Photo courtesy of Donia

Staff PicksLondon

The London Restaurants We Loved in 2023


Spotify Wrappeds have been unwrapped, and as we collectively reflect on the past year and look ahead to the next, we asked Resy staffers to share some of their favourite London meals with us because if there’s one thing that unites us over here at Resy HQ, it’s our love of restaurants (even if we rarely agree on where to get the best Martini, which restaurant serves the best fried chicken, and whether it’s worth queuing two hours in Soho for a smashburger).

We’ve loved sharing our neighbourhood favourites and go-tos, and all the spots that made our year of dining so very filling, and full. Without further ado, here are our top London dining moments of 2023.

“The best pork chop I’ve had this year.” Photo credit: Lena Borwanska
“You’re spoiled for wine with Honey Spencer responsible for the list.” Photo credit: Lena Borwanska

A new arrival that feels like an instant classic.

Sune, a new opening on Broadway Market, really hit the spot for me. I visited in late November, but even on opening night (!) the experience was seamless. We started with a fluffy yoghurt bread with horseradish cream and trout roe, and a platter of Jersey oysters. Then, a quick interlude for a sip of delicious Georgian wine before a flurry of other plates arrived, including a smoked eel Caesar salad, scallops, and beef tartare with a Rockefeller toastie. Every dish felt like an explosion of flavour while still letting the quality of the ingredients shine through. My favourite, though, was the best pork chop I’ve had this year, which left me with the immediate desire to come back.

Plus, you’re spoiled for wine with [sommelier] Honey Spencer responsible for the list. The selection is unique, so take advantage of it and go off the beaten track. And if you don’t, they won’t make you feel bad for playing it safe. Trust their recommendations and they will serve you the perfect glass.

There are so many good restaurants in London, but it’s tricky to strike a balance between service, food, and ambience. Sune offered these to me all at once. Their team seemed to be enjoying themselves too, and that’s what all of my favourite restaurants have in common.

— Lena Borwanska, Restaurant Success Manager

There are so many good restaurants in London, but it’s tricky to strike a balance between service, food, and ambience. Sune offered these to me all at once.

“Possibly the best opening combo in London.” Photo credit: James Fordham
“The hospitality is what made this experience so memorable.” Credit: James Fordham

For effortless celebration dinners, there’s one place that’s hard to beat.

Back in March, I went to Rita’s for my birthday. We had what is possibly the best opening combo in London – their jalapeño popper gilda with a mini Martini, followed by incredible dishes like a chicken liver parfait waffle, lamb with chilli oil, and pork with celery and jalapeño. Every dish was fantastic, but the vibes and hospitality from [co-founder] Missy Flynn and her team were what made this experience so memorable.

If I had a tip for a visit here, I’d start with at least one gilda and mini Martini as a must, and then from there, make sure you put a serious dent in the specials board.

James Fordham, Senior Manager, International Sales

Singburi’s moo krob. Credit: Yass Ghassemi
Stir-fried clams at Singburi in Leytonstone. Credit: Yass Ghassemi

At this east London gem, the food speaks for itself.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t pick one favourite this year. Finding one favourite restaurant in London is as hard as finding a good match on Hinge – impossible.

But Singburi in East London topped all my expectations and truly lived up to all of the hype. We had an array of dishes from the specials board including clams, pork ribs, cod roe and many more, but the menu changes often and it’s handy to go with someone who’s been before or as another good tip, ask someone who has been recently to find out what they ordered.

You worry that places have been overhyped, but Singburi takes the win here. I’m not sure if it’s from the aunties running around taking orders or when they whack out their old school reservation book to check if your name is scribbled anywhere, but it provides a comforting homely atmosphere that I found almost nostalgic. On top of that, the food speaks for itself –  I will die on this hill, but you won’t find more authentic and delicious Thai food than here.

There’s a lot of subtlety and flavour – not just heat – but when it comes to chilli, there can be a different level of spice that can instantaneously make you question your Nando’s heat meter.

Yass Ghassemi, Restaurant Success Manager

I will die on this hill, but you won’t find more authentic and delicious Thai food than here.

For serious eaters, there’s one place that always delivers.

In March, my fiancé and I took a couple of friends of ours to FKABAM as a four-top. The smoked eel skewer atop the borscht-back shots is always amazing. The ‘crispy fuckin rabbit’ is the most insanely crunchy and massive rabbit croquette you can imagine, and the main course (an indulgent mass of smoked lamb shoulder, spiced faggots and lamb fat potatoes. We finished with a black forest trifle soaked in Jameson whiskey. Unreal.

