Whether you were made in Chelsea or not, it’s a rather nice place to end up.
The famously upmarket London district is, unsurprisingly, home to some superb places for its well-heeled residents to wine and dine, ranging from cosy but sophisticated bolt holes to some of the fanciest fine dining experiences the capital has to offer.
From Peruvian in pastel pink surroundings to a garden of delights, check out our pick of the best restaurants Chelsea has to offer.
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
If it’s Michelin stars you’re looking for, Chelsea is positively glittering with them. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is the proud owner of three elusive stars, one of only five restaurants in the country to hold such an accolade. It’s not Mr Ramsay himself running the kitchen these days, but chef de cuisine Matt Abé, who took over from Clare Smyth’s hugely successful stint as chef patron in 2016. Fine French cuisine is the focus in this highly formal dining room: pressed foie gras is served with smoked duck, wild strawberry and chamomile, while a guinea fowl blanquette is flavoured with alliums, hazelnuts and thyme.
68 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HP, gordonramsayrestaurants.com
Claude Bosi at Bibendum
There are yet more stars to be found on the Fulham Road – and with a pedigree like Claude Bosi at Bibendum, we’re not surprised. Named after the rotund mascot of the famed tyre company (and restaurant guide pioneer), Bibendum is housed inside historic Michelin House, a stunning Grade II-listed building dating back to 1911. Under the stained-glass gaze of the iconic character, French chef Bosi mixes British and European produce with finesse: Brittany rabbit is accompanied by langoustine and artichoke barigoule, while Cornish turbot is served grenobloise-style.
Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, SW3 6RD, bibendum.co.uk
The Five Fields
Back towards the King’s Road, Taylor Bonnyman offers more fine dining fare at The Five Fields. Named after the historic term for the surrounding area, the restaurant harks back to the time when Chelsea was more rolling greenery than Rolls Royces. A produce-led menu mixes British-grown ingredients (often from its Sussex kitchen garden) with nods to London’s cultural diversity: born and bred Londoner Bonnyman serves his sea bass with rhubarb, curry and onion, and his foie gras with shimeji mushrooms. You’ll find one of those elusive stars on the wall here too.
8-9 Blacklands Terrace, SW3 2SP, fivefieldsrestaurant.com
Phil Howard is a veritable legend of London kitchens. Nicknamed “the chef’s chef” by many, his masterful stint at Mayfair’s The Square lasted 25 years, holding two Michelin stars for 17 of them. In 2016, he turned his attention to Elystan Street, a less formal, more neighbourhood-friendly setting for Howard’s acclaimed, seasonally charged food – there’s not a white tablecloth to be seen. A constantly changing menu focuses on bringing together ingredients that are at their best in the same months of the year: in Spring, sea bass is paired with asparagus minestrone and garlic leaf pesto, while winter brings together venison loin with baked roots and pickled pear. The set lunch menu offers a bargain at three courses for £30.
43 Elystan Street, SW3 3NT, elystanstreet.com
Daphne’s has been a Chelsea favourite for more than half a century now, celebrating its 55th birthday this year. The Italian restaurant, named after its theatre agent founder Daphne Rye, manages to combine home comforts with just a sprinkling of Ivy-inspired glitz. Following its 2014 revamp, the decor is quaint Italian trattoria by way of a Chelsea budget: the bar is topped with pink marble, and vintage Venetian chandeliers tinkle on the ceiling. On the plate, Italian home cooking is at the heart of the menu. Dishes of vitello tonnato and melanzane alla parmigiana long to be passed around a family-filled table, while wild boar pappardelle and meatballs with roasted potatoes and tomato sauce provide filling fare that Nonna would be proud of.
112 Draycott Avenue, SW3 3AE, daphnes-restaurant.co.uk
There’s a pastel perfect, Peruvian dream waiting at the end of the King’s Road: Chicama charms without putting even a smattering of meat on its menu. A daily delivery of Cornish seafood provides a pescatarian menu to soften even the most hardcore carnivore. Dishes ranging from a meaty portion of blackened octopus with confit potato and sundried tomato to a selection of ceviches, including a scallop edition with Jerusalem artichoke, swimming in truffle tiger’s milk. An essential but easily overlooked order is a snack of tapioca marshmallow – a savoury bite (made without eggs or sugar) is flavoured with parmesan and fried to the point of considerable crunch.
383 King's Road, SW10 0LP, chicamalondon.com
If you’re notoriously indecisive when handed a menu, head to Hunan – no choice, no worries. Mr Peng, proprietor of this Chinese restaurant, has already decided what you’re having for dinner before you arrive – you just need to let the staff know if there’s anything you don’t eat and how much spice you can handle. What follows is a procession of 10 or more dishes from the kitchen, embracing flavours from Taiwan and the Hunan province. While we can’t tell you exactly what to expect, signature dishes include a minced pork broth with Chinese mushrooms and ginger, alongside crispy frog legs with fermented bamboo shoots.
51 Pimlico Road, SW1W 8NE, hunanlondon.com
The Ivy Chelsea Garden
The Ivy Collection – a culinary spin-off series inspired by the historic Covent Garden hotspot – has wound its way through most parts of London by now, but The Ivy Chelsea Garden is one of the earliest and most unique of those venues. The familiarly glitzy indoor decor is festooned with maximalist florals and greenery both real and illustrated, before the conservatory room towards the rear gives way to what is a really rather lovely garden space. The menu is much as you would expect: the restaurant’s signature Shepherd’s pie makes a welcome appearance, while lighter – and well heeled – appetites can tuck into lobster linguine and miso black cod.
195 -197 King's Road, SW3 5EQ, theivychelseagarden.com
Rohit Ghai has helped earn Michelin stars for the likes of Jamavar, Gymkhana and Trishna. Last year, the chef teamed up with longtime collaborator Abhishake Sangwan to open Kutir, an Indian fine-dining venue set within the homely, but rather swish quarters of a Chelsea townhouse. The surroundings may be distinctly residential, but the menu harks to the rural forest lands of India. “Expedition” tasting menus take explorers through dishes of quail naan with masala scrambled egg and truffle, onto lamb tandoori chops with black cumin and sprouts, before ending on a bhappa doi dessert of steamed yoghurt with pineapple and coconut.
10 Lincoln Street, SW3 2TS, kutir.co.uk
Favoured by Kate Middleton in her pre-Duchess days and the site of many a gossip on a certain SW3-set reality television show, Bluebird is a Chelsea set haunt of ultra-posh proportions. The King’s Road courtyard is an enviable lunch venue for summer afternoons, with an all-day menu featuring a sprightly selection of salads ranging from watermelon and cucumber with tahini and hazelnuts, to creamy burrata served with peas, broad beans and courgettes. Indoors got an impressive makeover a few years back, with vibrant banquettes and a slick central bar now dripping with courtyard-calling greenery.
350 King's Road, SW3 5UU, bluebird-restaurant.co.uk
Cambio de Tercio
Tennis fans assemble: this Chelsea tapas bar has the Rafael Nadal seal of approval. Old Brompton Road’s Cambio de Tercio offers a contemporary take on Spanish snacking, and is said to have hosted the Grand Slam champion multiple times over the years. Among the dishes that keeps regulars (sporting stars and otherwise) coming back are the eight-hour roasted tomatoes, that are cooked in sweet oloroso sherry with basil and lime and served with La Peral cheese. The bill can add up here, but a £19 lunchtime portion of paella mixta is a comforting steal.
163 Old Brompton Road, SW5 0LJ, cambiodetercio.co.uk