Vegetarians and vegans divert your eyes now, this guide is about all things meat; where to get the best ribs, steaks, and barbecue. London’s vegetarian and vegan food scene is definitely going, but it’s still at the top of its game when it comes to restaurants that serve up top quality hunks of meat. These are 19 of the best restaurants for meat…
What: USDA Steak
Why: Sister restaurant to The Wolseley and The Delaunay, The Colony Grill Room at The Beaumont has taken inspiration from New York and London in the 1920s. And this isn’t limited to the decor, many dishes are inspired from over the pond too. They serve the highest quality meat and are the proud servers of the grain fed USDA prime Rib-Eye steak and their famous Ayrshire 30 day dry aged Aberdeen Angus rump steak. They have been named Tatler’s 2016 ‘Best Front of House’ Award, so you can expect service just as good as our American cousins too.
Where: The Beaumont Brown Hart Gardens Mayfair London W1K 6TF
What: American Style Steak
Why: Consistently ‘up there’ in guides of London’s best steaks, Smith & Wollensky specialise in USDA prime dry-aged steaks so if you want a hit of meat, you can’t go far wrong. Pick from the succulent 680g bone-in rib-eye and 595g Kansas City cut bone-in sirloin, or if you’re really taking it seriously; the 1kg tomahawk, perfect for sharing. They even have a dry-ageing room and butchery on site.
Where: The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, Covent Garden Riverside, London WC2N 6HT
What: Indoor BBQ
Why: Don’t just think Central London when you think of meat. Down in Wandsworth Town (home to The Handbook HQ), MeatUp are constantly grilling a mean brunch, lunch and dinner. Think of it as an indoor BBQ (without the mad dash when the rain starts) serving everything from ribeye to rump, tomahawk to fillet. Sunday sees a roast to end all roasts, proudly prepared by Head Chef Stephen Hinkley.
Where: 350 Old York Road, London, London Borough of Wandsworth SW18 1SS
What: Steak With a View
Why: For old school sophistication, you’ll want a steak in the wooden-clad dining room at Gillray’s Steakhouse & Bar. The dining room boasts giant chandeliers and views of the Thames, whilst the menu itself focuses on English steak, aged for 35 days, T-bone pork and lamb Barnsley chops.
Where: Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar, Westminster Bridge Road, London
What: Refined Meat Eating
Why: Tucked away in Mayfair, The Greenhouse put a refined spin on meat. Chef Arnaud Bignon’s signature dish is the organic Welsh Rhug Estate lamb with aubergine, gomasio (made from sesame), harissa and soya. The lamb is award-winning and the dish should be too. It’s also a work of art so it will really be a case of #phoneeatsfirst.
Where: 27a Hay’s Mews, Mayfair, London, W1J 5NY
What: Sharing Plates of Charcoaled Meat
Why: Blacklock just sounds meaty. Apt then that you’ll find chops seared over charcoal, 55 day-aged rump, Cornish lamb leg and Middlewhite pork loin roasts. Go for the sharing platter for maximum meatiness at the original Soho site (a former brothel…naughty) or the shiny, new Blacklock City (an old electricity substation) for a slightly bigger menu but still the same great £5 cocktails and wine on tap. What’s not to love?
Where: Soho and City
What: Butcher-Approved Meat
Why: Smithfield is the home of meat so it’s fitting that The Grill on the Market (Blackhouse) champions the local produce. Steak is aged for 28 days, wet and dry-aged and then left to rest for 24 hours to give flavour-packed results. Stick with the classics and choose from Australian/Argentinian/English/Scotch cuts or speciality dishes like basil-crusted lamb rump, wagyu beef burger and a good old steak sarnie.
Where: 2-3 West Smithfield, City of London, EC1A 9JX
What: Late Night Steak
Why: If it’s 1am and you find yourself craving a good steak then Heliot Steak House will be a godsend. The Leicester Square location is pretty central too (read: post-Soho drinks) and on the menu you’ll find USDA prime steaks, aged for 4-6 weeks which you can top with roast bone marrow, truffle and lobster tail, or their eight sauces from the classic (pepper sauce) to the not-so-classic (spicy peanut butter sauce). They’ve also just launched MeaTea: the meatiest afternoon tea in town.
Where: Heliot Steak House, Cranbourn Street, London
What: Party Atmosphere
Why: Don’t be misled, STK’s steak isn’t missing a thing. For a dining experience that fuses eating with partying, it’s your go-to in London. Start with their mini sliders before moving on to the likes of beef short rib, maple roasted Iberico pork chop, corn-fed BBQ chicken breast or the signature steaks. Wagyu, tomahawk, sirloin and T bone – gang’s all here.
Where: ME London, 336-337 The Strand, London WC2R 1HA
What: Good Wine, Great Meat
Why: Hill and Szrok: OK it may not be the easiest name to pronounce but the menu is a lot more approachable. Blurring the boundary between butchers and restaurant, the ‘cookshop’ is an unfamiliar concept that is actually centuries old. Butcher by day, by night the place transforms into an intimate, buzzy restaurant, serving their ‘most interesting’ cuts like lamb neck and wing rib with complimentary wines. They cook what they sell and they sell what they cook. If you want more of a restaurant experience, they opened Hill and Szrok Public House last year to offer just that.
Where: 60 Broadway Market, Hackney, E8 4QJ
What: The Home of Smoke and Fire
Why: Known as the home of smoke and fire, Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa – located at Piccadilly and St Paul’s – is all about the best UK meat they can get their hands on. To start we suggest the sticky creole ribs with smoky barbecue glaze, apple and kohlrabi slaw or the coal-seared beef carpaccio. For mains try the rump steak with smoky white beans, wild mushrooms and parsley at St Paul’s or share a Chateaubriand for two at Piccadilly – dished up with indulgent truffle butter, it’s the perfect sharing feast.
