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Casual Chelsea Restaurants = Fun Dining Experiences

March 24, 2022

Rabbit restaurant Interior on of the top casual chelsea restaurants showing tables and chairs

Photo courtesy Rabbit  

Contributor Mary Noe shares this list of her favourite casual Chelsea restaurants for fun dining experiences

With upscale shopping, award-winning dining, world-class museums, and a top-ranked football club, London’s affluent Chelsea neighborhood of London is a magnet for those seeking trendy, unique, and upscale experiences.

While Chelsea is home to some of the top fine dining restaurants in London, the area also offers excellent cafés, bistros, and pubs for more casual dining experiences.

Whether you’re looking for the ambiance of a garden terrace, a relaxed trattoria, or a lively chophouse, you’ll find it in Chelsea. Here are some of our favorite recommendations for the best causal Chelsea restaurants.

Casual Chelsea Restaurants for Fun Dining Experiences

Rabbit Chelsea  

Rabbit is an award-winning neighborhood favorite, and is widely considered one of the best restaurants in Chelsea. Honored with TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice 2020 Award and recognized by Michelin with a Michelin Plate Award, this chic casual Chelsea restaurant is part of the Gladwin Brothers’ portfolio of outstanding London restaurants.

This popular Kings Road restaurant is known for its focus on “local and wild” seasonal produce and sustainable livestock from the family’s West Sussex farm. The wine list continues this local focus by featuring award-winning English wines from Nutbourne, their own vineyard.

Seasonal menus are created by Chef Director Oliver Gladwin, and Rabbit Head Chef Pedro Costa and his team present à la carte, sharing-plate, Saturday and Sunday brunch, and Sunday on the Farm menus. Their signature Local & Wild tasting menu offers eight delicious courses featuring the best local ingredients, including foraged vegetables and wild game.

Please visit Rabbit for more details and reservations.

The Bluebird Chelsea  

 Located on King’s Road in the heart of Chelsea, Bluebird Chelsea is the perfect spot for an upscale casual dining experience. This modern European restaurant and bar has multiple entertaining spaces both inside and out. The indoor dining room is smartly decorated with unique textiles from British designer Celia Birtwell, and the light-filled space is lush with wildflowers and mature trees.

The outdoor terrace and lounge areas tempt with a buzzy vibe and provide alfresco dining during the summer and a snug terrace during the colder months. Indeed, Bluebird Chelsea’s winter terrace was recently named one of London’s best winter bars by Vanity Fair.

The Bluebird Chelsea serves the “best of British” cuisine, and offers breakfast, weekend brunch, all-day dining, and take-away menus. Favorites include a full English breakfast, traditional fish and chips, and rotisserie chicken, and sharable small-plate options are popular. Private dining and event space are also available at this popular Chelsea restaurant.

For more information, please visit The Bluebird Chelsea.

 Big Easy Kings Road

 For fun and friendly casual dining in one of the coolest Chelsea restaurants, check out the Kings Road location of Big Easy. Decorated with brick, warm woods, and vintage lighting, Big Easy Kings Road is reminiscent of a classic American BBQ shack, complete with delectable BBQ and live music.

Big Easy Kings Road hosts live bands seven nights a week, with a DJ for weekend brunch. The rotating roster of talented musicians adds a bluesy vibe to the vibrant, down-home atmosphere.

Big Easy Kings Road has been called London’s “definitive Bar-B-Q and lobster shack,” and the menu is stocked with premium beef, pork, and seafood. Prime steaks are hand-cut every day, fresh lobster is flown in from Nova Scotia, Canada, and select pork cuts include those from traditional breeds like Gloucester Old Spot, Saddleback, and Large Black to ensure top flavour and quality.

Meats are cooked “low and slow” using a variety of woods and include authentic BBQ styles from four famous American BBQ regions, including Texas, Memphis, California, and Kansas. Signature dishes include fresh Nova Scotian Lobster and Texan Sliced Brisket, which is smoked for 18 hours.

À la carte, happy hour, “Bar bites,” desserts, and “Weekend Boozy Brunch” menus are offered, as well as “Hit & Run Express Lunch” and “Early Bird” dinner.

Visit Big Easy Kings Road for more details.

 Myrtle Restaurant

 Myrtle Restaurant is undoubtedly one of the best casual Chelsea restaurants, serving modern Irish-influenced cuisine in an upscale yet relaxed setting. Originally from the Dublin area, owner and Head Chef Anna Haugh previously worked for top chefs including Gordon Ramsay and Philip Howard, and combines classic Irish cooking with French techniques.

An a la carte menu features starters including Goats Bridge Trout Tartar and Chicken Liver Parfait with hazelnuts and toasted potato bread. Mains include Haugh’s signature Burren Beef-stuffed boxty cakes. Her seven course tasting menus are an inspired interpretation of outstanding Irish cuisine and may include savoury lamb cannon Dingle pie or smoked scallop with Irish-grown garlic and Gubbeen chorizo.

For more information, visit Myrtle Restaurant.

