London is a 24-hour city with energy coursing through its streets any time of the day or night but not that long ago, late-night food and drink options weren’t keeping up the pace with the city’s party people and shift workers. However, change is afoot. Boosted by the advent of the Night Tube, London’s late-night dining scene has been rejuvenated. From night owl stalwarts to new kids on the block, here are the 21 best late-night restaurants in London.Read More
London’s Best Late-Night Restaurants
Bangkok-style soya-braised chicken at midnight, hand-pulled noodles at 5am, and confit duck and waffles available 24/7
1. Lahore Karahi
This Pakistani restaurant in Tooting has the earliest closing time on the list but it’s possible to get an order in for lamb chops or keema karahi until midnight. Perfect for post-pub pakoras or a late-night mixed grill supper, the restaurant welcomes everyone with open arms and pillowy naans. One might even run into London Mayor Sadiq Khan while there.
2. Ranoush Juice
The legendary Beirut Express on the Edgware Road is sadly no more but for late-night Lebanese, hit up Ranoush Juice, also in the Maroush Group, down the road. Soak up a night of drinking with chicken shawarma served with a generous slick of garlic sauce or deep-fried golden pastries filled with feta or minced lamb. The restaurant is the ultimate post-party pit stop, always buzzing until 3am.
3. Jinjuu Soho
Get to Kingly Court for that late-night KFC craving… no, not one of the Colonel’s box meals but Korean fried chicken. Jinjuu serves its signature crispy chicken thighs until 1.30am. In the early hours, choose from bulgogi beef tacos, bibimbap and carnitas fries (think melted cheddar, short rib beef and kimchi). We’ll take one of everything.
4. Bob Bob Ricard
Press for champagne until 1a.m. Live the high life in Bob Bob Ricard’s glamourous Soho dining room, knocking back the fizz and dining on truffle fries, lobster mac and cheese, chicken kiev and caviar. Embrace the OTT vibes and expect a raucous night out.
5. Opium Cocktail bar and Dim Sum Parlour
Go through a jade-coloured door on Gerrard Street and wind up a narrow staircase to eat and drink around Opium’s various floors. Each decadently decorated bar serves excellent cocktails and some of London’s best drinking food dim sum. For those not on the hard stuff, the dumpling menu comes with suggested tea pairings. Feast on siu mai (pork and prawn dumplings) with oolong from Kyoto or mushroom and truffle dumplings with a cup of Darjeeling from its namesake region. Open until 3am.
6. Bar Italia
A Soho legend, Bar Italia is open from 7a.m. to 5a.m. pouring espressos from its trusty iconic Gaggia coffee machine. Stopping in for a cannoli or cappuccino feels like an event. Perch on a stool and rest weary elbows at the bar or pull up a chair outside and watch Soho go by. There’s never a dull moment at this institution.
7. Lanzhou Lamian Noodle Bar
For late-night comfort food that nourishes the soul and fills a hole, it’s hard to beat Lanzhou Lamian Noodle Bar by Leicester Square tube station. There’s a seemingly endless variety of ways to order the hand-pulled Chinese noodles. First choose la mian or dao xiao mian and decide between having them in a soup, dry or fried. Then pick between crispy pork chop, pickled vegetables, Fujian peanut sauce and many other combos. Customers have until 5a.m. to decide.
8. Three Eight Four
This chic cocktail and small plates spot in Brixton is a classy place to spend an evening. The short food menu has drinking in mind: there’s smoky chicken wings with spring onion, blistered padrón peppers, garlic butter prawns and slow-cooked beef brisket served in a brioche bun. Grab a drink, order some snacks and settle in. Open until 1am.
9. Bagel King
London SE17 2TE, UK
Night out in Elephant & Castle? Head up the Walworth Road to Bagel King, the 24/7 bagel joint to rival east London’s Beigel Bake. On the filled bagel front, jerk chicken is a regular favourite but it also serves patties and curry goat box meals with rice and peas. Sweet tooth? Get a slushie or a slice of warming apple crumble with custard.
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10. Duck & Waffle
The “highest 24/7 restaurant in London”, Duck & Waffle in the Heron Tower is spectacular any time of the day or night. Greet the sunrise with comforting duck egg en cocotte with soldiers. While away the day with top cocktails, ox cheek doughnuts and the signature crispy duck confit and waffle. Later, as witching hour descends on the city, order from the late-night menu of corn dogs, duck kebabs and crispy pig ears.
