The best restaurants in Kensington & Chelsea 

Mhairi Mann

4 March 2022

Where to refuel in the Royal Borough, from Michelin-starred restaurants and romantic enclaves and to posh pubs for the perfect Sunday lunch 

4 March 2022 | Mhairi Mann

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ondon's most prosperous neighbourhoods, Kensington and Chelsea, are home to some of the capital's most impressive restaurants. Amid the area's white stucco townhouses and high-end boutiques, you will find reels of silky pappardelle, espresso crème brûlée and no shortage of Michelin stars. Make no mistake, this is a postcode for deep pockets. To ensure that you are not left disappointed, follow our consummate guide to dining out in Kensington and Chelsea, from glamorous trattorias and fine-dining establishments to beautifully decorated, West London institutions. 

Daphne's

This Chelsea stalwart is so-called after its first proprietor, a gregarious casting agent who opened the restaurant during the Sixties as a hub for aristocrats and socialites. Today, it is owned by prolific restaurateur Richard Caring and remains a delightful hangout for well-heeled locals and the occasional celebrity. Glamorous Martin Brudnizki-designed interiors draw on sybaritic lunches on the Mediterranean, with rattan-backed chairs, vintage Murano glass chandeliers, caramel tones and a glossy marble-topped bar.

Against a backdrop of lemon trees, exposed brick and antique mirrors, enjoy an upmarket menu of Italian deliciousness: buttery, truffle-topped tagliatelle, silky octopus carpaccio and shellfish risotto for two. On balmy days, the roof retracts to create a serene al fresco dining space, while the front of the restaurant spills onto the street. You may be in Chelsea, but you’ll feel like you’re within cork-popping distance of the Amalfi Coast.

112 Draycott Avenue, London SW3 3AE, daphnes-restaurant.co.uk

Bibendum

This art deco behemoth is one of London’s most recognisable and impressive buildings, and was once the headquarters of British Michelin. Terrence Conran relaunched the space in 1987 as his flagship restaurant and oyster bar, next door to his flagship shop. Today, you can still eat oysters in the courtyard cafe at Bibendum, while upstairs leads to the star of the show: Claude Bosi's celebrated Michelin-starred restaurant, which focuses on boldly flavoured French fare. The historic roly-poly Michelin Man is omnipresent – in the butter dish, on the salt and pepper pots and positioned in the building's soaring stained glass windows.

Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RD, claudebosi.com

No. Fifty Cheyne

No. Fifty Cheyne is owned by Sally Greene, founding director of the Old Vic and proprietor of Ronnie Scott’s. As one might expect, this smart establishment has a delightfully louche air, especially on the weekends, when crisp Sunday roasts with all of the trimmings are flamed to perfection on the copper grill. The house cocktail list features tongue-in-cheek concoctions, such as ‘Darling This is Chelsea’ with a Hennessy base, as well as a devilishly good blood orange margarita. 

Chandelier-lit interiors resemble an opulent English country home, with striped linen upholstery, parquet wooden flooring, comfy leather banquettes and glorious views of the river. A staunch favourite with the Chelsea set, look out for the restaurant’s much-photographed floral facade, which changes with the seasons.

50 Cheyne Walk, London SW3 5LR, fiftycheyne.com

Elystan Street

Elystan Street is helmed by revered British chef Phil Howard, in collaboration with restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas. Considered one of London's very best modern Michelin-starred restaurants, it eschews white tablecloth grandeur in favour of concrete tabletops and staff in denim aprons. Dine out on double-baked soufflés made with cave-aged cheddar, hand-cut strozzapreti with shavings of black truffle, griddled purple sprouting broccoli with hazelnut cream and devilishly good espresso crème brûlée, all served in a large and light-filled, contemporary dining room. Oenophiles will be impressed by the lengthy and thoughtfully curated wine list, which balances some of the world's most prestigious winemakers with more niche suppliers, as well as a good number of accessible crowd-pleasers.

