Once upon a time Tooting’s restaurant and bar scene consisted of rows of delicious Indian restaurants intercepted occasionally by old-school boozers. Now it is a different story. Soho House put its stamp on the South West London area, and where it went plenty more of London’s talented restaurateurs followed. It was hard to narrow it down to only 10 but here are Tooting’s best restaurants according to us
1 Imperial Durbar
One of Tooting’s newest restaurants, The Imperial Durbar opened this summer on Trinity Road. The coffee and cocktail bar brings together two of London’s favourite vices in a cool, eclectic space. The South West London bar hosts live music sessions too.
14 Trinity Road, Tooting, London, SW17 7RE
2 Tooting Tram & Social
Tooting Tram & Social is the place to go in Tooting for after hours drinks, dancing and live music. It’s open 7 days a week and sees an total mix of performers take to its stage – from reggae to burlesque. Entry is free and the bar is open until 2am.
46-48 Mitcham Rd, London SW17 9NA
An all-day dining urban chic restaurant in Tooting Broadway, who’d have thought it a few years ago! Tota’s food is inspired by the owner’s travels and blends a whole mix of continents and countries. By day it’s a relaxed place for breakfast or a light lunch, at night the candles come out along with the specials board.
102 Tooting High Street, Tooting Broadway, SW17 0RR
4 The Gorringe Pub
Less a pub and more a multi-faceted venue with a great restaurant, hidden library, secret garden (complete with firepit) and free boutique cinema. The Gorringe Pub shows kids’ films, cult classics and blockbusters every day at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 8.00pm.
29 London Rd, London SW17 9HW
5 Chicken Shop
Chicken Shop takes no reservations, simply show up to be seated. The menu is simple: free-range rotisserie chicken (whole, £14; half, £8 or a quarter, £4), there are two sauces to choose between, hot and smokey, and on the side opt for crispy crinkle cut fries, creamy coleslaw, crunchy corn on the cob or a token healthy option of butter lettuce and avocado salad (all £4 each) – just save some room for dessert.
Ground Floor, 141 Tooting High Street, London, SW17 0SY
6 Graveney and Meadow
Another talented restaurant (it’s not enough to just serve food these days), Graveney and Meadow is also a charming bakery with shelves stacked high with macarons, cakes and breads. All-day dining is served from the Kitchen – dishes are modern European and ingredients sourced locally. You’ll find the likes of duck breast with creamed celeriac, spinach, pear and thyme sauce and smoked haddock, mussels and pollock fish pie, with cheddar mash.
40 Mitcham Rd, London SW17 9NA
7 Honest Burgers
Honest Burgers’ empire continues with its latest opening in Tooting. As with the other London burger joints, the Tooting outpost serves up burgers oozing with flavour in a rustic setting created by exposed brick, beam and wood chip walls, and industrial-style chairs.
72 Tooting High St, London, SW17 0RN
8 Little Bar
One of the newer additions to Tooting’s burgeoning bar scene, Little Bar has amassed a loyal following of Tooting locals thanks to its unpretentious atmosphere, friendly staff and great list of beers, cocktails and wine.
145 Mitcham Rd, London, SW17 9PE
9 Apollo Banana Leaf
There’s nothing fancy about Apollo Leaf, except the food. This Sri Lankan and South Indian restaurant stands out among Tooting’s many Asian eateries because of its tasty plates of chicken Ceylon, crab curry and king prawn korma. Prices are really good value, with mains starting from around a fiver.
190 Tooting High Street, London, SW17 0SF
10 Rick’s Restaurant
You’re sure to receive the warmest welcome ever from owner and chef Rick Gibbs in this lovely neighbourhood bistro that has been a favourite of locals since 2001. A former long-term chef at Chelsea Arts Club, Rick is known for his Spanish fusion food and there is an ever-changing menu of Modern British and European dishes. Service can vary but this is wholesome, home cooking at its best when it hits the spot.
122 Mitcham Road, London, SW17 9NH