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London Restaurant Ideas

Hello all,

My family of 5 is traveling to London for the first time in April. We are pretty much all planned and just would like some restaurant suggestions. We are somewhat adventurous eaters but not too crazy. Looking mostly for lunch and dinner ideas.

Thank you very much!

Posted by
920 posts

Locals may have other fish and chips recommendations. I enjoyed "non-pub" fish and chips at Golden Union on Poland Street and at Fish! Borough Market takeaway.

Agree with Emma's suggestion of checking out the department store food halls or grocery stores. At Marks & Spencer you can cobble together a picnic lunch and eat it indoors at one of their tables or bag it to go if the weather is cooperative.

Posted by
11480 posts

We return to Punjab (Indian) in SOHO nearly every visit. Favorite gastro pub, so far, is The Queen’s Head near Piccadilly and Pret a Manger is often a lunch stop for us. Also love the cafeteria under St. Martin in the Fields.

Posted by
11368 posts

Real Fish and Chips are in their own places not pubs. Not far from Westminster Abbey is The Laughing Halibut, 38 Strutton Ground. The food is delicious but know that these fish and chip places are more like going to a simple luncheonette or a diner. We always stop by there when in London. Our grandkids loved it too.

Posted by
8864 posts

Mentioned already if you like Indian then Dishoom and Punjab.

If you like Spicey chicken then the Nandos chain.

I like pub grub and yes children are allowed, even dogs. You’ll see entire families dining in pubs.

I also am a huge fan of Pret a Mangers. Discovered their chicken salad salad last trip and ate at least 4 during my stay. Also like the chicken avocado sandwich with a packet of crisps. Easy to enjoy while sitting on a bench outside Kensington Palace people watching near the Round Pond. Or on the Jim Henson bench in the Hampstead Heath with a lovely view of London. My point? Easy to picnic with Pret A Manger offerings.

Food stalls at the West Yard Of Camden Market are fun.

Pizza Stop at Spitafields.

Another chain with good food is Bills.

If you really want to experience the ethnic ambience off the variety of food offerings you can enjoy in London then take a gander at this useful website:

You will not go hungry in London.

Posted by
991 posts

London has fast become a foodies destination and you can eat well at many different price points. You have already had some great recommendations. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Borough's Market: One of Britian's most renowned food markets, it is a great place to pick up picnic supplies (amazing selection of local cheeses, meats, breads, ...). They also have stands with prepared food. Paella is fantastic as are the oysters. They are open Monday to Saturday, but the full market with all the local farmer stands are from Wednesday to Saturday. Check on their events as well. This is also a great place to buy souvenirs for the food lover in your lives.
  • Anything from Ottolenghi: This chef specializes in fresh and local produce and has three locations with great salads, sandwiches, desserts to eat there or take away. He also has two restaurants. We went to Rovi for our anniversary, what a treat. Great casual vibe, delicious and flavorful vegetable and wood-fire led menu. I have several of his cookbooks and enjoy his food at home, but there is nothing like trying distinct flavor combinations at a restaurant. If you go to Rovi, book in advance as this place gets crowded.
  • Brick Lane, Beigel Bake: They sever tasting and filling beigels 24 hours a day. They specialize in the salt-beef, carved from directly in front of you, slathered with spicy English mustard, it is filling, but so delicious, you might be tempted to order 2.
  • Poppies fish & chips (various locations in London, but love the Spitalfields location: They are a family-owned mini-chain serving delicious fish and chips served in newspaper (note it is not real newspaper, it is food safe wrapper that mimics real newspaper). My friend is a mushy pea connoisseur and these are his absolute favorite mushy peas in London (and he tries so many).
  • Bao: I have only eaten at the Soho location and they don't take reservations, so go early for some of the best buns London has to offer. They have a very affordable pre-fix lunch menu, so if you are near Soho at lunch, I would recommend making a stop. Dinner time is it super crowded and might not be worth it for a family of 5. They have a restaurant in Fitzrovia that does take reservations.
  • Beriut Express: off Old Brompton Road, just steps from the South Kensington tube, it is a great place for dinner if you are in the Knightsbridge/South Kensington area. Fresh and festive Lebanese that is meant to be share. Also very reasonably priced. Here is the link:
  • St. John's Bread & Wine Spitalfields: They are a nose-to-tail restaurant and a bit pricy for lunch/dinner, but breakfast is amazing. Their bacon sandwich was at one time voted the best in Britain and it is worth the trip to the East Side. Also, save room for their doughnuts. My dad was in the doughnut business and this is the only place that I have eaten doughnuts that come close to his. If you can't finish them, they are even good the next day (not greasy at all).
  • Tate Modern: I love their restaurant. It has a great view of the Thames and excellent food. I keep going back for the mussels, but even if you take a break for coffee and a sweet, it is worth a visit.

