11 Harrington Rd., Kensington
Lunch on the go can be a conundrum. One the one hand, you know you should eat something healthy and green. But you also want to feel full and not have to go miles out of your way to pick it up. For those based in West London, there’s Squirrel. The menu of build-your-own bowls is full of proteins, vegetables, and tasty add-ins like feta, avocado, and pickled onions, which make these salads feel like full-on meals. They are filling enough to stave off the dreaded 3 p.m. hunger pangs, but light enough to stop any midafternoon snoozing at your desk. Our standing order when in town is chicken or salmon mixed with nutty quinoa, kale, pickled onions, and a boiled egg—all tossed in a citrusy sumac dressing. You can order for delivery or pickup, and it never takes more than thirty minutes for your biodegradable bowl to arrive or be ready. Best of all, it’s consistent, and lunch is exactly as you order it every time.
13-15 Villiers St., Kensington
Brought to London by Mexico City's leading taqueria, this place delivers real Mexican street food to Villiers street, from quesadillas with cheese and Mexican cactus to shredded pork carnitas. It can get crowded, so be sure to make a reservation. If you happen to drop by, you can always order a margarita while you wait. There are two other outposts.
1A Argyll Rd., Kensington
This spot offers small plates and inventive nigiri that's served sans soy sauce to keep the spotlight on the beautiful, natural flavors. The dishes at Yashin are more gourmet than traditional, so imagine offerings like miso cappuccino and truffle infusions in addition to a few hot, tapas-style picks. Come here for excellent food in an unpretentious setting. Case in point: the £30 omakase option.
Kensington Pavilion (Closed)
96 Kensington High St., Kensington
Residents are pretty thrilled about this newcomer, as there is a surprising dearth of good restaurants in the neighborhood. Adjacent to a private member's club, Pavilion does give members special perks like priority booking and "room service," but also welcomes non-members for chef Adam Simmonds' truly worthy British menu. While he's not breaking any rules, the food—straightforward standards like steaks, local fish, and lamb—is great. Plus, when you’re greeted with a bouquet of flowers from the on-site florist and then dine in a somewhat dazzling Art Deco-inspired setting, it makes any meal feel special.
51 Kensington Church St., Kensington
Ffiona's serves traditional, rustic staples, like steak and kidney pie and an amazing sticky toffee pudding, but the raison d'être is Ffiona herself, the ever-present owner who makes every customer feel like a personal guest in her small, wooden, candlelit restaurant. Ffiona has recently added an excellent brunch every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with everything from the a English breakfast to fluffy pancakes (and a free cocktail on Saturday). Her traditional Sunday roast is not to be missed.
Bibendum Oyster Bar
81 Fulham Rd., Kensington
The bright, large, and airy room with tiled floors, cast-iron panes on the many windows, and tasteful garden furniture (it's attached to the classic Conran Shop) has some of the best oysters in the city and magnificently simple seafood. There's a more formal eating space upstairs, but for a true European air, the relaxed oyster bar is where it's at.
2 Harrington Rd., Kensington
It looks more Soho than South Ken in this well-designed, underground restaurant, as the exposed whitewashed brick, Spanish tiles, and blue leather lend a distinct Mediterranean feel. The elegant and shareable Med plates focus on bold tastes (fried zucchini, salted focaccia with fragrant olive oil, and more). It's a great place to meet for dinner or to come to for the amazingly-priced £10 two-course lunch.
The Churchill Arms
119 Kensington Church St., Kensington
Not only is the Thai food delicious here but it's served at awesome prices—all amid myriad green, overgrown hanging plants in the back dining room. The bar area in front is traditional English style and gets crowded.
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