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10 Under-the-Radar Gems in London

By Malika Dalamal
October 14, 2013

Sometimes eating out in London can be an exhausting round of waiting lists, celebrity haunts, overpriced appetisers and words we can't pronounce. For moments when you want something a little less chaotic, there are plenty of under-the-radar gems where top quality, interesting food and an unpretentious atmosphere keep locals coming back for more. Here are 10 of our favourite neighbourhood restaurants in London.

  • Putney: Enoteca Turi
    This secret local haunt is worth travelling for thanks to superb service, a staggering wine list and interesting twists on classic Italian dishes like Parma ham served with endive and pear, pumpkin ravioli and breast of duck with rainbow chard and apple fritters.

    28 Putney High St.,SW15 1SQ; 020 8785 4449

  • Putney: Emile's
    Sophisticated and good-value European and French food is what you will find at this small restaurant tucked away on a residential street in Putney. The space isn't much to look at, but some call it the area's best-kept secret - and the locals certainly would like to keep it that way.

    98 Felsham Rd., SW15 1DQ; 020 8789 3323
     

  • St. John's Wood: Oslo Court
    This 30-year-old gem of a restaurant is housed in a bizzare 1930s block of flats in St. John's Wood. Decor is dated (think pink), service is charming and the menu of retro French dishes including duck à l’orange, beef Wellington, grilled grapefruit and steak Diane will take you back in time. The dessert trolley at the end of the meal is always a highlight.

    Charlbert St., NW8 7EN; 020 7722 8795
     

  • St. John's Wood: Harry Morgan
    This North London American-style deli isn't exactly a glamorous spot but that won't matter once you taste the homemade Jewish comfort food on offer. Favourites like smoked salmon or salt beef bagels, chopped liver and the most perfect chicken soup made with soft noodles are soothing and filling.

    29-31 St. Johns Wood High St., NW8 7NH;  020 7722 1869
     

  • Bethnal Green: Song Que Cafe
    If you can't figure out where to eat on this strip of Vietnamese restaurants in east London, this no-frills spot is the one to pick. Don't expect white-glove service or decor, but laid-back diners will appreciate the tasty, authentic dishes at gentle prices.

    134 Kingsland Rd., E2 8DY; 020 7613 3222

  • Bethnal Green: Story Deli
    Recently relocated from Shoreditch, the new Story Deli in Bethnal Green serves the same wafer thin, crispy pizza topped with 100% organic ingredients. Interesting combinations include chorizo and mushroom or goat's cheese, figs, red onion, capers and parma ham. Decor is minimal (they don't want you to linger), and make sure you take cash.

    123 Bethnal Green Rd., E2 7DG; 07918 197352

  • Notting Hill: Gusto
    This authentic Italian restaurant is exactly what you would expect of a local gem: friendly service, homemade food using quality ingredients, an affordable wine list and a sunny terrace to while away the summer months. A healthy and filling selection of salads make it a good lunch option too.

    97 Westbourne Park Villas, W2 5ED; 020 7792 3369
     

  • Notting Hill: The Shiori
    Chef-patron Takashi Takagi's tiny 16-seat Japanese restaurant in Bayswater serves a set menu at lunch and dinner (four, nine or 12 courses) of melt-in-your-mouth sushi and sashimi that is so traditional it comes with a small paintbrush for diners to paint - not dip - with soya sauce. Book ahead, the locals are on to this place.

    45 Moscow Rd., W2 4AH; 020 7221 9790

  • St. James's: The American Bar
    Tucked away inside The Stafford Hotel off St. James's, this genuine American sports bar and restaurant will take you straight back to the 1930s. The walls are filled with sports memorabilia, the crowd is a fascinating and random mix, drinks are classic and well priced - and they do one of the best burgers in town.

    St James's Pl., SW1A 1NJ; 020 7493 0111

  • St. James's: Matsuri
    Sick of flashy Japanese restaurants serving the same fusion dishes? Head to this often-forgotten old favourite for traditional sushi and teppanyaki that is grilled at the table while you watch. It's a bit pricey and decor is somewhat dated but there isn't a miso cod or rock shrimp in sight.

    15 Bury St., SW1Y 6AL; 020 7839 1101

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Places Mentioned

Matsuri St James's

Fine Dining • St. James's

Food23 Decor19 Service22 Cost£65
 
 
 
Enoteca Turi

Italian • Putney

Food25 Decor18 Service23 Cost£51
 
 
 
Song Que Café

Vietnamese • Shoreditch

Food25 Decor9 Service13 Cost£19
 
 
 
Oslo Court

St. John's Wood

Food26 Decor18 Service27 Cost£54
 
 
 
 
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