The inevitable recourse in songs about love, gloom, and death, there’s no getting around the least enjoyable day of the week — and to add insult to injury, it’s traditionally a restaurant desert. Some of the best places to eat in London, though, have started bucking the trend, and are open for lunch, dinner or both; there’s also often more chance of catching a walk-in at some of the city’s hottest restaurants. Monday, Monday: it’s here to stay.Read More
20 Outstanding London Restaurants Open on Monday
The least exciting day of the week is looking up
1. Gana Restaurant
Harrow HA2 7LX, UK
One of the most tempting single pages of a London menu is at this Sri Lankan institution in Rayners Lane. The regular menu reels through the island’s greatest hits, and then when it feels like a decision is finally made: A page of specials, tucked at the back like a stolen afterthought. Fried nethali, plump anchovies popped and crunched whole; garlic fry worth shunning people for a week; chicken liver curry; squid stuffed with egg; muyal (rabbit); kudal (lamb intestines); and marai (venison) — all fried or curried. The venison fry comes dense and sticky, almost the texture of jerky and dark as molasses, riddled with crispy onions just before the point of burning. Some of the best subcontinental game cooking in London, at a third of Gymkhana’s prices.
2. Santa Maria
This seven-day-a-week stalwart opened on an anonymous neighbourhood thoroughfare in Ealing, 2010, and proceeded to redefine — or just define —pizza for Londoners. Since then co-owners Pasquale Chionchio and Angelo Ambrosio have opened two further restaurants in Fitzrovia and Chelsea, but for Neapolitan pizza made with ferocious love and dedication, this is still special — all week long.
It’s sometimes difficult to get a grip on London’s suburban K-Town of New Malden, given so many conflicting stories on who is serving the best barbecue and who is currently using charcoal. Ignore the noise and go straight to Imone, where perfectly modulated banchan snap with a refreshing acidity and signal care in the kitchen. The best dishes on the menu are fish based. Saengsun jjim is a showstopper, a whole whiting in a deeply savoury, spicy sauce, leavened by herbaceous and bitter chrysanthemum greens, while maeungtang has a cleanness and restraint that only the very best Korean broths achieve.
4. Vijaya Krishna
The focus here is on southern Indian, and especially Keralan, cuisine: look out for the Cochin prawn curry, green lamb masala and okra-aubergine theeyal. Sides of note include the brinjal, bhindi, dhal and spinach, and parathas are a speciality; green chilli is a must-order for heat. There can be no better culinary start to the week than the tomato curry, a silken tangle of sweetness that’s both luxurious and delicate.
5. Maroush Restaurant
This Edgware Road stalwart long dominated London’s Levant food scene for good reason, having opened in 1981. Come for the classics — freshly made lamb shawarma, or shish taouk, charcoal-grilled skewers of marinated chicken. It buzzes at the weekend, but there’s a palpable energy all week long. Ranoush Juice, which Maroush owns, is also open on Mondays, and serves one of London’s best grab-and-go falafel wraps.
6. The Wolseley
It’s one of the stops on Eater’s eat-your-way-around-London tour, and probably London’s grandest dawn-til-dusk restaurant. But it isn’t necessary to spend a small fortune on a Monday treat at The Wolseley: chicken soup with dumplings, eggs Benedict and Welsh rarebit all come in at under a tenner.
7. Lorne Restaurant
A diamond in the rough of Victoria’s surrounds, Lorne isn’t just a great local restaurant, but a reason to travel: neat fish dishes — likely paired with interesting pickles, beautiful vegetables and leaves — are followed by rich, nutty game dishes, all beautifully prepared. The £27 set menu — think burrata with three-cornered garlic, followed by sea bream with cauliflower, radish and beets, and finishing with banana blondie and dulce de leche — starts the week on a faultless note.
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8. Bao Soho
London W1F 9AS, UK
A point in Monday’s favour: it’s a good time to bag a seat somewhere that commands eye-watering queues during the rest of the week. Bao Soho is a great example: it’s possible to walk straight in at peak times and feast on guinea fowl chi shiang rice or Taiwanese fried chicken. The Fitzrovia branch is open all week, too.
London W1F 9TL, UK
Counter seating and an all-day buzz make this a standout choice for a pit-stop lunch or dinner in Soho on a Monday; it’s also much easier to bag a seat. But it’s the menu, heavy on seafood, claypots and punchy Northern-style Thai curries, that’s the real draw. The baked glass noodles with Tamworth pork belly and brown crab are a day-maker.
The £35 set lunch/pre-theatre menu at this recently Michelin-starred, entirely captivating restaurant offers an opportunity to enjoy some genuinely thrilling cooking on a Monday. It changes regularly, but the famous raspberry-dusted plantain with smoked Scotch bonnet might be followed by mushroom suya, malted barley and pine, then smoked jollof rice with crab.