11. Polo Bar
Polo Bar’s door is wide open any time of the day or night, metaphorically that is, as it doesn’t actually have one. The joint is open 24 hours, seven days a week (except Christmas Day when staff board up the entrance) and has a food and alcohol licence to match. Have a beer with an all-day traditional English breakfast at 4a.m. or a glass of red with a burger. The only caveat to the 24-hour booze service is that diners have to order food with a drink between 3a.m. and 8a.m. Nachos and tequila, anyone?
12. Smoking Goat Shoreditch
London E1 6JJ, UK
Inspired by Bangkok’s late-night canteens, Smoking Goat in Shoreditch nails after-dark dining. Alongside an excellent wine and beer list, the menu is all kinds of outrageous. Fish sauce wings, spicy duck laab, goat shoulder massaman curry, pork fat fried eggs and lardo fried rice — and more. It’s open until 1am so pop in on the way home, make a pit stop en route to a night out or come at dusk and don’t leave until kicked out.
13. Beigel Bake
The good people at Brick Lane’s Beigel Bake have been slinging freshly baked bagels and stuffing them with salt beef and pickles since 1974. The small deli always has queues around the block and around the clock. Open 24/7, it’s one of the quickest, cheapest and most delicious ways to satisfy on-the-way-home munchies.
14. The Laughing Heart
A late-night bar, dining room and off licence, The Laughing Heart on Hackney Road ticks all the boxes. Pick and mix modern British small plates like pork dumplings, mutton tortellini and Sichuan crème brûlée with an extensive list of natural wines by the glass. Still going at kicking out time (2am)? Pick up a bottle from the retail selection to take home.
Ditch the polystyrene box and dine in at Şömine in Dalston, which serves some of the best Turkish food in London. Hoover up manti dumplings, köfte, stews and a vast range of grilled meats until 2a.m. on weekdays; keep it going post-going out out at 5a.m. on the weekend. For those who have had a really hardcore night, the restaurant opens at 9am for menemen (scrambled eggs with tomatoes and peppers) and made-to-order borek.
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16. Cafe TPT
A small place with a mighty menu, Cafe TPT is not to be underestimated. Look to the Tai Pai Tong hawker dishes after which the café gets its acronym name for soothing Hainanese chicken rice and punchy zha jiang mian — thick wheat noodles with fermented soya bean paste. Perhaps one more for satisfying a rumbling stomach than after a booze-soaked night, the rich and creamy Macau-style pork chop smothered in bechamel is a must-order. Open until 1a.m. every day.
17. Old Town 97
Night shift workers, Soho clubbers and insomniacs with a craving for Cantonese – head to Old Town 97 on Wardour Street for food until 4a.m. There’s an extensive menu to choose from with Hong Kong classics like braised beef brisket but if after a proper soaker-upper dish, get the LSE fried rice, which is an off-menu legend. Egg fried rice and pork which is covered in a spicy, eggy sauce is topped with... A fried egg. It’ll sort anything right out.
18. Cecconi's Shoreditch
Cecconi’s, a polished joint from the Soho House group, isn’t one of the best Italian restaurants in London but, suitably loosened up by cocktails on tap and a decent wine list, makes for a good night out that crucially serves food until close. Snack on cicchetti, the big winners here, and other à la carte dishes until midnight; then share pizza and helpings of tiramisu until 1.30am. Out in town? The Soho sister restaurant has the wood-fired ovens going until 3am.
19. Buster Mantis
At the weekend, come for the food and stay for the dancehall, R&B and hip hop which plays out until 2a.m. at Deptford’s Buster Mantis. The menu changes regularly but expect the likes of jerk chicken burgers, jackfruit burgers and curry goat pies. And, of course, plenty of rum-based cocktails.
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20. Voodoo Ray's
On the weekend, follow the neon blue pizza sign for slices until 3a.m. at the Dalston outpost of Voodoo Ray’s. New York-style pies come anointed with toppings like artichoke hearts, Cumberland sausage and pepperoni, with great pools of mozzarella. All are best accompanied by a frozen margarita.
Enjoying a late-night gelato under the glow of Soho lamplight makes for one of those magical London moments. Skip dessert wherever at dinner and instead head to Gelupo for a scoop — or two — of London’s best ice cream until the clock strikes midnight at the weekend. Join the queue of families, mates and dates, and dither between fresh mint stracciatella, fig leaf, and blood orange. Always say yes to the embossed biscuit.