Eating and Drinking in London
Eating and drinking in London has endless options, so much so that it can get a little overwhelming. You have your usual fast food chains, pub food, Michelin star restaurants, and cuisine from every part of the world. It would take years to fully try everything London has to offer.
Fish and Chips
Fish and chips, doused with vinegar and salt is a bit of an institution in England and something you have to try it. However, not every fish and ship shop is equal. The place that consistently ranks number 1 on lists of London’s best fish and chips restaurants is in the well to do, northern superb of Muswell Hill. Its location has kept it hidden from the throngs of tourists that visit London each year, but locals know all about its goodness. So which is it? It’s Toff’s, a family run fish and chip restaurant on Muswell Hill Broadway. Portions are huge and the fish is fresh. Getting to Muswell Hill is a little tricky for tourists, one reason it has been kept a local secret. If you don’t feel like venturing that far then head to North Sea Fish Restaurant in Bloomsbury or The Golden Hind in Marylebone; both serve some of the best fish and chips in London.
Narrowing down London’s best pubs is difficult and your top 10 list would vary considerably depending on what you’re looking for. One thing you’ll notice is that the pubs are often wonderfully, laugh out loud named. If it’s history you want, then try The Dog and Duck in Soho, where George Orwell once drank, or The Lamb and Flag in Covent Garden, which was once a bare knuckle fighting venue, or the old-world Star Tavern in Belgravia where many interesting characters have visited, including the infamous Great Train Robbers. If you just want an interesting pub with a good reputation, then there’s Princess Louise in High Holborn, which will make you feel like you’ve stepped back into Victorian times, or the amazing Nags Head hidden away in Knightsbridge which has to be seen to believe; it’s cluttered, cosy, and far from a polished trendy pub. If you are in search of high quality crafts beers head to The Harp in Covent Garden, The Queen’s Head in King’s Cross, or The Earl of Essex in Islington.
London’s cuisine is vast, covering every corner of the globe and it’s not always cheap. However, despite being an expensive city, you may be surprised at the number of inexpensive places to eat. Tucked away on a side street in the somewhat seedy, but buzzing, Soho is Yalla Yalla. This tiny little restaurant is cosy, unpretentious, and serves up great affordable Lebanese food. Foodies on a tight budget won’t want to miss Gelupo, another Soho located eatery specialising in Italian food. The gelato here is to die for and the regional sandwiches, pie-pasty, and more will certainly please you in both taste and price. If you’re vegetarian, or even not, the tasty hot dishes and salads served up at Beatroot on Berwick Street are excellent value for money. And for the best cheap burrito go in search of Daddy Donkey, a mobile burrito vendor that calls Leather Lane Market its home. It is open for lunch, but do arrive early, as the lines could wrap around the M25 twice. Seoul Bakery on St. Giles Street is a simple Korean café that serves up tasty dishes for just £5.
The Best of the Best
Putting together this list is nearly impossible for everyone to agree upon, but not taking price into consideration, here are some of London’s best restaurants. For a classy night out Galvin at Windows inside the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane will treat you to fabulous views of Hyde Park from its 28th floor location. It specialises in fine French cuisine and has its very own Michelin star. If it’s amazing Italian food you’re after, head to Zucca on Bermondsey Street, an unfussy but delicious place. Or you could try Bocca di Lupo on Archer Street, a cheeky, foodie heaven with reasonable prices. When it comes to Indian food, you will find it everywhere, but for some of the best try Moti Mahal in Covent Garden.
Afternoon Tea is an English tradition and popular with locals and tourists all around London. For some of the best non-tourist trap teas try Bea’s of Bloomsbury on Theobald’s Road, or the vegan and gluten free friendly Bake-a-boo, a little out of the way on Mill Lane in north London. Another north London gem is High Tea of Highgate, tiny, full of charm, and extremely popular. If you want to stay more central then Dean Street Townhouse serves up lovely finger sandwiches, scones, and mini cakes in its wonderfully old fashioned, frilly atmosphere.