Five of the best kept secret eateries in London

If you’re tired of the restaurant chains and desperately need to get away from the crowded tourist hotspots of London, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are a wealth of hidden treasures tucked away exclusively for those in the know. From ultra-cool hipster hideaways to quaint and quirky bistros, check out some of the best (secret) eateries in the capital with Show & Stay.

Phat Phuc Noodle bar Photo: Mirca23 on Flicr

Phat Phuc Noodle bar

Phat Phuc Noodle Bar, Chelsea

Get your mind out of the gutter; this is not the haunt of some grammatically-challenged chav. For those of us that are cultured and/or fluent in Vietnamese, Phat Phuc (pronounced as it’s spelled) translates to Happy Buddha. And very happy you’ll be once you’ve tasted this delicious Vietnamese food from this fantastic outdoor canteen. Pho noodle soup, a traditional Vietnamese dish, is the plat du jour. It’s a rich and nutritious broth packed with as much flavour as there are vitamins. So swing by, chow down and bon appetit, or more specifically chúc mọi người ăn ngon miệng if you’re Vietnamese.

Seagrass Restaurant Photo: http://www.theseagrassrestaurant.com/

The Seagrass Restaurant

The Seagrass, Islington

What’s a trip to London without sampling some traditional tucker from the capital? The Seagrass in Islington is a trendy little jaunt that’s affectionately adapted into somewhat of a semi-permanent pop-up. What’s more, it’s BYOB. Yes, that’s ‘bring your own bottle’, a notion often unheard of in today’s society of house wine and meal deals. So nab your favourite bottle of plonk, pull up a pew and enjoy some gorgeous gourmet food with a cockney infusion.

Fillets of sea bass at Upstairs, Brixton Photo: linniekin of Flickr

Fillets of sea bass at Upstairs, Brixton

Upstairs Bar and Restaurant, Brixton

A delectable little bijou bar and restaurant, Upstairs is simply wonderful and an absolute must when wanting to enjoy super sumptuous food in the capital. This gastronomic taste sensation takes place in a fantastically designed little flat in London’s trendy Brixton. The food is seasonal and a new menu is selected every two weeks. It can be a little pricey, but every calorie of your meal is worth every single penny you splurge. Be sure to book ahead though as this tremendously tiny treasure is becoming increasingly popular.

Fifteen Street Eats, Hoxton

It seems that most celebrity chefs have trendy restaurants dotted all over the place, like The Fat Duck by Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen to name but a few. Of course you can’t mention TV chefs without the excitable Jamie Oliver, where his amazing Fifteen has long been a hip and happening eatery for yuppies and trendsetters alike. However, the thrifty and not so cool aren’t to be neglected, as you can enjoy Jamie Oliver’s famous pucker tucker for just £5 at Fifteen Street Eats, Monday to Friday at Westland Place. This is the ideal way to grab that gastro-winter-warmer when lunch is on the go!

Lunch at Jamie's Fifteen Photo: Eilam Gil of Flickr

Lunch at Jamie’s Fifteen

Paul Rothe & Son, Marylebone

This deli-come-café-come-grocery-store has been under the patronage of the Rothe family for  four generations; a family business that’s been running for over one hundred and twelve years. With an air of pleasant nostalgia and a fond homage to days gone by, the shopkeepers wear white overalls, the shelves are stacked with delicious jams and condiments and customer service is second to none, all of which make this exceptional eatery a charming little find in the heart of busy London. The father and son are reputedly ever-welcoming and known amongst the local community for being especially helpful and most accommodating to their patrons. When in the area, pop in, say hello and enjoy a perfect spot of tea and a caramel slice.

Paul Rothe & Son Photo: tiredoflondon of Flickr

Paul Rothe & Son

Many thanks for these quirky alternatives brought to you by Show & Stay, the UK’s best site for theatre breaks in London.

Photo credits: The Seagrass Restaurant, Upstairs, Brixton by linniekin, Jamie’s Fifteen by Eilam Gil, and Paul Rothe & Son by tiredoflondon, Phat Phuc noodle bar by Mirca23

More delicious food articles:

Veggie delights – Four favourite vegetarian restaurants in Brighton
From Cold War Canteen to Literary Salon – Five great places to eat out in Budapest
A guide to savouring the food of Cyprus

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  • Reply
    May 6, 2013 at 1:04 am

    I am not sure of the deli-cafe’s history in the UK in general, but it seems sensible to me to offer light, fresh food in a nostalgic setting. As long as their coffee is great, I would much rather eat lunch at Rothe’s than at a proper restaurant or a pub.
    Hels´s last blog post ..Edouard Manet and Eva Gonzalès in Paris

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      May 6, 2013 at 9:13 am

      @Hels Agreed, when I’m on the go I’d rather be quick and informal and not have to wait too long for my lunch

  • Reply
    May 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    These fishes are looking delicious.

  • Reply
    Lana Marshall
    May 9, 2013 at 10:56 am

    It’s a great tips for London eateries and very helpful post…
    Lana Marshall´s last blog post ..Space Apart Hotel: Luxury, Furnished, Affordable Price

  • Reply
    May 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Nice Post.Thank you very much for the information

  • Reply
    Thomas Dembie
    June 2, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Thanks for the list! I’ll be in London in about a month and look forward to eating some good food.
    Thomas Dembie´s last blog post ..8 Things I Can’t Wait To Do In Italy This Summer

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      June 3, 2013 at 8:36 am

      @Thomas = London is full of crowds of tourists in the summer so it’s worth seeking more local neighbourhood places like these.

  • Reply
    Best Italian Restaurants in London
    October 7, 2013 at 6:47 am


    Nice post. Thanks to providing these best kept secret eateries in London. It’s a great tips for London eateries and very helpful post. Thanks a lot…

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