spoon went from humble origins to become the fifth most popular place to eat in London in 2016 - a huge achievement.

Unimposing from the outside but unforgettable on the inside, you’ll enjoy traditional British cafe fare cooked to a highly delicious standard. A proper Full English is a quintessential part of our country’s heritage, and we heartily recommend it to any visitor.

The decor is original - dating back to the 1940s - and you may very well see film crews on your visit: The restaurant has been used as a location for many famous TV shows over the years.

4. Kona

54 Buckingham Gate

££££

Another British cultural staple is the afternoon tea: Delicate dainties presenting an explosion of different flavours, washed down with our nation’s favourite drink. There really is nothing like it, and Kona makes a world-class contribution to the genre.

Their rotating selection of themed afternoon teas put novel and innovative twists on this beloved tradition. Alice’s Queen of Hearts Afternoon Tea combines the magic of Wonderland with the quaintness of the experience. The Jasmine Indian Afternoon Tea brings British and Indian cuisine into beautiful harmony.

Take a look at their website and see which teas are on offer during your visit - you won’t regret it.

5. Sapori 

60 Horseferry Road

£

This cafe and restaurant have built a solid reputation over the years for providing real, honest cooking. You’ll enjoy a welcoming local atmosphere, hospitable staff, and a good plate of food. 

And really, what more do you want from a restaurant?

The location is fairly chilled, nestled neatly between Westminster and Pimlico. Reviewers are quick to note the generously-sized portions and the comfort food that’s to be found on the menu. And with 4.5 stars from 330 reviews, they must be doing something right.

6. Bbar 

43 Buckingham Palace Road

££

If you want South African cuisine in a space characterised by a modern twist on colonial decor, then Bbar is catered exactly to your needs.

Think cocktails, quality burgers, and thematic links to safari and big game. A distinct and novel restaurant with food served at a calibre that matches the ambience.

The location is striking, too: Opposite the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace, just a short walk from Westminster.

7. Caxton Grill

2 Caxton Street

££££

Alexander Boyd replaced Masterchef runner-up Adam Handling as head chef in 2016, providing a succession of world-class culinary talent at the helm of Caxton Grill.

This high-end eatery is guaranteed to impress, with a modern twist on classic cooking, and fresh ingredients sourced directly from their rooftop kitchen garden. Themes of provenance and sustainability pervade the entire menu, meaning a delicious plate of food (or several) that won’t weigh heavy on your conscience.

If you prefer somewhere a little more tucked away, off the main tourist thoroughfares, then read on.

8. The Red Lion Gastropub

48 Parliament Street

£££

No visit to London is complete without a trip to a proper, traditional British pub. And this is true even if you don’t drink alcohol - we go for the unique ambience and atmosphere.

If it’s your first time in a British pub, the Red Lion will serve you well. There’s ample ale and cider on tap, and the extensive menu caters to everyone on the pub cuisine spectrum. The traditionalists amongst you will savour the pie tasting board, or maybe a proper plate of fish and chips. The nouveau-cuisine crowd can kick back with Sriracha halloumi fries, a buttermilk chicken breast burger, or even the roasted squash with tahini and dukkah.

Be sure to sit back and soak up the vibe. British pubs really are special, and this is a sterling example.

9. Switchroom Cafeteria @ Churchill Museum

Churchill War Rooms

££

Here’s a real slice of history to go with a really delicious slice of cake. Halfway around the Churchill War Rooms - “the underground nerve centre where Winston Churchill and his inner circle directed the Second World War” - you’ll find the Switchroom cafe.

The menu offers timeless British favourites like pies, stews and tarts for your main course, followed by one of many classic puddings: Gingerbread, Bakewell tart, and more. And the backdrop is guaranteed to get a conversation going: This is the nerve centre of one of our most famous governments, after all!

Note: You can only access the cafeteria with a ticket to the museum. But if anything, this is a plus rather than a minus.

10. Stranger’s Dining Room

The Palace of Westminster

£££

Deep inside the Houses of Parliament, you’ll find the Stranger’s Dining Room. The rich, luxurious decor is quintessentially British, and if you ever get a chance to visit, you can’t help but be amazed.

The name comes from the affectionate nickname used to refer to friends and visitors of Members of Parliament. This room was where Members host ‘Strangers.’

This room is for hire or by invite only, so it’s unlikely you’ll get to dine here unless you rent the whole space or happen to know an MP. If neither of those apply, though, you can check out the Pugin room…

Named after Augustus Welby Pugin, director of the design and decoration of the Houses of Parliament, this room offers public dining experiences on certain days of the year. Check here for availability.

  • 3-course lunch, fixed price menu, with coffee, £45
  • 3-course dinner, fixed price menu, with coffee, £50

11. Roux at Parliament Square

11 George Street

££££

The vigilant amongst you will notice that we already included Roux in our list of the best restaurants near Westminster Abbey. Now, this isn’t laziness on our part. Although Westminster Station is only a few minutes walk from the Abbey, there are ample restaurants in the area to not require duplicate entries.

So, why did we include it in both?