43 Elystan Street, Chelsea, SW3 3NT, elystanstreet.com

The Kensington

One of the most homely and beautiful hotels in West London, The Kensington's Drawing Room bar and restaurant balances comfort and glamour, with velvet seating, statement chandeliers and a year-round glimmering fire. A delightful menu of locally-sourced British fare includes grilled whole Dover sole, generous cuts of beef and roasted cod fillet with shellfish mash, finished with a Paxton & Whitfield cheese board.

There is also a picturesque afternoon tea that presents London’s most iconic landmarks in diminutive form, alongside dainty savoury dishes. During the warmer months, the restaurant opens onto the street with an elegant, heated terrace, which is perfectly positioned for people watching.

109-113 Queen's Gate, South Kensington, London SW7 5LP, doylecollection.com

Stanley's

Stanley's cuts a dapper figure – all olive trees and sage green furnishings, with a reclaimed timber bar and marble tabletops. The restaurant takes its name from its owner, Hugh Stanley, the nephew of the Earl of Derby who previously ran the nearby Sydney Arms pub. During the summer months, few places beat its charming outdoor courtyard, bristling with greenery. Masterchef: The Professionals finalist, Olivia Burt, is in the kitchen, cooking up contemporary British dishes like crab and mushroom buckwheat tart; Westcombe cheddar doughnuts and citrus chicken with hen of the wood mushrooms. The elegant indoor Orangery seats up to 30 guests and is a cosy alternative on colder days.

151 Sydney Street, Chelsea, London SW3 6NT, stanleyschelsea.co.uk

Kitchen W8

Another success story from chef Phil Howard and restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas, this neighborhood favourite near High Street Kensington is possibly London's most reasonably priced Michelin-starred restaurant, with a set menu priced at £29.50 for three courses. Head chef Mark Kempson, who has run the kitchen since it opened in 2009, cooks British dishes with an elegant French twist, served in a smart and homely setting. 

11-13 Abingdon Road, London W8, kitchenw8.com

The Chelsea Pig

The Chelsea Pig reopened at the end of 2021 following a facelift by designer Timothy Oulton, whose flagship boutique sits nearby on the King’s Road. This ‘posh pub’ reflects Oulton’s signature blend of theatre and formality with a gothic edge – think deep-tufted leather, thick velvet drapes, moody tones and brass accents. Look out for Derek the Diver, a life-sized deep-sea diver in a metal suit, presented in its own aquarium. 

Upstairs is the Trophy Room, so-called due to the vintage cups, shields and medals that adorn the walls. Here, you can enjoy boneless chicken wings with porcini mushroom purée, Cornish hen pot roast with suet dumplings or the signature stargazy fish pie – an elevated iteration of the Cornish classic with langoustines and a buttery puff pastry crust.

35 Old Church Street, London SW3 5BS, thechelseapig.co.uk

Daylesford

Lady Carole Bamford’s organic food and lifestyle brand, Daylesford, has several outposts across West London but its Brompton Cross location has the edge. Begin your day with fresh farm eggs on chunky sourdough bread, before sampling wood-fired pizzas, loaded burgers and seasonal salads at lunch, served with botanical cocktails and sparkling wine. Fresh, organic ingredients are grown on the Daylesford farm in the Cotswolds for a thoughtful farm-to-fork model. Stock up on farm fare in the onsite shop, which also displays an enticing array of cakes, juices and takeaway meals.

76-82 Sloane Avenue, Brompton Road, London SW3 3DZ, daylesford.com

Bluebird 

No guide to Kensington and Chelsea would be complete without a mention of Bluebird. This capacious King's Road institution is peak Chelsea, courting a glammed-up, young crowd. Enjoy coffee and casual bites at the ground floor Bluebird Café, lingering drinks on the outdoor terrace or head upstairs for a more formal affair of venison carpaccio, tandoori monkfish masala and lobster ravioli, as well as a popular weekend brunch

350 King's Road, London SW3 5UU, bluebird-restaurant.co.uk

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