Where to eat in London

I am going to London with my boyfriend. Staying in Westminster and I was wondering where I should go to eat. I am happy with budget and more expensive places, but don’t fancy getting too dressed up for dinner. Suggestions welcome.

Re: London

Cross Westminster Bridge go south of the river. Walk along the South Bank (east) towards Tower Bridge. You go past the London Eye (get on). Then, keep going east. (Visit the Tate Modern if you like art.) You will pass the Oxo tower. Nice brasserie and bar on the top floor with great views.

Then on to the Anchor pub just past the Globe Theatre (Shakespeare’s place). The pub is where Will himself drank along with Christopher Wren who built St Paul’s Cathedral just across the river. Get a pint of beer, sit outside on the edge of the Thames and watch the world go by.

It is right by London Bridge, south of which you hit Borough Market at the weekends. Fantastic food. Essential.

Go to Covent Garden at the weekend for street theatre. Eat at Live Bait (21 Wellington Street). Great oysters, wonderful fish. Have it with Guiness.

Marylebone High Street (nice shopping) for one of my favorite restaurants in London — Providores. You will need to book. If you can’t get in, try the tapas at the bar below.

Go to Selfridges for the food hall on Oxford Street. Lovely.

Then Hakkasan (8 Hanway Place). It’s behind Oxford Street, tucked away and hard to find. It is the sexiest restaurant. Chinese (high-end), full of beautiful people eating beautiful food in a beautiful setting. It’s expensive, but I say worth the experience. It’s pretty romantic too. Booking essential.

Brick Lane for curry.

Harry Ramsden for fish and chips.

You should go to one of the fancy hotels for English Tea (the full monty, with scones, clotted cream, cakes, etc). The Waldorf has dancing at the weekends. I like the Savoy on The Strand. It’s a very English tradition and worth the $40 it will set you back.

One last thing. There are pubs run by breweries. And there are free houses. Look out for free houses which, typically, serve much better beers. I know it’s an acquired taste for some, but you can’t be in England without trying some fine English ales.

Re: London

David makes some great suggestions above. I’d second all of them, in particular the curry on Brick Lane (try Preem at 120).

Alternatively down the street (at 159) and thousands of miles away culinarily, is Brick Lane Beigel Bakery where you’ll get the best salt beef (corn beef) bagel in the world — 24 hours a day.

In the same neighbourhood on Wednesday and Friday lunch times in Spitalfields market you’ll find a little stall selling the freshest and tastiest vegetarian food I have ever eaten.

Re: London

For good Italian try The Spaghetti House in Sicilian Avenue off Holborn Kingsway. Very good value, good crowd and service, the house wine by the litre is cheap and cheerful and the ambience is unpretensious.

On the South Bank there are very good restaurants at the National Theatre. I like the pizza and salad (help yourself) for lunch at £5.95 on the 2nd floor.

For an unusual experience take a curry at the National Hotel in Strand at Aldwych. Entry is by a narrow doorway and up a narrow flight of stairs to the 2nd floor. Not outstanding but authentic Indian and atmospheric.

For Chinese visit Chinatown off Shaftesbury Avenue and Wardour Street.

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Re: London

For a special blow-out, you could try to get a table at Scott’s on Mount Street, not far south of Oxford Street. There’s been a Scott’s there since the 19th century but it’s recently been revamped and it’s a great all-round experience. The freshest oysters, perfectly cooked EVERYTHING, impeccable service. If you love food and you don’t mind paying for it, please go! £70-90 a head for 3 courses with wine. You don’t have to get too dressed up, it’s not stuffy.

And some of the best Indian meals I’ve had have been at the Red Fort on Dean Street, W1. Have something with lamb, it’s really good. Also a bit pricey for curry, but it’s a cut above the usual fare.

If you’re in Soho and want a great lunch, go to Spiga on Wardour Street W1 for pizza. The most authentic Italian I’ve had in London. And if you’re in a hurry, carry on walking up Wardour Street but take a left turn just before Oxford St and you’ll see an Italian takeaway place - I can’t remember the name but the pizza there is equally fantastic (maybe moreso), as you’ll be able to tell from the queue outside.

Oh, and for great Japanese, go to Roka on Charlotte St W1, just north of Oxford Street. Very fresh and absolutely delicious. You can sit outside if it’s warm enough, or go down to the more atmospheric basement in the evening.

