Best-of Guides London

The Best Dining Pubs in London

10 Restaurants
A good London pub is a place with a warm welcome and friendly service; it’s a place where Brits feel at home, and international visitors enjoy the experience with a subtle envy; crucially, it’s a place that serves hearty, honest food. The capital is filled with pubs of this ilk, which provide their communities with great hospitality. Here are some of our favourites spread across the London boroughs.
Updated on 22 March 2024
Bull & Last
168 Highgate Road, Dartmouth Park, NW5 1QS London
££ · Traditional British

Like so many of the best British pubs, The Bull & Last has rustic charm, a friendly team and hearty cooking. Dishes are generous on both quantity and flavour, with one of their North Essex Shorthorn steaks with triple-cooked chips particularly hard to resist. For the best atmosphere, head for the ground floor room. Seven elegantly furnished bedrooms and a proper cooked breakfast are mighty appealing if you’ve travelled far. Dogs are welcomed heartily, often coming in from a walk on Hampstead Heath.

Harwood Arms
Walham Grove, Hammersmith & Fulham, SW6 1QP London
£££ · Modern British

While the cooking is highly accomplished at London’s only Michelin-Starred pub, in some ways the most admirable quality about The Harwood Arms is that it never forgets it’s a pub. There are no half measures when it comes to flavour and the menu has a strong traditional basis, with subtle nods to the contemporary coming through in the presentation. The spotlight remains firmly on the principal component of the dish, with game being a particular highlight. Their Sunday selection is a mouth-watering prospect too.

254 Hackney Road, Tower Hamlets, E2 7SJ London
££ · Traditional British

The first-floor roof terrace is a huge draw at this traditional neighbourhood pub; there are few places better in which to relax with a drink on a sunny summer’s day. The owners are alumni of the famous St. JOHN, and they share the principle of no-nonsense, wholesome British cooking that doesn’t skimp on flavour. If you fancy a small party, the cellar room – a collaboration with Italian designer Martino Gamper – is available for hire, with the chefs serving dishes themselves.

Pig and Butcher
80 Liverpool Road, Islington, N1 OQD London
££ · Modern British

Looking every inch a ‘proper’ pub, this classic corner spot could just as easily feel at home in the British countryside. It started life in the mid-19th century, serving refreshment to the cattle drovers taking their livestock to Smithfield Market. As one would expect from the name, the in-house butchered meats are of the highest provenance; there’s also variety to the menu however, with dishes like beetroot-cured salmon on offer. The only downside is how deservedly popular it is – so make sure to plan ahead and book a table in advance.

The Baring
55 Baring Street, Islington, N1 3DS London
££ · European Contemporary

While it retains the welcoming appearance and atmosphere of a traditional public house, it’s soon clear that the cooking at The Baring is a notch above your usual pub grub. The menu takes on influences from across Europe and dishes maintain a focus on quality over quantity, with fine ingredients used to produce no small amount of flavour. The Sunday roast menu includes options like wood pigeon, Ibïama pork and Normande beef rib to share.

The Cadogan Arms
298 King's Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UG London
££ · Modern British

A pub of this name has been a feature on the King’s Road since it ceased being a private thoroughfare for King Charles II in the 1830s. Now restored to its Victorian glory with wood-panelling, colourful glazed tiles and the odd chandelier, it’s run with a relaxed, friendly and local feel. The menu of unfussy pub favourites like ham, egg and chips are sure to satisfy, with a few touches of modernity on display in the execution. A wine list featuring notable producers and vintages is a reminder that this is very much a Chelsea address.

The Clarence Tavern
102 Stoke Newington Church Street, Hackney, N16 0LA London
££ · Traditional Cuisine

Opening just before the first lockdown meant The Clarence Tavern had a rocky start to life, but it’s come out the other side and is now a real fixture in the Stoke Newington neighbourhood. With the feel of a proper London boozer, it’s a place which doesn’t take itself too seriously – while still being committed to serving high quality cooking. Dishes are honest, hearty and packed with flavour, while service comes from a sweet, well-organised young team.

The Devonshire
17-19 Denman Street, Soho, W1D 7HW London
££ · Traditional British

There was no shortage of buzz when The Devonshire opened its doors in late 2023. Both as a watering hole specialising in well-poured pints of Guinness and as a no-frills restaurant, it has proven to be an immensely popular spot from day one. Part of that is down to co-landlord Oisín Rogers, an experienced Irishman with all the gregariousness needed for the profession. The cooking, for its part, is simple, honest and predominantly grill-based – expect the likes of lamb cutlets, pork chops and multiple cuts of beef.

The Holland
25 Earls Court Road, Kensington, W8 6EB London
££ · Traditional British

Chef-Owner Max de Nahlik spent time working in several London pub kitchens before taking over the establishment formerly known as The Princess Victoria and firmly putting his stamp on things, including bestowing it with a brand new name. The Holland, as it is today, is a warm, inviting place with a proper bar area and an unfussy approach. Produce leads the way on the short, appealing menu – and it’s worth booking a table at lunchtime to make the most of their incredibly good value set selection.

10 West Temple Sheen, Richmond-Upon-Thames, SW14 7RT London
££ · Modern British

Smart neighbourhoods often breed strong pubs, which is certainly the case for The Victoria, tucked away among the leafy streets of East Sheen. Chef Director Paul Merrett cooked in some of London’s top kitchens before heading here, where he oversees a menu filled with pubby classics like haddock & chips and pie of the week. They serve a traditional roast on Sundays, of course, and there are six bedrooms available if you’re on an overnight visit.