London's best single item eateries

Celebrated for one great thing

"One bit of great is better than a whole lot of average."
Had an art teacher say that to us once... admittedly, our work was being used to illustrate what a whole lot of average looks like... but still, it's always nice to be noticed.

And so it is with this selection of restaurants... if you do one thing so darned well, what's the point of diluting it with mediocrity?

From pork to hotdogs, pancakes to cheeses, take a look at these restaurants celebrated for one outstanding item...

Bone Daddies
31 Peter Street W1F 0AR
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: Comforting bowls of ramen, strong liquor and rock’n’roll are the order of the day at this hip no-bookings eatery. Chef Ross Shonhan, who has worked at high end restaurants Zuma and Roka, tops his noodles with things like kimchi, pork mince and scrambled egg, while the broth simmers for hours for maximum flavour, like the 20-hour pork broth.

  • OUR REVIEW 8/10
  • USERS 8/10
Arancini Factory
115 Kentish Town Road Primrose Hill NW1 8PB
Region: Primrose Hill
Nearest Station: Camden Road (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: The two pals behind Arancini Brothers make risotto balls with an English flavour by using Cheddar Cheese and parsley in the mix before hand-rolling. The balls are served in wraps, stews, with salad, or even in burgers. Their nicest branch is in Kentish Town as it benefits from a garden that’s open all year round.

Obika Mozzarella
35 Bank Street E14 5NY
Region: Canary Wharf
Nearest Station: South Quay (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: To some mozzarella is the blandest of all cheeses, to others it’s the most versatile. Obika’s founders are clearly of the latter persuasion, as here they present the Italian buffalo cheese in all its glory: smoked, fried in breadcrumbs, wrapped in ham and grilled, and of course on pizza. There’s charcuterie, pasta and meat dishes for non-fans too.

10 Charlotte Street W1T 2LT
Region: Marylebone
Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: Now that American-style eateries and junk food are ubiquitous it’s a wonder we’re not all staggering around like overweight rhinos, so it’s reassuring that there are places like Bi Bim Bap offering healthy food that’s comforting at the same time. Named after Korea’s national dish, bibimbap is a one pot meal made with a combination of rice, vegetables, seafood and meat, cooked in a stone bowl. Options include the ‘nutritious’ with gingko, ginseng and dates, and marinated beef bulgogi; all are priced under a tenner.

La Polenteria
64 Old Compton Street W1D 4UQ
Region: Soho
Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Road (0.2 miles)

AIL Says: People with gluten sensitivity are the food world’s Anne Hathaway (the subject of vitriol for no apparent reason), but at La Polenteria they can find a safe haven away from the haters and well, gluten. Polenta is used as a substitute and accompanies things like black ink cuttlefish, Tuscan sausages and veal goulash.

Brixton Village 39 Granville Arcade Brixton SW9 8PR
Region: Brixton
Nearest Station: Brixton (0.1 miles)

AIL Says: This teensy eatery in fashionable Brixton Village Market does okonomiyake, the Japanese street food that’s part omelette part pancake. It’s essentially flour, eggs and cabbage, fried and filled with meat like pork belly or beef, prawns, squid, cheese and tofu. Order noodles on the side for a super-filling, affordable meal.

70 Charlotte Street W1T 4QG
Region: Fitzrovia
Nearest Station: Goodge Street

AIL Says: There was much hype surrounding this novel restaurant that serves hotdogs and grower champagnes around the time of opening, but fast forward a few years and they’re still one of London’s most talked about restaurants. And it’s easy to see why – who would have thought a Sloppy Joe hot dog could be matched to a 2002 Pierre Peters Cuvée Spéciale?

  • 55/100
  • OUR REVIEW 7/10
Exmouth Market EC1R 4QL
Region: Clerkenwell
Nearest Station: Farringdon (0.4 miles)

AIL Says: This Exmouth Market eatery specialises in all things porcine. Leon co-founder and food writer Allegra McEvedy has really used her imagination here, so as well as ribs, pork belly and Blackfoot pork burgers there are more inventive dishes like lardo on toast, pulled pork tacos and pork shoulder stuffed with herbs. Unmissable for pig-lovers.


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