I’ve been to FKABAM now about ten times, and I’m learning to care less about what’s on the menu with each visit – go and trust that you’ve leave elated and full! Great music, too. Oh, and order the shrimp toast if it’s available as a ‘bolt on’ – trust me.

Johnny Brissenden, Sales Director

How much pastry is too much pastry? If Calum Franklin’s involved, that limit doesn’t exist.

My favourite dish this year was a lobster roll by chef Calum Franklin at a collaborative dinner with TATA Eatery at The Sea, The Sea in Hackney. This one-off event showcased at least five different version of pastry, yet managed to squeeze in an incredible bite of lobster with caviar on a brioche bun.

Andras Mesa-Mayo, Restaurant Success Manager

Quo Vadis gets better with every visit.

I had a wonderful meal in the new public dining room of Quo Vadis, back when it reopened in February, and we tried to sample as much of the menu as possible. Of course, we had to start with the iconic smoked eel sandwich, which is chef Jeremy Lee’s signature dish, the smoky warmth of the eel perfectly complimented with tangy yet sweet pickled red onion (even if you think you aren’t a fan of eel, don’t miss this). I then also tried some outstanding salt cod croquettes which paired perfectly with an ice-cold dirty Martini. For mains, we had the hake with clams, mussels and sea vegetables, the pie of the day (a pheasant-based affair with the crumbliest pie topping imaginable) and of course, a side of fries. Despite being stuffed, I had to order the classic Ile flotante with caramel and praline, snuggled in a puddle of custard.

My favourite thing about Quo Vadis is that Jeremy Lee’s personality can be felt far beyond his food – from the jovial front of house to the luxurious red banquettes. You feel the restaurant’s legacy as the grand dame of Theatreland in Soho, whilst being as comfortable as if you were in a close friend’s living room.

Faye Huggett, Head of International Restaurant Partnerships

There’s one place in Hackney that always pulls out all the stops.

The Water House Project in Hackney transpired to be my most memorable dining experience of the year. Chef Gabriel Waterhouse and team thrive to create a warm and relaxed environment that feels like the perfect balance between a supper club and fine dining establishment, with their key focus evidently being ethically sourced and sustainable ingredients.

We opted for the short tasting menu of seven courses, which was reasonably priced at £110 each, including five unique wine pairings (a non-alcoholic paring option was also available) with everything prepared in front of guests across two immaculate kitchen islands.

The menu included beautiful plates like West County mussels with native seaweeds and koji, Cornish pollock with Scottish girolles, and strawberries from Kent with chamomile. My favourite on the night was a perfect Cornish mackerel flanked by gooseberry and horseradish, which was impeccable.

Just as we thought the meal couldn’t get any better, we were served a plate of freshly baked black treacle financiers straight from the oven that we enjoyed with a cognac digestif.

Nitesh Chamdal, Strategic Partnerships

On any given day, Barrafina is the occasion …

On a cold and wintery day in Soho, Barrafina for Saturday lunch feels like an escape. It lends itself well to a casual occasion, in this case a chance to turn an otherwise nondescript day trip into town to run some errands with my partner into something special. Surrounded by tapas and with a glass of wine, or maybe even sherry in hand, you can almost convince yourself it’s still summer. The classics are always done well – generously topped and perfectly salted pan con tomate, or tortilla with a gloriously oozing centre. For me, croquetas are non-negotiable, in this case filled with both jamon and a cuttlefish special on that day. Service is to a tee and with counter seating there is plenty of action in the kitchen to keep you entertained. It’s not quite Seville, but it’s surely the next best thing.

Gavin Kelly, Manager, Restaurant Partnerships

“There are no misses on the menu.” Credit: David Paw
“One of the most perfect things you can eat in London right now.” Credit: David Paw

Of all the restaurant meals I had in 2023 …

The December meal I had at Donia stood out for a few reasons, namely for its boldness, originality and the fact that despite its mission to create a high-end Filipino dining experience, every dish we tried felt soulful and full of care. The fact that it came together in five weeks (!!) as a concept and restaurant was fairly mind-blowing as well.

There are no misses on the menu – the siomai dumplings come topped with fresh white crab and swim in a rich, buttery sauce you’ll want to lick off the plate. The bone-in ribeye comes with crisp red onions and a calamansi-spiked sauce that keeps you going back for more. And the lechon with a creamy liver sauce is one of the most perfect things you can eat in London right now. I didn’t try the chicken inasal, but almost every other table had ordered the dish and raved about it. An order of rice is essential, but you may want to double or triple load to make the most of those sauces.

David Paw, Senior International Editor