Re: London

Best restaurants in London are the ones that Jeremy King and Chris Corbin ran or started, these include: THE IVY, THE CAPRICE, J SHEEKEY - they sold these fantastic restaurants and opened the Wolseley on Piccadilly and more recently St Alban in Lower Regent Street (a bit pricey — so I would stick to the Wolseley — if you can get a table.) Go to the Wolseley for breakfast lunch or dinner or anything in between. It is open all day and serves a panoply of delights from chicken soup and chopped liver just like your mother makes to the most amazing cakes, hamburgers, steak tartare mmmmmmm with the chips — must have. Mark Hix, Executive Chef at the Ivy is also responsible for Rivington Bar and Grill (Shoreditch) (try the smoked haddock with colcannon and a poached egg on top) and the truly wonderful SCOTT’S (Mount Street W1) everything is heaven — but probably more difficult to get in to than the kingdom of angels.

Easier to get a table (or at least a stool at the bar) at Barafino… fantastic tapas cooked while you watch in FRITH STREET, SOHO — or try out the sit down restaurant FINO in Charlotte Street (33) W1 for a more leisurely meal. While in that area try ROKA at no 37. This is a beautiful Japanese restaurant — incredibly stylish, incredibly expensive — but worth it for the delicious food, presented in an extremely artistic way — also interesting clientele.

For Indians try Lahore in Umberston Street just off Commercial Road. A little walk from Brick Lane but worth the trek. Also The India Club at the Strand Continental Hotel, 143 Strand. You would never find it unless you knew it was there. Take your own booze and expect formica table tops. Ask for the set menu which is not actually on the menu, but the staff will give you the pick of the best.

For FISH and CHIPS try Sea Cow with 3 branches now — east Dulwich, Clapham and now north of the river in Stoke Newington. Go there not just for really fresh fish, line caught or from non sensitive fishing grounds (so apparently you CAN eat the cod without feeling guilty), but also for the fact that they recycle their cooking oil and power their vans with it! So very guilt free eating!


Re: London

Osteria Basilico on Kensington Park Road in Notting Hill is quite good Italian. Also, Cafe Boheme on Old Compton in Soho is sort of “nouveau French” with a small menu but good food. The bar is quite a scene as well and gets mighty packed on the weekends. Also on Old Compton is Patisserie Valerie, which is a great place to have a cup of coffee and a really delicious pastry. I always get the hot chocolate as I don’t drink coffee and it’s quite yummy!

For curry, get someone to take you over to Whitechapel and hit Tayyab on Fieldgate Street. There’s also a place not far from Tayyab called Lahore Kebab House on Umberston Street (not much to look at, neighborhood a bit dodgy but good food). These two places are more off the beaten track so generally frequented by locals.

For excellent tapas go to Tapas Brindisa on Southwark Street right next to the London Bridge tube stop. (Ah, I would kill for one of their chorizos right about now.) Fyi, Borough Market is within spitting distance of Brindisa which has a stand there and they only serve their chorizo sandwiches and I would go and stand in line on weekends just to get one. Yum!

Another dodgy neighborhood is Bethnal Green but there is a really good restaurant called Bistroteque that is a little expensive but worth it. In the Shoreditch area there’s a great bar called Loungelover where the drinks are expensive but AMAZING and it’s a great place to people-watch (you need to make reservations though or you won’t get a table). They serve food too but I hear it’s not good and yes, I mean you need to reserve a table for drinks. For meat lovers, check out Rodizio Rico on Upper Street in Islington. It’s Brazilian and very good. You pay a set price depending on whether you want meat, veggie, etc. then you go to their “side section” and load up on whatever sides you want and then these guys walk around with huge skewers of meat and come by your table and ask you if you want whatever they’re lugging around and they slice the meat right off onto your plate. It’s an all you can eat place so bring an appetite!!

For burgers, Burgershack on Foubert’s Place off Carnaby Street is pretty good. For greek go to Lemonia on Regents Park Road in Primrose Hill. And for good “healthy” type food sort of along the lines of Jack Spratt’s on Pico in LA, hit any of the Giraffe restaurants and you can’t go wrong (the locations I can think of off the top of my head are on the South Bank, in Kensington and in Hampstead). There is also a really good pub off of Hampstead High Street called the Holly Bush Inn (at least I think that’s what it’s called). There is also the Belsize in Belsize Park Gardens. If you’re in the primrose neighborhood, the Queen’s Pub on Regent’s Park Road (closest to the park) is the main watering hole in the area where you can run into locals like Jude Law, Chris Martin, etc.

Wherever you go, you should always make reservations (Tayyab doesn’t take them unless they’ve changed their policy in the last few months so you just have to go and wait in line). And pick up a Time Out to see what’s happening.

Re: London

Suzanne makes some great suggestions. Gastro pubs are definitely worth checking out. If you do make it to Hampstead (which I thoroughly advise you should do), go to The Horseshoe on Heath Street right by the tube station. It’s recently been renovated and is a great pub with great food. Also, you simply have to have a crepe from the stand on the High Street outside the King William pub. You will have to stand in line, but it’s worth it. One of my most difficult decisions to make in life is whether to have a ham and cheese crepe with asparagus or a banana maple cream dream.