dining out in London

Dining out in London

Welcome to the food capital of the world.....

It could be argued that when it comes to food and dining out, London has more to offer than any other city in the world.

  • Home to 72 Michelin Star restaurants
  • You can experience over 100 different international cuisines in London, no other city comes close to the variety on offer.
  • London is home to over 39000 food establishments these include restaurants, pubs, cafe and street food stalls.
  • 94% of Londoner's dine out at least once a week.
  • London's oldest restaurant is disputableWilton's opened in 1742 but has moved around quite a bit, having been at its current site since 1964, Simpson's Tavern is a pub that opened in 1757, while Rules in Covent Garden is considered by many to be the city's oldest restaurant established in 1798!

 

Some Unique Dining Experiences

London has quite a few unique dining experiences particularly with an extensive pop up restaurant scene. Below are some you may like to consider but beware that you may have to book in advance.

Medieval Banquet (Tower Hill, St Katherine Docks, Cheesy but fun medieval themed dining experience)   

Dans Le Noir  (Farringdon, Dining in the dark with a secret menu to provide a sensory experience for your taste buds)

Sarasota (Covent Garden, Restaurant with a "show before the show" as opera singers perform while you dine)

Faulty Towers (Covent Garden, A must for fans of the show with actors improvising to give you a true faulty towers dining experience!)

Rainforest Cafe (Soho, Animal/rain forest themed restaurant ideal to take children to) 

Circus (Covent Garden, Dine while trapeze artists perform above you)

 

Thriving Street Food Scene

Street food in London has evolved from questionable vendors selling sausages that put pressure on the NHS, to a scene that is laden with talented chefs looking for a start and offering an interesting and diverse range of quality dishes and delicacies from around the world. The best places to enjoy street food are:

Camden Market - is not the place to go if you are looking to lose weight with more than 30 food stalls to tempt you. 

Maltby Street Market - open Saturday/Sunday a few hundred metres from Borough Market.

Southbank Centre Street Food Market - open Fri,Sat, Sun and with a good variety of food stalls to choose from.

 

London's Historic Restaurants

London has some really splendid restaurants that have stood the test of the time that are great for those seeking a truly nostalgic dining experience.

Rules (Covent Garden, Charismatic British restaurant established in 1798! Visit and you will understand why its been around so long) Wiltons (Green park/St James, Has been around since 1742 and is still one of London's best restaurants for seafood and British fare) Simpson's Tavern (Bank, restaurant that has been around since 1757 and serves traditional British food for breakfast and lunch, not open evenings and weekends) Simpson's in the Strand (Covent Garden, serving traditional British classics since 1828)  Criterion (Piccadilly Circus, Opulent restaurant offering Italian food in London since 1857) Mon Plaisir (Covent Garden, London's French restaurant established in 1940's) Veerswamy (Regent Street/Piccadilly Circus, London's oldest Indian restaurant and awarded a Michelin star).

 

Dining with a View

London has quite a few restaurants with jaw dropping views. You may pay a little (lot) extra for the location but these are places perfect for impressing someone and being impressed yourself.

Oxo Tower (Southbank, with view over the Thames towards the West End) Sushi Samba (Peruvian, Brazilian and Japanese fine dining with a jaw dropping view from the 38th floor of Heron Tower) Galvins (French fine dining with a 28th floor view over Hyde Park) Darwin Brasserie (British all day dining from the 36th floor at the Sky Garden) Fenchurch (Rooftop restuarant at the Sky Garden) Duck and Waffle (24 hour British/European cuisine from 40th floor at the Heron Tower) Aqua Shard (British cuisine from the 31st floor).

 

Dining on a Budget

London's reputation as an expensive city does not have to extend to eating out. Look out for specials advertised. Multi-chain eateries London Stranger recommends are below for value and reasonably good quality.

Franco Manca (Mouth watering sourdough pizzas and great value for money, 30 plus locations in London) Tortilla (Simple Mexican eatery located all across London) Wagamamma (Fast Service Japanese Ramen bar with restaurants spreads across all of London) Leon ( fast food option with a focus on good healthy food) 

Get Up to 50% off your food bill!..............