11. Cafe TPT
A standout among all the Hong Kong-inspired dai pai dongs that line the west side of Wardour St, Cafe TPT is a template for how all Cantonese restaurants of this type in London can and should be — competent at almost everything and exceptional at some. Creamy and rich beef brisket curry on rice and Singapore noodles, elastic and smoky from the wok, are great options, but it’s the pork chop Macau-style with onions, cheesy bechamel and spoonfuls of chilli oil that is unmissable — a chaise longue of a comfort dish that is best eaten in the early hours of the morning to soak up a Soho night.
12. Noble Rot Wine Bar & Restaurant
Open from midday til 11p.m. on Mondays, Noble Rot is the place to take a two-day hangover from Saturday night. Feeling delicate? Nibble on cecina, chervil and horseradish and sip a bracing glass of Adega de Monção. Ravenous? Go for a walloping great helping of veal bourguignon with kale and mash. There’s no pressure to drink up and clear off, either.
Compared to the bafflingly popular Veggie Pret opposite, the original Morito is pretty peaceful on Monday lunchtimes, especially before 1p.m. or after 2p.m. It’s £8.50 for chicken piri piri and chips, while a ten-and-a-bit pound spend secures some pan con tomate at £4 and a wobbly, sweet onion tortilla with alioli at £6.50.
On an unprepossessing side street off City Road, this contemporary Japanese diner pulls in hordes of hungry workers from Old Street and Islington at lunchtimes. The sushi, katsu sets and teriyaki plates are well priced and generously portioned — and the house dressing, which has its own army of fans, is a great Monday spirit-lifter.
15. Kaieteur Kitchen Original
There are so few chefs in London who oversee every plate of food in their kitchen, but Faye Gomes is one of them; every dish, no matter how simple, is blessed by little touches of care which signal that she, and only she, has made it. Previously in the ill-fated Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre’s moat, she is now in the temporary Castle Square development where she serves Guyanese stews, exceptional vegetable rices, noodles and roti, and fried fish. Her most exceptional dish is her weekend pepper pot, vinyl black with two day cooked beef, oxtail, tripe and lamb, and the bittersweetness of cassareep.
16. Koya City
London EC4N 8AR, UK
An ideal spot for a contemplative solo lunch or dinner on a Monday. A haven of calm in the Square Mile, Koya City has a tranquillity that goes above and beyond the stripped back wooden bar top and soothing soups, all of which are impeccably made: it’s just a case of finding a personal favourite. Crunching crispy fried prawn heads is the definition of a solitary pleasure.
17. Xi'an Biang Biang Noodles
The Spitalfields sister site to Xi’an Impression is roomier than the original — which means there’s every chance of being able to walk straight in and sit down to hand-pulled belt noodles with braised beef or spicy cumin lamb, wontons and chongqing noodles in hot and numbing broth. The chicken in chilli oil makes for a mind-focusing Monday lunch after a heavy weekend.
18. Neco Tantuni ve Künefe Salonu Enfield
Enfield EN3 5BA, UK
Antepliler on Green Lanes has kunefe, Durak on West Green Road has tantuni, but Neco gets the edge for doing both of them even better. Two of London’s great late-night snacks are located in the deepest, darkest corner of Enfield, where it turns out London’s genuine taco culture is actually Turkish. Chopped meat and fat is stuffed into little cigars of thin lavash bread, mopped with a film of meat juice, or sandwiched into the lightest, crispiest sub roll. Kunefe here is excellent, caramelised but not overly sweet, and balanced enough to take without adornment of cream. The whole family, all originally from Mersin, work here, but if the wife makes the tantuni it’s just that little bit better.
More often than not, neighbourhood restaurants are closed on Mondays. Happily, Marcella isn’t — and for a cheering start-of-the-week dinner south of the river, it’s hard to think of anywhere nicer. It’s modern Italian through and through, from snackable saffron arancini to the fresh pastas — think tagliatelle with chicken sauce, cod cheeks and iberico tomatoes, served in two different portion sizes — and the wine list. Over in Peckham, sister restaurant Artusi is another great Monday-night bet.
20. Thattukada London
Kerala drunk food comes in three categories: stir-fried, deep-fried, and battered to an absolute crisp. Now that Preeti, the wife of the duo who owns Thattukada, is back in the kitchen, the restaurant can reclaim its crown as the queen of all three. Curries and roasts have a depth of flavour and spicing that belie their simple descriptions, and should be mopped up with crisp parottas or snow white appams. But it’s the legendary fries that are unmissable — half a chicken cut into segments then aggressively and skilfully fried with chilli and crispy onions, little netholi (anchovy) cooked and eaten whole, or battered mussels that pop thrillingly in the mouth.