London’s Black-owned restaurants are thriving. Pan-African fine dining is having a moment in Piccadilly, soulful Jamaican classics are in the spotlight in Camden, and the breadth of Ethiopian cooking is being celebrated in Camberwell.
The best Black-owned restaurants in London have a table for you.
For pan-African fine-dining fare – try Papa L’s Kitchen in Piccadilly
At Papa L’s Kitchen, diners are invited on a food-filled odyssey that bridges continents and generations. Founder Lawrence Gomez (Sexy Fish, Scott’s and The Ivy) is a trailblazer for modern pan-African cuisine, blending his Gambian heritage and mother’s recipes with his experiences cooking all over the world. Gomez brings his own spin on traditional dishes that he grew up eating, while also showcasing the diversity of the produce from his country. Vegetables like tempura kanja (okra) and Kenyan green beans sit alongside Gambia’s second largest import, tomatoes, while scallops and monkfish come from its long coastline. Childhood oxtail soup becomes a vegan chargrilled yam with tomato and mix bean broth, while chicken yassa and benechin rice (the national dish) are also a must-try. The desserts are a highlight; leave room for the lemon posset with cinnamon fritters.
For a stellar five-course menu book at 12:51 in Islington
12:51 is the vision of James Cochran, a Whitstable chef with Vincentian and Scottish roots. The Ledbury and Harwood Arms alum serves a seasonal five-course tasting menu with highlights like roast eel and kirkham doughnut, and hake with leeks and bone sauce. Though plates come out fine-dining style, the restaurant is anything but. The laidback dining room with its minimalist tables, vinyl sleeves, and the lively playlist have all made this a neighbourhood favourite.
For soulful Jamaican classics, try Roger’s Kitchen in Camden
This local gem is all about spotlighting Jamaican classics. Chef and owner Roger Shakes left Westmoreland, Jamaica in 1999 and began working at London’s beloved Mango Rooms before transforming it into the restaurant it is today. At Roger’s Kitchen, bright green walls, reclaimed timber furnishings, and a soundtrack of ska and reggae set the mood for a sumptuous feast. Think salt cod fritters, jerk chicken, and rice and peas, among other Jamaican favourites. At the bar, a selection of fine rums await; pair one with the flambéed banana or Caribbean fruit cake to end your meal on a sweet note.
For a getaway to the Caribbean islands, unwind at RapChar in Brixton
Jamaican chef Raymond Fowler brings a taste of the Caribbean to this chic and pared-back new restaurant in Brixton. Menu highlights at RapChar include the Jam Rock Snap, a Jamaican snapper with calamari, King prawns, festivals, plantain, okra and sweet chilli-infused Caribbean seasonal veg. Keep an eye out for Fowler during dinner service—he’s known for checking in with diners during a meal.
For traditional Ethiopian flavours, feast at Zeret Kitchen in Camberwell
The family-run Zeret Kitchen is the go-to spot for Ethiopian food in the heart of South London. This restaurant is all about sharing: Tear a piece of injera, the tangy, fermented pancake-like flatbread, dip into the abundance of curries, and use it to scoop up the vegetables on your plate. For a little bit of everything, the Zeret surprise is the way to go. Injera comes topped with slow-cooked beef with onions and berbere (beef wot), lentils in a spicy red pepper sauce (misir wot), and chickpeas roasted and simmered with berbere (shuro wat). Cap things off with a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, where the coffee beans are roasted, ground, and served at your table.
Still hungry? Explore more great restaurants to try in London on OpenTable.