Just in case you needed any more of an excuse to visit the capital’s parks this summer…
The The Ivy Cafe, Blackheath
This particular Ivy location, right on the heath and a short walk to Greenwich Park, makes lunch on the patio awfully enticing. Locals were crying out for a new local, reliable haunt and, last year, they got it – when seeking a table, that’s who you’re up against.
This being a multi-storey paean to food and drink, head upstairs to Hide Above and tackle the tasting menu in the modern dining room overlooking Green Park. Expect dishes like Cornish lobster baked in fig leaves and tempura gilthead bream.
The The Old Bull & Bush, Hampstead
You know a pub’s famous when it has its own Wikipedia page. The Old Bull & Bush dishes out gastropub fare beside Golders Hill park and, more notably, is a short stumble to Hampstead Heath.
The people behind Bermondsey bistro Casse-Croute bring you Pique-Nique, tucked at the back of the tiny Tanner Street Park. Food is, as the name suggests, a little different to its sister – sardines on bruschetta, braised lamb neck, and croque monsieurs better than you’ll find in France.
Soane’s Kitchen, Ealing
Situated in a Grade I listed building in Ealing’s Walpole Park, there are few more idyllic locations to take a meal in London. At Soane’s Kitchen, named after the park’s former owner John Soane, food is served from breakfast through to evening digestif.
The Belvedere, Holland Park
The idea adopted by The Belvedere, a 400-odd year-old former ballroom in Holland Park, is to transport you out of the chaos of London while remaining in the middle of it. Haute European food is just one of the ways they do that.
Petersham Nurseries Café, Richmond
Petersham Nurseries has become a true SW London classic through the years. Though best known for its appetite for horticulture, it also happens to be on the doorstep of the enormous Richmond Park – something the Petersham team encourage their guests to explore. Expect seasonal dishes inspired by their kitchen garden.
This café-cum-restaurant in Victoria Park is doing especially well due to its surroundings. If visiting on a weekend, clearly all of east London knows it. Not to be confused with Kew Garden’s Pavilion Bar & Grill, though if green spaces are your thing this is also one to look out for.
This restaurant looking over Clapham Common is a neighbourhood favourite. One can see why – the owners are a lovely bunch and their effortless service contributes to an atmosphere difficult to match.
Festa sul Prato, Deptford
Festa has become a favourite amongst the Folkestone Gardens community. Probably because it’s generous in every sense of the word, from the staff’s naturally kind demeanours to the size of the ‘New London’ and Italian-oriented portions.
The York & Albany, Camden
Situated on the edge of Regent’s Park, this modern British restaurant bar is part of Gordon Ramsay’s empire, so you know you’re in safe hands. They’re open from breakfast through to dinner and there’s outdoor seating so you can enjoy dishes like steak frites or sea bream in the sunshine.
The Other Naughty Piglet, St James’s
Situated in The Other Palace theatre (given its proximity to Buck House), TONP – judging by what national critics are saying – is probably the best restaurant local to St James’s Park. Pop in for natural wines and small plates like roast cod with sauce vierge and XO linguine.
Updated April 2021.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.