London is the historic home of some of the best Christmas traditions: the pantomime, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the ice rink at Somerset House and the Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. It is also home to some of the best restaurants to celebrate Christmas with family, colleagues and friends. Cosy rooftop winter igloos have London skyline views, spots host singalong Christmas tunes, and a festive afternoon tea features treats with champagne.
There are feasts to suit all tastes, budgets, dietary requirements and occasions, whether that’s a post-shopping dinner in a winter wonderland spot, a MICHELIN-starred Indian meal, or glitzy cocktails and bar bites overlooking the fountains of Granary Square.
Here are 11 exceptional Christmas restaurants in London to book right now on OpenTable.
The best London restaurants to book for Christmas right now – read on for a guide.
For an after-shopping Christmas meal – head to Brasserie of Light in Oxford Circus
In the heart of Selfridges, the Brasserie of Light offers a contemporary winter wonderland for hungry shoppers—or those who come to central London to soak up the atmosphere and the Christmas lights. The global fare includes dishes such as chicken Milanese, pomegrenate aubergine with tapenade, and both meat and plant-based burgers. Look out for their signature seasonal specials featuring spectacular festive desserts and choose from the extensive wine list which features bottles from Sicily and South Africa.
For a Japanese-Peruvian Christmas meal – explore Ayllu in Paddington
Japanese-Peruvian food is the focus at Ayllu, a word used to describe a network of families that worked together during the Incan empire. That spirit of togetherness drives the menu at this Paddington restaurant. Fresh fish features heavily in Japanese and Peruvian cooking; Ayllu’s menu boasts delicacies such as miso-marinated black cod, salmon with shichimi togarashi (a Japanese spice mix) and an array of ceviches and tiraditos laced with zesty lime. The drinks list similarly spotlights a mix of Japanese and Peruvian flavours. The sakura no hana, inspired by Japan’s cherry blossoms, unites sake with Latin American Malbec. Ayllu’s elegant design features green walls, plush banquettes and dazzling lights which echo the Amazonian rainfall. For those looking for a meal out during the holidays, Ayllu is open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
For a Christmas lunch with a view – book Aviary in Moorgate
This rooftop terrace and bar in Moorgate offers a bird’s eye view of the city. Even in winter, diners can take in the view thanks to dining igloos on the terrace. Come here for the dessert menu, bar snacks and cockle-warming cocktails such as the Cardillo, with vodka, raspberry liqueur and strawberry jam. The dining room is equally decadent, decked out with rugs, candles and twinkling lights. The menus both inside and out spotlight the work of small-scale British suppliers. Diners can expect turkey from Norfolk and Scottish salmon for the Christmas menu. There are options for vegetarians and vegans as well—their roast celeriac and mushrooms risotto with cavolo nero and chestnut sauce is a must—and an extensive list of gin and sparkling wines to compliment the cocktails.
For Christmas at a fine-dining Indian restaurant – try Benares in Mayfair
Benares has long been considered one of the finest Indian restaurants in London. Chef Sameer Taneja unites his French classical training, his knowledge of British produce and his extensive experience cooking Indian food at the restaurant. This is particularly evident in dishes such as celeriac bhatti kebab (a type of grilled Indian kebab), baked Malabar scallop, and halibut and clam moilee (a South Indian-style curry), that’ll be served on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Diners can choose from three different tasting menus in the lead-up to Christmas all the while seated in a stunning space featuring hand-crafted furniture from India, a candlelit staircase, and a decorative pool with fresh flowers.
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For a Christmas dinner in the heart of Kensington – head over to Launceston Place in South Kensington
Launceston Place chef Ben Murphy burnished his reputation working for legendary chef Pierre Koffman at The Berkeley. Since 2017, he’s brought that expertise to Launceston Place, which has risen up from being a hidden Kensington gem to a top London destination. The Craft Guild of Chefs, the UK’s main professional association for chefs, named Murphy the national chef of the year for 2022. His playful menu features dishes such as egg and soldiers with foie gras and truffle, and tender venison with sweet-sharp quince, butternut squash and sausage. The wine list includes more than 300 labels from 13 countries, but if that feels intimidating, request a wine pairing from sommelier Marcello Neri, who adapts his selections for all dietary requirements.
