What is it about this winter that’s making it so hard? Perhaps it’s the glorious summer we had in 2019. Whatever the reason, we’re even less capable of putting up with a London winter than usual. When the wind is howling and the temperature plummets, you really need some incentive to leave your house. And what’s better motivation than soft candlelight, crackling fires and great food?
Whether you’re celebrating with family and friends or cozying up with a hot date, we’ve carefully curated a list of warm and cozy restaurants that are guaranteed to lift your mood and warm your icy heart.
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Jimmy’s Winter Snow Globes
This season, Jimmy’s are offering two incredibly unique winter dining experiences. Set along the glorious riverside on Southbank, Jimmy’s Lodge is the ideal place to snuggle up next to a pot of fondue. Alternatively, you can opt for your very own snow globe overlooking the Thames. But be sure to book as soon as possible as these magical snow globes sell out fast.
Beach Blanket Babylon
The Notting Hill outpost of Beach Blanket Babylon is made of various intimate spaces where you can cuddle up and evade the outside chill. Along with a wide selection of world wines, the menu showcases an impressive seasonal, modern European offering. It may be frosty outside but you’re curling up to warm your heart with a gorgeous glass of red.
Pied à Terre
This is one of the city’s longest-standing Michelin star restaurants. And for good reason. Since the early nineties, Pied à Terre has maintained the highest standards of Modern French cuisine and elegant intimacy. Perfectly executed, hearty dishes will warm you up, even on the coldest winter night.
Bar Under the Bridge
Along Southbank in Central London, you’ll find this quintessential winter pop-up experience. Bar Under the Bridge makes for the perfect sanctuary from the cold as you snuggle up with a hot toddy, mulled wine and the juiciest burgers in town. They also host a variety of fun Christmas activities to get you into the festive spirit.
The Glasshouse Kew
During winter, The Glasshouse in Kew becomes a sparkling beacon offering only the highest standards of cuisine. Despite the high-end food and service, The Glasshouse manages to maintain a relaxed, welcoming setting. If you’re looking for a Michelin star meal in a unique, festive setting, then this is the choice for you.
Voted the most romantic restaurant in the world, Clos Maggiore is as impressive as its name sounds. In winter, it offers the perfect environment for a memorable date. It’s impossible not to fall in love amidst the roaring fire and blossom-covered conservatory. Dishes like the shoulder of Loire Valley rabbit with sweet & sour black radish and wholegrain mustard mousseline will make your belly as happy as you feel with your sweetheart.
It’s hard to find a foodstuff that’s more wintery and warming than fondue. If you’re on the lookout for the real deal, there’s simply no better place than St Moritz. Since 1974, they’ve served the best authentic Swiss fondue in the city plus the works: bratwurst with rosti and spätzli, and of course, raclette.
Artist Gerald Scarfe has adorned this cosy spot with his work, which only adds to the charm of this ultimate winter warmer. Situated at one of the most winter-friendly hotels in London, The Rosewood, you’ll sink into a velvet armchair and sip on a Mary Poppins cocktail before heading to your table. Feast on a spice-laden menu of gunpowder scampi and murgh malai chicken sliders. What could be better?
A staple of London’s cosy drinking and dining scene, Madison serves its dishes hot and its cocktails even hotter. This year, you’ll find The Enchanted Woods hosted on Madison’s scenic rooftop. Wild woodland foliage is lit by the warm glow of fairy lights and illuminated trees light the way to your dinner table. Private spaces with cushions, blankets and even hot water bottles are available to keep you snug.
Getting a spot at this Clerkenwell institution is tricky but it’s definitely worth it. When you settle into your cushy chair next to a smouldering fire, chowing down on a hot salt beef bun, you’ll never want to leave. Not to mention the unique seasonal cocktail list…
Actually scoring a seat here is a big enough win in itself, but when you sit beside the apothecary-style bar counter while you peruse the seasonal cocktail list, you’re going to feel like you’ve nailed this London winter lark.
This is another one of those super romantic warm and cozy restaurants, which is why locals remain hooked on its shabby chic charms. Since the 80s it has been one of the most inviting wine bar bistros, especially during the chilly months. Cosy nooks and candle-lit tables add to the romance and warmth of this beautiful, quirky space.
This is no ordinary winter restaurant. Not only does it offer an unbeatable chill-beating fare of comfort food, but Princess Margaret used to book her table here under the pseudonym ‘Maggie Jones’. The walls of this Kensington refuge are ensconced with eclectic trinkets and dried flowers cover the ceilings. Princess Margaret and Lord Snowden would slip in and enjoy the hearty Chicken and Artichoke Pie in a discreet corner of this beloved haunt. At the end of the day, if it’s good enough for the royals, it should be good enough for you, right?
Get Cozy in London
After reading this list, it’s clear that London has one of the most impressive selections of winter-friendly restaurants in the world. Whether you’re in the mood for an authentic fondue, a gooey raclette or a roast dinner, these warm and cozy restaurants won’t disappoint.
Remember that winter is all about self-care and indulgence (not that we believe in holding yourself back at any time of year). This is especially true as excitement builds throughout December, making it an even more thrilling time to eat, drink and be merry. At the end of the day, it’s the best way to keep warm.