Top 20 quirky London restaurants

Explore the most unusual places to eat in London from Michelin-starred establishments to a restaurant based in a prison. 

Book a spot at one of these fun restaurants in London. Known for its diverse dining scene, there's no shortage of quirky restaurants to choose from in the capital.

Many London restaurants have reopened, post lockdown, with a range of safety procedures in place. Look out for the "We're Good to Go" industry standard to ensure the restaurant adheres to government and public health guidelines.

All restaurants are now required to close at 10pm and operate a table service only. You must also wear a face covering in these venues, unless you're seated.

1. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Settle down for a quirky culinary experience at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, a two Michelin-star establishment that's consistently voted one of the best restaurants in the world. The celebrity chef taps into Britain's rich culinary history with unusual results, such as the signature Meat Fruit starter, where chicken parfait is served in the guise of a clementine. Book now

18. Trader Vic's

Descend into a tropical getaway in Mayfair as you escape into a world of South Sea dining, at Trader Vic's. Start with traditional finger food, pick up a salad or a soup, and for main opt for a Trader Vic favourite such as Beef & Reef or Scottish lobster. Temporarily closed due to coronavirus

7. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. 

Based on hit film Forrest Gump, this Southern American eatery is themed on its main characters and its Alabama location. It’s all about the shrimp at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., with lots of crustacean creations; but there’s plenty for all the family to enjoy, from grilled steaks and salads to jambalaya.

9. Rainforest Cafe

Take your children to the Rainforest Cafe, one of the most fun restaurants in London. Kids go wild experiencing the sounds of waterfalls, lightning and rain, as they spot animals and real tropical fish. Close to the West End's many theatres, shops and attractions, this family restaurant offers a two-course kids menu and activity packs.

3. Archipelago

Golden Buddhas, dwarf palm trees and giant peacock feathers give Archipelago's interior a quirky feel, but it's the menu "staples" such as crocodile, kangaroo, and ostrich that really makes this one of the most unusual places to eat in London. The restaurant certainly reaches out to intrepid diners with options such as python carpaccio, and jerk alpaca. Book now

10. Beach Blanket Babylon

Dining at Beach Blanket Babylon is like stepping between a Georgian English manor house and a French chateau. If the vintage furnishings, imposing statues and all-round extraordinary decor don't inspire awe at this celebrity hotspot, the seasonal, modern European food will.

17. Bel Canto

Mix arias with appetisers at Bel Canto. This opera-themed restaurant near Hyde Park serves up French fine dining with a difference: it’s delivered by waiters singing opera classics. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the music – don’t worry, you’ll not have to sing for your supper. Temporarily closed until 4 Sep

12. Brunswick House

The worlds of contemporary and traditional Britain come together at this top London restaurant. Brunswick House Cafe's succinct menu is inspired by local produce, and the furniture and interior design is all up for sale. 

19. Circus

Sup on pan-Asian cuisine in the futurist dining room at Circus, created by British designer Tom Dixon. Glamorous eating and drinking is not all that occurs though, as dinner is punctuated by various surprise cabaret and circus acts who parade across the tables. Temporarily closed due to coronavirus

4. Inamo

This Asian fusion restaurant in Covent Garden (with sister eateries in Soho and Camden) boasts a pioneering interactive ordering system projected onto the table, making it one of the coolest restaurants in London. At Inamo, you can place orders via a 3D menu, choose from a selection of virtual tablecloths, find out about the local neighbourhood and even order a taxi home, all from the comfort of your seat. Book now

5. Mari Vanna

If you’ve ever pondered what it would be like to wine (or vodka) and dine at Grandma’s house in old Russia, then Mari Vanna London will answer all your desires. A remarkably authentic slice of Soviet era cuisine and comradery, spanning everything from caviar to cabbage rolls. Book now

2. Sketch

Sketch turns eating and drinking into a whole new experience, boasting several venues within that are among the best restaurants in London.  The hardest part is choosing between the three Michelin-starred Lecture Room; the woodland-themed lunch venue, Glade; the brasserie-style Gallery; and The Parlour, an eccentric patisserie, restaurant and bar. Book now

20. Sarastro

A London restaurant that is anything but quiet, Sarastro is "the show after the show" thanks to the musical entertainment played out live among the smiling diners. The drama continues on your plate with Turkish and Mediterranean flavours to entertain your taste buds. Temporarily closed due to coronavirus

11. Shaka Zulu

Get a taste of South Africa at Shaka Zulu, a lively restaurant, bar and nightclub in Camden. The South African flare for exotic grilled meats, unusual cocktails, ostentatious decor, and infectious toe-tapping music fills this Camden Market two-storey venue with constant thrills.

16. The Piano Works

Tuck into steaks, ribs and sliders as you listen to live music requested by you and the rest of the audience in a Victorian warehouse, at The Piano Works. Part live jukebox, part restaurant, this music-lovers’ favourite will have you singing long into the night. Temporarily closed until 4 Sep

15. Bounce

Take time out from working your way through the wide-ranging pizza menu for a game or two of ping pong at Bounce, in Farringdon and Old Street. These table-tennis-themed restaurants and bars are perfect places for socially distanced groups. Bounce Old Street is open now, Bounce Farringdon reopens on 9 Sep

6. Dans le Noir?

At Dans le Noir? restaurant in Clerkenwell, your dining experience takes place in complete darkness. Served by blind and visually impaired waiters, the meal challenges your sense of taste and smell and the surprise menu encourages you to educate your palate.

14. The Clink Restaurant

Eat within the walls of a prison at The Clink Restaurant based at HMP Brixton. Many of the ingredients are sourced from prison farms around the country, while everything is cooked and served by the prisoners as they train for careers in hospitality after their release. Not only does this unique dining experience help with rehabilitation, the food is excellent and of good value too. Currently open for delivery only

20. HIPCHIPS

Explore a world of flavour combinations at HIPCHIPS, dedicated to the humble crisp. You’ll be served a variety of crisps straight from the kitchen on a conveyor belt – just grab sweet or savoury crisps and start to dip into one of the many weird and wonderful dips, from katsu curry and Peruvian ceviche to chocolate salted caramel or cheesecake for dessert.