If you are living in London or looking to live in London it can be well worth purchasing a TasteCard or Gourmet Society Card that can give you up to a 50% discount.

 

International Cuisine

London is a city where you can explore the world of wonderful food experiences without getting on a plane. Whatever dish you fancy from around the world there is a good chance London has it with over 100 different nationalites having a presence in the restaurant and street food scene in London.

Choose from one of the many curry houses in Brick Lane or Asian restaurants in China Town, if you fancy food from the Middle East head to Edgware Road or want a taste of South American food head to Elephant and CastleBrixton is the home of the Caribbean in London while New Malden has the largest Korean community outside Korea. If you are not sure what type of food you want to experience Camden Street Food market has cuisines from all over the world to choose from. 

 

Michelin Star Dining

London has three Michelin 3 Star restaurants these being Alaine Ducasse at the Dorchester (Mayfair) and Gordon Ramsay (Chelsea). There are nine Michelin 2 star restaurants these being Claude Bosi at Bebendum (Chelsea) Greenhouse (Mayfair) Dinner by Heston Blementhal (Knightsbridge) Alyn Williams at the Westbury (Mayfair) La Gavroche (Mayfair), Helene Darroze at the Connaught (Mayfair),The Ledbury (Notting Hill) Marcus (Knightsbridge) Sketch (Mayfair).

 

Pub Dining

Pub food standards have risen to a good level since the start of the century, when even cooking peas for them was a struggle (Wetherspoons still struggles with this) now you can get quite a  meal at a lot of pubs at a reasonable price. It is traditional to go to the pub and have a Sunday roast.

Harwood Arms (Fulham) is London's first and only Michelin Starred pub, some other well renowned pubs for food are the Princess Victoria (Shepherd's Bush) Bull and Last (Highgate) Jolly Butchers (Stoke Newington) The Albion (Islington) The Gun (Docklands) Old Red Cow (Smithfields) Anchor and Hope (Waterloo).

 

Pop UP Dining/Supper Clubs

The internet has helped develop a thriving pop up restaurant scene, enabling talented chefs to show their wares and with it adding to the variety and quality of eateries in London. London Stranger recommends Marlons Kitchen a real value for money fine dining supper club. Some good resources to find about other pop restaurants and supper clubs are London Pop Ups, Grub Club, The london Foodie and EdibleExperiences.

 

Must do British Food Experiences

Afternoon Tea.....Afternoon Tea is a British tradition since 1840 when the Anna the 7th Duchess of Bedford asked for a tray of tea, bread and butter brought to her at mid afternoon. This is now an indulgence you can enjoy in a city no better than London with many establishments serving afternoon tea. For a major indulgence try the Aqua Shard (Afternoon Tea with a view in London Bridge) Fortnum and Mason (Piccadilly) The Dorchester (Mayfair) Browns Hotel (Mayfair) Harrods (Knightsbridge). As splendid as these places are they are quite pricey, you can get a less expenisve tea at many other establihments across London.

Fish and Chips....England is famous for its fish and chips and a an experience at the "Chippy" is a must. Those from outside the UK seem to be divided about the UK's fish and chip shops, for every person who loves them there is someone disappointed. Make your own judgement. Fish and Chips we recommend include Bailey's (Fulham) Toff's (Muswell Hill) Poppies (Camden, Soho, Spitalfields) Golden Union (Soho) Fish Central (Old Street) Kerbisher and Malt (Brook Green, Clapham Common and East Sheen) Rock and Sole Plaice (Covent Garden, London's oldest fish and chip shop est 1871).

Sunday Roast.....The Sunday roast is a British institution and most pubs do it quite well. We recommend the pubs listed above but are confident you can easily find a good roast local to where you are.

Curry in Brick Lane.....Indian food is now the favourite cuisine of the British and there would not be a High Street in the country without an Indian restaurant. Brick Lane on the other hand is basically a High Street which just seems to have Indian restaurants in it all chasing your business.  

 

 

 

 

 

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