Where: Barbecoa Piccadilly, Piccadilly, London
What: Smoked Street Food
Why: Smokestak began life as a market stall at Dalston’s Dinerama, turning into a permanent site a mere two years ago. A lot can be said just from that fact, in that, it managed to build up a massive cult following. The restaurant offers a slightly more ‘grown up’ menu, compared to the market stall, but of course, still offers dishes it’s renown for like beef ribs and brisket. Owner David Carter spent a lot of time in US states like Texas and Austin, cities known for their love of barbecue, so you can trust us when we say Carter knows what he’s doing.
Where: 35 Sclater Street, Shoreditch, E1 6LB
What: Butcher's Block
Why: Bar + Block’s steaks come from Pampas reared, British bred cattle, all aged for a minimum of 28 days. Choose from classic hand cut steaks, or from the ever-changing butcher’s block – which features a range of unique steaks, specially cut for the season. Or, head to the restaurant during the weekend, to kick start your day with the classic combo of steak and eggs.
Where: 26-30 York Way, Kings Cross, N1 9AA
What: All American Bar.B.Q
Why: If you want BBQ then Big Easy is where it’s at. Inspired by the BBQ techniques of Texas, Memphis, Carolina and Kansas you’ll find the likes of dry-rubbed St Louis pork ribs and Texas sliced slow-smoked brisket, we’re also big fans of the bottomless BBQ brunch. If you’re heading to the Covent Garden or Canary Wharf restaurants then your meat will be cooked on wood, whereas over on the Kings Road it’s cooked on a Parilla charcoal grill. They’re particular about where their meat comes from too, all their steaks are rare breed British beef or USDA Prime and their pork comes from breeds such as Large Black and Gloucester Old Spot.
Where: Canary Wharf, Covent Garden and King's Road
What: 28 Day Aged Steak
Why: If you find yourself over in Shoreditch and in need of some great meat or, more specifically, great steak then head to the Jones Family Project. All their meat comes from Ginger Pig in Levisham North Yorkshire and other farmers that they trust, it’s then aged for a minimum of 28 days before it’s cooked on a Josper grill. If it’s steak that you’re craving, you can choose between fillet, sirloin, rib eye and bone in prime ribs to share. And whilst we all know steak and red wine are a winning combination, their cocktails are pretty great too, so make sure you order at least one whilst you’re there.
Where: 78 Great Eastern Street Shoreditch EC2A 3JL
What: Crocodile and Zebra
Why: London’s biggest South African restaurant opened it’s doors to the public with a special royal blessing from the Zulu king. Speaks for itself, right? South African game meat is traditionally cooked on the Braai grill, according to the customs of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and a host of other African countries. This one’s probably for the more adventurous amongst us, with dishes like crocodile steak, ostrich fillet and zebra fillet, though more traditional British cuts of meat still have a place on the menu.
Where: Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AH
What: No Menu
Why: The menu at Zelman Meats is a special one, because they don’t have a fixed menu. Meats are chosen based on availability, as well as on the mood of the chef. Generally, you can expect a concise menu focussing largely on beef, with the various cuts to be accompanied by things like black truffle and parmesan chips and burrata. With such a focus on beef, you know it’s going to be done well – as in cooked to perfection, not well done, because who eats their beef like that?
Where: 2 St Anne's Court, Soho, W1F 0AZ
What: Farm to Table
Why: Pitt Cue is another on our list that begun life as a less permanent location, in the form of a food truck. Now, it inhabits a sizeable space in Spitalfields, with its kitchen being built around a gigantic bespoke grill. The guys at Pitt Cue raise their own pigs, which turn into fatty cuts of porky deliciousness; and they work directly with farmers to source the very best rare-breed meat. Of course, this means their supply isn’t endless, so get there quick for a taste of their meat. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
Where: 1 The Avenue, Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YP
What: Flavours of the Middle East
Why: Berber & Q take all their flavour inspiration from the Middle East, North Africa and everywhere in between, while techniques used to cook the meat remain western. Try their harissa hot wings or the hand pulled lamb shawarma they’re so famous for. Meat is served up in the heartiest of ways – as it should be, on metal trays, with accompaniments of cumin salt and harissa paste. They do vegetables well too, you know, for balance.
Where: ARCH 338 Acton Mews, Haggerston, E8 4EA
What: Butcher to Chef
Why: Smokehouse Chiswick is the sibling of the critically acclaimed Smokehouse Islington. And whilst it might have big boots to fill, it’s fair to say Smokehouse Chiswick’s Head chef Jeff Marris is well versed in the world of meat, beginning his career as a butcher. Cattle are butchered on site and much of the meat is prepared in the smoking shed. And the menu? It changes weekly to ensure only the best, freshest meat is served up.
Where: 12 Sutton Lane North, Chiswick, W4 4LD
What: Argentinian Steak
Why: If there’s one thing Argentinian cuisine is known for, it’s its steak (and red wine). And Gaucho dedicates more than a page to steak in its lengthy menu, and indeed, they do serve up some of the best steak in London. Cows who’ve grazed on the grasslands of the Pampas, cooked on an open flame, makes for a hearty meal. Accompany that with any one of the wines that have been exclusively produced for Gaucho, and well, you can’t beat that can you?
Where: Gaucho - Charlotte Street, Charlotte Street, London
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