The Little Bar
Opened by an ex-Guardian Food and Drink Editor, this tiny little place on Garratt Lane towards Streatham serves incredible cocktails, lovely wine and local beer. They also normally have a good range of bar snacks and will fetch food from Rick’s over the road
A local bistro – reasonably priced European cooking with a decent wine list
An incredibly good Lebanese – one of the best in London. Run by a chef who’s done time at JSheekey they bring serious talent and top quality ingredients to bear on traditional Lebanese cooking. Booking is essential and if you can, ask to sit at the bar overlooking the kitchen. It’s great to watch it all come together. The Lebanese wine they serve is excellent. It can be hard to get in so book ahead if possible – they don’t take cards – cash only!
A really good local pub – nice mix of people and some good local beer. Can’t vouch for the food as I’ve not tried it!
This is another top Lebanese place, a little quieter and cheaper than Meze, but still great.
Antipodean brunch spot – great coffee.
Right on the cross road by the station – this is an excellent chippy. Traditional tiling, fresh fish and really good pies.
A vast local pub, freshly refurbished and now serving incredible food. The Sunday roast is the best in Tooting. Tonnes of space and if you’ve got a group of friends you can book a beach hut for the afternoon. Very smart – the kind of place you can take your parents!
Apollo Banana Leaf
Top notch Sri Lankan – a favourite with London chefs. You can eat piles of amazing food and get change from £15. BYOB
Tooting is full of fried Chicken Shops, but they are to this place what Kia is to Ferrari. These are free range chickens the size of small ostriches, marinated in amazing herbs and spices and grilled over Applewood charcoal. It’s like Nando’s but oh so much better. The apple pie is one of my all time great desserts.
Gourmet burgers with gravy to dip them in, they also do roast meat sandwiches. Great alcoholic cocktails.
Over the road from Chicken Shop and incredible. It’s from the same people as Little Bar and does a huge range of authentic tapas – the chef (and many of the ingredients) are shipped in from Spain. The wine and sherry list is faultless and the atmosphere amazing. Book if you can, but otherwise cram in with everyone else! They do a solid brunch too.
Another great local bistro – friendly staff and a great easy to reach brunch. They do gastro pub food in the evening.
A communist guerilla themed pizza and cocktail bar. Yeah – it’s a bit mad, but very tasty. Do not attempt the food challenge.
Top notch gourmet burgers with a rotating monthly special that is always brilliant (currently Oktoberfest). Great staff, lovely brunch options, takeaway (phone ahead to avoid a wait) and amazing rosemary chips.
Dosa ‘n’ Chutney
Top quality southern Indian – the food can be brutally spicy, but it is very authentic. The Biryani is excellent. They have Cobra/Tiger on tap.
One of the most popular Indians – it’s not the fanciest, but they churn out amazing quality food, can easily seat lots of people and are excellent value. BYOB
One of my personal favourites – a wine bar and pop-up host in Tooting Market. Check out their website for opening times and what their current chef is doing (this month Persian, next month Sri Lankan, then Malaysian). They have superb wine and are experts in matching it with food – the lovely Laura and Kiki also run regular wine education sessions and tastings. Tell them I sent you!
Boom Bap Burgers
Also in Tooting Market – great value gourmet burgers and brunch
Super trendy brunch place in the market that also sells gorgeous bread in the morning.
Wonderful sourdough pizza and natural wines in the market.
This is really hit and miss – when it’s good, it’s one of the best Indians in London, when it’s bad it’s grim. Worth rolling the dice occasionally!
Don’t laugh – you can’t live in Tooting without experiencing it, this is the biggest and shiniest fried chicken shop in London. It’s not bad either…
An amazing ice cream shop – really popular with the local teenagers (as many aren’t allowed to drink). Great ice cream and waffles.
Another really popular Indian – this one has a very authentic vibe and does some really unusual curries (goats feet anyone?) Again, very popular with central London chefs. Alcohol is strictly prohibited.
The central London barbecue legend opened about a year ago. Well worth booking. Huge plates of delicious American barbecue washed down with great beers, live American sports and often a band. So so good.
A really eclectic pub that nearly got shut down but was saved by the local community. Great beer.
A wonderful brunch/dinner location – very trendy, exposed brickwork and boardgames. They do a brunch martini which is very very good.
Just over the road from Ben’s – even trendier (the table numbers are LPs) and they do the best pancakes in south London. Beautiful garden in the summer.
By The Horn’s
This is actually between Earlsfield and Tooting – it’s our local brewery. Ten or so amazing beers, huge projection screen for sport (and an epic atmosphere) with food provided by a rotating cast of food trucks. Check their twitter for opening hours and food options. A great way to watch sport.
Widely recognised as one of the best brunch places in South London. Get there by 9am or the queue is monstrous. Really innovative modern cooking.
We Brought Beer
Over the road from Milk an incredible beer shop. Well over 200 beers available and they have their own tap system so you can fill growlers to take home.
South London is a bit starved of good pizza so this place is always rammed. Wood fired, sourdough crust, seasonal toppings. Top notch.
Fun local cocktail bar – normally has a good range of drinks and a happy hour deal.
Balham Bowls Club
Very trendy brunch and bar in an old working men’s club.