Although Clapham is primarily known as south London’s go-to suburb for the best bars, pubs and clubs, it’s also an up-and-coming area for fine dining, quick bites, sharing food, and worldly cuisines. The variety of cuisines on offer at Clapham High Street restaurants alone rivals that of most Central London suburbs. Clapham has all manner of BBQs, Italian restaurants, pizza restaurants, burger joints, bistros, delis, cafes, pub grub, Thai restaurants, child-friendly restaurants and Spanish restaurants, but for our Top 10 best restaurants in Clapham we’ve chosen alfresco dining, secret restaurants, Japanese restaurants, French restaurants, Mediterranean restaurants, Indian restaurants, gastro restaurants, and even, goodness, British restaurants!
Powder Keg Diplomacy
Clapham / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
If Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens had ever decided to run a bar together, it might've been something like Powder Keg Diplomacy. It's not quite what you'd expect to find off St John's Hill in Battersea, but this understated yet charismatic restaurant and bar is a time capsule of 19th century joy. Cut-glass tumblers, dark furniture and a well-polished bar land you with a sense of prestige, so much so, you feel London's let you into a well preserved secret. Their cocktails pack a punch; the Windsor Knot a desirable favourite, whilst the Old Spot Pork and Pan fried Brill are the choice orders from a well varied menu. Perfect vibe for a date, even better for a good old fashioned knees-up.
Clapham / Restaurant / Cuisine: Modern European
Tatler magazine extol its "beautifully crafted, sensuous dishes", Giles Coren called it "the perfect restaurant", whilst Time Out and the AA have given it various 'Best of..' accolades in recent years. This restaurant is only a rugged-up, brisk Sunday afternoon stroll across the Common of Clapham, and it stocks Kent's Chapel Down Bacchus on the wine list. Does it really get any better?
Clapham / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Japanese
Clapham North - Recommended by many as the best Japanese restaurant in London. The classic, subdued atmosphere, lighting and decor provide a fitting environment for larger group get-togethers (take the in-laws if you're trying to impress) or, equally, a subdued restaurant for romantic couples celebrating special occasions like anniversaries. As well as the sashimi and the sushi, highlight dishes include the teriyaki salmon and tempura vegetables. The fragrant cocktails - such as the strawberry or lychee martinis - energise the senses, but the wine list can prove not such great value so talk to the management beforehand about corkage and see if you can BYOB. Best dish: the black cod.
Clapham / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Mediterranean
Clapham Old Town - Is it a deli, cafe, restaurant or cocktail bar? Or is it all 4? The large interior is decked out in warm colours, cushions, and lanterns, giving a fairly heavy hint towards the Mediterranean cuisine contained within. Wines are served by the glass, and highlight dishes include falafel and feta pastries, fresh fish, charcoal-grilled meats, and breakfasts (we'd recommend the Moroccan Berber pancakes with honey and roasted almonds). The cocktail bar downstairs is worth investigating too as it has live music and belly dancing. We'd also say that the prices on the menu are a tad steep, but ultimately, it's the experience you're buying into. Best dish: the lamb shank tagine.
Red Dog South
Clapham / Restaurant / Cuisine: American
The folks of South London finally got their long awaited taste of authentic American BBQ when Red Dog South appeared on the streets of Clapham. This is authentic American BBQ, slow smoked over hickory chips and cooked for hours in 'The Pitt' by RDS founder Tom Brooke. Tom and his team create mouthwateringly juicy slabs of Boston Butt, St Louis cut ribs, brisket, beef short rib, smoked sausage and chicken. Red Dog would not be Red Dog without its signature list of pimped of burger and Sandwiches. Red Dog South has an impressive bar which serves cocktails, frosty beverages, shakes, craft beers and a good selection of bourbons. The icing on the cake is the alfresco 32 cover-terrace.
Brixton / Restaurant / Cuisine: Spanish
Straddling the Brixton/Clapham divide on Acre Street is Boqueria Tapas, a laidback Spanish restaurant offering a range of fresh and exciting tapas dishes made from authentic Iberian ingredients. This is a place to visit to bring back happy memories of holidays to Spain: the sound system plays flamenco music and there are photos of Spanish markets adorning the walls. The menu is innovative, with dishes ranging from simple (chorizo cooked in cider) to gastronomical (suckling pig with parsnip, sweet potato crisps, apple sauce and lemon sorbet), but all are delicious.
Clapham / Restaurant / Cuisine: Seafood
Since opening, Cornish Tiger has developed a reputation for delicious food and a loyal clientele. The menu focuses on combining modern British dishes and fresh ingredients sourced from Cornwall, with the flavourings of African and Indian culture. Dishes include Tiger smoked Cornish fish board with horseradish cream and almond crusted goats cheese with cumin beetroot chutney, pomegranate and toasted almond. Other highlights include cannon of lamb with peas, girolles, new potatoes, wild garlic puree and harissa jus, and tiger cheesecake with tamarind strawberries. A Sunday roast menu is served every week and set menu options are available daily.
Clapham / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Fusion
Offering hip Nikkei cuisine, Mommi is situated on Clapham High Street and frequently packed in the evenings with diners looking for healthy raw food or more substantial grilled items. They offer an eclectic list of beverages including wines by the glass from South America and Japanese-styled beer. They have an outdoor terrace which is perfect for people watching during the summer months and a general vibrant, colourful decor inside which will guarantee to leave a smile on your face along with their food.
The Dairy Bar & Bistro
Clapham / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
Situated close to Clapham Common Tube station, The Dairy is a bar and bistro with a relaxed profile with decor made of recycled furniture. It opens early in the morning for your daily dose of coffee and closes 2am on weekends for your wild nights out. Food is of an exceptional high standard with the head chef having worked at venues such as Almeida and Noma and is focused on using the best of seasonal British ingredients.
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