The answer is simple. Roux really is special. This is world-class cuisine, straight from the imagination of Michel Roux Jr, one of the biggest names in global gastronomy.

You shouldn’t miss this. Described as “contemporary European dishes in a grand period setting,” it’s worth making an effort to have a meal here.

12. St Stephen’s Tavern

10 Bridge Street

££

Another pub. What, so you didn’t think a guide to restaurants in central London would only include one pub, did you? 

The TripAdvisor review for St Stephen’s notes they’re renowned for “serving pints to politicians,” meaning that if you time it right, you may get to rub shoulders with an MP. And if not, you can still enjoy a pint of very fine tipple and an award-winning steak pie.

Or, if you’re vegetarian, teetotal, or both, you can enjoy any number of fine selections from the menu or behind the bar.

This pub has been standing since 1875, making it a real piece of London history. They still have a division bell that was used to inform any Members of Parliament who were “working remotely” that they had just a few minutes left to cast their vote in the chamber.

 

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Restaurants off-the-beaten-track near Westminster

Sometimes, you want to eat somewhere special. Somewhere not everybody knows about. To tap into the local intel, and find a backstreet eatery that’s managed to avoid the combined eyes of hundreds of review sites, thousands of reviews, and millions of visitors to our fine city.

And guess what? It’s not an easy task.

By definition, any restaurant you read about online has already made itself noticed. Managing to stay off the beaten track - especially in London - is a rare accomplishment, but it is possible.

Here are six places to eat that tick the box. 

They come with a small disclaimer, however. While our other ‘Dining Out in Westminster’ guides feature restaurants within a ten-minute radius, we had to cast a slightly wider net for this guide. Each of these eateries should be walkable in 20 minutes from Westminster Station. If you don’t feel like walking, hop in a cab or on the tube, and you’ll be whisked to your table much more quickly.

1. India Club

143 Strand

£

17-minute walk

Who doesn’t love a curry? Paradoxically, this imported cuisine has become something of a national dish in the UK, and it’s restaurants like India Club that made this possible.

This eccentric curry house has barely changed in the five decades since it opened. It’s tucked away at the top of a staircase off The Strand and is renowned as a jewel in the city’s culinary crown.

The food is excellent, and its heritage is fascinating. The India Club provided a welcome respite for the UK's Asian population when attitudes to immigration were less forgiving, and these four walls have played host to all sorts of groups and associations.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find another restaurant that retains its authentic family feel after more than fifty years in business.

2. Grumbles Bistro

35 Churton Street

££

20-minute walk

Here’s another restaurant that rightly celebrates its five-decade heritage, boasting their pride “of the fact that our interior looks exactly as it did in 1964.”

Alongside an a la carte menu, Grumbles serves set menus to pre-theatre diners and Sunday lunchers. They also host Christmas and New Year dining experiences - perfect if your visit to our fine city coincides with these special dates.

And what’s more, on Mondays you can bring your own bottle to Grumbles (with certain terms and conditions, available on their site). What better way to put a custom spin on your memorable dining experience.

3. Pimlico Fresh

86-87 Wilton Road

£££

20-minute walk

If you want a restaurant that captures London’s culinary zeitgeist, Pimlico Fresh is the place for you. Here you’ll find mashed avocado, poached eggs, aolis, and everything else trendy. You’ll find a handwritten menu on a chalkboard, and you’ll be greeted by wondrous wafts of freshly-ground coffee beans.

The reviews are very complimentary. “The best breakfast in town”, claims one: A real achievement in a sprawling metropolis like London. “There is nothing like this in San Francisco”, claims another. Again, a testament to the border-crossing excellence of Pimlico Fresh.

4. Windsor Castle Pub

23 Francis Street

£££

15-minute walk

The Windsor Castle is a magnificent example of London’s pub culture, perfectly preserving the aspects that are most at threat from our modern lifestyles. “Mobile, tablet, & laptop-free zone” read the coasters, and it’s not just an empty advisory. If you get out any technology, a member of staff will come and politely ask you to put it away.

It seems extreme, but it creates an atmosphere that’s ever-more uncommon in our interconnected world. Once you get used to it, and get your pint and plate of food, you’ll definitely miss it afterwards.

The menu is traditional pub fare: Pies, bangers and mash, and similar. All the drinks on-premises are made by Sam Smith’s brewery, too, meaning a new and exciting selection for unfamiliar customers. By London standards, Sam Smith’s pubs offer a fairly cheap pint.

5. Theodore Bullfrog

26-30 John Adam Street

£

12-minute walk

This pub - the Theo, as it’s affectionately known - is another shining example of traditional British pub culture. Nestled near Charing Cross station, right in the heart of the city and just a short walk from Westminster, the Theo promises good food and good beer. A simple, yet irresistible, proposition.

Lunch and dinner menus ensure a wide selection of delicious food throughout the day, with everything from olives to a full Ploughman’s lunch. If you’re visiting London and have never had a Ploughman’s, by the way, we heartily recommend it.

6. Bill’s Covent Garden

St Martin’s Courtyard

£££

18-minute walk

A vibrant take on traditional British ambience, with a menu built around the freshest ingredients, Bill's is guaranteed to impress.