There are so many more. TimeOut and Eater London are my go to resources for recommendations. Eater London is great because you can search by location (lunch and dinner options), so often you want to eat where you are siteseeing. Also, I use Eater as a guide when I travel, I have found great restaurant and food ideas at different price points in cities all over the world.

Bon Appetit,

Posted by
4469 posts

Tea for lunch or dinner? Our favorite is Fortnum and Mason, but it's pricey. I don't remember if anyone's mentioned it, but Harrods has lots of take-out choices, an ice cream parlor and a pizza place. Our 23 yr old daughter has been to London twice in the past 4 years and raves about Marks and Spencer sandwiches and the Harrod's establishments. Museums usually have places to eat-my favorite is the one at the Imperial War Museum(I like the food better than the museum!)

Posted by
3551 posts

I always visit The Wallace Collection nr Portsmouth Square for the museum collection and the fabulous restaurant cafe under the atrium. The museum has no entrance fee but a wonderful exhibit is a pleasure to see bef or afternoon a meal or tea. tea is a mere 22 GBP which is a gd value when compared to another places. Meals are vgd and well priced considering the quality and selection. It is my place to go
When in London. Maybe it will work for you.

Posted by
274 posts

I'm using the digital map from Love and London's 3 day itinerary this time when I go in April, so if I'm wandering in an area, I can pull up the digital google map she created and it will map my way to a nearby, already-reviewed restaurant (and sights, and loo, and playgrounds, it's a good map). I'll be staying in Paddington for 3 days and then Acton for 15 nights, will be interviewing for a PhD program, and want to be able to wander as I want to this time (4th visit), so having a tried-out list of restaurants will be very helpful. Once I was in Mayfair and my daughter and I wandered into a restaurant, and after the waiter served the bread and all, we realized there was no lunch on that menu for anything less than $60 ! eek. We ordered soup like we were watching our weight, and was able to leave somewhat honorably. :)
I don't want to do that again. :)
Have a great time! Every time I go, the weather is perfect, so I hope you benefit from it as well.
If you have any Girl Scouts, the World Centre Pax Lodge is in Hampstead, and the pub near there that's called The George (probably 100 other pubs are also known by that name) at the Rosslyn Hill bus stop, was really great when we were there last. It's across from Air Studios, where Harry Potter music (and Kung Fu Panda, and dozens of other fabulous films) sountrack was recorded, if kids are interested.

Posted by
5685 posts

I make a stop at Ottolenghi on nearly every visit. Most of the branches are geared for takeaway, but the Spitalfields location is primarily sit-down. Nopi is also good, but it is a higher price point.

I love Honey & Co too. This definitely needs a reservation.

Posted by
120 posts

Two places with very different experiences

River Cafe. Out in the middle of nowhere London is a Italian, yes Italian, that has spawned many a notable chef. Yes it is on a river and is VERY good. Not cheap but worth the splurge. One of the best Italian meals I have had outside of Italy.

A very traditional English formal restaurant would be Wiltons. Although the web site is a little tacky, the restaurant is NOT. Carving Trolly with Beef Wellington or whatever the night's special carved table side. VERY good. NOT cheap. here is the link

To see a A Lister and have a good meal (again, NOT cheap) is Chiltern Firehouse that is also a 5* hotel and restaurant. Bust and close quarters but a good meal. enjoy.

Posted by
1 posts

My favorite place to eat in London, maybe in the world, is the restaurant in St James Park. Food is great with a variety of choices, fairly priced, quick. And the view and ambience is over the top. Speaking of top, if the weather is good, ask if the open terrace upstairs is available. If so, you will never forget it. Good food, relaxing environment, great views, wonderful place to spend time.

Posted by
15 posts

For a reasonably priced lunch and the best apple crumble with custard in the world, go to the Cafe in the Crypt in St. Martin-in-the-Fields near Trafalgar Square. You will be eating above dead people, but that's part of its charm.

Posted by
1 posts

Want an authentic Malaysian food in London than go with Selesa restaurant in Kensington. That serves traditional Malaysian cuisine and offer private dining. Selesa restaurant menu is based on the concept of 'Homemade' flavored food. The environment of the restaurant is pleasant and warm. You will definitely get an unforgettable dining experience in a restaurant with delicious food.