The City of London doubles as both the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It is one of the world’s major global cities and an immigration-friendly country that attracts from all angles an incredibly diverse group of people who come with varying tastes in music, art, sports and of course food. You’ve likely heard the popular quote “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one hasn’t dined well”. London being one of the biggest cultural melting pots in the world means a lot of people from different parts of the world moved there for varying reasons; to study, work, refugees or even as investors. This diversity also means that there is an endless variety of food from almost every corner of the world to pick from whenever you are craving something to tickle your taste buds or trying to get a taste of the country you left. In this article, we will be placing our focus on the top African restaurants in London that offer mouth-watering flavours from every part of the African continent. African cuisine is rich, unique and diverse and it has seen its popularity grow across the world. Its bright-coloured and savoury Jollof, as well as soups packed with fresh vegetables, have become much talked about and sought after in recent times. So, if you are in London on a food adventure and wish to try African cuisine for the first time or are on the hunt for your favourite African delicacy, this list of African restaurants is a good place to start.
Named after a highbrow district in Nigeria’s most commercial city of Lagos (one might call it Nigeria’s own version of London), this polished spot offers a distinctly modern twist on authentic West African flavours. It is located in the cold St James’s Market. St James’s, South-West London. Ikoyi builds its own cuisine around a vast collection of West African sourced spices which are combined with seasonal British ingredients. The result is an eclectic melting pot of as much flavour as possible. They explore ingredients such as Grains of Selim, a smoky peppercorn with the scent of eucalyptus, plantains and scotch bonnet chillies, which they ferment, burn and pickle. Where to start off on their menu? Think plantain smoked kelp with blackberry, 120-day aged Angus rib steak with saffron soubise, slices of buttermilk plantain with a smoked scotch bonnet which are well fried, papaya marinated in zobo, crisp on the outside and soft within and – of course – delicious smoked Jollof rice. Their excellent cooking has earned them two Michelin stars making it stand out as one of the best African restaurants in London.
Whatever part of the UK you visit in search of authentic West-African cuisine, you can rest assured that you will be able to sample wholesome home-cooked meals produced with love right here in South London. Its location on 805 Old Kent Road, London gives its name to it. It is a strong contender for the best African restaurant in London. The menu here consists of a variety of foods such as okra, plantain, yams, beans, and ground dried shrimp, along with a spice base of scotch bonnet, cumin, ginger, and grated onion. As a result, delicacies like Cotonou honey beans with dried tomato and chilli sauce, and their signature Monika fish have been created. The lamb suya is beautiful and their classic jollof rice and chicken is perfection. They also have vegetarian-friendly dishes on their menu.
A modern Moroccan family-run restaurant in Notting Hill which combines the vibrant flavours of authentic Moroccan cuisine with contemporary culinary techniques. Zayane is an African restaurant located in the heart of West London, a short walk away from Portobello Market, a welcome addition to the Golborne road dining scene. The kitchen creates an innovative menu with British seasonal ingredients and special Moroccan spices, resulting in traditional Moroccan cuisine with current European influences. Their menu features Marrakchi beef Tangia, Rfissa, Ox trotters, couscous, fish Bourek, Harira soup, beans in fresh tomato sauce, chickpeas, salmon terrine and much more. Desserts home in cherry and almond clafoutis or chocolate delice paired with pistachio ice cream. They also offer a wide variety of vegetarian and gluten-free tagine. The tagines are prepared and served in the tagine pot(an earthenware pot with a flat base and a conical lid as well as the food cooked in it (it is common in North African cooking). The vibe at Zayane is great with the waiters ready to attend quickly to your orders while recommending dishes you could try. The beautifully plated dishes and the rich aroma when your order arrives at once give you a taste of exquisite traditional Moroccan dining. Zayane’s high-quality dishes and reasonable prices earned them a Michelin Plate.