OKA Chelsea

For modern pan-Asian cuisine and traditional handmade sushi, OKA Chelsea is an excellent choice. One of five restaurants in the OKA group, the vibe at OKA Chelsea is current and casual.  Chefs use the freshest ingredients to offer a creative take on traditional pan-Asian cooking, and prepare dishes that are visual works of art.

The menu at this favorite casual Chelsea restaurant features sushi, nigiri, sashimi, tataki, specialty rolls, and main dishes including chilli sambal chicken or prawn, Mongolian rack of lamb, and miso black cod. OKA Chelsea specials include:

  • Crunchy Tempura Beans – green beans fried in tempura with truffle mayonnaise
  • Fresh Roll – salmon, mango, avocado, and cream cheese wrapped with cucumber and finished with tare sauce and orange tobiko
  • Yummy Roll – prawn panko wrapped with seared salmon sashimi, cream cheese, and topped with orange tobiko and chives with a soy reduction and sweet chilli sauce

 OKA Chelsea offers dine-in, take out, or home delivery. To learn more, please visit OKA Chelsea.

Chicama

Chicama is one of the best seafood restaurants in Chelsea, and a delicious spot for cuisine inspired by coastal Peruvian food. One of several London restaurants owned by the Pachamama Group, Chicama offers Peruvian-inspired dishes in an exciting, fresh setting. The menu is heavily focused on fresh seafood prepared in the style of authentic Peruvian coastal cuisine.

Known for popular “Chef’s Table Popups,” Chicama creates unique culinary experiences by hosting guest chefs who cook in an interactive setting. Top chefs are invited to prepare exclusive meals within full view of the lucky party, then join the guests as they dine to share cooking inspirations, techniques, and culinary secrets.

Chicama’s full bar features pisco and mezcals, and the carefully curated wine list compliments the flavourful cuisine. Chicama is open for lunch, dinner, brunch, and drinks, and offers an innovative tasting menu perfect for exploring the delicious variety of South American-inspired dishes.

 Visit Chicama for more details.

 The Chelsea Corner

Literally located on the corner of Fulham and Finborough Roads in the heart of Chelsea, The Chelsea Corner is a trendy bistro with a bright and hip vibe. Winner of the TripAdvisor 2020 Travelers’ Choice Award, The Chelsea Corner serves authentic Italian cuisine in an inviting and friendly atmosphere. 

Executive Chef Arsim Hoti creates homemade dishes with locally-sourced ingredients, including fresh vegetables from New Covent Garden Market and fresh fish caught daily. The design of the dining space is modern yet understated, decorated with pine tables, muted neutral tones, warm brass accents, and lots of light, and makes for a delightful spot for lunch, dinner, or drinks.

The tuna fillet steak (pan-seared in garlic, chili and lemon sauce, and served with asparagus, potatoes and baby carrots) and the asparagus and mushroom risotto (Italian rice, asparagus, mushrooms, truffle seasoning, parsley and cherry tomato) are favorite dishes to try. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options are available, and the friendly staff provides excellent service.

For more details about one of the top casual Chelsea restaurants, visit The Chelsea Corner.

Sophie’s Steakhouse Chelsea

Sophie’s Steakhouse Chelsea is an American-style chophouse that is almost as famous for their legendary 10 oz martinis as for their delicious steaks and ribs.

Since 2002, Sophie’s Chelsea has served generous portions of British native-breed beef which is dry-aged, butchered in house, and char-grilled to order. Everything is homemade, including the daily-churned ice cream.

The exposed-brick dining room is inviting and friendly. For the ultimate comfort meal, visit Sophie’s Chelsea on Sunday, where the stars of the menu are the roasts. Choose from Slow Roast Prime Rib of Beef with fresh horseradish cream (perfect for sharing), Roast Rump of Beef, or Corn Fed Chicken. All are served with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables, giant Yorkshire pudding and “lashings of gravy.”

Visit Sophie’s Chelsea for more information.

Benihana Chelsea

Craving entertaining, authentic Japanese cuisine? Then head to Benihana Chelsea for a fun, flaming, and immersive dining experience. This fun, casual Chelsea restaurant specializes in teppanyaki, a Japanese technique where food is grilled, pan-fried, or broiled on an iron griddle right at your table.

Well-trained chefs display impressive culinary techniques and knife skills while preparing each dish in flamboyant style, slicing, dicing, searing, and sizzling before your eyes.

Wagyu Master Chef Suzuki has designed a variety of menus, including:

  • The popular Japanese Wagyu with Sake Pairing Menu, featuring nigiri sushi, prawns with Benihana’s signature Onion Volcano, Japanese Wagyu steak, and premium sake.
  • Benihana “Traditional” lunches and dinners
  • Nigiri sushi, sashimi, and sushi rolls
  • “Specialties Dinners” featuring decadent choices like the Benihana Royal, with Chateaubriand, scallops, and lobster tail.

Visit Benihana Chelsea for more details.

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Contributor Mary Noe is a freelance writer who offers a fresh approach on local happenings, keeping readers current on travel, community, and lifestyle trends.