5 of the best Black-owned restaurants in London

Chef and founder Lawrence Gomez blends his Gambian heritage and international culinary training on the menu of his restaurant Papa L’s Kitchen. Credit: Papa L’s Kitchen

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.

This is just a microcosm of what London has to offer, and we’ve rounded up five of the best Black-owned restaurants across the city that you should hop on an OpenTable reservation for right now. 


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

A scallop sits in its shell topped with lardons and micro herbs at Papa L’s, a restaurant in London

The scallops at Papa L’s are a real treat. Credit: Papa L’s Kitchen

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

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For a stellar five-course menu book at 12:51 in Islington

A meringue-based dessert is topped with a sesame snap and homemade ice cream at 12:51, one of the best Black-owned restaurants in London

12:51 is all about fine dining in a relaxed setting. Credit: 12:51

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. 

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For soulful Jamaican classics, try Roger’s Kitchen in Camden

A plate of fish, scallops and prawns with salsa at Roger’s Kitchen, one of the best Black-owned restaurants in London

The seafood platter is one of the go-to dishes at Roger’s Kitchen. Credit: James French, Roger’s Kitchen

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.  

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For a getaway to the Caribbean islands, unwind at RapChar in Brixton

A Jamaican snapper with calamari, King prawns, festivals, plantain, and okra at RapChar, a restaurant in London

RapChar’s Jam Rock Snap is a must-try. Credit: RapChar

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.

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For traditional Ethiopian flavours, feast at Zeret Kitchen in Camberwell

An Ethiopian dish at Zeret Kitchen, one of the best Black-owned restaurants in London

Zeret Kitchen is the perfect spot for sharing meals with friends and family. Credit: Zeret Kitchen

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. 

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Shekha Vyas is a London-based reporter, writing about business, lifestyle, and food. Follow her on Instagram at @shekhav or on TikTok at @tastingbritain.


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