If you're looking for London's best counter dining restaurants, seat yourself on one of the swivelly stools at temper Shoreditch for a theatrical live-fire feast. Devour succulent steaks and tacos washed down with mezcal-laced cocktails here and at its sites in the City, Soho and Covent Garden.
Best Restaurants For Counter Dining In London
There's just something special about sitting by the counter, isn't there? Whether you're watching the chefs prepare your meal in front of your eyes or getting to know the sommelier on an intimate level, it all feels pretty... exclusive. So that you can be at the centre of the action, we've rounded up the best counter dining restaurants in London.
Last edited by Lauren Cole
Last updated on 17th November 2023
At Iberica's restaurants in Marylebone, Victoria, Farringdon and Canary Wharf, you can plonk yourself right in front of the bar to chomp on a fabulous choice of tapas treats. Think artisan cheese, cured meats and wild boar fideua, chased down the hatch with a drop or two of European wine.
Make your way over to Spitalfields and find one of the best London restaurants for counter dining, Crispin. Here, you can fill your boots with homely, European-influenced sharing plates made using locally sourced produce. To pair? An ever-changing list of natural wines.
Searching for a spot with fabulous counter dining in London? Then be sure to make a private booking for Cinder St John's Wood. At the chef's table, you'll get to watch mouthwatering flame-cooked grub be cooked right in front of your eyes by experts.
Roka Mayfair is up there as one of the best restaurants with counter dining going. Venture over to munch on upmarket Japanese grub, from chilli-dressed black cod dumplings to tiger prawn tempura, which will be prepared right under your nose.
While the interiors of Ginza are enough to entice us in, it's the menu of Japanese delights that keeps us there. Pull up a chair at one of the three counters, which are dedicated to either sushi, robata or teppanyaki, for one helluva dining experience.
Showcasing tall, grand ceilings, leather seats and flickering candlelight, Balthazar really is as snazzy as they come. It's also perfect for date night dinners, so grab two of the coveted counter spaces and get your fill of fantastic French fare, like roasted rump of lamb or escargots.
Flaunting leather-backed stools and a welcoming wooden counter, Opera Tavern is one of the best bar restaurants in London. Chow down on bites such as 'nduja scotch eggs, beef bavette and Barbary duck breast, all while discussing wine pairings with the bartender at your mercy.
Intimate Italian restaurant Tosi Gorgonzola Bar is a great place for slick counter dining in Mayfair. Expect to be wowed by fine wine washing down cheese and charcuterie boards or delish raw dishes like truffle beef, salmon tartare and oysters.
Snap up a place at Gaucho Charlotte Street's four-seater countertop to dive into the Argentine beef tasting menu. Not only will you be able to observe the chef as they cook up your steak (just how you like it), but you can also upgrade to complement it with specially paired wines.
Flaunting bare-brick walls lined with curious artwork alongside glistening chandeliers, Berenjak Borough is a total treat for the eyes. It also might just be the best Iranian restaurant in London, slinging out lamb shoulder kebabs and coal-cooked aubergine for you to scoff down at the lively counter.
For those of you seeking out the best counter restaurants in London, Rotunda is keeping things slick with a long row of leather-backed seats overlooking the kitchen. On the menu? Contemporary British fare with international influences.
Nestled on the banks of the river in Hackney, Gotto Trattoria offers a small number of stools by the kitchen; settle in to watch as your handmade tagliatelle, maccheroncini or pizza is created before your eyes. It's certainly one of the best pasta restaurants in London with counter dining.
Barrafina is bringing us some of the best counter dining in London at its Coal Drops Yard, Adelaide Street and Borough outposts. Delve into the elegant menu of award-winning Spanish fare, including plenty of tapas and pintxos, while sat overlooking the kitchen.
The best chef's counter in London? Bloomsbury Street Kitchen is undoubtedly a hot contender, slinging out Mediterranean and Japanese eats. The Kitchen Table provides you with a front-row seat to the action, where you can sink your teeth into either the degustation or omakase menu.
Join Lina Stores in King's Cross for laid-back Italian dining on one of the tall stools that peek over into the kitchen. The mint-coloured trattoria totes a mouthwatering menu of antipasti, fresh pasta plates and secondi, not to mention plenty of aperitivo to match.
Having gained a reputation for its freshly prepared pasta plates and around-the-block queue, Padella Shoreditch is undoubtedly one of the best Italian restaurants in London for counter dining. Kick off with some antipasti before diving into dishes like the famed pici cacio e pepe.
Fluffy Taiwanese buns stuffed with chicken nuggets and beef meatballs are ripe for the picking over at Bao Borough. Bag one or two of the ringside seats right by the kitchen and relish in a good natter with the chefs as they rustle up your plates.
Be transported to sunnier climes at Sabor. Proudly boasting a Michelin star under its belt, this Spanish-style space whips up fresh fish and regional dishes. If you're lucky to get a spot at the black marble counter, you'll be treated to an intimate dinner in the company of the chefs.
Swing by The Barbary for intimate dining right next to the chefs, feasting on fare that's been fired up in the restaurant's famous clay oven. Whether you fancy chicken shawarma, black salmon dukkah or zhoug Brussels sprouts, you can also match it with international wines.
Petite, minimalist and unbearably cool, Kiln is the Soho spot that totes pretty plates of Thai eats. Make yourself at home on one of the black swivelling seats by the metallic counter and treat your tastebuds to gorgeous sharing plates - our favourite? The slow-grilled red mullet.