Fresh produce sits at the heart of Bill’s business. From humble roots growing veg in the British countryside to becoming a cornerstone of London cuisine, Bill has achieved a lot.

Fruits and veggies are available to buy, along with jams, chutneys, relishes and more made from the surplus. An ever-changing menu reflects the seasonality of the produce available and offers novel and exciting meals fresh from the garden.

Bill’s is great if you’re looking for a good meal and some great souvenirs to take home to friends and family.

So far we’ve cast a fairly broad net around Westminster, but if you want to stay very close to the centre of the area, the next section is for you.

Westminster-Front-Shot

Dining Out: Dolphin Square’s top Westminster picks

London is cosmopolitan and diverse, we think that’s been established. This guide has already covered cuisines from every corner of the world. After a day of pounding the pavement, you’re going to want a hearty meal in a comfortable, welcoming environment. Ideally washed down with a nice glass of wine or a pint of fine tipple.

Read on to find out about our top picks for dining out in this cool niche of the city. 

1. ICHI Sushi & Sashimi Bar

Park Plaza, 200 Westminster Bridge Rd

££

Sushi has been a firm favourite of Londoners for decades, and it's showing no signs of going anywhere. Made from super-fresh fish, much of it is really beneficial for your health – and, when chopsticks are added to the mix, it can be a fun experience for those who haven't tried it before. 

With a 4-star rating on Trip Advisor, ICHI is surprisingly affordable with a set menu option and is valued for both its food and quality of service. Guests cite fast and friendly service, a variety of options and views of Westminster. 

ICHI itself cites its highly-skilled sushi chefs and fresh ingredients as being a winning combination and offers both Japanese and Western drinks to complement the experience. 

2. The Library at County Hall

Westminster Bridge Rd

££

Afternoon tea – also known as "old-fashioned tea", "family tea" and "high tea" – is something of an English institution, and nowhere does it better than London. With an array of delicate sandwiches and cakes, plus speciality teas, no two places offer the same experience, and it's often themed to play into popular culture. 

Served in Gillray's bar, which has views of the Thames, London Eye and Parliament, The Library at County Hall promises a "dining legacy". It offers a traditional afternoon tea with a modern edge. Heading into a near-perfect 5 stars on Trip Advisor, attendees list its beautiful, Downton Abbey-esque setting and free-flowing bubbles as some of the best reasons to book, while The Library notes its finger sandwiches, scones and British sparkling wines. 

3. Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar

County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd

££££

Gillray's, the setting for The Library afternoon tea, is itself notable, particularly for mouth-watering steaks and its well-stocked bar, which boasts over 600 gins. Described as an "old-world hotel restaurant with classy crystal chandeliers", it's well worth the price tag – with clientele remarking its food is "the real deal" and "to die for". 

Close to the London Eye, it could be set to become just as iconic, and already describes itself as "the best steakhouse on London's Southbank". Of course, eating out isn't just about the food, and the atmosphere here certainly doesn't disappoint – the bar is situated in a real library, which is where its afternoon tea got its name.

4. Cotto

89 Westminster Bridge Rd

£££

When looking for restaurants near Park Plaza and Westminster Bridge, you could do worse than this little Italian. Not only does Cotto concoct the most delectable pizzas and portions of pasta, but it's also got that cosy, dreamy ambience that brings friends together and makes dates feel that bit more relaxed. Nearly 500 Google reviews have brought it close to 5 stars, and many commenters note the authenticity of its food.

Cotto's menu is full of dishes done simply and effectively, without extravagance, but with maximum flavour and atmosphere – and the prices are nothing short of fantastic, with pizzas starting from just £10. There are plenty of options for the gluten-free crowd, too.

5) Ila Vegan & Veg

Unit.2B, 125-131 Westminster Bridge Rd

£

Ila Vegan & Veg is the perfect solution for vegans and vegetarians looking for a restaurant near Westminster Bridge that ticks the boxes but doesn't scrimp on choice or flavour. It's also got a flexible menu that jumps around different cuisines – Indian lentil curries, American-style pulled Jackfruit burgers and homely stews all feature. 

Popular in the Westminster area, one of the best things about the place is the option to have your food to take-away – so you can explore the city as you eat, instead of watching the world go by from the window. 

Just down the road from the bridge, is the Abbey. A structure has stood on this site for over a thousand years, and the latest incarnation is one of the most incredible buildings in the world.

Final thoughts...

Westminster is the heart of our nation’s capital. History has been made here for hundreds of years, and it’s still being made today. This is the seat of our government, the centre of our church, and just a short walk from the residence of our esteemed monarch.

The area has unbridled appeal for everybody, from budding foodies through to the most established gourmands. You’ll find a meal to match any palette and any budget. Chefs and dishes from every corner of the globe converge on London to deliver the finest food imaginable.

In short, Westminster is an incredible place to have on your doorstep. You’re never short of something to do, or, as we’ve shown here, somewhere to eat. 

We’d love to chat with you about what Dolphin Square can offer. Why not book a viewing today?