Here at London Hotels Insight we like to provide inside knowledge, but this is a gem we had to think long and hard about revealing.
You see, there’s a restaurant in London so consistently good that it seems a shame to make it even harder to get a table.
Not only is the food outstanding but the prices are reasonable and the ambience cosy and unpretentious.
Its food is healthy, tasty and a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
Though it’s slightly off the beaten track on Westbourne Grove in London’s cosmopolitan Bayswater area, there’s simply no better place to spend an evening than Al Waha restaurant.
We have no vested interest in promoting this restaurant except as a gesture of goodwill to its friendly staff and owner, who deliver amazing consistency time and time again.
Having lived and travelled all over the Middle East – including Lebanon – my expectations for authentic Lebanese food are high.
However, I’ve personally frequented this restaurant for several years and it consistently “knocks my socks off”.
Here are some reviewer comments:
Harden’s Guide 2009: “delicious food” and “unvarying standards”.
The Wall Street Journal calls Al Waha one of London’s top four exotic restaurants, describing it as a “sensational little Lebanese gem”.
The food critic at the London Evening Standard calls it “the best Lebanese food in London” and describes the food as “awesomely fresh”.
And so on…
Some Spanish and Argentinean friends – whom I introduced to Al Waha a few years ago – consider it the highlight of their trips to London. They’ve been known to dine there 4 nights in a row!
I have to admit that I’m a bit of a health freak. Therefore a factor that sets Al Waha apart for me is the freshness of the ingredients.
As you arrive they serve you a generous fresh salad (not even cut!) and piping hot, freshly-baked flat bread.
You always end up leaving the restaurant feeling light and energetic, despite the sumptuous meal you’ve just experienced.
These are not words you’d use after most restaurant meals, which in my view tend to be excessively rich.
The likes of Giles Coren (writer and food critic), Colin Firth (actor), Antonio Carluccio (leading restaurateur) are all rumoured to frequent Al Waha.
If, like my Spanish friends, you want to maximise your visits to Al Waha, then you might want to consider a hotel nearby.
In fact, Westbourne Grove and Bayswater have an A to Z of international restaurants covering almost every cuisine in the world. Prices are reasonable and the standard is usually pretty good.
The surrounding area has many other attractions including shopping at Whiteley’s centre, Notting Hill and Portobello Market (a short walk away) and Hyde Park, one of London’s nicest parks.
And you can also get on a bus or the tube to access Oxford Street’s shopping within a few minutes.
Decent hotels which are well-rated on TripAdvisor close to Al Waha include:
- Miller’s Residence on Westbourne Grove: an “unusual” place to stay which feels like a guest house. Warm old-style hospitality, not necessarily for those who need the usual hotel mod-cons but good nonetheless.
- Vancouver Studios. Well-rated small apartments with useful little kitchens. On Prince’s Square, virtually round the corner from Al Waha.
- Royal Park Hotel. Well-regarded, although a slightly longer walk to Bayswater and can be more pricey than the above two options. But worth it if the idea of “chic classic” style accommodation appeals and handy if you need to transfer to Heathrow via Paddington.
Happy eating in London!
Photo credits: Al Waha restaurant, Miller’s Residence, Vancouver Studios, Royal Park Hotel.