For a stellar Christmas Day menu – visit Indigo at One Aldwych in Covent Garden
Executive chef Dominic Teague brings 30 years of experience to the seasonal tasting menus at Indigo. The special Christmas Day menu features dishes such as smoked salmon custard and caviar, served with a glass of champagne, Cornish turbot served with mussels, leek and saffron; and mushroom consommé with truffles from the Périgord region. Teague developed his passion for truffles while training under acclaimed chef Roger Vergé, and he’s brought that expertise to his menu at Indigo. Finish off with a stellar homemade Christmas pudding served with plum compote and warm brandy custard.
For a dazzling Christmas dinner with friends – head to Granary Square Brasserie in Kings Cross
Overlooking the brightly lit fountains of Granary Square, Granary Square Brasserie is all about the dazzling atmosphere. Alongside bites of twice-baked stilton and walnut soufflé or the duck ballottine, groove to the music played by DJs all day long. There are a host of sections in which to celebrate at this brasserie including the central bar, a relaxed lounge area for lunch and a dining room for a more formal dinner. Don’t miss out on the festive desserts featuring dishes such as a Christmas crème brûlée with cinnamon compote and shortbread, the flambéed Christmas pudding with vanilla cream or the famous chocolate melting dome with honeycomb and topped with hot caramel sauce. Pair it with one of the signature cocktails like a Granary Glitz with blood orange gin, Italicus liqueur and prosecco.
For a festive afternoon tea in a five star hotel – enter The Parlour in Westminster
Once home to the Metropolitan police, this five-star hotel fuses history with modernity. The Parlour, one of the hotel’s restaurants, is the place to go for a celebratory afternoon tea. Delight your tastebuds with Christmas-inspired sweet and savoury treats, choose from a selection of nine teas and add a glass of Champagne if you’re in the mood. The Parlour serves as an excellent pit stop for shoppers browsing through Covent Garden or those taking a stroll along the River Thames’ north bank.
For a Christmas dinner with premium Kobe beef – book at Engawa in Piccadilly
Engawa is only one of a handful of London restaurants to offer Kobe beef, the most exclusive of the Wagyu beef varieties. To make the most of meat, Engawa imports the whole carcass from Japan’s Hyogo prefecture. Cuts then make their way into dishes such as seared beef with spicy wasabi dressing and teppanyaki steaks. A Christmas omakase menu will have sushi, black cod karaage, highly prized beef, and dessert. Pair your meal with one of the Japanese beers or the extensive selection of sake and wines.
For a Christmas dinner with a show – visit Phoenix Art Club in Soho
The only thing better than dining out in December is dinner and a show. Enter the Phoenix Arts Club, an Art Deco theatrical venue that’s one of London’s last remaining independent speakeasies. The club’s cabaret kicks off at half 7 from Thursday through to Sunday evening. On Friday, pianists play singalong evenings after the cabaret: you pick the tune, they play, you sing your heart out. Christmas songs are welcome. The dinner here isn’t second fiddle to the show; fresh pizzas are sourdough-based and have vegan and vegetarian toppings as well as creamy mozzarella, smoky ventricina & calabrese salami. The base can be made gluten-free. With two hundred years’ worth of signed memorabilia and an eclectic mix of artists filling the dining room and the bar, it’s no wonder The Phoenix Arts Club was voted Time Out’s most-loved late-night venue.
For a cicchetti feast – head to Tozi in Victoria
Cicchetti are small plates typically served in Venetian bars and enjoyed alongside a small glass of wine which the locals call ombra, meaning shadow. At Victoria’s Tozi, this longstanding tradition comes to life. Chef Maurilio Molteni emphasises seasonal ingredients sourced from independent Italian producers. Current highlights of the menu include seared beef carpaccio with grilled artichokes and parmesan; wild mushroom served with crisp endive and soft-boiled quail eggs; and buffalo ricotta ravioli. Tozi’s cicchetti feast menus, at £55 or £65 per person, are best enjoyed with family, friends or colleagues alongside the restaurant’s stellar selection of spritzes and negronis. The wine selection is also strong, encompassing small-scale producers from across Italy. End the meal on a sugar high with a warm panettone, served with mascarpone cream .
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