Hammer & Tongs specializes in big amounts of succulent meats, paying homage to the traditional South African braai(barbecue). In a warm, inviting ambience, juicy steaks and ribs are marinated in herbs and spices and served alongside a comprehensive entirely South African wine list, unique cocktails, and craft brews. It is located on Farringdon Road, Roseberry Avenue, Farringdon, London. Their menu includes meat, fish and vegetables cooked on a wood-fired grill; Imported Sekelbos wood from Namibia is used to smoke the beef, pork, chicken and fish dishes, boerewors beef sausage served with homemade chutneys not to mention some local specialities including biltong, Cape Malay curry fish, braaibroodjie and more. In addition, the restaurant bakes its own beer bread and offers a variety of gourmet salads for non-meat diners. Exotic sweet delicacies such chilli grilled pineapple with ginger ice cream and toasted coconut are served for dessert, while the bar serves a variety of speciality cocktails. The service is really good and it is a nice spot to catch up with friends over a hearty meal.
Wolkite offers a traditional Ethiopian Dining Experience in London. It is a family-run African restaurant where you experience the sincerity of Ethiopian cuisine. Capable of seating more than 50 guests featuring a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy fine Ethiopian food and great coffee with excellent service, in warm surroundings, It is located just around the corner from the Emirates Stadium on Hornsey Road, Holloway, North London. This somewhat unassuming restaurant serves amazing, authentic and plentiful at an exceptionally friendly price. Their menu includes Kitfo a very lean beef, finely chopped, seasoned with mitmita, a special Gurage Kitfo called Fintafinto served in the traditional way, Gored Gored, Derak Tibs, Alicha wot, Awazie tibs and many more. As for sides, there is the Ethiopian style Timatim Salad, the onion and spice-rich Senge and the Gluten-free Teff Injera. Wolkite also has a gorgeous offering of vegetarian dishes; Tegabino served with Injera, Gomen Kitfo, Zimamujat and many more. Their staff are welcoming and friendly and make your dining experience an altogether amazing one.
Kudu Collective is a Peckham-based family-run restaurant, cocktail and wine bar, gallery, and private dining room. This exclusive African restaurant can be found along Queens Road, Peckham, South East London. Ingredients are carefully sourced from local suppliers where possible, alongside foraged produce and whatever they can gather from their own herb garden and vegetable plot. Their menus are influenced by the seasons, with inventive plates that mix high-quality ingredients with a dash of creativity. Whether it’s slow cooking in a potjie pot over hot coals, making their wonderful Kudu bread, or stirring the braai negroni, their South African heritage inspires their food and drinks.
Khamsa is a charming neighbourhood restaurant in Brixton, situated on a busy crossroads on Acre Lane, London. It is run by a couple who quit their jobs to follow their dream of promoting Algerian cuisine. It’s an intimate and cosy African restaurant with colourful beaded cushions on wooden seats and brilliant hanging drapes. Everything is created on-site, with a focus on high-quality ingredients. Their sumptuous menu includes velvet-smooth zaalouk (aubergine and walnut paste), beetroot salad with fennel and anchovies, garlicky chickpeas topped with spicy meatballs, lentil and bulgar wheat salad, and light yet flavoursome couscous salad. A beautifully punchy broth, fresh veggies, juicy grilled chicken, and a spicy merguez sausage were featured in the modern couscous’ dish. Algerian salads served with homemade bread, then chicken tagine with spinach, sweet potatoes, sultanas, harrisa, North African spices, and almonds thickened, or spiced meatballs cooked with carrots, saffron, green olives, and coriander in a spicy tomato sauce, or salmon tagine for fish lovers. They have a welcoming staff. It is a restaurant you would certainly want to return to.
Lemlem is located in a stucco hut with an East London edge that cuts a cool, sleek line. It is one of the most highly-rated African restaurants on this list. Eritrean cuisine attracts customers who are in search of positive impressions. It’s a pleasant experience to taste nicely cooked tacos. They started out at Netil Market in Hackney, London with the goal of making Eritrean food with a London accent. Lemlem kitchen uses classic Eritrean flavours to make street food staples like tacos, hot wings, and fries. Soft-shell tortillas serve as the foundation for ‘afro-tacos,’ which are topped with a spongy injera flatbread. This classic bread is baked in the same way as sourdough, resulting in a porous pancake that’s perfect for vertical grazing because it soaks up all the juicy toppings. The anise chicken is the best of the lot, with delicate, sweet flavours and a crisp fennel salad. Its owner Makda Harlow is very warm and welcoming and might just be one of the main reasons Lemlem is very popular with London folk.